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5 Things You BETTER Know And Do Before Carrying Concealed (If You Want To Stay Alive)

5 Things You BETTER Know (And Do) Before Carrying Concealed

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Carrying a concealed weapon is a major decision one must make, and ultimately you as an adult are solely in charge of defending your life. It can be an intimidating venture, but I have a few tips I’ve discovered after carrying a weapon for the last five years.

1. Wear your rig everywhere

Wearing a gun in a concealed fashion for the first time is quite uncomfortable. First off, holsters are often like boots: They have to be broken in. Not only does the holster have to be broken in, but you have to be broken into carrying a gun. If you are a new concealed carrier, or waiting for your permit, or scheduling a class, go ahead and start looking for holsters and guns. When you decide on one holster or another, just start wearing it. The more you carry, the more comfortable you’ll be with a gun.

You’ll also learn how to comfortably conceal your weapon. This means you can test your belt’s mettle, making sure it is supportive and comfortable. You’ll learn that if you use an inside-the-waistband holster, you’ll have to up your size of pants. You’ll also learn how to adjust a shoulder holster, and you’ll see if carrying your weapon is viable with your everyday attire.

2. Try a variety of holsters

When it comes to purchasing a holster, be prepared to purchase several holsters. You may read rave reviews about one holster or another, but find they simply don’t work for you. I love Alien Gear Holsters, but you may not. Be prepared to try some holsters out, and to start your own small collection. As a side note, stay away from cheap nylon holsters, and if your holster costs the same as a box of ammo, you’re doing it wrong.

Do You Know The Best Way To Hide Your Guns?

Most people are going to face situations in their life where their normal method of dress will change. I wear a shirt and tie to my day job, and typically jeans and a T-shirt when I’m off work. These sets of clothing have different restrictions and challenges for carrying a weapon. I own a Sneaky Pete for carrying at work, and a simple Stealth operator compact holster from Phalanx Defense systems. I keep an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck for deep concealment in casual clothes. These three holsters give me options for nearly every clothing I choose to wear.

3. Know your weapon and holster inside and out

5 Things You BETTER Know (And Do) Before Carrying Concealed

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This is a big one. If you use multiple holsters like I do, then you want to train with all of them. Each of my holsters is similar enough to make cross training easy but different enough to make it necessary. If you choose to use different holsters and one has a retention device and the other does not, then you’ll have to practice for that. You’ll have to train how to draw the weapon not only with your strong hand but with your weak hand, with your back on the ground, and so forth.

Knowing your weapon is another major factor. For example, I typically carry a Walther PPS in 9mm. The Walther PPS has a different magazine release than most weapons, and I have to train to use it. If I carried a weapon with a safety, I’d train to disable that safety on every draw during practice. You need to practice mag changes with both hands, disabling the safety with both hands, and be able to use the weapon with one hand competently.

4. Practice with your everyday carry ammo

Most practice you do will be with standard full metal jacket ammunition; it’s cheap, effective and commonly available. No doubt, training with FMJs is valuable and will be the majority of training you’ll do. You do need to occasionally shoot your defensive ammunition. When you first purchase a gun and choose your defensive ammo you should buy two boxes — one for carry, and one for practice. Make sure your weapon can reliably feed in the weapon. Some defensive ammo may have a tweaked overall length, which may affect reliability. Some defensive ammo has a polymer tip to it, and this may affect reliability with your weapon.

Outside of reliability testing, you should shoot your defensive ammo just to remember how it handles. For example, I use Speer Gold Dot 124 grain that is +P. That +P adds some more power to the round and some more recoil. I want to make sure I am capable of handling this recoil and to expect it. Also, if you constantly rechamber defensive ammo after practice over and over, you may push the bullet into the case, reducing the overall length.

5. Be willing to fight

The last tip is a mental block some people may have to climb over. As a CCW instructor, I have heard it from a few people that they never want to shoot anyone, and hope the gun will simply scare the attacker off. This is a dangerous mindset, and if you aren’t willing to pull the trigger, you shouldn’t be carrying the weapon. If you pull your weapon and can’t pull the trigger, you may lose it to your attacker and suffer some serious consequences.

You need to be prepared to fight, to truly take hold of your responsibility to defend yourself, and, if necessary, shoot your attacker. Carrying a gun without the willingness to use it makes the weapon useless.

What concealed carry tips and advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. Good points! Typo in #4: Make sure your weapon can reliably feed in the weapon.

    • Shouldn’t that be, “Make sure your AMMO can…”/

    • whether one carries a revolver or a semi auto pistol always remember to carry at least two quick reloads for the revolver and at least one spar mag for the semi auto pistol. when i go hiking or traveling into the desert i always carry at least five spare mags for my hk p30s and at least three mags for my walther ppq. i also carry 200 rds. of ammo in my car bug out bag.

  2. Johnny Paytoilet

    Thanks for the tips. Perhaps the most important is #5. No point in carrying any weapon unless you’re going to use it. Take it form a guy who’s been assaulted twice in the last 15 years & successfully fought off the attackers both times.

  3. Thanks for the tips. Need to add shoot/don’t shoot classes as I had to take as a game officer. These classes are trying on your nerves but it is easer with a laser gun and no fear of death pressing on your concentration. Unless you have been there in combat witnessing death; most are not prepared to face that decision, which is why tip 5 is important. This is why PTSD is ramped in returning veterans, who never killed a squirrel, a rabbit or a deer when they were growing up while hunting with their dad at their side. Just catching and gutting your first fish and cooking it over a camp fire helps a young child face that real issue of killing when it is not a monumental stress issue but the “I caught, cleaned, cooked and ate my first fish last weekend. and it was good” pride issue. If you never did that complete fishing or hunting scenario while growing up then you are not prepared to face the termination of a human life.

  4. All good points.

    On #5, if you pull your weapon, you had better be ready to shoot. There are serious legal consequences to “brandishing”, depending on what state you are in. Do not draw just to scare someone!

  5. #5 Should be required in ANY CCP class. I had my K license in Florida, and along with being a road deputy, I taught classes for those that desired to carry for protection. We had access to my departments FATS machine for these classes. I made it very clear that anyone who did not fire a shot at the perp within 4 seconds of unholstering-I would fail!
    When you “pull a gun,” you have 4 to 7 seconds of surprise on your side. After that amount of time…two things happen. You “piss off” whoever you drew down on, and two…the defense attorney will coach his client to say: “I don’t remember anything, after he/she pulled their gun.” Trust me! I have seen it in court time & again. YOU will be made out to be the bad guy. You only pull your weapon when you are out of other options, are in fear for your life, (or someone else’s life.) Last, you shoot to “stop the threat.” Personally, I have used a handgun 4 times in my career as a Deputy. I shot 2 rounds center mass, give the target to a count of 2 to drop. If not, 2 more rounds center mass. Continue until your magazine is empty (and you reload,) or the target/perp drops to the ground. Covering your target until the threat is over, and he/she doesn’t move. And practice, Practice, PRACTICE, at least twice a month.
    be safe-and stay alive!

  6. With all the crazy stuff going on in the world today my boyfriend and I have been thinking about getting concealed carry permits. I like that you pointed out that you should try a variety of holsters for your gun. I am a short person and me have been thinking that it would be hard for me to find a holster. So, that is a good tip for me to keep in mind one I have finished my concealed carry training.

  7. Your comment about practicing with your concealed weapon every day seems smart. It would be good to stay in practice with the safety and handling requirements as well. My sister wants to get her concealed carry permit, so she’ll have to practice a lot beforehand.

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