A lot of new gun owners are a little intimidated by daily conceal carry. Carrying a firearm is a big responsibility – it isn’t a light decision. New conceal carriers are also often concerned about being spotted carrying a firearm and what might happen then. A firearm isn’t a magical self defense wand, it requires skills to use effectively and the mental fortitude to actually use when needed.
Here’s some tips for conceal carrying safely.
Just like riding a bike, firearms proficiency is a perishable skill. While you may never fully forget how to ride a bike or forget how to shoot a gun, both skills diminish and require refreshers to maintain proficiency.
If someone hasn’t ridden a bike in a while, all they need to do is take it slow and easy – the ability to ride a bike well will come back rather quickly. With firearms skills, particularly for conceal carriers, if a life or death situation happens we don’t have time to take it slow. Practicing regularly with a firearm is critical for maintaining sufficient skills to use it if the need arises.
Thankfully, dry fire is cheap and easy to do at home without spending money on ammo and range fees. With an empty firearm, simply go through the actions of drawing a firearm from concealment and pulling the trigger with an empty gun. This is the best (and cheapest) way to actually practice with your firearm.
Have a quality holster and gun belt
It’s not uncommon for new conceal carriers, or even long time conceal carriers, to complain about a lack of comfort when conceal carrying. Fixing that is almost always very easy – simply get a quality holster and gun belt.
Many conceal carry firearms can weigh over a pound and a half when loaded. Most belts are not designed to carry that much weight, causing the gun to sag and move around. A quality gun belt can make for a much more enjoyable carry experience.
Quality holsters are not only important for comfort, they are critical for safe conceal carry. A holster with an exposed trigger, or a soft shell that allows the trigger to be pulled through the holster, or a holster that allows the gun to fall out all can result in a negligent discharge and serious injury or death. Get a quality holster that is specifically designed for your handgun, that completely covers the trigger, and that securely retains the firearm even through serious activity.
Carry with a round in the chamber
A lot of new shooters and new conceal carriers are concerned about carrying a firearm with a round in the chamber. It means they have a healthy respect for the firearm they carry – however, it is important to carry with a round in the chamber.
Criminals attack from ambush up close – there often isn’t much time to draw the firearm, let alone draw the firearm and work the slide. Imagine being grabbed from behind, do you think you could get to your firearm and rack the slide while fighting off an attacker? What about if you have something in your hands that you can’t drop? Like a kid?
Practice with your firearm, carry a quality firearm, carry in a quality holster, and keep a round in the chamber.
Carry on body
It’s not uncommon for people to carry their firearms in a bag or purse. I strongly recommend against carrying off of your body. Off body carry is slower on the draw, and as we saw in the video showing why we should carry with a round in the chamber, speed is very important in a self defense encounter. Second, is purse snatching. Bag thieves grab bags violently and from ambush. If someone is grabbing at your bag, you cannot get your firearm from it and you cannot give it up because there’s a firearm in it.
On body carry requires some deliberate wardrobe choices, but it is very possible to carry a lot of different firearms with the proper holsters and belts.
Know your local laws
Even though the 2nd Amendment says “shall not be infringed” – there are many regulations concerning where and how you can and cannot carry a firearm, even if you have a license to carry. These laws vary greatly based on state and sometimes even city laws. It is very important to know your local laws to make sure you don’t accidentally break an obscure nonsense law. HandgunLaw.us is a useful resource to know your local laws.
The only gun that is of use is the gun you have with you. Violent crime can happen anytime, anywhere, even in the “good parts” of town. It’s better to have a gun and not need it, than it is to need a gun and not have it.