Concealed carry holders have now reached over 14 million. That increase of nearly 215% between 2017 - 2017 is a sign that more people are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights for personal protection. Some of the best firearms to use when you receive our license would be the Glock 43, Sig Sauer P238, Springfield XD-S, and the Smith & Wesson M&P9c. Here is why.
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Owning a firearm sets you apart from non-owners. Your responsibilities increase. When you decide to obtain your concealed carry permit, you assume a new set of duties that are beyond that of simply being a gun owner. Getting your permit is a decision that requires plenty of consideration. Some questions you might want to ask yourself before you start down that path are:
- Will I continue to educate myself of best practices with my weapon and the laws of my state and country?
- Do I plan to carry every day?
- Am I dedicated enough to practice with my firearm and maintain a high level of aptitude with it?
- Am I aware of the financial obligation to supply my firearm with everything it needs to function properly and safely?
- Do I fully understand what it means to concealed carry, and am I willing to use extreme force in the face of imminent threat?
There are numerous factors to take into account before you make a decision to concealed carry. If you feel that you are ready for the responsibility, here are some best practices to adhere to once you acquire your permit.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Every time you make the decision to carry your weapon, you must be 100% aware of the consequences of your actions. Your firearm is a tool capable of deadly force, but it is your mind and mental state that dictates how that tool is implemented. When you immerse yourself in an environment with other people, you need to exercise extreme, judicious discipline. Going out of your way to avoid confrontation is crucial to limiting any sort of conflicts that might arise while you concealed carry.
Your weapon should only be used in dire circumstances after all other avenues have been explored to de-escalate the situation. Many situations can be resolved without the use of your firearm. Remember that you carry it to protect yourself and your family. Keep calm and remain levelheaded. A good rule of thumb is you should only use your weapon if your assailant has the ability to physically harm you, has the opportunity to do so, and is putting your or someone else’s life in danger.
Be a Student of Gun Laws
So much of owning a weapon is having the proper mindset and knowledge to use it. The only way to attain this is through education. Each state has a set of laws that differs from the rest, and they can often take federal law a step further. Use of deadly force, where you can and cannot concealed carry, what to do after a shooting, and several other factors change depending on where you live in the U.S. Find a reputable source and educate yourself on national laws, state laws, and any local requirements that might be enforced in your area. Make sure that if you are traveling, you have done your research on where you are going.
Continued Training is Critical
As you continue to inform yourself of the laws surrounding firearms and as you keep practicing the correct mental state, you must continue honing your abilities with your weapon. Long before you decide to conceal carry – or even own a weapon – you should seek professional classes to begin your training with how to properly operate a firearm. It should cover the fundamentals of gun use, safety, and different techniques in weapons operation.
Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced concealed carry techniques. Proper concealed carry holster use, an overview of concealed carry laws, and how to access and fire your weapon from its concealed location should all be outlined in the course. Additionally, it is wise and recommended to take refresher courses periodically. Not only will you stay sharp on your abilities, but you will also stay current on the latest trends of concealed carry and become aware of any new developments in the field.
Once outside of a professional classroom, you need to practice on a regular basis. This includes more than just going to the range and shooting your handgun. Being comfortable with the accessories you use, like a concealed carry belt, must also be regularly checked and practiced. As we put wear on our equipment, their functions can alter. Being aware of these changes is vital to successfully carrying concealed. Some of these points leads to the next practice.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Concealed carry demands that you be aware of the environment and situation, but it also requires you to play close attention to your attire. From the shirt you wear to the holster and belt you use, all need to be carefully chosen to successfully conceal your firearm and its accessories. No one but you should be able to tell that you are carrying. If you are wearing the wrong clothing, you will be prone to adjust your handgun often, which will draw attention to your firearm. Avoid frequently checking and adjusting your weapon by wearing the right clothing.
Make the Choice to Carry, and Carry
Once you have made the decision to concealed carry pistols, it is an option that you should exercise all the time. If you choose to only concealed carry some of the time, you will find yourself becoming desensitized to the severity of the situation. Constant vigilance and dedication are a must when you decide to carry concealed. Finally, you will be ready for what the world brings your way. By carrying all the time, you can face the world around you with a mindset you would not have if you were not carrying concealed.
There are many heated topics of debate surrounding firearms. One of the most contentious discussions involves concealed carry laws. Concealed carry – or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) – is the exercise of carrying a weapon in public in such a way that it is hidden. There are no mandated federal laws for concealed carry; the right to issue such permits lies in the power of the state. Whether or not your state allows for concealed carry, there are several guidelines to keep in mind so that you will properly conceal your gun once you obtain your permit (check your state’s laws to see what process you need to go through to obtain one).
The primary (if not only) way to conceal a weapon is using clothing. Therefore, the more clothing you wear, the more options are available to you for hiding your weapon. The weather – or conditions of the environment – that you find yourself in will influence your ability to wear multiple layers of clothing. It’s not easy to wear a jacket and pants in 100-degree temperatures. Some of the most common articles of clothing to use for concealment are:
- Coats and jackets: This is probably the most convenient way to conceal a weapon. Larger than shirts, a coat or jacket provides added thickness against concealed weapon detection. Additionally, a weapon positioned correctly underneath your jacket can be easy to access, an attribute many concealed weapons lack. A major downside for concealing under a jacket is be the limited availability of weather conditions.
- Shirts: Another popular way to carry a hidden firearm is underneath a shirt. Generally, shirts that are loose and baggy are better at shielding weapons from detection than form-fitting or tight shirts. Weapons are often holstered within the waistband. A major aspect to consider is if you wear your shirt tucked-in or untucked. How you chose to wear your shirt will have a direct impact on your ability to access your weapon.
- Pants: Pocket holsters can keep your weapon concealed in your pants, but they can often have a bulge, depending upon the size of your weapon.
Your weapon will be kept within a holster when concealed underneath your clothing. Some of the most common types of holsters for concealed weapon carrying are belt holsters (outside the waistband), belt holsters (inside the waistband), shoulder holsters, ankle holsters, clothing holsters, purse/bag holsters, and pocket holsters. Find the holster that feels right for you and can accommodate the weapon you typically carry.
In addition to your clothing and holster, there are many considerations and unwritten rules you want to follow when you carry concealed. Many experts would agree that avoiding these six bad habits will help you better conceal your weapon.
- Using an inferior holster: This is ultimately where your weapon will be kept. You want something that will keep it secure, but also comfortable and accessible. Something to keep in mind is that you won’t have one holster for all your needs; having several is typical.
- Wearing improper clothing: This can lead to printing (the outline of your weapon being visible). You can find clothes that fit your style and your weapon.
- Adjusting in public: This is the easiest way to tip-off other people that you are carrying. Adjusting your weapon or constantly checking it takes away from what you are trying to accomplish through hiding it in the first place. There are much better places to readjust if you need to, including bathroom stalls, your vehicle, or another private area.
- Only carrying some of the time: When you make the commitment to carry, you need to be all-in. When you don’t carry all the time, you can forget aspects and the mindset that go along with it. Continually carrying concealed will keep you on point to all the responsibilities that go along with it.
- Not being aware of firearm laws: When you carry concealed, it is your job to understand the laws of the area in which you are carrying. Regulations across the country vary as to what is acceptable. Do your research and be in the know when you are carrying in a place you are unfamiliar with.
- Not being mentally prepared: People who carry concealed need to be responsible and exhibit control and intelligence when carrying. You have your second amendment rights, but it is your duty to be safe with your firearm.
Understanding and following some of these rules will help you better conceal and carry. It doesn’t matter your age, gender, or race: following these rules can benefit everyone. Concealed carry holsters help you carry the firearm you want, but practice the same precautions you do when operating your firearm. Be safe, be responsible, and enjoy exhibiting your right to conceal and carry.