Part of our job as responsible gun owners is to preach the gospel of guns, that is to encourage more law-abiding, civically-engaged citizens to exercise their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Doing so not only ensures the Second Amendment lives on for future generations but also increases the safety of the public. It’s no secret that more concealed carriers has the potential to reduce crime rates.
But proselytizing our way of life is not always an easy task, though, as the world of firearms can be a confusing and daunting place for newbies. So many guns, so many laws, so many know-it-alls out there giving incomplete or misguided advice.
Given this reality, I wanted to compose something that addressed the considerations of concealed carry in a creative but concise way. A primer, of sorts, that was easy to reference and remember.
So, without further ado, I give you the 10 considerations for concealed carry newbies.
1. Confidence — Buy the gun that’s right for you, that is the gun you can deploy and shoot with confidence. Do not listen to Internet experts or pushy gun dealers. Instead, do your own due diligence to find the gun that you shoot well and confidently. Be patient and shoot as many guns as you can get your hands on. The more you shoot, the more you’ll recognize what you like and what you don’t like. In many ways, finding the right gun is a process of elimination.
2. Comfort — Along with confidence, the comfort factor cannot be overlooked. As my boss likes to say, “One should buy the gun one is actually going to carry.” Your firearm does you no good when it’s sitting at home. So when purchasing a firearm, keep the comfort aspect in mind. Ask yourself, is this a firearm I will actually carry day to day?
3. Carry — Speaking of carry, you really want to ask yourself, How am I going to carry the firearm? Off body? In the pocket? Around the ankle? Appendix style? Inside or outside the waistband? In a shoulder holster?
Once you figure out how you want to carry the firearm the next step is what holster do you want to purchase? There are plenty of options and materials to chose from. As with the firearm, the issue of comfort certainly comes into play. Don’t buy something that digs into your side or back and leaves you walking like you have a stick up your rear end.
4. Conceal-ability — That is to say, size. And yes, as they say, it matters. You may love the look and feel of a 10mm long-slide but concealing that comfortably may be an issue, particularly if you are a smaller frame person who wears form-fitting clothes.
Depending on the state you live in, and its laws regulating concealed carry (some states penalize gun owners who accidentally expose their carry gun), you want to make sure that you find a firearm that you can conceal and carry comfortably. Otherwise, you may need to make some adjustments to your wardrobe.
5. Capacity — More is always merrier but not always practical. A five-shot revolver is plenty for some but not nearly enough for others. It’s something to consider. Depending on what you read on the Internet, at least one study examining defensive gun uses (DGU) said that the average number of shots fired was two.
Then again, one can read stories of DGUs that escalate into prolonged gunfights with multiple reloads. Except for the rule that some is better than none, there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on personal presence.
6. Clips — LOL. Lesson for newbies, the proper term is “magazine,” not clip. There is a difference between the two. But I said “clip” to stick with the “c” theme. Anyways, ideally, you want to carry extra magazines or speed loaders (if you chose to carry a wheel gun). Maybe you don’t always carry them on your person but in a pack or purse or even in a car or truck. It’s always good to have extra ammo at the ready.
7. Cost — I’m not made of money and I’m assuming you’re not made of it either. When it comes to becoming a concealed carry permit holder there are hard costs associated with it from the gun to the holster, the ammo, the licensing fees, the classroom fees, the training fees. I’d imagine that from soup to nuts the average entry-level permit holder probably spends around $1,000 on everything. But that’s a small price to pay for the safety of yourself, your family and your property.
8. Curriculum — Carrying concealed is 10 percent hardware and 90 percent software. Buying the gun and the gear is the easy part. It’s your brain and your body that you really need to work on. As it relates to curriculum, having a personal plan for self-defense, learning how to avoid and/or de-escalate a situation and knowing local, state and federal laws governing the use of deadly force are essential.
9. Conditioning — Or training. As they say, you will fight as you have trained. If you do not train; if you do not condition yourself both mentally and physically on the use of force you cannot reasonably expect to respond optimally in a life-threatening situation. In short, practice, practice, practice, drill, drill, drill.
10. Challenge — Becoming a responsible concealed carrier is a challenge. It takes hard work and a real commitment. Any chucklehead can carry a gun, but to carry a gun with discretion, knowledge of the law and the ability to use it effectively in the face of imminent danger is what differentiates us from the law-breaking idiots on the street. Responsible concealed carriers make a community safer and have the potential to save lives. So, take on the challenge with zeal and aplomb, but do so knowing that you’re going to have to work hard. The learning and conditioning never stops.