It seems like every day in my inbox there are four items that are the new mandatory concealed-carry hotness. And every semi-famous gun dude that has ever been interviewed makes sure to include a glossy spread of the 15 pieces of kit he won’t leave the house without. This constant bombardment of “must-have” products must be overwhelming to new concealed carriers as well as hard on their wallets.
But I have some good news for you; it’s all nonsense! Some of these gun dorks are rolling heavier than actual commandos working in third world combat zones, doing the ultimate level of “concealed carry.” Usually in an Adidos or Puna track suit (Yes, the spelling is intentional. Not all knockoffs are good knockoffs).
Check out all the episodes in this series:
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 1 Stop The Nonsense!
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 2 Revolver or Pistol for CCW?
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 3 Fighting with Edged Weapons
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 4 Lights and Lasers!
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 5 Holster Selection & Where to Carry
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 6 Red Dots vs Iron Sights
The barrier to entry for a reliable, functional, concealed carry setup is not that high. At no point will you need a thousand dollar ninja star. There are a few things you can buy to make your life easier, but most of what you see as the new latest and greatest is unnecessary — or worse, it’s junk that just gets in the way.
The same goes for the people teaching concealed carry concepts. I see things preached as gospel all the time that leave me shaking my head. There are very few people on earth I would trust to teach practical gunfighting skills and the first question I always ask is, “Has this person done this in an environment that matters?”
Pretty much anyone with real ground truth on these matters is going to fall into one of three categories: undercover cops, agents, and operators. Anyone else has most likely been playing dress up. And even in those categories, I would want to see a couple of gray hairs.
I’ve done this for real and my gear situation is nowhere near sexy enough to make a good Instagram post. I have four “Levels of Carry” and that has been enough for every environment I have ever been in. Maybe substitute a machine gun and grenade launchers in the trunk of the car for Level 4, but that is about the only change I’d make going from a civilian world to an actual combat zone.
Springfield XD-S in a leather holster. That’s it. I like the XD-S because it fits my hands well. But substitute a Smith & Wesson Shield, Ruger LCP, or Glock 43 as needed. No reload, no pocket full of loose rounds, no nunchucks! This is the ice cream at midnight loadout. It fits in my pajama pants if I need it to and for most problems it is going to be enough. Eight rounds total.
Level 1A– Same gun, and a spare magazine or a Spartan fixed blade in place of the magazine. It’s usually the fixed blade, only because I live in a state where that is legal. Total round count: 15.
This is for occasions where I’m going somewhere potentially sketchy and I feel like the possibility of a gunfight is elevated, but still unlikely. If it was likely, I would take a rifle and some see-in-the-dark goggles. Glock 23, spare magazine. Total rounds 28. The spare magazine is a full-size 15 rounder. If it goes that pear shaped, I want a big boy mag!
Also known as the protection duty setup. Glock 34, multiple reloads, fixed blade, and a flashlight. If someone has hired you as a bodyguard at the wages professionals charge, they may very well have a real abnormal threat matrix. This calls for the potential of an above average response. If you are protecting a celebrity or a billionaire or someone that wrote something bad about Islam, you might face ambushes, kidnapping attempts, bomb threats among other unpleasantries. If you are lucky enough to survive long enough to get your gun out, it might be time to hide behind the wall of lead.
This is also the only place I carry a flashlight, and I actually carry two. If my gun is going to be outside the waistband, it might as well have a flashlight on it. I might also need to do trauma management in the dark, probably best to use a flashlight not attached to the gun. This is a borderline absurd level of stuff to carry on a normal basis and not what I need for a 7/11 run. At least not yet. I haven’t been to U.C. Berkeley recently. Total rounds: north of 60.
This is the loadout where most people should stay home, including me. But we are also freedom-loving Americans, so if we want to go spectate during a riot, that is our God-given right. This is also a good choice for post-disaster neighborhood patrols if you live in a region prone to looting. This is hard armor, a rifle, and all the stuff from level 3. It’s stretching the limits of what we consider concealed, but with the rifle stuffed in the passenger footwell of your truck, you could still hide it all. Total rounds, a lot!
The point here is you don’t need a pile of hardware to carry concealed in your daily life. Gunfighting is a lot like fist fighting, when it comes to training. You can train hard, without a lot of flashy stuff, and learn how to do it well. Or you can spend your time and money on a flashy G.I. and learn to break boards. In my experience, when the chips are down, the results are just what you would think.