Concealed Carry Made Simpler
If you start reading up on a lot of concealed carry tips, your head might start swimming. And it doesn’t have to.
In truth, concealed carry is not terrifically complicated. You only need a little bit of gear, you don’t really have to do too much to conceal the gun and you don’t really need a specialized wardrobe.
What DO you need, though?
The truth is the most important things, the REALLY important things about concealed carry, aren’t very sexy. Typically they have almost nothing to do with guns or gear, but have everything to do with hard work and learning.
And those are the things that a lot of people need to know about, and should focus most of their energy on when it comes to concealed carry. So let’s get into those.
The Gun Almost Doesn’t Matter
Cliches about concealed carry guns, and “conventional wisdom” about them is almost all based on half-truths or just flat wrong. In reality, what matters is this:
Does the gun run reliably, and does it cycle your ammunition reliably? Is it physically difficult for you to cover and/or carry? Can you safely carry and operate it?
If the answer to all those things is “yes,” pretty much everything else is immaterial.
Granted, are there some tedious talking points we could get into about caliber or capacity or what have you? Sure, but if you start reading up on civilian-involved shootings…you begin to learn that they matter a lot less than a lot of people insist they do.
If You Cannot Hit, You Are Not Fit
Outside of just having a safe, reliable gun, what matters the most is your ability as a shooter. You are accountable for every bullet that leaves your gun. When you’re shooting at a range, no big deal.
When you’re out in the world, you’d better be sure that you need to shoot…and you’d better be sure that the bullet you send is going to hit the target.
The phrase Jeff Cooper liked to use was something like “owning a guitar doesn’t make you a musician.” The idea there is that just because you have a gun and a permit and so on doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do what is needed to save your life or anyone else’s.
Which, in fact, leads to our next point…
If You Aren’t Training/Practicing, You’re Wrong
You have to be proficient with your carry gun if you want to be able to use it in dire circumstances. To be proficient, you have to become proficient and then stay that way.
How do you do that? Practice and training. And if you aren’t doing it, you’re wrong.
Ammo shortage? Ammo schmortage. Dry fire is a thing, it’s important, and you can dry fire until the cows come home for no cost, including the first shot from the holster. Draw, present, align the sights and shoot. And he who lands the first accurate hit tends to win a gunfight.
In other words, you don’t need ammo to train and/or practice some really important stuff.
If you aren’t doing some sort of training or practice, dry fire or live fire or what have you, you’re wrong, and you are setting yourself up to be unprepared to use your gun if/when you ever need to.
If you aren’t using one, get a shot timer. Spend a bit on one, or get the Splits and Dry Fire Par Time apps for your phone if you can’t afford one. Book a training class or some 1 on 1 instruction.
Unless you actually are a Grand Master-level shooter…you can always get better.
Mission Drives The Gear, So Understand Your Mission
If you listen to some of the GunTubers, or people in the comments section, it makes it sound like you need the same loadout as an Army Ranger or else you’re just not prepared to leave the house.
You don’t. In fact, you probably don’t need very much. Gun, holster, belt, phone, wallet, car keys, a pocket flashlight…maybe throw in an ankle med kit if you feel like it.
The phrase that gets tossed around is “mission drives gear,” which means that you choose the tools that will help you accomplish the task at hand. And what is the task when it comes to concealed carry?
It’s to get home alive. That’s it. The police have to go looking for trouble. YOU aren’t supposed to.
Think of it like this: cars break down all the time. Having a satellite phone, a jacket and a good pair of hiking boots in your car is a good insurance policy in case that happens.
How often do people have to shoot in self defense or even pull a gun? Not very often, and when they do, armed civilians don’t get into extended shootouts.
So the notion that you have to have a primary pistol, a backup gun, and spare magazines for both plus multiple other self-defense tools plus a med kit plus lord knows what else…starts to become an exercise in planning for emergencies that exist only in theory.
In other words, plan for/train for/get gear for what’s actually likely to happen. Don’t listen to keyboard “oper8rzzzzz” and don’t believe what you see on TV.
Know Your Role As An Armed Citizen
Despite the bluster you might hear from various sources, the role of the concealed carry gun is a life-saving tool for specific dire circumstances. Someone is trying to kill you or trying to kill someone else, and that’s it.
It isn’t for dispute resolution, it isn’t to settle grievances in traffic. It should never be seen by anyone unless the circumstances absolutely call for it, meaning another person is trying to kill you.
And if you helped create the circumstances where someone else is trying to kill you…then you don’t have the benefit of the presumption of innocence, because you escalated the conflict.
Your role as an armed citizen is to literally do nothing you wouldn’t normally do. If you weren’t supposed to look for trouble before you put on the gun, you aren’t supposed to look for trouble when you do.
What is the role of the gun in society for the person who lawfully possesses one? To have the means to save their own life, should the occasion arise…NOT to create the occasion.
People who don’t understand that end up on the news…and wind up in prison.
A permit or constitutional carry law changes nothing about the letter or spirit of the law regarding when or how you’re supposed to use it.
Do Everything You Can To Reduce Risks Of Accidental Discharge
The onus is on you to safely carry, handle, store and operate your firearm. Therefore, do every single thing that you can to minimize the risk of an unintentional/accidental/negligent discharge.
What are some of those things?
Carry with a holster that covers the trigger guard and doesn’t allow manipulation of the trigger through the holster.
Look your gun into the holster when you insert it. Every. Single. Time.
Minimize administrative handling, especially taking the gun in and out of the holster…like in the car. The more you handle a loaded gun, the more chances there are for that to happen.
Know the firing system of your pistol. Never fail to respect it’s shortcomings. If your gun requires dry firing for takedown, never fail to clear the weapon first.
Never carry in a pocket without a pocket holster. Don’t carry off-body, unless the gun goes into a holster in your purse or backpack or fanny pack.
And make sure guns are stored safely, in a locking container, whenever you aren’t carrying them.
Do Your Part To Keep Concealed Carry Available
Only a few nations on earth allow mere peasants to carry and own guns for their own protection. The call to take that away – which is the natural right of every person – grows a little louder every year, and every time something bad happens.
Obviously, we can’t control what maniacs and criminals do.
But each of us can control what we ourselves do. Therefore, we all have to do our part to help keep concealed carry available to us.
And what does that consist of?
Remember that when one of us screws up in a public way, that’s how gun control advocates see all of us. It’s wrong that they do, but every public discharge or bad shoot is another example to them of why the public can’t be trusted with guns.
So do your part to make sure that isn’t you. Invest in decent gear. Get training. Practice. Be fastidious and cautious about safe practices. Learn the letter and spirit of self-defense law, and understand the philosophy behind it. Encourage others – in a positive way – to do so, too.
Learn who your local representatives are. Learn who your national representatives are. Reach out and learn what their stances on gun control or specific aspects of gun control are.
Granted, this isn’t to say that you should be a single-issue voter. You can be if you want, but you don’t have to be. However, if you care about gun rights and concealed carry, it is something to pay attention to.
If you want to, contribute to a gun rights organization that puts its money where its mouth is, meaning that they litigate. Part and parcel to how gun rights are fought for is in the courts, so give money to the people who actually hire lawyers.
Don’t be a jerk to people who don’t agree with you. You aren’t going to dissuade anyone that religiously/blindly believes people shouldn’t have guns by being rude. You might persuade someone who isn’t sure with facts and/or logic.
Be a positive example. If more of us can be that, the better it is for all of us.