Do You Carry a Concealed Firearm?

As a concealed carry instructor in a state that requires training and follow-up qualifications every 24 months, I’ve heard many people express regret or demonstrate lack of readiness to exercise what my open carry state considers to be the privilege of concealing a handgun. Here are seven typical mistakes to avoid when beginning the journey of concealed carry:

1. Buying too-big gun

A larger handgun is generally easier to handle and fire than one that’ll fit on your ankle or discreetly under a dress shirt. But the gun that’s a joy at the range can be nearly impossible to conceal due to its weight and bulk. The result? The gun stays at home or under the truck seat. Either way, it’s not available when needed. Budget for two if possible: a compact or full-size firearm for range practice and home defense, and a subcompact that’s conducive to carry.

2. Underestimating ammo needs

TWO hundred ROUNDS! a potential customer exclaimed when he asked about a follow-up class last week. Most people cannot maintain their current level of skill with a specific gun, let alone firearms in general, without firing at least 50 live rounds monthly. It’s not a bad idea to have at least 600, preferably 1,000 or more, cartridges put away per gun that you own and use. Market fluctuations, shifting political winds, and natural disasters can change the availability of ammunition overnight. Keep enough on hand to both practice and carry for defense for the coming year.

The new CCW holder should expect to go through several holster variations to find one that works for them. (Photo: Eve Flannigan)

The new CCW holder should expect to go through several holster variations to find one that works for them. (Photo: Eve Flannigan)

3. Assuming you know what holster you’ll use

New gun carriers, I have news for you. You’re going to try at least two, and probably more, holsters, carry methods and locations, etc. before you settle on one that works for your lifestyle. People who are most successful with daily carry—with success defined as having a safe, comfortable, accessible way of carrying a gun and doing so on a daily basis—are people who keep an open mind and are willing to experiment and compromise on items like clothing styles, caliber, and the gun itself.

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