The right to bear arms is one of the most unique (and underappreciated) freedoms of being an American. More specifically, the right to carry a firearm on your person with the proper state-issued license. But if you’re new to concealed carrying, it’s important that you do your research and plan ahead. It’s a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
How do you become comfortable driving a car? You practice.
How do you become comfortable speaking in public? You practice.
How do you become comfortable cold calling people in sales? You practice.
And how do you become comfortable carrying a concealed firearm? You guessed it…you practice. In fact, you need to practice a lot. Practice, practice, and practice some more. Wear your firearm anywhere and everywhere you’re permitted to. It’ll feel weird at first, but it’ll eventually be as comfortable as wearing a belt or pair of shoes. (You won’t even notice it’s there.)
2. Try Different Combinations
Every person is different. What works for your best friend might not work for you (and vice versa). It’s important to try different combinations of holsters and placement to discover the option that’s most comfortable and practical for you. There are so many different ways to conceal a firearm, including on the ankle, hip, belt, small of the back, in a purse, etc. Experiment until you find the right fit.
3. Select the Right Firearm
It’s helpful to have a concealed carry handgun that you’re comfortable with. Some people like to carry a small gun (like a tiny .380) on their hip, while others prefer a larger gun (like a 9mm) stashed on their leg. Think about your needs and what you want out of a firearm.
4. Stop Fidgeting
When you’re new to concealed carry, you’ll feel an urge to “finger” your gun. This is the bad habit of touching the gun (whether consciously or subconsciously). If you give in to this urge too frequently, it’ll become a habit that’s hard to break.
“This is a bad habit often seen by those just starting to carry concealed. As they go about their routine, they’ll casually reach back and touch the gun with their fingers or sometimes blatantly just check to see if it’s still there,” firearms expert Nick Koumalatsos says. “Don’t worry, if you’ve gotten a proper holster it’s still there. If you catch yourself doing this when you carry, suppress the urges and leave it alone! All you’re doing is giving people another chance to see that you have a gun on you.”
If you ever feel like you need to adjust your holster, find a private place to do so. Walk to your vehicle or find a restroom. Adjusting in public is a major no-no!
5. Know Firearm Laws
Every state has unique firearm laws. In particular, there are local laws and regulations on where you can carry and how you can carry. In addition to state laws, there are federal laws that prohibit the carrying of a concealed firearm in school zones, federal buildings, state and national parks, and airports. Get familiar with these laws so that you don’t unintentionally break the rules.
6. Consider Getting Insured
If you’re going to carry a firearm, you have to be prepared to use it. And anytime you use a firearm, there are certain risks that come with it (including serious injury and/or death). While every state has certain laws that protect individuals who use a firearm in self-defense, there are still serious implications of a self-defense shooting. This may include any or all of the following:
- Confiscation of your weapon until the case is resolved
- Loss of income due to court appearances and/or incarceration
- Legal fees for lawsuits
Following state laws regarding concealed carry and self-defense shooting is the best way to protect yourself. But it’s also a smart idea to have concealed carry insurance. This low-cost form of coverage provides some protection in case you have to use your firearm in a self-defense scenario.
Adding it All Up
Carrying a concealed firearm is a right, but it’s also a privilege. For the sake of yourself and the safety of others, it’s important that you do so responsibly. As stated previously, the most important thing you can do is practice. As you become more comfortable carrying a firearm, you’ll also become safer.