5 great tips before carrying a concealed handgun.
“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
– Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto WWII
They say more Americans carry handguns now then in the past, this is because the present adult generation ensures that gun sales are as strong now as ever.
Alas the majority of our public schools place a clear stigma of fear on handguns, creating a future generation that may not feel so comfortable even owning a firearm let alone carrying one in public. Parents that practice their constitutional right ensure that their children follow the tradition.
With more States reverting back to the second amendment’s constitutional right to carry you may finally be able to exercise those constitutional rights (depending on where you live) that have been stripped for so long. Maybe you’re contemplating doing so.
Well carrying a concealed weapon is a huge responsibility. Always use common sense and understand there are challenges involved even if you never have to use or display your weapon. Research and determine your equipment before carrying concealed in public. Do remember that you’re carrying concealed. It means never showing off or losing your cool. The right to bear arms is engraved into our nation’s founding documents for good reason. By keeping the following tips in mind you can safely and securely exercise your constitutional right, as an American, to bear arms.
1. The law of the land
Before carrying your pistol outside the confines of your house, understand the laws regarding when and how you can carry. All 50 states differ. Some states have stand your ground laws that protect a justifiable defensive shooting. In some states there have been tales of criminals who perform a home invasion being shot and then suing the victim. That is right. It happens all the time. 1 story of many involves a burglar suing a Indiana homeowner who shot him during an attempted break in. More on that story here. If you don’t follow your State’s gun laws to a tee you could still be found guilty of manslaughter or murder, even if your actions saved your life or the lives of others. There have been several cases of Justified shootings that were only Justified after being reviewed by judge and jury.
If you dispatch weapon, you may become criminal suspect, interrogated by police for a capital crime. This is the hard Cold Truth we all must face before we walk out the door with a handgun holstered up and tucked away.
2. Holster that firearm soldier
This is a big one. Many states require you to have your weapons safely holstered at all times when carrying concealed. Bring your pistol with you to your local shop. Bring it unloaded and preferably in a lock box. Try on multiple holsters until you find a few that you like. There is a large assortment available. Otherwise you are more than likely to end up with a drawer full of unused holsters.
Spend the money on one or two quality holsters you know you are going to be comfortable with. Creating a system where you are comfortable carrying makes it easy to carry every day. Plenty of people leave their firearms home, because they are simply not comfortable enough with their holster configuration.
With a comfortable configuration comes a quality belt. Even if you pocket carry, your belt is holding up your pants. Some belts are not viable options for hosting. Before bringing your weapon out of the house wear your belt / holster / firearm around the house for a few weeks. You may find your belt sagging, exposing your firearm or worse, dropping it on the ground. There is no better place than your own home to get familiar with your setup.
While transitioning from a seated position to standing or vice versa does the gun orientation shift? If so does it ruin your ability to effectively unholster your weapon in a timely fashion? These are questions only you yourself can answer.
3. Keep it safe, keep it secret
Letting your family and close friends in in exercising your 2nd Amendment rights through concealed carry is generally acceptable. Anything beyond that is often taboo. This can be done inadvertently (by printing) or purposely (showing off). Printing is when your concealed weapon is still identifiable through material or clothing. The bulge on your hip maybe a giveaway, or it may just look like a bulge. Don’t draw attention to it. If you are comfortable enough with your configuration then you know it’s there and not going anywhere. If you’re poor configuration leaves you fidgeting or shifting things around, you may give away not only the fact that you are carrying, but also the fact that you are nervous.
Remain calm. If you think that your firearm has shifted orientation, hold off on checking until you are in a private area such as a restroom or your personal vehicle. If you have practiced carrying concealed in the confines of your own home for a few weeks you should already know the feelings that shift your setup out of place. If it is not on the verge of exposing don’t worry about it.
There’s a reason why you are carrying “concealed”. You have the direct and absolute tactical advantage against any threat that believes you are unarmed. Never purposely give away your element of surprise and keep this personal information private.
4. Don’t shoot
Using your weapon is a stressful event, Win Lose or Draw. And just because you carry does not mean you must use your weapon. If there is any possible way you can deescalate the situation prior to using your sidearm you have that responsibility to do so.
Can you stop the threat with a non-lethal option? For example in New York state you are justified in shooting someone if it is believed you are stopping them from committing arson to a dwelling with known inhabitants. Two in the chest, or even the back, and you are done.
But why open that door when you can use other tools to attempt to stop his or her actions. Your voice, hands or even a nearby stick are less than lethal options that may quell your disturbance and keep you out of potential legal trouble.
What did Ben Parker, Spider-Man’s uncle say? With great power comes great responsibility. As cheesy as it may sound this iconic comic book quote holds very true. Anyone who carries a personal firearm in public does need to weigh out that power vs responsibility and find a balance.
5. Practice makes perfectThings to practice on a regular basis are firearm safety and to also practice with your specific setup. This involves primarily carrying the weapon(s) you plan to use on a regular basis and also actually training at the range. Practice drawing from your choice of concealment be it ankle, pocket or other. Practice drawing with the style of clothing you intend on wearing on a regular basis.
There are the four rules that act as guidelines to follow.
1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Firearm safety checks should be completed every time your firearm leaves and returns to your physical possession.
Are you setting it down on the bench only to adjust your ear plugs? Well the moment it returns to your physical possession, do another safety-check. Unless you are preparing to shoot, your first action with any firearm in all situations should be to point the muzzle in a safe direction, check the chamber, and clear the firearm. This is paramount to eliminating accidental discharges which result in already very low 505 deaths a year. If everyone practiced safety checks every time, this number would be virtually eliminated.
Even some of the most compact handguns feel heavy and bulky. No weapon with adequate stopping power will ever be 100% comfortable on your person. But the easier the weapon is to conceal and carry, the better chance you will strap it on prior to leaving your house. Choose Wisely before making your purchase, there are a large selection of handguns that offer pros and cons when it comes to overall size vs. Ammo capacity and stopping power.
This may be overwhelming to new users, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. As you grow more comfortable and gain more knowledge on carrying concealed the intimidation Factor should taper off. The important thing is that carrying concealed proves you value life as well as the safety of others. With this mindset, you’re putting one of our constitutional rights to excellent use, and by doing so continuing a tradition that has kept and will keep this nation’s people safe in more ways than one. Stay safe and enjoy exercising your rights.