Thursday, September 25, 2014

Concealed Carry: Ideas For The Newbie

Ok, now you’ve done it! You took the plunge and decided to take personal and family security seriously. You found a good, competent instructor and got training with a gun. You went the extra mile and took not only a class that took care of your states training requirements, you took another concealed carry class that focuses on how and the details of concealed carry. You’ve talked to a police officer friend and got his advice and ideas on how to carry. You just got your permit in the mail. You’ve sought a weapon that is right for you and have shot it many times. Now, today is the day. The first time you will conceal carry. You are a little nervous. Being nervous is completely normal. Most people are self-conscious at first. I can remember when I first started carrying I passed about 3 uniformed law enforcement at the function I was attending. I thought every one of them “made” me. I don’t think any of them even paid me any attention. But before you make that first step out the door armed know exactly what your state’s laws are regarding where you can and cannot carry, how you carry, and if you will need a license or permit to carry. All 50 states have concealed carry permits available with different laws governing that carry. Before you step out, make sure you know Federal law does not allow you to carry a gun into federal buildings such as post offices, courthouses, polling stations, law enforcement offices, and jails or prisons. This is a universal law and federal law restricts you from carrying your gun into these places. It is illegal in most states to carry a gun into a place that sells only alcohol or more alcohol than food.
Also before you walk out there armed, make sure you are carrying comfortably. If you are not comfortable you stand a chance of just leaving the gun at home next time. Make sure your clothes conceal adequately. In some states you can’t even have your gun show a little, or “print”. Make sure your clothes cover it properly and completely. A wardrobe malfunction can get you into trouble.
You may think that everyone is staring at you and that everyone knows you are carrying a gun. This is normal to feel this way, but don’t worry. No one knows! They are all too involved with doing their own thing to worry about what you are doing. Be sure to check in a mirror. From a couple of feet away, it’s probably barely perceptible. So unless you’re trying to carry a six-inch revolver in a spandex tank-top, a slight protrusion from the base of the grip that looks huge to your eyes when looking down at it will most likely blend in from the perspective of the people around you. With belt holsters being the most common method for concealed carry, printing is most likely to occur around the body’s midsection. Fortunately, in our society it’s generally impolite to stare at other people’s “crotch region” and most people have a sub-conscious aversion to letting their eyes drift toward staring at a stranger’s belt line. Even if your gun is blatantly printing, few people in public will ever notice. The only people who automatically assume that any object concealed under clothing is a gun are other concealed carry permit holders, and they’re certainly not going to give you a hard time. Maybe some law enforcement will notice too, but unless you’re acting like a complete moron, 99.9% of LEOs out there aren’t going to hassle you for a little printing. It’s unlikely, though possible, that a “bad guy” might notice the lump under your shirt, but chances are he’s looking for an easy target and not interested in getting into a wrestling match with you over what may or may not turn out to be a gun.
If you’re overly concerned about printing, then you might be prone to constantly checking and adjusting your carry gun. More often than not, this will only serve to draw unwanted attention to your heater, not keep it hidden. It may take a thoughtful effort but don’t keep touching that weapon. If you behave as if nothing is there, then most other people will too.
As always, a good holster and solid gun belt are key to maximizing the comfort and concealability of your carry gun. The setup should keep the grip of the gun close to your body to avoid excessive printing, and to keep the gun from moving around. Of course, you’ll probably have to “dress around the gun” to some degree, which may require going up one pant size, and avoiding excessively tight clothing. But with decent gear and some common sense, carrying shouldn’t be much of a concern for the average legally armed citizen.
Many people who have carried for some time have said that they prefer a smaller gun in a pocket holster to the compact guns in other holsters. I’ve come to the conclusion that the in-the-waistband holster is the most popular. You must find out for yourself. It may take some time and experimenting with different holsters. The best holster is the one you forget you have on.
Most people don’t see a gun when they see that slight dent or bulge in your shirt. There is so much out there, a knife pouch, a cell phone, a key chain, all of these things could make the same imprint.
These are some of the concerns you should have if you conceal carry. Beside the responsibility that goes with carrying a lethal weapon, the above ideas will help in the beginning of your journey to concealed carry.
Semper Paratus
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