When I first started writing for TTAG, I thought that anybody who advocated for constitutional carry was a damn loon. We just let everyone have guns? Madness I tell you. Madness! Then I started going through the Texas concealed carry licensing process like a good citizen and realized the truth about bearing arms . . .
The night that the first part of this series went up, I spent a bit more than an hour filling out the application online and sending the state my hard-earned $140. Then I paid an independent group $10 to do my fingerprinting. Of course, they rescheduled; the only person who can fingerprint was sick. Did I mention that the lady who did my fingerprints was the antithesis of customer service? A Walmart greeter she was not.
In the time that it’s taken me to jump through these bureaucratic hoops, I could have purchased a gun and holster. Or I could have paid someone to get one for me. I could be toting it around town right now, totally concealed.
Which is exactly what I would do as a criminal. But as a law-abiding citizen, I’m hoop jumping.
To bring you up to speed, all that’s left to do (on the paperwork front): take passport photos, attend a CHL class, and hand-deliver paperwork to the local DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) office. Pretty simple, right?
[Note: in many other states, aspiring concealer carriers need to secure a “blue card” (state-issued license for buying a firearm, with its own list of requirements), list references (all of whom will be interviewed by the police), write a letter explaining why you want to carry a gun and more.]
Which leaves the actual self-defense part. I’ve done the following.
1. Begun memorizing the laws surrounding CHL and self-defense. Luckily, Texas is the greatest country in the world and posts a lot of good info in one place. Things like laws, new legislation, conviction rates, reciprocity, sign postings, conduct during traffic stops, and opinionsfrom our Attorney General. If you take the time to read the laws, I think you’ll agree that Texas’ approach doesn’t favor criminals, but still keeps the anti crowds from having a shit fit.1. Started memorizing the Castle Doctrine. A lot of this already applies to me as an unlicensed gun owner, but is great information since there are distinct pieces of language regarding cars, public spaces, etc. If you haven’t taken the time to read our Castle bill, I encourage you to do it. Nick has been brushing up as well now that he is coming down South.
2. Contemplated potential carry guns. I’m going to take my CHL test with a 30-year-old Colt 1911 Government edition. Why? Because I make ragged holes with it, and they won’t let me shoot a Ruger 22/45. No need to mess with success. When it comes to putting holes in a ludicrously large piece of paper at ranges from 3 yards to 15, my 1911 is money. And I was 100% certain that I would be carrying a 1911. Then I read Tim’s piece on the FATS training experience. And him leaving the safety on. . . .
For the record, I hate Glocks. Not because they’re ugly (I have no preference), but I’ve never found one that fit my hand, I hate the trigger, and I can’t shoot for shit with one. However, I’ve frozen up when a stranger talks to me at the grocery store so I’m probably SOL in a DGU if I have to deal with a manual safety. If anybody wants to send me a Springfield XD(m) for T&E, I might find a happy medium. Hell, Ralph might even convince me to carry a revolver. Madness I tell you!
3. Worked on situational awareness and identifying 30.06 signs posted on my favorite stores. I’ve been keeping my head on a swivel lately. Last year, you could spot me as that guy buried on his phone sending emails walking down the street. I’m working diligently to break that habit. Part of that situational awareness has been keeping an eagle eye out for 30.06 signs. Even though I live in the liberal paradise of Austin, local businesses seem to be very gun friendly. Or at least ambivalent about the whole thing. The only place I regularly visit that prohibits firearms is my workplace. It is a good thing thatTexas Senate Bill 321 protects my right to keep my heater in my vehicle while I toil the day away.
4. Looked at holsters and different carry styles. Last week, I was completely decided on a Crossbreed Supertuck. Then Eric did his review of the Dale Frick AIWB Holster, and turned things upside down. I’ve been polling fellow gun guys at work and the results are an evenly split (aren’t they always?) Here are some of my favorites;
- “Super comfortable.”
- “You’ll shoot your dick off”
- “My thought is that it is a great way to shoot your nads off.”
- “Once you get comfortable with a gun pointed at either your jewels or your femoral artery, it is quite comfortable and easy to draw from.”
It looks like I’ll be another one of those guys with a drawer full of holsters.
Like most new projects, this has been occupying my subconscious like a downtown hippie. There’s a lot to digest, and I haven’t even gotten to the strategy portion of it.
It took me years to learn how to ride smoothly on a motorcycle and I still get passed like I’m standing still by my nearly 60-year-old father. I anticipate a similar experience with concealed carry. Just about the time I’ll start to feel comfortable, I’ll get chin-checked and get to learn something completely new.
Next up, your faithful correspondent takes the mandatory class and sends in his paperwork.