It finally came! I proudly hold the distinction of being TTAG’s most recently licensed concealed carrier. My ticket showed up in the mail within a week of the state website telling me they’d mailed it. Not bad for the USPS, eh? From the time I submitted paperwork in person, to the time I received my license in the mail was about 6 weeks. Your mileage might vary. Now that I’ve gotten to carry a few times, I’d like to share some early observations . . .

1.) Working for a “gun-free” company is a major inconvenience. Specifically, when I ride my motorcycle, I can’t carry. Guns aren’t allowed in the building, and I don’t have a lockable storage place on the bike.

2.) Carrying is mildly uncomfortable. I’m sure it fades with time, but having a hunk of metal attached to your hip isn’t that natural.

3.) Certain pants are better for carry. Other are not. I wore some denim jeans the first night I could carry and my whole rig felt very secure. A softer pair of slacks did not have the same results. I was constantly adjusting things, but I felt like anything more active than a slow walk and things might have come unhinged.

4.) Nobody cares. I accidentally leaned the wrong way and printed a bit. The lady behind me in line at the store didn’t even notice. People are heads down with their phones, and mostly oblivious. That doesn’t mean that I’m not painfully aware that I have a gun strapped to me, but I do take some comfort in knowing that the world isn’t looking for a concealed handgun.

Finally, I have found the two biggest perks to having my CHL. First, gun buying just got a lot easier. The in-depth background check that Texas performed means that the buying process has sped up considerably. Second, there’s a liquor store in Kileen, TX that offers a 10% discount for CHL holders. What could be better?

58 Responses to First Time CHL: The End of the Beginning

  1. Congrats welcome to the wonderful world of ccw. I have only had mine a little less than a month and I have carried it EVERYWHERE since I got it and usually I don’t even feel it anymore (but I know it is there). it is a bit bulky being that it is a sig p250c 9mm but I use a outside the belt holster and usually just wear a t-shirt over it, today I am wearing a polo and it is gone!

    anyway Happy carrying and enjoy!

    • P 250 is great. look for an SC x change kit makes thing a bit more smaller.
      Just my opinion ….
      I never really consider that OWB is concealed ( unless maybe wearing heavy or sport/ suit coat). even then probably would have it tucked other than hanging on outside my belt,
      to stay truly concealed .

  2. A couple thoughts:
    1) Hidden in plain sight: Here in Virginia, which is an open carry state, as well (as I *thought* Texas was), most folks don’t even recognize people openly wearing a pistol on their hip. I regularly point them out to my wife, and she’s forever amazed that regular people are just walking around, doing their normal business, armed. And thse are the ones you can readily *see* (if yer lookin’ for it).
    2) people forget that in an open carry state, having a CHL doesn’t *require* you to conceal your firearm. It simple authorizes you to do so. Printing” should not be a concern. For those who *don’t* have a CHL, the requirement is simply that your firearm be readily visible (from 3 sides).
    3) Be warned: ‘Brandishing’ a weapon is an entirely distinct issue.

    • Problem with that: Texas isn’t open carry, so you *are* required to conceal it. That said, the Printing statute we have only applies to intentional concealment failure.

      *EDIT* (Can’t believe I almost forgot) Congratulations, Tyler! From one CHL holder to another, welcome to Polite Society!

  3. Strangely enough, even when I open carry people rarely notice. Even if I’m standing talking to a person, still they don’t notice. I’m wearing about a full sized weapon in a retention holster and people are too busy or too absorbed in their own lives to take note. Or maybe they just don’t care. It is Virginia after all.

    • My theory – there are so many out of uniform LEOs – detectives, federal, state bureau, etc., that most folks will just assume you’re some kind of cop or protective agent and not even think about it.

  4. Congratulations! And remember, if you see a suspicious looking kid in a hoodie walking thru the neighborhood, you might want to stay in your car as you call it in. You can’t be too carefull out there.

  5. “there’s a liquor store in Kileen, TX that offers a 10% discount for CHL holders”

    Brilliant marketing. Guns are common and accepted in Texas. The ad promotes liberty and the personal right to safety (good Texas values), establishes a niche, and it advertises to robbers that the store probably has more armed customers than average so keep away unless you want to risk getting shot by more than employees.

  6. Congratulations, Tyler. I really stressed hard about the “concealed means concealed” mantra, because I printed (especially the end of the grip) in some shirts. Now I don’t care. I’m legal, and I know it, and I haven’t had the cops called on me yet. (My story may change when it finally happens, and I get delayed on my way to work/a wedding/a first date.)

    “…there’s a liquor store in Kileen, TX that offers a 10% discount for CHL holders.”

    Guns & booze. God bless America.

  7. Go Tyler!

    Do the Wally Walk, my son, and your apprehension will be a thing of the past. You might also want to carry IWB at the four o’clock position. It conceals better and feels better, too. Three o’clock works better for OC OWB.

    • Does Walgreens count? The Walmart’s near sit on the same threat level as Mogadishu.

      And I’ve been carrying my MTAC at about 3 and a half o’clock. Seems to be reasonably comfortable an secure.

      • Traipsing through Walgreens will never rival the excitement, mystery and romance of the one and only Wally Walk. But the Mogadishu Mambo would probably be a bad idea.

  8. Congrats, Tyler. Idaho has the same law on FBI NICS checks for CCW holders – since you have evdence of a complete background check on your person, no phone check is required. REALLY speeds up the gun purchase process these days, with so many new gun buyers out there. Our local FFL dealer told me they have had some 45 minute waits for clearances on firearms purchases. No problemo if you have a carry permit.

    “Second, there’s a liquor store in Kileen, TX that offers a 10% discount for CHL holders. What could be better?” Waiting for the MikeyBot to chime in: “OMG OMG!! He’s carrying a gun and buying cheaper booze! He’s gonna get drunk and shoot all his neighbors in a road rage incident! Or something!!”

  9. Observations on concealed carry after almost 40 years of doing same:

    Carrying a gun is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable.

    The carrier (you) is far more alert to accidental exposure than average citizens are alert to the act of exposure of a concealed gun.
    You will be alert to anyone getting too close to the side of your body where you are carrying. You will want to sit in places where you can see the door.

    Some interesting observations:
    Criminals who carry don’t use holsters as they are harder to get rid of than just throwing a gun away if detected. They don’t like the “left behind evidence” of carry if frisked after dumping a handgun. Because of this, they will put their hand on any concealed gun while they run to hold it in place. The latest fashion fad of wearing “pants on the ground” is responsible for more police successes in police foot pursuits than physical fitness on the part of law enforcement.

    But, cops and military may be alert to the following (since they carry):

    New CCW carriers need to be aware to “tells” about carrying. Some of these are: constant touching the outside of clothing where the gun is carried to make sure it is still there. Adjusting the gun due to movement while in public, especially after standing up from a seated position (this is where a good concealed holster pays for itself). Grabbing the “carry side” flap of a coat in the wind to make sure it does not whip back (it is better to put keys or other weight in that side pocket).

    You must decide in advance how your day will unfold. Will you be going to a place with metal detectors? Will you being going somewhere that does not allow weapons by anyone and what is your decision about that? (Standing at the door fingering your gun ain’t the answer). Will you be going somewhere that you will want to remove your outer cover garment due to social situations or temperature? Will you be willing to carry it into the Post Office if you have to mail something (it is a federal felony to do so, but rarely detected or enforced).

    Good luck and enjoy your Constitutional rights.

  10. Congrats.

    Purchase of compact version of gun in 5… 4… 3…

    Seriously though, congrats on persevering through Texas’ ludicrously laborious process. It’s definitely doesn’t fit the “Wild West” image that the state projects.

  11. LIke lt dave, i’ve carried almost 30 yrs. He has lots of good advice. But unlike lt dave, my carry philosophy differs somewhat, ESPECIALLY for defensive use, as opposed to offensive use, which LEOs must employ. For defensive use, comfort is king. Comfort is king. Comfort is king. See the pattern? That means that ccw carriers should consider the smallest gun that fits their needs, with the widest variety of clothes they like to wear, in all seasons. That doesn’t mean you should aim for the “one-holster-fits-all” approach. That’s not realistic. But it means you should experiment until you find the gun that you forget is on you. I’ve achieved that feeling with glock g26, and j-frame 5-shots. And these days, there are so many good choices in small single-stack 9mms. Sure, most ccws want a bigger gun, but 5 yrs from now, will you still be carrying a big auto every day? Likely not. But you will be carrying that 5-shot 38+P. You’ve heard the adage — the best gun for self defense is the gun you have on you. Self-defense carry is a separate world from LEO concealed carry. LEOs need a higher cap, more powerful weapons system. CCW civvies do not. In both LEOs and civvies, it’s a rookie move to carry too much gun. So carry the gun that you would want to carry 24/7. Carry the gun that you forget is there. Even in those lone star summers.

    • I completely agree. Of course, like most everyone else, I learned the hard way.

      I started off with a Ruger SR9c as my first carry gun. Ironically, it’s also the one gun I would still carry to this day and the exemplar of a CC gun (at least in size, though I found the manual safety to have certain advantages). So why don’t I have it anymore? A friend of mine had his license and was using a .22 semiauto as his carry gun. I could not abide that.

      My next acquisition was an M&P .40 service size (I got the whole kit for $325 due to the previous owner shaving off the Picatinny), which I quickly found out was too long (the grip has since been converted to compact size).

      After that, I ended up with a Glock 30. Though it was fantastic, I could not comfortably carry it. So it got traded for a SIG P290. Again, fantastic and versatile gun. Carried it damn near every day. After a while though, I realized that my accuracy was just too terrible, even by combat standards. It was eventually traded for a Ruger SP101. That was a damn fine revolver and still one of the best guns I’ve ever owned, period.

      Then one day, at my local pawn shop, there was a Walther PPS .40 sitting in the display case. It was technically used, but I doubt it had more than a box of ammo through it. For $450 out the door with all the original accessories, I couldn’t refuse.

      Night sights, a Limbsaver grip, and a DeSantis Softuck holster later, and I found a gun that could carry in any way I needed it to, with just about any clothing I could find. It is, to me, the perfect carry gun.

      Moral of the story—you’re probably not gonna get it right the first time. That’s okay. It may take a while, but you’ll find the One.

  12. If you haven’t added one of these security boxes to your car/truck, you might consider it. They are handy if you have to go into a courthouse/post office/wherever guns are prohibited, and don’t want to leave your pistol unsecured in your car. They come with a cable that can be run through a vehicle seat base, and are generally thin enough to fit under the driver’s seat. They run about $30. The following description is from the Cabela’s web site (www.cabelas.com):

    “Secure-It Combination Handgun Security Box
    Portable handgun storage safe
    Combination lock for added security
    Heavy-duty 21-gauge steel
    1″ memory foam
    A portable, key-operated handgun storage safe with a combination lock that fits discreetly in a bag, under a vehicle seat, in a desk or a briefcase. It’s an extra measure of safety and security for travelers and concealed-weapon permit holders. 1″ memory foam protects the gun during travel, and the case meets TSA airline firearm guidelines. Constructed of heavy-duty 21-gauge steel. Includes a 1,500-lb.-test security cable for temporary attachment to a secure object. Imported.”

    • Speaking from experience — for flying, carry that TSA-compliant gun case INSIDE a non-descript soft case. That hard case, when not concealed by a soft bag, is begging for theft by handlers.

  13. I’ll be following this thread closely. I’m especially interested in seeing what carry position you finally settle into for the long haul, as we have the same dimensions (30 waist + 1 to accommodate carry).

    Nice 505s btw. The only choice for real men.

    • I’ll reply here, but it applies to all. Farago found a picture of someone else I think. That’s my gun, but not my body. Depending on the cut of Levi’s or Duluth, I wear a size 32 or 33. I have two holster reviews coming that show how the Comp-Tac MTAC and CTAC fit my body. This is a pretty close approximation though.

  14. Congrats Tyler, have been carrying for over three years now, everyday but one in those three years. Not long after I received my permit it became second nature to carry all of the time everywhere. Started with a Taurus 609 TI, then a Sig Pro 2022 both in Crossbreed STD, now I carry my M&P 9 in a Kholster. The apprehension that it will be noticed wore off soon after I started carrying, so even though you know it’s there, no one else will.
    As for the 10% discount at the liquor store, spend the extra 10% and don’t reveal to anyone there that you’re carrying. If something were to go south at that store and they knew you carried, they would be exposing you as having a weapon and the bad guys would shoot you first. Happened to an off duty cop in NY, where the employees knew he was a cop, and when they got robbed one night while he was there to shop, the employees yelled out to him for help and the perps shot him dead. Just saying, the less people who know you carry, the better.

  15. if your bike has soft sided saddle bags get one of the lock boxes mentioned earlier and run the cable around the support on one side under the seat to the other saddle bag and secure your weapon in there while at work. Texas passed the parking lot protection bill last year and it has taken effect.

    congratulations BTW

  16. I enjoyed your early observations, especially the number 2. I’ve never heard anybody admit that before. Usually they’re twisting and turning to avoid saying anything the slightest bit negative about concealed carry.

    Your final quip, however, was really stupid. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. That should be the 5th Rule of gun safety, but in typical fashion you guys don’t take it seriously enough. That’s a good example of why you need strict gun control laws, safe storage in the home, for example. Unless it’s a law, or one of the sacred 4 Rules, you just don’t do it. You need to be persuaded and in some cases actually constrained in order to do the right thing.

    • (Shakes head slowly…)

      So, in your opinion someone who owns firearms should never be allowed to drink alcohol? Most states already have standards regarding alcohol consumption & concealed carry.

    • First off, thanks for enjoying my observations. I take the “truth” part about my job pretty seriously. Had I been actively writing at the time when I started riding motorcycles, there would have been a similar bullet point about wearing safety gear in August in Texas. It is stupidly uncomfortable, but comes with the territory.

      That said, I don’t normally reply to your comments (while I do enjoy reading them), however I’d like to clear one or two things up.

      1.) Obviously guns and the sauce don’t mix. Plain. Simple. End of story. No writer on this site to my knowledge has ever advocated doing both at the same time. Don’t even try to make this argument.

      2.) I’d ask why you want more laws when what you want to legislate away is already on the books. Texas already has laws making it illegal to drink and carry. It is right there in the bold print.

      3.) As I mentioned previously, I’ve been a licensed motorcycle rider in the state of Texas for just north of a decade. In that time it has been both illegal (when I was underage) and legal for me to ride intoxicated. In fact, Texas law spots me up to a .08 BAC before I’m considered too drunk to drive. However, not once in that entire decade have I ever ridden under the influence. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Why? Because I believe in self preservation and know full well that alcohol impairs my ability to operate my petrol fueled death rocket.

      Since you called my quip stupid, I’ll give you a little quip pro quo (pun totally intended). Your ask for more legislation is onerous and stupid as well. What you’ve described either already exists, or won’t do a damn thing.

      Thanks for reading!

      • About the original #2, of course it is odd to carry a bunch of extra stuff. A good sturdy belt will help hold the equipment in place. I have worn my Milt Sparks dress belt almost every day for about 14 years. Well spent $50. Don’t use a cheaply made belt.

    • Um, so we shouldn’t even be allowed to buy alcohol while carrying? Or did you assume he was going to take a pull right outside the liquor store?

      • Alcohol and guns don’t mix, period. If you want to drive to the liquor store with a gun and stock up, I don’t suppose we should make that illegal. But if you want to talk about best practices, you tell me, does drinking help you be a more responsible gun owner?

  17. Congrats sir! Look forward to seeing you while I’m riding around Austin. I too ride and carry. I have been carrying a little longer than you. About 20 years now having first gotten my carry permit in NY State. After I moved to Texas that was one of the first things I took care of, getting a Texas CHL.

  18. The author of the article describes the difficulty of complying with a “gun free company”. This notion of “gun free x, y, z” where x, y, and z, are companies, shopping malls, stores, etc. really troubles me.

    I hear people advance comments/arguments of the supremacy of private property rights. Since when are the rights of private property owners superior to our inalienable right to life? A private property owner has no right to harm me or subject me to harm when I am on their property. A private property owner has no right to subject me to dangerous conditions because I am on his property. In fact a private property owner is even liable if I am injured (e.g. a slip-and-fall accident) while on their property. How does a private property owner have any say whether I possess shoes, a coat, a hat, or a cane? If they have no say in those things, how do they have any say whether I possess a firearm?

    • “Since when are the rights of private property owners superior to our inalienable right to life?”

      You must be new here; this has been covered extensively in the past. While I understand where you’re coming from, the fact is this: Property rights trump virtually everything else, virtually all the time. Example: I don’t want you to carry a gun while you’re at work in my business as my employee. Your right to keep and bear arms cannot trump my rights as a property owner. Otherwise you get into a situation where you are able to tell me what I can do or not do on my property. You can see how that would be an untenable situation.

      Your comment about a coat, or hat, or cane, is wrong. Businesses can and do regularly make rules about the wearing of hats and the like. Ever heard of “no shoes, no shirt, no service?” Guns are no different. Your choice is to not work there, or not patronize that establishment.

      • Hi Matt,

        I am not asserting that a person can tell a private property owner what the property owner can or cannot do on their property. I was stating that there are limits when it is the other way around. A private property owner can certainly forbid conduct that would damage their property. But I am asserting that a private property owner cannot forbid me from wearing shoes or a coat or a hat. And I am asserting that they cannot forbid me from having a holstered firearm.

        As for the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” concept, that is a community decency standard that really has almost nothing to do with private property. We cannot walk around in public naked. And walking around in nothing but shorts (e.g. no shirt and no shoes) is bordering on indecent unless we are at a beach or pool. The only legitimate argument that a business owner could forward is that a person wearing nothing but shorts would disrupt their business. A person with a pistol in a holster — especially a concealed pistol — would not disrupt business.

        Maybe it is easier to understand if I state it another way. I have a right to defend myself everywhere. It doesn’t matter who claims ownership of the location where I stand. That is why a private property owner cannot forbid me from possessing a firearm for self defense purposes.

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