Question of the Day: Advice for a First Time CCW’er?

Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry on the rocks (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

This came in as an Ask Foghorn question, but I’d like to open it up to for wider discussion . . .

 I just turned 21 and bought a new handgun and applied for a CHL in the great state of Georgia. I bought my gun at the shop of an old family friend and he hooked me up with a paddle holster, a leather OWB holster, ammo, a belt, and good advice. In the past I’ve always looked to TTAG and I was wondering if you had any advice for a new carrier. I know there have been a handful of articles over the past few years about first time carrying, but I had a difficult time looking for the ones I wanted. Any advice?

Here’s your chance to help out a noob. Think back on your first CCW experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly. What would you have done differently now that you have the perspective afforded by time?

Click here to start a discussion or ask a question at TTAG’s Free Fire Zone

comments

  1. avatar gloomhound says:

    Just carry the gun. No one is looking at you, no one cares. Oh and avoid stupid people, places and activities.

    1. avatar Cort says:

      +1, Gloomhound. My instructor didn’t really go over this very well, but it’s definitely one of the most important points to be made.

      Also, be 100% comfortable with your gear. If the holster’s not comfortable, or the gun’s too heavy/wide/whatever, you’ll be less likely to carry your firearm. My dad’s got his CCP, and he rarely carries because he complains that the gun’s too wide to comfortably carry (Glock 27, for those curious).

      The most important gun you have is the one on you. Doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have it on you. 🙂 Happy carrying!

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      +1 …people don’t notice things and they aren’t looking for you and any tiny signs of your gun under your clothes. Don’t pull at your shirt or jacket constantly, don’t walk with one dead arm along your side so it’s resting on your gun, don’t change your mannerisms or be weird and awkward. Just do normal stuff normally.

      Definitely know the laws where you live! Know where you are banned from carrying. Have a plan if you end up somewhere you can’t legally carry (let’s say you’re with friends and they want to go to a bar all of the sudden and you can’t carry in your state in a bar…. is there a vault in your car? Do you just refuse to go?). Know what to do if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation or otherwise is talking/questioning you. Do you disclose? Do you have to?

      Know your gun. Be familiar with it. Know your holster. Practice drawing and putting the gun back safely.

      Also, don’t talk about it. Like Fight Club or whatever. Don’t tell people you carry, don’t tell them when you are or are not carrying. My dang wife doesn’t know that I’ve been carrying nearly every single day since moving [back] to WA from CA about a year ago. It’s not something you need to share. Sure… a few people know I do but they’re people I shoot with. People who would not carry themselves or don’t shoot or know guns, etc etc… they don’t need to know.

      1. avatar Zach says:

        +1 on that. A big key of being confident while you carry is knowing you’re on the right side of the law. If you know the rules really well, you’ll be fine. I’ve moved from state to state, and each time I was a little unsure until I got the rules down completely. For example, in my home state (Utah), you can carry many more places that are nearly completely off limits in Tennessee or Washington, such as bars or schools. Anyway, learning the rules means I feel more comfortable. Oh, and I got a safe for my car, too. That’s just in case I need to stash the gun for some reason or another.

    3. avatar Roscoe says:

      gloomhound has it in a nutshell; the only thing I’d add is meticulously follow all the rules local / state / federal.

  2. avatar XLT says:

    Breath and relax… no one’s looking, really.

  3. avatar Sean says:

    The most important thing I can think of is getting to know your gun. Read the owners manual, take it to the range, take 5-10 minutes a day practicing drawing from concealment and dry firing. Concealed carry is a very serious matter and taking the time to build confidence in your skills with your carry gun is crucial to making sure you safely and responsibly handle that gun in public.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    Do the Wally Walk, my son. Strap up, go to your local gun-friendly Walmart. Walk around. Bend. Stretch. Buy something (targets, ammo, cleaning stuff, whatever).

    The Wally Walk is a right of passage. Once you understand that nobody sees and nobody cares, you won’t be self-conscious about carrying.

    1. avatar CCW Guy says:

      +1

      1. avatar Nelson says:

        gotta do the wally walk. It is right up there with my first wally parking lot experience at 16. Dang that place is good for firsts….

        1. avatar Will says:

          Reminds me of this past weekend. A guy in Walmart, too long shirt, bag-n-sag basketball pants, with a hi-point in a holster strapped to the outside, making them sag further. Not my style, but hey, at least he’s utilizing those 2nd amendment rights! It makes me smile to see people open carrying.

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      Interesting concept Ralph and good advice. +1

  5. avatar ST says:

    First,there is no spotlight from the sky marking you as an armed citizen.
    Next,if an accessory or gun has the word “tactical” on the product,don’t buy it.

    1. avatar GGJB says:

      Really?!?! So H&K USP Tacticals and Kimber Tacticals (among others) are no good? Dang, guess I need to go ahead and sell mine then!

  6. avatar DocJancsi says:

    Take the time and effort to find a carry technique that works best for you. Do not be afraid of acquiring the “holster drawer of doom” and get a good belt. A good tailor can help out a whole lot as well.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Oh yes … get a really good, thick, strong, expensive belt. I would expect such a belt to cost at least $60.

      1. avatar Travis M says:

        Best belt I’ve ever bought was from Comp-Tac. it’s leather with kevlar in the middle. It doesn’t deform and is perfect for those who carry. The thing is like $90 bucks though. ouch

        1. avatar Pappy says:

          This is good advice

        2. avatar George says:

          Someday I will understand why people pay $100’s for a gun and $10 for a crap holster and $20 for a cheap belt…..

        3. avatar utdmatt says:

          The 5.11 belts have done great for me. Carrying AND just having a belt that doesn’t wear out every 4 months.

  7. avatar Tim U says:

    Train with your gun. A lot. Know it in and out.

    Then dress around it. You may need to buy slightly bigger clothes to allow you to carry it, depending on what it is and what your wardrobe looks like now.

    Try to avoid “tactical” brands of clothes, like 5.11 or BDU type pants (unless you are in a life where these things look normal for other utilitarian purposes like cargo pockets). These scream “gun” to criminals, cops, and gun people alike. Sure you look cool but you’re not really being discrete.

    Don’t worry about everyone else. They can’t see the gun. Even if there’s a small bulge on the beltline, enough people carry smartphones/electronic gadgets on their belt these days that everyone will just assume that’s what it is.

    Don’t be in a rush to buy a new gun. Just because newer fancier is out doesn’t mean you have to switch to it. Focus on knowing what you have, and if there really is something you don’t like about it, find a replacement.

    At some point, try IWB. Most people that go IWB carry never go back.

  8. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    Don’t know what legal training is involved in getting a Georgia CHL but, know the law. On self-defense, on brandishing, storage, interactions with law enforcement, documetns you’re required to have, etc. etc.

    Have a plan for the worst case- if you have to use the weapon. What you’ll do and say. Number for an attorney you will call prior to discussing anything with the police.

  9. avatar Mike Crognale says:

    I agree with Sean Lester. Most importantly in my opinion is NEVER shoot someone over “stuff”. You can always replace “stuff”. The ONLY time to draw is to save your life or someone else’s. Before you pull that gun you need to be in a combat mindset. Ready to fire. I will also recommend that you check out http://www.frontsight.com. Good luck and welcome to the fraternity of the sheep dog.

    1. avatar Franky4fngrs says:

      I would go local before I went to frontsight. Also yes I have attended frontsight. It was alright. That is a lot of travel.

  10. avatar Dallas Warrior says:

    Buy a gun belt.

    N2 Holsters are AWESOME on the pro line.

    IWB is the way to go.

    Don’t worry about others. They think it’s a phone if they notice it at all.

    Stay away from stupid people / places. Always be alert of your surroundings.

    You’ll be fine, and welcome to the Sheepdog club.

  11. avatar Jon says:

    Find a comfortable holster ,and belt, and carry all the time! At home, doing yard work, whatever. It takes a while for it to feel comfortable, both physically and mentally. And if your out in public don’t play with it! Most people are so oblivious to anything but them selves they won’t even notice, so don’t attract attention by constantly adjusting it.

  12. avatar Pulatso says:

    1. Adjust your wardrobe if needed. I have a lot of undershirts (to keep the holster fromr rubbing against my side) and untucked button up shirts. If you ever go to an IWB holster, you might need some bigger pants.

    2. Wear it everywhere you are legally allowed. Honor your employer’s wishes, however.

    3. Keep your trap shut about it. The fact you are carrying, or even have a permit to carry, is need-to-know information, and 98% of the people in your life do not need to know.

    4. Carrying can be a pain, literally. Sitting with a gun on your 3 (or 9), can get uncomfortable to say the least. Double so if you keep and extra mag in an opposite pocket. But you get used to it.

    5. Practice drawing it. Unload it first, including the one in the chamber. Speaking of which, if you are not carrying with one in the pipe, practice chambering a round as part of the draw. Practice ejecting the mag and inserting a new one. And of course practice your target shooting.

    1. avatar joe liberto says:

      i agree, but if they are considering not having one in the pipe, i would suggest reconsidering

      1. avatar Pulatso says:

        As would I. But I know as a new CCL holder, I had to carry it without one in the pipe for a few months. Then I got over it.

  13. avatar HolyDiver says:

    Firstly as everyone has said, and in a little tougher terms, no one cares about you. If you are doing your job even 50% of concealing, no one will notice as most are caught up in thier own lives too much so to worry or even be looking for armed citizens, they lack even basic SA(situational awareness) so you’re good to go there
    Second, COMFORTABLE GEAR! Give it a few trial runs, if it chafes, grinds, bends, fix it or replace it pronto.
    Thirdly, Consistency. If you carry everyday, you will forget its even there as far as noticing it, but will never be without it if you need it.
    Fourth, Practice, dry firing, drawing, re-holstering, low ready, all that. You will not know exactly what situation you may face, train for each of them or as many as you can think of.
    Fifth, SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, you have just promoted yourself to sheepdog, and as such, you get new responsibilities. You have to pay attention as much as possible, this can be accomplished by not looking like a perascope, neck stretched out peering side to side, be casual about it, but observe EVERYTHING possible. If you have a one second jump on the situation because you paid attention, as Ron Avery showed in Science of The Draw Stroke one second is attainable for most people, you can effectively stop a situation before being caught off guard and trying to play catch up.
    Lastly, enjoy being one of the many people who has taken his/her own responsibility and chosen the best means of protecting themselves, and the same of other innocents(read: not so smart people) in your immediate area, you are appreciated.

  14. avatar Dallas Warrior says:

    Some other random thoughts:

    Caliber arguments are silly, it’s all about shot placement: Go to the range as much as possible.

    A gun is only a club without bullets. A gun is only a club without a round chambered.

    Stay current on your states carry laws. They change on occasion.

    Do what your comfortable with doing. What works for someone else may not for you.

    Always try, before you buy. If that’s not possible, google is your friend.

    1. avatar Elephant Rider says:

      Google is the NSA’s friend.

      1. avatar mlopilato says:

        So is this website.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          A little less so if accessed with Start Page.

  15. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Take a force-on-force training course as soon as possible.

    1. avatar Hal says:

      To the OP, I wish I had added this comment to my own list that I typed for you. It’s probably the single best piece of advice on here so far. Nothing reinforces good habits like a sim round.

  16. avatar David says:

    I have bin a CCW permit holder for over 25 years. I to got my CCW Permit at 21 years young, that being said avoid all drinking parties and areas where you might get in a verbal disagreement at. Every time I pack heat, which is every minute of the day, my sense of awareness heightens!! You now have a responsibility to yourself and the public to be calm, cool, and collective! AND MAINTAIN CONTROL OF YOUR WEAPON AT ALL TIMES! Don’t let anyone know your carring, its there to protect you, and yours…NOT FOR SHOW AND TELL! Always think before acting! Wearing a firearm is very stressfull at first, but always have good situational awareness! And I like single stack autos because im 5 foot 11 inches 165lbs, double stack mags print badly on my small frame. Ohh you may have to change some wardrobe. Dress the part, nothing like binding over at WM and showing people your carring, in todays world some one will phreak out, and the local PD will be called, and there goes 2 to 3 hrs of your day at best. Good luck, and train at least once a month!

    1. avatar John says:

      Excellent post! Be calm and cool! When I first got my CCW at 21, I was a very angry young man. Thankfully, I recognized this, and did not carry for a few years until I was able to calm down and take things a bit slower. It feels a bit strange packing heat for the first few times, but soon you feel calm and observant over any situtation.

  17. avatar Bob Damon says:

    Think about and practice what you will do in the awkward places, the bathroom, sitting in your car, the beach, shoveling snow. I know, no snow in Georgia, but the idea is to think. Probably rains a lot in Georgia,so think about what you do when it’s raining and uncomfortable. Also think about what you will do if you have to go to a gun free zone. Take as many training classes as you can, especially to learn about the law, shooting at night, and how to protect others.

  18. avatar Foster Alley says:

    What I’ve learned:

    Put the thing on, go about your business, and if you’ve put on honest effort on your part than no one has any reason to see you as anything different.

  19. avatar Utah Rob says:

    Read everything you can find by Massad Ayoob, starting with “In the gravest extreme”.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      A great book that needs an update big time but is still highly recommended.

  20. avatar Blake says:

    Don’t try to pick and chose when you carry. Once you have a CCW, you need to carry at all times, because you cannot choose when trouble will rear its ugly head.

    Condition yellow has to become a way of life.

    If it is available in your area, shoot some IDPA or USPSA with your local club. Much better practice than going to the local range and shooting at paper. If the local club is anything like mine, you will be welcomed with open arms, and the experienced shooters will be more than happy to give you a hand. A couple of nice benefits of shooting USPSA and IDPA is that it gets you used to the idea of drawing from a holster, along with getting some adrenalin going, due to the competitive nature of a timed event.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      +1 on the Run and Gun. It’s loads of fun, and it creates muscle memory, so you develop good habits for drawing, reloading, getting a proper grip, etc. That way if you ever do have to draw in an emergency, you can do it properly without conscious thought.

  21. avatar Hasdrubal says:

    If you don’t feel comfortable at first, there’s no shame in carrying around the house for a few days or weeks before venturing out in public. I did for over a month, although that was before I was old enough to get my permit. Eventually it will feel natural, but if you’re so nervous you draw attention, there’s no rush.

  22. avatar TheSav says:

    Don’t talk about it.
    Friends, family, strangers, and everyone else have no reason to know you carry. It may be tempting to tell people or show off.
    Not everyone will react positively, even the ones you think are cool with it. I’ve informed an OFWG NRA life-member with progun stickers on his truck. He didn’t appreciate that one bit. Lesson learned.

  23. avatar Shenandoah says:

    Most importantly, stay out of New York City.

    1. avatar joe liberto says:

      +1

  24. avatar TheSav says:

    Buy a car safe too. It is very handy for the unplanned no carry situation, ie after-work beer with buddies.

  25. avatar Shire-man says:

    Being in CT at the time I was terrified of printing and being the first time Ive walked around with a loaded pistol I didnt really trust it. Was a Springfield XD.

    What I did was wear it around the house and yard unloaded but cocked for a while wearing different things and making funny movenents. I even tossed the gun around and dropped it a bunch to see if the striker would fire.

    Went on like that for a couple of weeks until I new how printing would look and that I couls trust the gun.

    It was still a month or more before I was really comfortable having it all day everyday. Now I feel naked without.

  26. avatar Glenn Goewert says:

    The most important thing is to examine, think over, and resolve any and all moral and/or legal questions in your mind before you carry. If you ever NEED that gun, you will have to make life altering decisions instantly, and the only way to do that with any degree of confidence is to settle your mind on the hard questions when you have time and a clear head.

    They really aren’t looking. I’ve been a semi-professional acoustic guitarist for years, and I have stood up, solo, under the lights, on stage, and played and sung in front of concert audiences while packing. They’re clueless.

    Beware of public restrooms.

    1. avatar JimM9 says:

      And use the stalls (toilets) in those rest rooms – with the door closed.

  27. avatar Bob says:

    Learn to bend over without bending your back. This will make more sense after you try grocery shopping 😉

  28. avatar Jim R says:

    The best advice I can give you is much the same as what everyone else here says. Nobody is paying attention to you. As long as you go about your daily business quietly nobody will give you as much as a second glance. People are nowhere NEAR as observant as you think they are.

    Second, avoid any “branding”. If you have any gun company T-shirts, hats, NRA gear, stickers, etc. THROW IT OUT. These things mark you as a gun person and the idea of concealed-carry is to fly under the radar. If you feel uncomfortable tossing away perfectly good wardrobe donate it to Goodwill or something. Just don’t wear any of it.

    Third, PRACTICE. OFTEN. As often as you can manage. If, God forbid, you ever have to draw, it should be second-nature to you.

  29. avatar jomotopia says:

    Go here: http://www.georgiapacking.org/law.php

    Georgia is a great state for carry. Open or concealed is legal. Very few restricted places. No duty to inform. “No firearms” signs don’t carry legal weight.

    Just do your thing and realize nobody is probably going to notice unless you keep fiddling with your gun and holster.

    Also do a little research on the forums at GA Packing before you go to some places like Turner Field, the aquarium, GA Dome, etc. People can tell you whether certain places are gun friendly or what door/gate security is like. Sometimes an ankle holster will get you through the gate where a waistband holster won’t.

    Don’t wander into South Carolina because they don’t honor GA’s permit. The rest of the neighboring states do. Great resource for that: http://www.handgunlaw.us/

    1. avatar jomotopia says:

      Oh, and join Georgia Carry, they do great things for us! http://www.georgiacarry.org/

    2. avatar mediocrates says:

      +1 good advice here.

  30. avatar JohnB says:

    Lots of good advice here.

    Holsters – Holsters are like shoes. They wear out. Floppy leather and cracked plastic are not you friend. Once you find one you really like buy a spare or two. This applies to all carry options. I have a box of ones that did not work out.

    Ammunition – There is no such thing as too much. The only question is how much can you carry and not look like a movie bandito.

  31. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    Chill. That is my advice. No one is checking you. The only person that has ever noticed mine was a mall cop who actually shook my hand and thanked me.

    1. avatar Carry.45 says:

      It always gives me a chuckle when I’m better armed than security guards.

  32. avatar DisThunder says:

    Absolutely great stuff in here for first time carry. I just want to +1 or +5 a couple things:
    BELT! For the love of crap, don’t be stupid like me. Buy one good belt, shell out the $60-80, and never think about it again. There are cheaper “carry belts” out there, but they exist mostly to piss you off and waste your time.
    When it comes to your carry pistol, the truth is, if you want to carry it bad enough, you can make just about any pistol work. But that’s the trouble- you’ve gotta know your level or resolve. I love carrying a full size pistol, but I live in Utah, so I don’t worry much about the occasional “flash” of steel under my shirt. If you’re not so sure, though, that full-size pistol becomes a liability, and you’ll find yourself almost subconsciously “opting-out” of carrying certain places out of safety, concern of appearance, etc. If you can’t silence that nagging concern, pick something smaller and less conspicuous.

    1. avatar TR says:

      DisThunder, where in Utah? I’m in Provo. I can +1 basically everything you said. I also pack a GI 1911, so I love the full-size pistol thing. However, I will warn new carriers: If your holster does not cover your entire gun, i.e. your frontsight sticks out below it, you will begin to wear holes in your pants right there. I didn’t realize this until last night, when my wife pointed out that the entire muzzle of my gun was visible through a gaping hole. Awkward.
      My solution: iron-on patches on the inside of the pants. Should keep it from wearing through as quickly.

      1. avatar Utah Rob says:

        Iron-on patches? Great idea!

  33. avatar Roice says:

    You mentioned you’re in Georgia and it gets hot as blazes in those parts. The OWB holster will sometimes not work so well depending on your clothing and size of gun. Try a neoprene IWB holster like Uncle Mikes or Black Hawk. They can make even a large pistol nearly invisible in shorts and a tank top. One word of warning. DO NOT chamber a round IWB if you buy a Glock. You’ll eventually blow your junk off! If you own a 1911 or XD then you would be ok most likely since they have a grip safety. Other pistols have atleast a manual thumb safety, but Glocks don’t and are better designed for a hard case external holster, unless you simply carry without one in the pipe. I feel strongly about this! Glocks are great but combined with a soft IWB holster and a loaded chamber you’re asking for trouble eventually. I personally almost always leave the chamber empty while concealed carry, just to be safe… but this is a hotly debated topic. It’s your decision but be careful. Good luck.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      I am far from a fan of the Glock, however, I have to say this is a pile of crap. If you carry in a proper holster (one that covers the trigger completely and retains the pistol) it will not go off, even if you carry a cocked 1911 with a 2lb. trigger and the saftey off…at least not because of the trigger.
      Additionally, carrying without a round in the chamber is probably a bad idea for most people. Unless you train to a professional level, under stress, you’re likely to point the gun at the source of your stress and keep pulling the trigger, until the target stops stressing you out so much. People forget to do things like hit thumb safeties (if you have one, make hitting it part of your grip, so you deactivate it automatically) and rack slides.
      I prefer carrying an XD (which has a grip safety) or a CZ (DA/SA at half-cock). I pull the gun out, point it, pull the trigger, and it goes boom, without fiddling with anything.

    2. avatar Hal says:

      “DO NOT chamber a round IWB if you buy a Glock. You’ll eventually blow your junk off!”

      Citation please.

    3. avatar Hunley says:

      I’m calling BS on all of this. OWB is far more comfortable when you’re sweating your balls off. Nobody wants sticky, wet leather (or neoprene) up against their sweaty skin. Salt water + metal/leather = bad. And those little neoprene holster can become mighty slippery when full of sweat. The last thing you want is that thing, full of sweat, sliding up against your skin. Chafed much?

      And let’s not forget metal + sweat is bad enough on its own. Being surrounded by something saturated in it is less than ideal.

      And please, for the love of God, don’t carry without a round in the chamber. It’s about as nonsensical as having a sprinkler system in a building, but having to run outside to turn on the water to avoid leaks…

  34. avatar Scott says:

    I went through a lot of holsters before I bought a Crossbreed. I wish I had started with that. If you do get a Crossbreed (or similar type), pick up a bottle of Glovolium and soak the heck out of the leather. That way you can by-pass the new leather squeak.

    1. avatar Janiak says:

      +1 on the Crossbreed. Amazingly comfortable and you can’t beat a lifetime warranty. Also agreeing with everyone who says to get a good belt with 2 pieces of thick leather. Crossbreed makes a good one, but Comp-Tac takes it a step further and adds a strip of kydex between the two pieces of leather. I have attached some darned heavy pistols to that belt without it sagging in the least.

      1. avatar TR says:

        DeSantis makes a Crossbreed knock-off that’s about 1/2 the price. functionally identical, just not as perty.

  35. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    Seems like most of the bases are covered above. I’d like to reinforce a couple of points:

    1) get good with what you have instead of chasing the latest and greatest; your bank account will love you for it
    2) STFU about it; most people will be much happier not knowing
    3) don’t initiate conversations with law enforcement officers (good advice in general), and if they initiate contact with you scrupulously follow your state law. Usually you will be required to immediately inform the cop as soon as contact is initiated (walking by them on the street doesn’t count in most states). And say, “I have a permit and I’m armed at the moment.” Don’t say “I’m armed and I have a permit.” You might not get any further than “I’m armed” before you get jumped. You may get jumped or drawn on anyway. Stay very calm.
    4) don’t go anywhere or do anything armed that you wouldn’t go/do unarmed.

  36. avatar Don says:

    Always be first to swallow your pride. Get a comfortable holster.

  37. avatar Kirk says:

    There’s no doubt that OWB is most comfy, but CHL presumes IWB in many scenarios. In either case, a double-thick belt is your BFF.

    Training is critical, obviously. Be sure to sit in your vehicle and see what happens.

    Don’t forget: Carrying your gat is fraught with many jurisdictionl issues. It is complicated. GuardAmerican is creating an app to deal with it, but no luck yet shaking money loose from the local billionaires to finish the job.

  38. avatar Janiak says:

    Here’s a bit of amusing advice based on my first time out at a restaurant: if you carry at the 4 o’clock position, be mindful of open backed chairs. I stood up and took the chair with me.

  39. avatar Lars says:

    Keep it concealed.

    Many folks have no love or respect for gun folks and will call police on permit holders just because they see a gun. Even if you live in a state with the option of open carry keep it concealed.
    Another reason to never show your cards is if there is a crime waiting to happen and a bad guy notices your piece, while the sight of the gun may deter them from committing the crime in the first place it will make you a priority target if criminal is armed and willing to kill. If I was about to commit a mass shooting or serious crime and I walk to the mall or whatever place where it would happen and I saw someone open carrying I would walk up behind them and shoot them in the head. If someone in that same area had their piece concealed I would have no idea that there would be someone ready to shoot back at me when I committed my crime.
    Open carry is just stupid IMHO.

    Don’t go COWBOY. I’ve known a few guys who got their permit to carry and along with that they got a attitude issue. Any incident or altercation and they are pulling out their gun. The only reason to pull your piece is to defend the life of yourself or another. Property issues, domestics, petty stuff ect. is no reason to become Dirty Harry. Mind your business as you expect others to mind theirs.

    Practice, practice and practice. Most of you carry folks, well I will say some, only shoot on weekends, every other weekend or monthly, you need to be shooting at least twice a week for an hour or three each time. I honestly think permit holders should have to go through a type of combat/situation training rather than just the basics that most state’s require to obtain and maintain one. Yearly or bi-annual training as well. Being this is not the case and some carry folks can’t get a good group shooting straight downrange 15-25 yards, let alone getting good shoots off in a situation drill, please for the rest of us, practice, practice and practice.

    A good holster is very important. I went through like five different brands/types before I settled on one, unfortunately it was a very expensive brand but it’s what works best for me. On my most compact piece a $30 Remora works best but on the larger glock I had to spend some good money. Don’t go by price, go by how it works for you. It may take a month and a few hundred dollars but if anyone tells you “a holster is a holster” than they have never carried before.

    Live your life as if your new carry privilege is a new wallet. Don’t act differently, be yourself. You know you have new wallet but others don’t.

  40. avatar flboots says:

    Remember if you have to shoot be aware of whats behind the BG. Once you pull the trigger you can’t bring that bullet back. Unlike the movies bullets do go through bodies and it may hit an innocent bystander. Also don’t let the gun go to your head. There is power with a gun, and with power comes responsibility. Good luck

  41. avatar flboots says:

    Also practice using the restroom at home. What will you do with your gun if you have to drop your pants?

    1. avatar Janiak says:

      I just had a conversation with a buddy on this very topic yesterday. When you experience a “condition 2” in public, the best that I have come up with is refastening my belt just above the knees and then sitting. This keeps things above the opening in the stall and keeps the pistol on my person. Removing your pistol and placing it on a shelf or the toilet tank is bad for a couple of reasons. First, folks have been known to forget their pistol and that’s really bad. Second, you want to minimize any handling of your pistol in public as part of your SOP.

      Also, whatever you do, in God’s name don’t hang it from the coat hook by the trigger guard!

    2. avatar Kelly in GA says:

      I’ve found that my best choice for dealing with that scenario is to:

      1) Drop pants and rotate muzzle toward toilet, making sure you don’t laser yourself and leave the gun, holstered, in the crotch of the pants.

      2) If the stall is one where you can see your neighbors feet, I let my undershorts down on top of the gun, effectively hiding it.

      3) Replace garments in reverse order.

      NOTE: I carry OWB and IWB between 4 and 6 O’ clock. Other carry locations may not work, but I wouldn’t know.

  42. avatar Accur81 says:

    Test out your chosen self defense ammo. The very first consideration is reliability out of your given platform. I like the standard of 200 rounds without a single jam or malfunction. Know also where your ammo will hit relative to your point of aim, and practice some target shooting with your expensive self defense ammo. Test each and every one of your magazines. Next, find a practice round of lower cost with a similar point of impact and recoil profile as your self defense round.

    For example, I carry a Glock 27 and 23 most of the time. I’ve found that Remington Golden Sabre 180 grain, and Winchester PDX 180 grain are decent rounds. CCI Blazer Brass case 180 grain FMJ shoots to virtually the same place. I keep my Winchester loaded, and practice with the CCI. Snap caps are a great way to draw and dry fire. Just make damn sure that you are pulling the trigger of a snap cap and not a hot round.

    Hit the range, clean your piece, and swap out your self defense ammo every 6-24 months. I inspect my gun(s), holster(s), and magazine(s) daily just like I do with my patrol car before I start a shift, but you could do so less often if you find it burdensome. Knowning that my equipment is in top operating condition gives me extra confidence.

    Try to avoid trouble, and be aware of your local laws. Take care of your car/truck registration, brake lights, tires, etc. and don’t drive like a jerk. If you have not already done so, become good friends with a local police officer(s) so that you can drop his name. If you are going to get hammered, lock your gun up in a safe place. Guns and alcohol don’t mix.

  43. avatar Hank says:

    I’ll be getting my CHL in TX in a few months after (re)establishing residency, so I appreciate this post and the comments. I did, however, have a hard time keeping a straight face when noticing this recurring theme:

    Go to Walmart : Avoid stupid people.

    That’s going to require some serious gymnastics.

    1. avatar Janiak says:

      Lucky man. In a few months, you’ll be able to take the short course. Also, I’ve found that most state police either don’t care or actively encourage you to carry in Texas. The same goes for many many small town cops. Major metropolitan police departments…not so much.

  44. avatar ThatGuy in Wy says:

    Congrats on becoming a grown-up.

    First, Get Comfortable. If it isn’t comfortable, more than likely, you will stop carrying. A little uncomfortable is o.k., but if it the determining factor of you going out the door without it, change it. For me, a quality IWB is preferred (Cross-breed supertuck) to an OWB, but it is your choice.

    Second. Don’t Advertise. By that I mean avoid looking or acting like you are carrying a firearm. Another guy on here called it “Branding”. Wearing a Glock hat, a Sig shirt, and a NRA logo tattooed on your face, sends a message to people, good or bad. While most people won’t notice, either by choice or just simple obliviousness, some people will. It should be the last thing people notice about you.

    Third, and truly the most important: Know your stuff. Remember you are carrying a firearm to defend yourself of others around you. You won’t be doing anyone any favors if you have an acute case of “Stormtrooper aim” because you haven’t practiced. The ability to use your firearm safely and accurately is solely determined by the amount of time and effort you put into practice. Remember, “smooth is fast”. Being able to do something quickly comes with perfect practice, so start slow and get it right. If you can’t do it right slowly, you won’t be able to do it quickly.

    Anyways, good luck and welcome.

    1. avatar Roice says:

      I knew I shouldn’t have gotten that tattoo……..

  45. avatar Taco Ninja says:

    Be polite, avoid alcohol while carrying(not necessarily a law, just a good idea imo), and KNOW YOUR LAWS. If something happens, call 911…do NOT run. God willing you never need it.

  46. avatar Hal says:

    1) Invest in a good belt. No… not Fossil. A gunfighting belt. Get it in black so it is more non-descript than, say, multicam or coyote tan. Ares gear, 5.11, 215 gear, etc. All good choices.

    2) Invest in good SIGHTS. If a cop hits a stray civilian (see what I did there?) he’ll be administratively punished. If you hit an innocent person then you’ll be charged and made an example of by statist media who will use you to push and anti CHL holder agenda. Heinie would be my recommendation, YMMV.

    3) Sights are nothing without good training. Fly to Nacogdoches, TX and take “basic pistol operator” with Paul Howe, or some other reputable instructor. Or cheap out and spring for the Magpul dynamic handgun DVDs. Training and self-study on use of force will also go a long way.

    4) Be physically fit. Bottom line, some gunfights are won by the person who exercises more than just his/her trigger finger. A lot of folks will argue that that’s not true. There are a ton of gun debates where right/wrong is largely subjective and non-quantifiable (1911 vs Glock). In this rare case, however, the folks who argue that fitness isn’t a component of survivability are completely, 100% full of sh*t (notice I said “a” component). Do not listen to them, as they are only making excuses for themselves.

    5) Appendix carry.

    6) Related to number 5 (even if you don’t take me up on that last piece of advice), buy a good holster. I prefer raven C or Bradley CC holsters for concealed carry. RKBA is also nice.

    7) Carry a flashlight, extra mags and fixed blade knife (small blade).

    8) Have a plan for actions on contact, as well as consolidation and reorganization. What will you do AFTER the shooting? You need to rehearse these things often.

    9) Embrace a baggier shirt. They’re comfier anyways.

    10) Related to 9, dress well. I’m not saying you need to pretend every day is business casual, but do your best to convey the impression of being a regular, well put-together, friendly guy. Don’t dress like a hoodlum, cholo or gang banger. A lot of things will depend on that first impression you make to the cops when they arrive on scene after your DGU. Make that ANY interaction with LE. If you have a DGU you’re going to be treated a LOT differently (regardless of race) if you are dressed in a polo or button down shirt, nice jeans/khakis and boat shoes as opposed to gangsta-wear. Do you want to be held at gunpoint temporarily while the officers respond and try to figure out what has happened, or do you want a knee in your neck for 10 minutes? I’m not saying it’s right; it just is what it is.

    11) Learn how to apply a tourniquet, to include when to and when NOT to apply it. In the same vein, learn how to apply an Israeli dressing and quik clot gauze. Buy four of each with a “set” consisting of the gauze, tourniquet and dressing. One set for training, one set for your vehicle, one set for the bedroom and one set for briefcase/backpack.

    12) Learn about cover. Learn about concealment. Learn how to use each.

    13) If you are involved in a DGU, STFU when the police arrive. Name, generic statement about how your life or another person’s life was in jeopardy, then “respectfully” tell them that you would like an attorney present before answering any other questions.

    14) Don’t settle until you have found the pistol that works perfectly for your needs and performs exactly the way you want it to. Shoot and train with that pistol often. Become an expert in its safe employment. You should know that trigger like your wife’s t1ts.

    15) Don’t skimp on good ammo for carrying purposes and remember that magazines need maintenance just like a pistol does.

    I hope these word help, along with the wealth of other tidbits listed by other members of the AI. Live with honor.

  47. avatar Kelly in GA says:

    I haven’t read everyone’s comments, so I apologize if this rehashes a bunch of stuff you’ve already read.

    Remember, we live in GA, and you can open carry. I’m not saying to do it, but don’t over concern yourself with “flashing” your gun. The best advice I can give you is to nonchalantly throw in the occasional Star Trek: TNG uniform pull down move if you think your gun has come uncovered. After a while, you will get used to the feeling of it being there and you won’t feel so uncomfortable. Also, as we note on this site quite often, most people don’t have any situational awareness at all. They won’t notice you. Only you will notice you are carrying. So just be chill and act normal. No one will ever know.

  48. avatar Andrew Snyder says:

    I see a lot of people saying no one will notice. Am I really the only one who plays spot the other sheep dogs? I figure it is a good thing to do because if something bad does go down, knowing where the other guns that may come into play are located is usefull for many reasons I think. I have actually gotten pretty good at it, to the point I picked out an air marshall last time I flew.

    I will say, unless there is a real reason to, pointing out to other sheepdogs that you know they are sheepdogs does not usually go well. I have done it a couple times at first because I thought we were “sheepdog frat mates” and so like other frat mates pointing out you are in the same frat would make you instant buds. Yah, I think that worked like once in the first five times I did it (slow learner sometimes, and was young), the rest were less than pleased. I will still do it if there is something really wrong and i think the other sheepdog either doesn’t know or is new and needs pointers. I am talking things like the barrel comming an inch out the bottom of some shorts that were way to short for CC, poor guy was more emberassed I think than if I had told him his shlong was hanging out. Another time someone was doing pocket carry and if he stood up his mini gat was either going to stay on the seat or hit the floor of the resturaunt, by that point it was no longer concealed though so not sure if this counts.

    My advice for first timer, practice at home first. Chances are you are not going to need it tomorrow or even this week. So wear it around the house until you get used to it and no longer feal the urge to fiddle with it. Ask family members if they think you are armed or not and if they say yes asking them where and how they knew. When you are to the point you don’t feal a need to fiddle, then do the Wally Walk.

    Though a lot of people have told you not to chase new gear, and while I largely agree with them, I recomend having two CC guns. Not to wear at the same time, at least not always. I have a little 9X18 Makarov I carry when it is warmer and I dont feel like lugging the Glock 23 around or think i am going to an area dangerus enough to warrent it. I also have a real little .25 but I barely ever carry that because it is just too small. When it is colder and I can wear heavy pants and a jacket I will carry the Glock 23 IWB (which means in waste band BTW, not sure if anyone has explained that yet). If I am sporting shorts I carry the little Mak, usually in a pocket if the shorts have pockets where the gun falling out is not a concern. As long as I am avoiding stupid things at stupid places with stupid people the 7 9×18 rounds is probably enough to get me and mine to safety.

    If I am going someplace stupid because I have to, then I might carry the glock and the mak even if it is 100.

    1. avatar Zach says:

      I can agree with the “mouse gun”. I carry an XD .40, but there are times when I’ll just grab my pocket gun. That’s a Beretta Tomcat 3032, but make your own choice on that. A lot of folks don’t like the Tomcat (but I shoot better with it than with my XD, honestly).

  49. avatar Hunley says:

    1. It’s a GWCL (Georgia Weapons Carry License), not a CHL. It allows you to carry a firearm, with or without a holster, in an open or concealed fashion. The actual verbage in the OCGA states that it “MAY be concealed”, not “MUST” be concealed.

    2. Know the laws. This is the biggest thing, especially in Georgia where people (*cough* law enforecement *cough) simply assume what the laws are. Yes, there are plenty of LEOs who do know them front to back, but there are at least a dozen people I can think of in the past five years that were wrongfully arrested or detained because they knew the law and the cops didn’t. GeorgiaPacking.org is a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to researching what the laws actually mean, as well as further state court rulings that further define very important terms therein. There’s also a decent forum there with knowledgable folks (including lawyers and sheriffs) who can help answe questions you might have.

    3. Just do it. You’ll be more comfortable in time.

  50. avatar ChuckN says:

    Try as many holsters and carry styles as you can: OWB, IWB,
    shoulder, appendix, pocket, ankle, crossdraw etc.. And don’t
    pick just one style. You will find that different situations
    may need different carry methods.

    Your primary arm could be hurt or pinned, so practice
    drawing with your opposite hand. You might even want find
    a holster for your opposite side and practice. This practice
    is well worth the effort when your youth starts catching up to
    your body.

    1. avatar Zach says:

      This won’t get a lot of approval here, and I think deservedly, but I also carry off-body in a Maxpedition bag. Now, recognize that you WILL be much slower getting the gun out of that than from a holster, and plan accordingly. As for it being a “tactical” bag, I live in Seattle and never get a comment on it (except once from someone who knew the brand). I think on-body carry is the better alternative, especially for being fully prepared and ready, but having the gun in a proper tactical bag is an option.

      Caveats other than off-body carry – you’ve GOT to keep the bag with you, in your site, in arms reach, at all times. There’s too much risk to leaving it lying around. This is probably the more important reason for on-body carry when compared to ease of access and being able to draw quickly.

  51. avatar Renegade Dave says:

    Go to http://www.georgiapacking.org and read.

  52. avatar MothaLova says:

    Thanks to everyone. All the advice is hugely helpful. I can’t carry in my state, but I practice at home, and I’ve started carrying in other states when possible.

  53. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Another thing I’d add is to clean your carry piece regularly, even if you haven’t fired it recently. Lint, sweat, tanning acids and leather oils will tend to accumulate on your weapon. When you look at old S&W revolvers that were carried by cops, you can tell immediately who did and didn’t care for their sidearm after years of carrying. The ones carried by cops who didn’t care – you can tell immediately. The blueing is gone, they’re banged up, etc.

    You should probably give your weapon at least a wipe-down once/week with a rag dampened with WD-40, then some gun oil. Pull out all the ammo once/month, clean the chamber(s) and barrel – just a quick, oiled patch. If you’re packing a semi-auto with spare mags, don’t ignore the magazines. Check the magazines over to insure the feed lips aren’t damaged, nicked/bent/etc. Pull the magazines apart occasionally and wipe out any link or gunk that has gotten in there.

    As for not worrying about being spotted: Depends on where you live. A guy got killed by the Las Vegas PD because some idiot in Costco got her panties in a twist that he was carrying. How did she know? She saw the pistol when his shirt hiked up as be bent over to lift something while shopping. He was a West Point graduate. Carrying in places where there’s lots of excitable people (especially older single women) and having your hardware show is a good way to meet the local police under less than ideal circumstances. As lots of articles posted here at TTAG demonstrate, there’s lots of cops who shoot first, shoot often, shoot everything in sight… and were wrong. They’re never are disciplined for doing so. You don’t want to meet the police when you’re carrying, especially if someone called 911 breathlessly saying “I saw a man with a gun!” Those encounters rarely end well for the person carrying lawfully, even if the person carrying lawfully lives to tell about it.

    Cops are being trained on how to spot CCW people. One of the first things they look for is the “tactical” belt, or the “holster belt,” then the “tactical” clothing. Then they start looking for bulges at the waistline. If you’re in an area where the cops aren’t particularly friendly to CCW people (which is just about all major US urban areas where the cops belong to comfy public employee unions who are beholden to the Democratic Party), you need to be aware of this.

    Last point: Use what weapon (and cartridge) work for you. You don’t “have” to carry any particular round. An “ideal” gun that’s too big to conceal, or too heavy to carry constantly, which gets left at home isn’t much use. It’s a whole lot less useful than a small gun in some “wimpy” caliber that you can and do carry all the time. The .380 you have with you can save your life. Your .44 Mag N-frame that you left at home? Not quite as much. There is no “ideal” CCW gun, holster, carry position, etc. It’s all about compromises.

    1. avatar ThatGuy in Wy says:

      + A gazillion.

    2. avatar Blake says:

      Dyspectic, adding to your suggestion about cleaning your gun monthly, I’d suggest carrying for a month, heading to the local indoor range, or outdoors, wherever, drawing and shooting.

      Do not clean your gun before shooting. (unless, of course, you drop your gun into cement, quicksand, etc.)

      The idea being this is the best way to find out if your gun is reliable after a month of carry without cleaning.

  54. avatar Paul53 says:

    Too many replies to read, hope this isn’t redundant advice. Practice, practice, practice. Most of the questions people ask and debate on this topic have multiple correct answers. There’s no 1 best gun, ammo, caliber, or nearly anything in this field. What works best for you is best. Period.
    The worst thing that can happen to you is that someone shoots you. The second worse thing is that you shoot someone else.
    Never shoot to kill. Shoot to end the threat to life, then stop.
    You may do everything right, and still end up dead.

    1. avatar Tarrou (Joshua Grabow) says:

      Don’t play semantics Paul. You must shoot to kill, every time. If you draw in anger, you need to put the target down. It’s the practical, tactical, moral and legal imperative. Don’t confuse the newbs. Any threat worth drawing a weapon on is worth killing.

      1. avatar Paul53 says:

        The prosecuting attorney will ask if it was your intention to kill the person. When I worked in the NM prison system, we were taught to say we “intended to stop the action” and never waver from that answer. No corrections officer who kept to that line has been prosecuted after the inevitable trip to the grand jury.
        I would never draw “in anger.” I would draw in self defense, never with the intent to kill, but to protect and save life. You do as you want, but remember what the semantics will mean to the prosecutor and grand jury.

  55. avatar Meridia says:

    Not sure if anyone else said this but:

    If you are not absolutely 100% sure that you could end a life to save your own, or another, don’t carry.

    You have to be mentally prepared to kill another human being in defense of self or others. There’s a LOT of people that just can *not* do that. If you are, I’d suggest defensive training and a lot of practice. Practice makes perfect. Dry drills in your home work wonders. When no one is home, practice reaching for and drawing your gun from a sleeping position, sweeping the house, etc.

    Might sound stupid, but turning all that into muscle memory can help. A lot.

    Good luck sir.

  56. avatar JJ Swiontek says:

    How to deal with the first-time conceal-carry jitters.

    I teach my students this trick:

    First week. Just carry the holster (empty). Get into the habit of putting it on in the morning and wearing it everywhere. Practice dressing to conceal and day-to-day activities without printing. Relax. It’s just a holster.

    Second week: Holster plus … a water pistol (empty). Same as above and it’s just a water pistol. (I suggest an empty water-pistol because it might leak.) If you want extra weight, then substitute a few rolls of coins to simulate the added weight.

    Third week: Holster plus real pistol (empty). An empty gun is a paperweight; just a hunk of metal. Get used to the added weight on your body. Relax; it’s just a paperweight.

    Fourth week: Holster plus real gun (full mag but chamber empty). Remember the previous 3 weeks where no one noticed the holster. Relax. Besides, you know the chamber is empty.

    Fifth week: Holster plus real gun (full mag and one in the chamber). For the previous 4 weeks you have been unnoticed while carrying. Congrats! You have joined the ranks of responsible gun carriers.

    One suggested point-of-view shift: Guns are not dangerous. Guns are powerful. Guns are empowering to the weak. Some people are dangerous. This is why I carry.

  57. avatar WLCE says:

    I have advice: TRAINING!!!! Plinking with your buddies is not training. Firing a box of 45 ACP at the local 180 degree range is not training. Shooting at paper standing still is not training. You will have to pay for it. Life’s tough. A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.

    Personally, I stay away from leather holsters and just carry my Glock 19 in a Raven Concealment Phantom OWB. Even in hot days in Montana, I can wear a t shirt over it and it tucks pretty close to the body, being inconspicuous. Everyone’s milage may vary, although I prefer appendix or primary side carry. I despise ankle holsters (except for having a means to conduct a NY reload) and shoulder holsters and do not recommend them. I also despise bag carry.

    1.) Be aware of each and every law in your respective state

    2.) Not only have a attorney in your cellphone (or two), but also get to know him/her

    3.) STFU about it. Dont tell people you carry.

    4.) MINDSET: When you carry a gun, there’s no such thing as “bad encounters with civilians/LEO, road rage, confrontations, etc”. Its WALK AWAY/DE-ESCALATE.

    5.) Carry hot. Round in the chamber.

    6.) Carry a extra magazine or two (I carry two).

    7.) PCC/PCIs (pre-combat checks/inspections): Ensure your holster is good to go (no tears, cracks, tightened screws, etc), ensure your handgun is greased and LOADED, ensure you have your carry license (unless you want to go to jail).

    8.) Train, train, train. Yes, you will have to pay money for training. If this is a problem, then do not carry. This includes practicing drawing the right way (no shortcuts to cut down time; draw how you would carry it on the street), shooting it, finding out its quirks, trigger familiarization, etc. Training inclues MEDICAL TRAINING (Yes, thats critical)

    9.) Have a good folding knife (I carry a gerber automatic in my pocket or karambit IWB; a folding knife is more utilitarian than a karambit or niche specific weapon)

    10.) surefire flashlight if at night (Surefire are the only lights that I trust my life with, and I’ve damn near tried them all).

    11.) Know your rights. If you weren’t familiar with the law before, get familiar. This is not a option.

    12.) Study Massad Ayoob and Jeff Cooper. Any book by them, to emphasize concealed carry. If you read anything, read “Principles of Personal Defense” by Jeff Cooper.

    *in no particular order.

    Mistakes I’ve made:
    1.) Getting wrapped around gear instead of focusing on mindset: I was all about 1911s and 10mm (my Colt ((with a beavertail grip safety pinned) looked sexy my custom leather holster, wranglers, pearl buttons, stetson, and cowboy boots…LOL). “well why shoot them twice when I can shoot them once”, and all the other cliche BULLSHIT. Now I carry a Glock 19. Why? because it works thats why. In fact, it is one of only a handful of guns I would even recommend for concealed carry (M&P to include the Shield, HK compact, Walther PPQ, and

    2.) Thinking my military experience is all that Ill ever need. BULLSHIT. Enough said. Another mindset issue.

    3.) I loved fancy gun oils and cleaners (Hoppes emphasized, which I swore was a aphrodisiac for cow girls). Do you know what works better and will save you a hell of a lot more money in the long run? buy a bore snake, a quart of ATF (transmission fluid), high temperature wheel bearing grease (the stuff that costs 2-3 bucks at a auto store), and brake cleaner. Thats it. Nothing else works better guaranteed.

    4.) Keep aftermarket bullshit off your gun. I’ve actually made a gun unreliable from this (yeah i felt stupid afterwards). The only aftermarket parts I recommend are changing sights; I use XS Big Dots on all my handguns.

    Anyways. That is my 2 cents.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      +1 on the ATF. ATF is a very good oil, as are “way oils” (usually sold for for machines) on parts that slide.

    2. avatar Paul53 says:

      Great advice here. Also carry a Glock 19. It aint pretty or shiny, doesn’t have curves to ooh and aah about. But it always goes bang. Probably over 5000 down range, hardly a sign of wear, shoots anything I feed it. Many say it’s one of the all time best concealed carry guns (magazine and online reviews).
      What to change on your gun? Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. The gun will tell you. All the changes on my gun have been to accommodate my 60 year old eyes, and 3XL hands.
      Lube, supposedly came out of nam, “Ed’s red.” 1qt motor oil (current thinking is Mobil 1) 1qt auto tranie fluid, and 1 can of the OMG thick STP. Mix well keep sealed and you’ve got enough for a lifetime. I plan to try this when I’ve used up all my CLP and send my Hoppe’s to the recycle center.

  58. avatar Grudge says:

    Rather than straight ATF, I prefer Ed’s Red.
    http://home.comcast.net/~dsmjd/tux/dsmjd/tech/eds_red.htm

  59. avatar JT says:

    The .22 in your pocket beats the .44 magnum in the console. Get what you can comfortably carry everyday in your climate. For me that is a Ruger LC9. Carry and shoot the same gun all the time so it is automatic. I had a home invasion and grabbed my Benneli Super 90 that I hadn’t shot in 2 years. It has so many playtime fun buttons that it took me 45 seconds to get it to chamber a shell. Sold it the next day and bought two Mossberg 500’s.

  60. avatar Mike Taylor says:

    My own list of things to learn came from when I was just getting started.
    #1.) Turn off the ego. When you carry, you are not being a hero, a villain or anything but a responsible citizen.
    #2.) Concealed means just that, concealed. No one needs to know that you are carrying, and it should stay that way. Dress accordingly.
    #3.) Comfort means adjustments. Practice doing what you do every day while carrying. Odds on favorite says that you will go through a few different holsters and even carry positions before you find what WORKS best for YOU. All other opinions and counsel may vary, so be patient and honest with yourself.
    #4.) The law can work with or against you. Unless you have passed the state bar, have a good idea what lawyer to call in advance. Most carriers never need it, but I could say the same for fry cooks and fire extinguishers.
    #5.) I do not care how awesome you are at the range, drawing a weapon from concealment under duress is a whole new animal. Practice.
    #6.) Be responsible and learn from the IGOTD’s. They made mistakes that you do not have to.
    Others here might add to or even detract from my list, so keep an open mind.

    1. avatar George says:

      Anyone here who doesn’t have a box (or two) of holsters?

  61. avatar Farmer bill says:

    Stop touching it!

  62. avatar George says:

    Go get Mas Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” (http://amzn.to/19926kA). Read it…a couple of times.

    Get his book on concealed carry, also (http://amzn.to/ZQfQOF).

    You’ll hear people here say “concealed means concealed”. That not only means that your gun stays concealed, but the fact that you carry concealed remains concealed. You don’t need to discuss it with your friends (you’re welcome to discuss the Civil Right that is the Second Amendment, however). YOU are the only person to decide when, where, and if you should use your gun.

    As many have suggested, get training on concealed carry. Know the laws. Can you carry in a restaurant in Georgia? In a church? In a library? I don’t know. I don’t live there. Are the laws the same all over the state? We refer to it as “preemption”, which refers to whether individual cities in the state can write their own gun laws.

    Training isn’t about shooting. It is about thinking.

  63. avatar Tarrou (Joshua Grabow) says:

    1: Act natural. Everyone said it, I’ll repeat it. It’s not a big deal, don’t act like a freak.

    2: Don’t act like an asshole. You wear a gun now. You carry life and death with you. This means you don’t get to be a dumb kid anymore. You want to go troll the bars, pick up skanks, get shitfaced? Leave the piece at home. Do not, repeat DO FUCKING NOT get yourself into shit while wearing a gun.

    3: Don’t threaten people or brag about it. Keep your gun clean, your eyes scanning and your brain working and your mouth bloody shut.

  64. avatar tdiinva says:

    I am late this discussion and most of what I could say has been said so I will limit my advice to where you can go to get conceal carry friendly clothing.

    I highly recommend LL Bean or similar outfitter. I know many of TTAG’s followers will laugh at going preppie and that’s a good thing. In most locations nothing says gun grabber more than a person kitted out in LL Bean clothing. Camouflage is all about blending in and you will blend it with this kind of clothing. They make a nice travel vest that has a lot utility to a concealed carrier but doesn’t scream “tacticool.” The only caveat I over on the vest is your gun will out the lining so you should reinforce it. In general, look for everyday clothing that covers up well. With the right dress you can cover up any kind of handgun. I carry everything from a full sized 1911 down to a Beretta Nano and nobody is the wiser.

  65. avatar MM says:

    Some practical advice: if someone goes in for a hug, you have to do some quick thinking or they can find out you’re carrying. You can position your arms so that you hug them around the waist; they’ll naturally go higher, and avoid feeling your weapon. Alternatively, you can tell them “I think I’m coming down with a cold” and opt-out of the hug altogether.

  66. avatar Ardent says:

    There is a ton of good advice here, really gentlemen you’ve outdone yourselves. If you distill all the above you’ve got a decent concealed carry primer, though I’ll admit I didn’t read it all, I’d like to highlight a few concepts:

    1. Virtually no one will notice so leave the gun alone. Those who do notice are usually people of the gun. Don’t tug at covers or constantly adjust the gun, just let it be.

    2. Don’t try to carry too much gun or too little holster/belt. A lot has been said about holsters and belts and there is a reason. If it hurts, more belt, if it sags, more belt. It’s entirely possible for most people to conceal a full size duty pistol in casual clothes without pain, it just takes the right clothes and some good fitting quality gear. On the other hand, a duty pistol is a little much for most to pack and generally isn’t necessary. Balance and compromise.

    3. More weight is less weight. Counter intuitive but hanging some spare mags, a light, a phone, ect of the opposite side helps with heavy pistols, but for most situations if it’s that heavy it’s too much gun.

    4. The more you wear it the less you notice it. If it hurts refer to the advice on belts and holsters. Otherwise carry as much as you can and soon you’ll find you aren’t inclined to fidget with it and will stop being paranoid about it printing or showing.

    5. If you haven’t already, get some good practical training on defensive use of a handgun.

    6. Don’t sweat the shoot don’t shoot stuff. If you’re really in fear for your life, you’ll shoot, if you’re not, and you’re not one of those unfortunate few who is just wired wrong, you’ll try backing away, talking about it etc. instead of shooting. This is one of the most contentious topics in the DGU universe but one that I’m inclined to think mostly works it’s self out for the average person.

    7. Relax and enjoy. Welcome to the club.

  67. avatar Jerryboy says:

    if you have friends who smoke weed, drink underage, etc., i would highly encourage you to make them choose: your friendship, or their vices. many misdemeanors become felonies when committed while armed, and hanging around with people like that can get you thrown in the cage with them, but on an even worse charge.

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