A Newbie’s First Concealed Carry on A First Date

Last week, I had a blind date. I was excited and nervous. And, for the first time in my life, armed. That’s right, I took my newly acquired Smith & Wesson 686 revolver with me on a first date. 

It was an evening date at an upmarket restaurant in a decent part of Austin. I dressed up — but not too much. It was cold that night. Keeping in mind that I planned to carry, I opted for a pair of jeans. 

I went through the typical pre-date beautification process. Near the end, I added a step. I looped the brown leather holster through my belt and secured it to my hip. I looked at myself in the mirror and felt my ensemble was complete. 

I’ll be honest: I was nervous about carrying on a date.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out? The 686 is not a small gun by any stretch of the imagination [ED: 4″ barrel]. Strapped onto my petite frame, it looked huge. While my shirt and blazer easily concealed my weapon, a distinct bulge was still perceptible. 

I worried about the greeting. If we both leaned in for a light hug, might my date inadvertently touch the gun and know I’m packing heat?

I seriously considered taking off the 686 and going without. The idea of being in a situation in which I would need to defend myself was unsettling. But I decided for the first time, and once and for all, that I should have the best tool for the job of personal self-defense. 

The date went well; he never knew I was conceal carrying. I felt safe.

I can’t honestly attribute that feeling entirely to the fact that I was speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Although it was a blind date, I knew the fella well enough beforehand (texting and phone calls). I also choose to meet in a public place in a safe neighborhood.

Before leaving for the date, I told someone where I was going, how long I planned to be gone, and whom I was meeting. I covered my bases well.

There’s something to be said for having that extra measure of protection. Wearing my gun, I felt like I stood taller. I felt capable of protecting myself all by myself. As an independent woman, I find that invaluable. 

From now on, I will always venture into uncharted territory with my gun by my side. Just in case.

comments

  1. avatar DrewR says:

    Hooray! Welcome to the fold.

  2. avatar Al Juma says:

    You worried about a blind date spotting your gun?

    He must not have been blind after all.

    1. avatar YAR0892 says:

      Wah-wah-waaaah…. Lol

  3. avatar Rabbi says:

    “From now on, I will always venture into uncharted territory with my gun by my side. Just in case.”

    You should venture into chartered territory with your gun as well.

    1. avatar Ian in Transit says:

      This. Not that what you did was wrong. Good job and welcome to the fold. However, if by some stroke of incredibly bad luck you do need to use it you do not want to explain under oath that you only carry when you think you might be in danger. If you knew you were going to be in danger wouldn’t it be more reasonable to simply not go there? It doesn’t take that much mental gymnastics to convince a jury of that in places like Austin. Ignoring all of the other reasons to carry everywhere you can, being able to honestly answer that question with a simple “Everywhere.” may be a way-of-life saver as much as your gun was a life saver.

      1. avatar HL Harris says:

        Excellent point. Very thoughtful, thank you.

        1. avatar Ian in Transit says:

          You are very welcome. Just passing along what one of my instructors included. That may also be in Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” but I don’t remember for certain. Looks like its time to re-read a classic.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      You do realize that you materially shifted the balance-of-power in your immediate environment? That’s real empowerment. And, once having experienced it, things will never seem quite the same again. Welcome to the tribe, kid. The TTAG guys have probably already told you this, but the done thing is to never tell anybody—unless they’re a member of the tribe and then only privately or not at all—that you’re carrying. I mention this because there’s always a strong temptation to do just that when you first start. It’s a good way to lose friends and terrify relatives. Or first dates.

      Sigh, I can remember first dates . . . I think.

  4. avatar Holdfast says:

    Nice Bullard Holster! It accessorizes well with everything you’ll wear!
    Good call to wear your revolver- blind date or no blind date, Austin is getting more and more sketchy.
    So- tell everyone, are you seeing him again?

    1. avatar Tom of Toms says:

      +1 on The Bullard!

      1. avatar bryan1980 says:

        +2, his stuff looks awesome. I’m hoping to get one of his cross-draw rigs for my S&W Model 66 at some point.

        1. avatar Tom of Toms says:

          Can’t go wrong. Been hunting for a few years with a 5.5″ Redhawk in a Bullard crossdraw and it has been comfortable, fast, and good-lookin’.

  5. avatar strych9 says:

    “I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out?”

    If it does freak him out to the point that he doesn’t want to see you again/thinks your crazy/starts talking about MDA/whatever then I would take that as a sign that he’s not your Neo (“The One” for those of you under a rock the last 20 years). In that regard it’s kinda like going to his place for the first time and finding a poster of Bloomberg on the wall, one of those cute pink protest hats on the back of a chair or literature on local places that do sex change operations, this probably ain’t gonna work out.

    Not to be crass but eventually he’s going to notice your heater unless you’re the nun (Nun dat poonanie for you!) type. In which case he’s not going to be interested for the long term anyway.

    1. avatar YAR0892 says:

      And in that event ma’am, he was only ever interested in getting in your unmentionables and you’re much better off without him. That is, unless you’re so good at concealing you somehow manage to get to your honeymoon with your weapon concealed without him noticing. In which case, BRAVO!

      1. avatar Peter A says:

        Does that mean you carry on first dates?

      2. avatar B. Cauler says:

        What is this, Dear Abbey??…(just kidding).

    2. avatar CueBaller says:

      I would take that as a sign that he’s not your Neo (“The One” for those of you under a rock the last 20 years).

      Technically, Neo was “The Six,” as there were 5 “The Ones” before him. 😉

  6. avatar Julian says:

    Great choice of a gun, as long as your clothing selection always lends itself to it’s concealment.
    Nothing quite as intimidating as a large revolver. The 686 is extremely accurate as well, even at distance.

    1. avatar kenneth says:

      You are correct. I won many a match with my pair of 686s(well, one’s a 586…) at the 50 yard line, back in the day. Only one malfunction in 30 years and God knows how many thousands of rounds. At least 20K cast lead, plus however many jacketed.

  7. avatar Don says:

    Loving your choice of accessories, add handcuffs and I’ll be in love 😉

  8. avatar HandyDan says:

    Better that he had noticed (besides the problem with nor being able to conceal properly). If he had approved you would know he was someone who is capable of making decisions based on reason. If he had disproved, you would know he was someone who made decisions based on emotion, which would cause major problem down the line in a relationship.
    I guess I don’t see the reason to hide things on first dates. A good relationship will be based on honesty, not deception.

  9. avatar Nice7ime says:

    Good for you. Will there be a second date? On what date do you feel it is right for the other person to know?

    I didn’t start carrying until after I was married but it is still interesting to know how someone would deal with exposing the fact that you are packing heat. As a female it will definetly be different than as a guy: “is that a gun in your pocket?” She asked.

    “Why yes, yes it is. I never leave home without my Glock 19,” he replies.

    The shooting range is an excellent date idea.

    1. avatar YAR0892 says:

      I’ll second that! My wife and I got to be good friends at the Ft. Benning rifle range. We still go shooting together to this day.

  10. avatar Vinny says:

    Why go with a J-frame when you can go L-frame ;-)…

  11. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    I don’t get the living in Austin part;-)

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Far more freak in that than in packing.

    2. avatar matty 9 says:

      hahahahahah

      no kidding, Austin is to Texas as California is to America

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Neither do I. Texas is such a wonderful state, but Austin is like a blight – just the way Jackson is a blight upon Wyoming, or Vegas is a blight upon Nevada.

  12. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    “…looked huge…distinct bulge…big stick…my bases…protection…”

    i’m glad it went well.

  13. avatar C.S. says:

    If it freaks him out that you as a woman wants to protect yourself, he can go kiss his own ass.

  14. avatar Luke Yarasheski says:

    Well done. The first time is always the hardest. It will get less awkward with time. The point is you made a decision to protect yourself from any and all scumbags who may be out there. Welcome to the fold. And congrats on concealing successfully. I have found its much harder to conceal as a female (or at least that’s what my wife says)

  15. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out?’ – Not in Texas. Unless you’re in Austin. Doh!

    If he is that’s his problem. Perhaps you could get motorcycle and let him ride on the back.

    1. avatar Joemomma says:

      My thoughts exactly. And get him a leather halter top

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Just so long as he doesn’t wear a thong under his chaps…

        1. avatar Luke Yarasheski says:

          Dude… Supportive without revealing. What he wears is his business. Damn

      2. avatar HL Harris says:

        Way ahead of you on that one.

  16. avatar S.CROCK says:

    If my blind date showed up with a 686 on her hip I would ask her to marry me before the date was over.

    1. avatar Bfitts says:

      Ah the Ted Mosby… classic move

  17. avatar James says:

    I was a relatively new concealed carrier when I was carrying on a first date with a woman, (In Austin too actually) she had no idea on the first date, and asked “what’s that?” when she felt it on our second date. That was a fun few seconds. Went well though, she’s a decent shot now having been a far left confiscate everything but the the 1700’s era muskets type before. Still can’t get her to carry herself yet though.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      James,

      Not everyone should be carrying a self-defense firearm. If she is at least supportive of carrying self-defense firearms, I would call that a solid win!

    2. avatar Martin B says:

      With the caveat that for males there is always the risk of a negligent discharge… maybe on the second date?

  18. avatar Aerindel says:

    Open carry. It saves times. He will either think its awesome or be freaked. Either way you will know if your wasting your time or not.

  19. avatar Catherine says:

    Sounds like a good article on 1st date safety. Meet in public, tell a friend where you are going & who you are going with, carry an L-frame revolver.

    Surprised there’s not more marriage proposals above yet.

    Question: what ammo was in your cylinder? (Can’t be too careful on a first date. And I think I once heard RF promoting .38 +P, lamenting “.357 Magnum makes me look fat.”)

  20. avatar David H. says:

    Back in my dating days, most girls I went out with knew I carried a gun by the time we decided to go out, even on a first date. It’s an integral part of my life and something, like politics and religion, I’m up front about because if they can’t accept that part of me, they can’t accept me.

    Those few times when girl found out later that I’d been carrying, I simply explained their time with me was the safest they’d been in years, they just didn’t know it. Being in AZ, a few huffed and puffed a bit for effect, but it was never greeted as a negative.

    As a lady, you have all the same reasons to carry as a man, and more, IMHO. Keep carrying. A 4″ 686 – what a choice. Great (big) gun!

  21. avatar Sean says:

    I went on a first date, and was carrying. Just my Keltec, but at least I had something. Things got friendly, and she felt the gun in my front pocket. She started to laugh, and grabbed her purse. Where her Beretta Tomcat was. We both laughed, and went back to what we were doing.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      Better than the attached article! You 2 getting hitched?

    2. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

      Yes, I find myself wondering if HE was carrying on that first date?

  22. avatar steven says:

    best leather holster there is right there

    1. avatar HL Harris says:

      Thanks! I love it, too!

  23. avatar MojoRonin says:

    Had a hug at the end of a first date, and I had to quick move to a side hug to avoid the “is that a gun in your pocket moment.”

    Yeah, only date with her, she wasn’t POTG material.

    1. avatar HL Harris says:

      Is that a direct quote from my article or are you paraphrasing the eff out of what I said?

  24. avatar 2Asux sucks says:

    Carry it for a few months and you won’t care who sees it or where you can’t take it. You will think if you don’t like it you can stick it in your ass

  25. avatar Mark says:

    And if your date turns out to be anti-gun,

  26. avatar matty 9 says:

    if he’s worth your time he DID notice that you were carrying, he just chose not to mention it. Were I single, and on a date with you, I’d have noticed, offered to blow off dinner/movie and asked if a range visit would be a little more worth your while.

    I always prefer shooting to paying more than it’s worth for food. just sayin

  27. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    Anyone who freaks out because the other person is discreetly carrying protection isn’t long-term relationship material anyway.

    Also… and not saying this is what happens or anything, however, if a guy tells you that guns make him feel uncomfortable, you can say that you think you should both see other men.

    1. avatar HL Harris says:

      I couldn’t disagree more. But you did make me laugh!

  28. avatar Ralph says:

    “The date went well; he never knew I was conceal carrying.”

    That’s an okay date. A date goes really well when he figures out that you’re carrying a M686 and lets you know that he’s concealing a M629.

  29. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    I’m going to have to buck the general consensus here and say that I wouldn’t be comfortable with a girl carrying on our first date. Not because I’m uncomfortable with firearms, but rather because she felt that I was a threat. I don’t particularly care for being mistrusted. If you don’t have a good enough sense of a person to spend one-on-one time with them without entertaining the possibility of using lethal force, you probably shouldn’t go on a date with them. That’s all I have to say about that.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      More likely, the girl who carries on a date with you is one who doesn’t trust you to have the ability to protect her from harm.

      Maybe wait until the second date to manufacture artificial trust issues.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      Why would you assume her carrying of a gun has anything to do with you?

      Christ dude, I doubt your internet dating profile is that intimidating so how fucking narcissistic can you be?

    3. avatar HL Harris says:

      Yeah, so not about you, but thanks for sharing!

    4. avatar Ian in Transit says:

      I would just take it as evidence that her daddy raised her well.

    5. avatar Hannibal says:

      I mean… if someone doesn’t know you, why would you think they should place you in a ‘non-threat’ category?

      And if you think that someone shouldn’t date a person they think MAY be a threat then you’re basically throwing out any dating whatsoever except with people you know well. Not realistic.

    6. avatar Christopher Merino says:

      Isn’t that kind of like saying that a passenger that conscientiously straps themselves in must have a preconceived notion that you are a bad driver?

  30. avatar fteter says:

    You cc’d on a blind date? Ya know, if I wasn’t married, I’d be in my car driving to Austin right now just to ask you out.

  31. avatar Beardedrambler says:

    If he didn’t notice it he’s gay. What men wouldn’t be checkingbout his date. And a 4″ 686 in a small frame is going to be noticed.

  32. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    Read The Gift of Fear.

    Women that get into trouble are the ones that feel guilty for trusting their gut or not wanting to offend someone that is setting off red flags or just seems “off”.

    It’s social conditioning and people tend to make excuses rather than heeding subconscious warning signs and acting accordingly.

    1. avatar HL Harris says:

      Own it and have read it! Such a important book for anyone.

  33. avatar Aaron Standish says:

    Dear Penthouse…

  34. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    That Smith & Wesson 686 is one fine piece of machinery. It will bring you untold joy and giggles at the range.

    As you get comfortable with it and try other guns just for yucks, you may (probably) figure out that there are other sidearms out there that offer easier concealability and more capacity for threat stopping.

    Have fun, and stay safe!

  35. avatar TexanHawk says:

    FWIW, I recommend Glympse (glympse.com / android iphone app). Share your (well, at least your phone’s) location for the duration with your friend. Settings are powerful.

  36. avatar Desert Ranger says:

    Wait! You’re a woman who carries a revolver? Careful with that! You may have a riot of men fighting for your affection. (Hope the date was great)

  37. avatar Crowbar says:

    Congratulations on joining the gun carrying public. After the first few awkward times of ” can anyone see my gun? and ” I hope it stays in place” it will become more and more natural to carry. The only downside I would mention is that when you are in a situation where you cannot carry, you will be surprised how aware you are that you are unarmed.

  38. avatar Jim says:

    The guns nothing, you should see what ill do on a first date! Hahaha

  39. avatar Charlie Dwyer says:

    Women who shoot are always more attractive – even if one does not initially know they shoot. I suspect ya’ll emit some pheromones that say, “I can protect you, and your children.” or something. Perhaps it is just the self confidence?

  40. avatar fishydude says:

    Well played.
    When my wife and I go out we are both packing.
    Even to movie theaters that say they have a GFZ policy, but don’t really because they don’t post the doors. (Just don’t put it in your bag because they sometimes look. They just don’t pat down.)
    Of course, in my state very few places that claim to have a corporate GFZ policy actually do anything to enforce it.

  41. avatar BDM-Brat says:

    One comment on hugging. Be the Trump in the “Trump v Clinton” match. In other words, go low for the hug forcing him to go high, at least below his arms, and you can kinda steer him away from your heater. Not exactly traditional positioning, but may work well (especially if your date was more than a little taller than you), and may work well initially.

    Also, Van Gogh would be jealous of your brush set. 🙂

  42. avatar Christopher Merino says:

    Congratulations on your 686! It is also my first handgun. (An impulsive and irresponsible purchase that I shall never regret making should I live to be 100.) Regarding your “Petite” frame, I can sympathise entirely. Being of neapolitan parentage, I come from a long line of small people. (I’ve never seen a tall one anyway) There I was, squeezing a Minneola Tangelo in the produce section at H.E.B. when- quite suddenly and to my horror- the beast slid down and took my britches with it! Talk about open carry! I put in an order to both the “Hold Up” Suspender Co. and Tucker. Hope it helps. If only I had a woman’s hips.

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