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By James England via

There are way more than 10 things you should never do as a concealed carrier…or as a firearms owner in general. But we’ve decided to pick 10 extremely important ones. We’re not judging you if you do these things – we’re just saying it’s the opposite of responsible . . .

10.  Fire Warning Shots

There are a lot of tense, ambiguous situations out there. Like, maybe you’re debating whether or not you should take a defensive posture and remove your concealed carry firearm or not. Let’s cut to the chase – if you feel threatened, act accordingly. That’s all it comes down to. But do not – repeat, DO NOT – fire warning shots.

If someone doesn’t believe your concealed carry firearm is loaded, they’re welcome to find out the hard way. Heck, if you have it out already, you can even tell them to chill out on the ground while you wait for police to arrive. There’s a whole lot of options (a lot).  Firing a warning shot isn’t one of them.

And discharging a firearm within most municipalities is an actual crime. As in, if you discharged that round and police arrive and find that you weren’t actively using that round to defend yourself from an imminent, deadly threat – you’re in hot water. So, if it’s come to rounds being exchanged – make sure the first one counts.

9.  Tuck Your Concealed Carry Pistol In Your Pants Without A Holster

Can’t afford gender reassignment surgery? Having a hard time hitting those high soprano notes?  Sticking a loaded pistol down the front of your pants isn’t really a good alternative – but it will work!

Holsterless concealed carry isn’t effective. There’s nothing protecting your trigger and even with a tight belt, you’re not really providing good, even retention across the firearm. It’s asking for a disaster to happen.

Holsters are just like ammunition – a required investment in order to protect yourself. And there are plenty that are affordable and effective.

8.  Instinctive Shooting Without Practice

If you don’t practice instinctive shooting, don’t expect it to suddenly appear when you pull out your concealed carry pistol. More importantly, if you don’t practice dry firing, holstering and re-holstering, and put in some actual range time once in awhile, those skills are virtually non-existent in your reactive mind – the part of your brain you need to actually respond to an emergency.

7.  Fail To Pay Attention To What’s Around Your Target

In an actual active shooter environment, you have to stay on top of what is in front and behind the shooter. Reflexively spraying rounds in the general direction of an attacker is a great way to injure or kill others – with absolutely no guarantee of stopping the threat. So before you fire, look around the target area. It only takes a few milliseconds and you could save someone’s life. It’s also a fundamental of firearm safety. Which brings us to…

6.  Ignore The Fundamentals Of Firearm Safety

There’s a serious misconception with some concealed carriers that the fundamentals of firearm safety suddenly evaporate if they’re stuck in an active shooting environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every single round that exits your gun will be investigated when the police arrive. And if they find you’ve negligently responded to a threat, you’re not going to be the “hero that saved the day” – you’re going to be taken up on criminal and/or civil charges.

5.  One Magazine And Done

If you have a concealed carry pistol – where’s your number two magazine? If it’s not on you or nearby, you’re putting yourself unnecessarily at risk. Like the botched robbery we reported on earlier in Los Angeles and plenty of other places – once the shooting starts, it doesn’t stop until 1) the police arrive, 2) the threat is gone or 3) someone is dead. If it’s not a direct hit that stops the shooting, it certainly will be the first person who runs out of ammunition. That doesn’t mean you need to walk around with an ammo can. Having a spare magazine that’s accessible is (probably) good enough.

4.  Insert Yourself Into A Conflict


There is nothing wrong with self-defense. There’s nothing wrong with helping out someone who is being brutally attacked, robbed, or victimized. But do understand the legal quandary you’ll be placing yourself in.

We recently reported on a story involving a man who tried to intervene in a domestic assault. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the attacker turned his attention from the woman to him and the man defended himself with one well placed shot from his concealed carry pistol.

Did he do the right thing? Morally and ethically, he certainly stopped a woman from being assaulted. He also protected himself from being the victim of an assault. But law enforcement and county prosecution will ultimately determine the full consequences for his actions. Make sure – whatever you do – you’re willing to accept the consequences. And there will always be consequences.

3.  Fail To Lock Up Your Firearms

If you have children in the house (or even other occupants), you should always secure firearms that are not physically on your person.  In this news report we covered, a burglar was able to enter a woman’s home, grab her shotgun and point it at her before a friend shot him.

We’ve also covered news stories about children who have gotten into their mother’s purses and either shot themselves or their parents.  This is important! A firearm is a tool.  It can be used by anyone who picks it up. And if it is not secured, you are giving them invitation to do so.

2.  Choose Convenience Over Safety

There are a lot of fads out there in regards to “new” ways to holster a firearm. Everything from using a holster system that doesn’t protect the trigger guard to storing it at an angle where it may be easily taken from you – your concealed carry firearm is your life line.  Do not take chances with it. Do not put it on your body in such a way that it may harm you or others. If that means wearing clothes that break your status as a fashion icon – so be it.

Complacency kills.

1.  Overestimate Your Abilities And Underestimate Your Opponent’s

The most dangerous habit a concealed carrier can get himself into is assuming he knows more than his opponent. Most people in the United States will be able to live their lives without being the undue victim of gun violence or gun crimes. For the very few who will deal with it – erring on the side of caution is always the right move.

If you can read minds, great. For everyone who can’t, never assume anything about your opponent or the situation you find yourself in. Judge it critically, quickly, and always move towards the option that promises safety first. Prepare and train for uncertainty and never assume an enemy will act like a paper target – these are good steps towards avoiding overconfidence as a concealed carrier.

Can you think of any other things a concealed carrier should never do? Tell us in the comments section below.

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  1. “[…] to storing it at an angle where it may be easily taken from you […]”

    This kind of comment comes up *a lot*, but I have yet to read about this in a real situation. I know this happens to cops, but what are the stats on this for concealed carriers?

    • I know if I was in a situation where the bad guy was on me before my weapon was out, the last thing I want is to be in a tussle where he can easily grab my lifeline.

  2. While some may argue it’s covered by “insert yourself into a conflict”, I’d add “start/escalate a conflict”. As in cussing someone out who nabs the parking spot you were obviously waiting for … flipping off the jerk who cut you off so they could make a last minute highway exit from two lanes over. Or responding to some smart-ass comment you overhear (i.e. “You tawkin’ to me? YOU TAWKIN’ TO ME!?”). The stupid crap that pride can quickly escalate into something worse.

    • MikeP, absolutely right. Carrying a weapon basically takes away the thinking man’s right to behave like an idiot or talk smack to someone. Having that weapon is a HUGE responsibility to act rationally and calmly.

  3. Do not carry your weapon in a place that is inaccessible while you are in a sitting position, such as your front pants pocket.
    If some dude walks up to you while you are in your car, and wants your wallet, he ain’t gonna wait till you step out of the car to be able to reach in your pocket!

    • Here’s the thing: it really doesn’t matter how you’re carrying your firearm when you’re rocking a Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite belt.

      You just swagger your enemies to death.

    • So if the guy holding me up is waiting for me to take my wallet out of my pocket and my pistol is in my pocket why can’t I just take that out instead?

      If the dude just wants to kill me and starts stabbing me then sure the pistol in my pocket instead of somewhere more accessible is definitely going to be a detriment. But if that’s the case you’re probably SOL anyway.

    • I carry concealed in my pocket. I use CCW breakaways. I have bought several pairs of shorts and several pairs of pants. They are pricey, but work great. I would not carry in my pocket if these weren’t available. Not a shill here, just a customer that likes the product. I carry a Beretta Px4 compact (not subcompact) .40 with 12 rounds in my front pocket and I can get my pistol out anytime, anywhere. The car takes a little practice, but once you figure it out, it’s easy. I live in hot Florida which is tshirts and shorts 11 months year. I have checked with police trainers at my range and my pistol is not visible at all.

  4. Another good rule. If you carry concealed keep it concealed from lesser eyes and if open carry is the carry of the day keep it exposed.

  5. “Having a spare magazine that’s accessible is (probably) good enough.”

    A Glock 43 with a spare mag has fewer total rounds than a Glock 19 with only one mag. Same caliber.

    How many magazines do I need, again?

    • It’s not jus about round count, it’s about clearing malfunctions. Most stoppages are going to be caused by the mag, so having another one to switch out to is a good idea.

      So the answer to your question is “as many as you can carry”.

      • Malfunctions? Really? My question was about Glocks, so that’s irrelevant.
        Now go back to the range and practice clearing jams on your Kimber 1911.

        • Yeah because a Glock is perfect, you must be reading too many marketing adds if you think a Glock magazine is impervious to failures. Someone gave a rational answer to your question and you acted a fool, because Glock…..

        • While I realize that this is an older post, I feel that my response is still valid, regardless of age.

          Carrying a firearm, either in the civilian sector, military or in some other official capacity indicates that you feel the need for protecting yourself, or others.

          That being said, the mindset that a weapon won’t / can’t fail is not an option. You must ALWAYS be prepared for a malfunction in any weapon, even a bladed one. Blades break, Batons fail to deploy, Tasers don’t always drop a suspect, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have a backup plan of some sort. The moment that you don’t respect the possibility that a weapon system can fail, you’re already at a disadvantage because you’ve made up your mind that it won’t. When it does, you have no options left. Placing yourself in that position is irresponsible.

          As for extra mags, I carried a 1911 and a 92 when I was in the service. With each, I carried 2 or 3 spare mags, with one in the weapon. I still carry a 1911 for CCW from time to time, and always take 2 extra mags. If I’m carrying my XD9 Sub, I carry at least one extra mag because I’m carrying with a deeper concealment in mind when I carry that sidearm.

    • According to Kleck, that figure is 98%, which I’m betting you already knew.

      If we believe his data, the vast majority of DGUs are brandishing only. So, I wonder if there might be as much or greater defensive value in a gun that has an appearance that conveys great lethality, vs. one that looks more diminutive in bore but holds more rounds or does better in ballistics tests?

      This is one reason I’ve occasionally considered switching to a concealable snubby big bore revolver like a .44 special Charter Bulldog (only better quality). While it may having marginal ballistics with it’s short barrel and low velocity, it must be intimidating as hell to have pointed at you, with those big hollow points clearly visible in the cylinder, and maybe even in the barrel.

      Of course, this would only be of value if you disregard the advice to never draw your weapon unless you plan to use it, but the stats seem to suggest that most DGUs involve people ignoring that advice, or at least having the opportunity to change their mind about shooting at the last moment. Would I be more apt to have that opportunity with an intimidating-looking gun, or would someone be as likely to turn and run at the sight of my LCP for example, if that’s all I had? I can’t say, but I have often wondered about it.

      • Only cops draw and shoot without a last milisecond check on the necessity, not authority, to discharge a round. They are brainwashed by watching hours and hours of videos of traffic stop fatalities into never hesitating (never thinking all the way through the action). So they shoot when it is not necessary but they are immune from responsibility. Don’t think that YOU will get the same treatment. YOU will be asked, over and over in different ways, “Yes, you were under an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm, BUT tell us why it was necessary to pull the trigger?” That is why, no matter how justified you are, every CIVILIAN must lawyer-up imediately.

        • The fact is that cops draw more often period, because they don’t have to worry about brandishing charges either. I have never witnessed a cop firing his weapon, but I have personally seen them with guns out on several occasions. The flip-side scenario to your point is that if you don’t shoot, a prosecutor might say that if you didn’t have to pull the trigger, you didn’t have to draw your gun to begin with, and therefore you are guilty of brandishing. This doesn’t have to sound logical to anyone but a jury. This argument might be made by the same prosecutor in your scenario if it suits their case and they are generally anti-gun. If they want to try and screw you, they can do it from either angle, whether you shoot or not. So you are right about the lawyer.

      • I should mention I am discounting open carry with my last post, as it’s not something I want to do. I will concede that OC may have deterrence value in some situations, and any deterrence factor would probably be greater with a large, obvious gun. I would bet you could probably open carry an LCP with the right holster and clothing color combo and not have it even noticed by most people.

        • Heck, I have red and yellow tape on the bottom of the mag in my EDC (so that I can differentiate mags quite easily) and that doesn’t get noticed hardly at all; at least, I don’t notice anyone noticing. Granted, it’s not a large gun (SCCY CPX2), but it most definitely fits the definition of OPEN carry.

  6. Ugh. Please stop re-posting ConcealedNation, or at least take them out of your primary RSS feed. They are the worst gun-related clickbait site I’ve ever seen.

  7. No longer consider yourself one person (space-wise) you need more space around you. If the surround does not afford it, you need to move. CC is not what you do, it’s where you live. Live with that, don’t let people talk crap about how you live, and then hope to also benefit from how you live (Be silent about your cc, if it should become known, let those around you that are not that they are on their own).

    Accept a different Op-tempo to life, vigilance does not sleep as well as you do, nor take as many naps. “to that which can be labeled “enemy” should always (regardless of any and all other contrary experience) also be labeled focused, tireless, fearless, insidious, fathomless, relentless and hungry.” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012, pg.182].

    • Think of ammo like you think of beer…it is better to be a case over than a bottle short.

    • In the cooler months I carry an lcr in a coat pocket. That’s the only time I feel that I may need more shots so I carry an extra gun. Usually a pf9. Can’t say that I like #9. A DA accidentally going off? I’m more likely to be hit by lightening in my bed.

    • Yea, I didn’t get #5. What’s a magazine? I keep a round in each of the 6 chambers. Am I supposed to walk around with the latest Guns & Ammo?

  8. Dont carry a cheap firearm or the “latest n greatest”……especially without taking it to the range first.

    I bought a Glock 42 when they first came out. Carried it for a few days until i could get to the range. I had a FTF or a FTE every other round even with premium ammo. Sent it back to Glock and still had issues. Never again.

    • I get what you’re saying, but I’d phrase it differently. Don’t carry a firearm until you’ve determined it’s reliable with a self-defense round that’s acceptable to you.

      There are ‘cheap’ guns like my FEG that’s ugly as f#$% but as reliable as death and taxes, and expensive guns that aren’t …(dare I say Cabot…) there are latest and greatest that are pretty good- but I’ve learned my dad’s advise about never buy a car or engine in the first model year is pretty good. There are exceptions and I think your point is make sure whatever you carry is reliable.

  9. I have two, a concealed carrier should never brandish or brag about carrying a firearm to scare or threaten a potential attacker and the carrier should never own a firearm that has more ftf’s or fte’s than successful shots fired……

  10. Don’t freaking pull it out to show your buddy. Wait till you get home. What you and your friend do in the privacy of your own home is your business. Don’t just whip it out in public.

    On a more serious note, seriously don’t do it. Every time you remove your gun from the holster is a chance to screw up and ND.

  11. I’m against open carry. People that open carry are lacking attention. Carry it concealed so you don’t get unessary attention from others and especially a bad guy.

    • I’m against people telling me how I can legally and responsibly exercise my rights (which has *nothing* to do with attention-whoring).

      There, we’re even.

  12. Censor yourself. Starting with inflammatory comments on the web on what you plan on doing to some dirtbag given the chance. The gun freak signs on your property, “we don’t call 911” “beware of owner” with a gun pointing at the reader or “survivors” will be shot. Then look at your wardrobe (t-shirts). There are pro 2A designs and then there are those that the general sheep will mark you a gun nut. All of these can make it much easier for a prosecutor or civil lawyer to paint you as an extremist with intent than anything you say post incident.

    • Ya, but don’t deal with that problem ever right. CC to prevent somone from limiting your life, liberty, and your pursuit of happiness, just ignore the dude (your a-hole neighbor needing a job (your gov’t employee), on your payroll) that’s trying to slip it in ya slow while blowing in your ear. If someone tells you your problem is your t-shirt, your problem is them [it’s a long-standing problem that you’ve somehow failed to recognize and deal with otherwise], and you can refer back to this post right here.

  13. #0. Don’t train.
    I know too many people who have bought a gun and holster, loaded ’em up, and put ’em on as if it were a magic talisman to ward off evil but without any idea of what they’d do other than 1) pull gun and 2) pull trigger. I’d go so far as to say that many carriers rarely if ever actually shoot or read up on the laws in their locale, and the extent of class training is whatever is required by their state for them to carry, which in many states is none. This is a huge mistake: you don’t want your immediate choices in a bad situation to be either pissing or going blind.

    Where at all possible, routinely shoot your carry gun at a range or in someone’s back yard or back forty. Get on and learn your state laws are regarding legal carry. Obtain a permit whether you require one in your state to carry or not. Find someone who teachers the NRA basic safety class, and maybe even track down a couple of the subsequent ones. Obtain and maintain good gun skills just as you would obtain and maintain a good gun.

  14. Shoot to Kill:

    While there are situations where it is necessary to take a life in self defense, putting yourself in the mindset of killing your attacker rather than stopping the threat can lead to stepping away from self defense and leading to murder.

    • Agree completely!

      If other things (ie, pepper spray) don’t work to ward off the attacker, and you are forced to fire, you fire center of mass and keep firing until the threat gone. Call 911 immediately, and attempt to render aid. If there are more than one attacker, shoot the closest first and only once. If the attacker continues to attack, shoot again. Then, turn your attention to the next closest attacker.

      However, the best thing to do is, in the first place, to keep your Situational Awareness extremely high and DO NOT GO WHERE YOU THINK SOMETHING BAD MAY HAPPEN!!

  15. Great article Dan, and thanks to James and for sharing it.

    I like the focus on SA and thinking things through, legally as to your state law, before you even consider carrying. You do your loved ones no good in prison for a dumb judgement error, easy to make in heat of the moment for failure to do so.

    Also the primary focus building good habits on carry, presentation, as important as the 4 rules fundamentals – maybe even more important than going to the range to get in the 8″ circle at the range you might need to use it.

    Bears repeating you have to think about aftermath, and what to say after the gunfight.

    • + 4 rules
      + shoot for practice
      & maybe go to the range and just be around a lot of people shooting. Range ettiquit is a form of safety training, and exposure to a shooting environment gives you added opportunity to acclimate.

  16. As an above poster said, “don’t shoot to kill”. Shoot to stop. It’s a technicality but a big one.

    Carrying a gun doesn’t give you the authority to execute someone. If you shoot them and they die in the process, i.e. from blood loss before the EMTs show up, then so be it. If they die because you shot them center mass and then followed up with a head shot while they were on the ground, then you’re guilty of murder.

    And in some jurisdictions, you are actually required to render first aid to the person you just shot, if possible.

    Oh and James, you used the phrases “gun violence” and “gun crimes”. We’re not supposed to use those phrases and we harp on the antis constantly for doing so…

    • “render first aid” to the guy you just shot…hmmm, how about some REALLY HARD chest compressions… in the form of boot stomps? How about a tourneqet… in the form of a rear naked choke? OK, just kidding!

    • Do not point a gun at someone you don’t intend to shoot!
      Do not shoot someone you do not intend to kill!
      If you break those rules you lose.
      If you point a gun at someone you don’t have to shoot you are brandishing. It should be clear that if someone puts a gun in my face I feel my life is in danger and the green light is on to shoot you without warning.
      If you shoot someone with a non lethal shot they would be justified in feeling their life is in danger and they might just have a weapon too.
      Some people might consider it white privilege that my dad taught me this but I assure you I want everyone to know.
      Rittenhouse had a gun in his face while the yokels in Georgia chased and cornered a guy and stuck a gun in his face. If the black guy had been carrying he would have been justified in shooting. He is dead and the white guys are in jail in Georgia for life with all the joy that goes with that.

  17. Hey, the above photo shows how Baretta carried his .38 so it can’t be wrong.

    (Actually, I tried carrying a Chief’s Special that way once. Once. Ouch!)

  18. Yes I have had 1 mag. In the weapon. A mag holster, isnt one size fits all. A LCP mag isnt the same size a ria1911.
    An I admit I should do better. Its usually in the vehicle or house.
    I like the comment I heard a while back if you use the gun, or pull it inform law enforcement, if you shoot call 911 when able. We are to stop a threat, if we don’t get help it would look bad. If we dont report why we pulled a gun the BG could report a false situation (ayoob, massad’s book has a good “story” of this occurring, think its gun digest of concealed carry). Thank you for making me think over some things. An if you have a family, make sure they know what needs to be done an how to act especially if y’all have kids, know your exits, your cover an concealment. How you would engage with them near, where the nearest exits are an your fire alarms, “path of least resistance” to safety. If you’re hit your spouse knows how to use your weapon, an you train your weak side. 🙂 have a good night an stay FROSTY…

  19. “If it’s not a direct hit that stops the shooting, it certainly will be the first person who runs out of ammunition.”

    No, there is no such certainty. Many, many gunfights are over long before ammunition is exhausted or someone is incapacitated.

  20. I sort of disagree on the warning shots; if you shoot him one time, that’s a warning that if he doesn’t stop what he’s doing, you’re gonna shoot him again.

  21. 10, 9, and 5 may not be so black-and-white.

    That’s why I hate “stuff you should never do” lists.

    10 – I’ve seen folks on nature shows scare away bears with warning shots. Some of my friends who were goofing off on someone’s farm (e.g. tresspassing) were “warned off” with a shotgun blast in the air. Are you SURE you should “NEVER” fire warning shots? What if you need to get someone’s attention in an emergency and they are a long ways away? While firing a shot in many municipalities is illegal, I know for a fact that isn’t universally true because in my previous house the inconsiderate douche-bags who lived just outside the incorporation limits would be out blasting shotguns at all hours of the night, waking up the neighborhood, and the cops said there is no law against it.

    I think it would be more appropriate to say, “don’t fire warning shots when being attacked”.

    9 – The guy I know with the most privately owned guns and gun equipment swears by “Mexican carry”. He pulls it off invisibly and has never had a problem. Maybe this should be “in the author’s opinion, this isn’t not recommended”.

    5 – a gun with one mag (or cylinder) is better than no gun at all. #5 is just stupid dumbing down of a sometimes complicated issue from a blowhard. For example, if you are a runner or working out and squeeze a P32 somewhere with no second mag, isn’t that better than just not carrying? What if you carry a revolver?


  23. 11. Never, Ever, EVER take your concealed firearm out of its holster to show it to anyone under any circumstances. Once it goes in it’s holster on your person. It only gets taken out to be used to defend your life or the lives of others. It is not something to be shown off or displayed under any circumstances. That’s how accidents happen.

  24. If you are in a situation where someone is starting to give you a hard time and you don’t know what direction the situation will take, you have to be on the high road the whole time. Anything less, if you end up having to use your firearm, will work against you in a court of law. Anyone carrying a firearm has to understand that they have a high level of responsibility and better be able to practice it.

  25. semi autos are great, BUT in a panic situation Murphy’s law rears it’s ugly head. When you pull out a semiauto; if the magazine is properly seated, you’ve already fed a round into the chamber and you think to deactivate all the potential safey devices you are good to go. With a revolver you pull it out, pull the trigger and stuff happens. Remember, the most important shot you take is the first one.

  26. One of my classes for my CCW permit involved “Situations”. The lesson I took away with me is always assume there is one more bad guy.

    By the way, I didn’t renew my permit. I was always afraid I’d hit an innocent bystander and I’d never forgive myself.

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