Eric Hung writes:
What piqued your interest in getting your permit to concealed carry? Are you freaking out about riots springing up and want to have a fighting chance to defend yourself? Or are you traveling for work and want to protect yourself no matter where you are?
For me, I like to camp and backpack. Some of the areas where I camp are prone to bears and other big things that might try to eat me. My motivation to get my concealed carry permit was to carry my GLOCK 27 only when I was in God’s country and needed the protection.
But that changed when I actually took the course and had the permission of the great state of Wisconsin to concealed carry. Here are some situations you might not have thought of that you should definitely keep in mind if you are thinking about getting your concealed carry permit:
1. Feeling Like Everyone is Looking at You
When you legally carry your firearm for the first time, you’re going to feel like everyone is looking at you. Remember that big zit you had in high school and everyone was looking at you? Yeah, it’s not that bad, but it’s the same sort of feeling.
You’ll realize though, that virtually no one notices. However, you will have to modify some of the ways you do things depending on where on your body you like to carry.
For example, if you carry your gun at the 4:00 or 5:00 o’clock position on your hip, your gun may print (show the outline of your weapon) when you bend over to get something off the bottom shelf at the grocery store.
2. The Responsibility
This may seem like a given, but now more situations require you to keep a zen-like calm about you.
Think about those times you’ve been cut off when driving and your blood pressure skyrocketed. If you get into an argument and someone sees you have a gun, they could feel threatened.
You can’t flash your gun to win an argument. If you remove your gun from your holster, it has to be because you genuinely fear for your life. It needs to be a scenario where it’s a you-or-them outcome. If it’s not, there are legal consequences you may face like charges of assault with a deadly weapon, or at a minimum, brandishing a firearm.
That’s not something you want to deal with. Ever.
3. All of the Places That Are Off Limits When You are Carrying
When you aren’t carrying a weapon, you pretty much go anywhere you want. When you’re carrying, you need to be a little more cautious. Those no gun signs are your Kryptonite.
You’ll learn pretty quickly there are a lot of places with no gun policies. Places like churches, state or federal buildings, pretty much any place that has anything that has to do with children, movie theaters, many stores, bars, and event venues are no-go zones when you’re armed.
4. What to Do With My Gun When I Can’t Take In a Store With Me
Unfortunately, this happens a lot. You’re out running errands and you come to a store with a no guns allowed sign on the door. What do you do?
You have a few options.
First, you can choose another establishment. As you can tell by watching the news, spineless bad guys love to target “gun-free zones.” Going in leaves you unable to protect yourself. Many uneducated business owners believe the sign on the door will keep the bad guys out.
The second option is to lock your gun in the car. This is the most frequent go-to option, unless someone who wants to steal your gun knows you have it in the car.
Keeping your weapon secure while it’s in your vehicle isn’t as easy. Sure you can put it in your glove compartment or center console. More and more though, car manufacturers are removing the locks. And even when they’re there, the locks are easily popped with a screwdriver.
A good alternative is a personal sized safe that installs in your vehicle. Nothing’s foolproof, but at least it’s a metal structure with a lock and provides a little peace of mind for the times you can’t take your gun with you.
The third choice option — and the least comfortable for most carriers — is to leave your gun at home if you know your destination is a no-go zone. If you’re taking your kids to the waterpark, it’s a pretty good bet you can’t carry there. It’s a decision each concealed carrier has to make for himself.
5. The Problem of Reciprocity
One thing I did look into before I took my CCW class was where my Wisconsin permit would be valid. I found that if I go to Minnesota, they don’t recognize my permit, and therefore I can’t carry there.
In this situation, you have a couple of choices. If you frequent another state that doesn’t have reciprocity with yours, you can get get a permit from that state. Some states offer non-resident CCW permits. The other option is to take the class for a state like Utah that has a widely accepted permit.
If you decide to go the Utah route, keep an eye on which states accept still recognize the permit. In my case, Minnesota no longer accepts the Utah permit. There are many easy-to-use reciprocity maps out there to help you check which states accept your state’s permit.
6. How Much of a Pain It Is to Travel
Traveling while carrying adds inconvenience to your trip. Most states allow you to keep a weapon — some even allow you to carry it concealed, in your car while you drive as long as you’re in your vehicle. Others require you to keep it locked and unloaded as you drive through.
Make sure you know the transportation rules of the states you’ll be traveling through. It will help you avoid an incident if you have an unexpected meeting with law enforcement. You don’t want to rely on the “I didn’t know that wasn’t legal here” plea.
Flying is another consideration. Take an already inconvenient process and make it more time complex and consuming… no thank you. That said, the TSA has gotten better in dealing with the firearms check-in process. If you’re going to fly with your gun, just be sure to know and follow the TSA rules for storage, locks, etc.
7. Training and Practice
While these aren’t mandatory, if you aren’t an accurate shot or freeze if and when you have to defend your life, there’s no real reason to carry a weapon.
Most cities have an area where you can shoot. You may need to drive 30 minutes to get there, but you should be able to find one.
You want to create good habits and muscle memory. You need to be able to draw your gun from your holster and bring it to the exact same shooting position every time. You need to do this over and over again. Practicing your draw with an empty gun at home is a good idea, too.
Going to the range regularly will let you get a feel for your trigger, the recoil, reacquiring your target after you fire a round and more. There is no substitute for live fire training. You might be one hell of a shot in video games, but it’s very different squeezing the trigger on a real firearm. The more and better you practice, the less you’ll need to think about it in the heat of the moment.
Be A Responsible Gun Owner
Your life will change when you decide to exercise your right to bear arms and carry every day. You’ll find yourself being more observant and aware of your surroundings. You’ll also find yourself avoiding more potential drama than you did before you decided to carry. Know the four rules of gun safety and practice them. Be an example for other gun owners and — maybe more important — non-gunowners, demonstrating what responsible gun ownership looks like.
What were some things you found out after you started concealed carrying regularly?
(This article originally appeared at pewpewtactical.com and is reprinted here with permission.)