3 things every concealed carrier should have carry
Dan Z for TTAG
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This post is aimed at people who haven’t yet committed to daily concealed carry. The fence-sitters out there who are deciding whether to take the concealed carry plunge.

If you already carry a gun on a daily basis, please share this article with your newbie and daily carry-reluctant friends. The more people who carry concealed, the safer we all will be. And the more people we’ll have to defend the right to keep and bear arms.

3 Things Every Concealed Carrier Should Carry With Them
Dan Z for TTAG

A Gun

It doesn’t matter what type of gun you carry, what caliber, or the type of bullets. What matters most is that you carry a gun.

The sad fact is that the majority of Americans who are concealed carry permit holders don’t. They’re afraid of being “discovered.” Outed. Forced to explain their decision to carry a gun to people who can’t, don’t or won’t understand.

There’s no easy way to overcome concealed carry paranoia and peer pressure. One step in the right direction: carry a list of reasons why you want to carry a gun. No one has the right to take my life; my family needs me; I love my family; because a cop is too heavy…whatever works for you. Read the list to yourself before you holster your gun.

By the same token, it helps to imagine self-defense situations as you go about your day. Imagining that you’re taking evasive or attacking action while you’re disarmed. This mental exercise trains your brain to consider non-firearms solutions to life-threatening situations (always the best case, when possible) and reminds you just how useful a gun can be if you have to use one.

The carry process itself is another reason armed Americans don’t carry on a daily basis. Law-abiding gun owners know they have to be aware of no-go areas and either avoid “gun-free zones” or disarm. That’s not much fun. Removing a concealed gun from your holster in a parking lot and stashing it in the glove box in order to comply with carry laws is awkward and can invite curious stares and the possibility of theft.

The good news: coping with concealed carry’s legal inconveniences eventually becomes habitual. But that doesn’t happen for many folks because carrying a concealed gun can be physically uncomfortable. Depending on what, where and how you carry, daily carry can be a literal PITA. Or the hip. In fact, overcoming physical discomfort is the key to making CCW a daily habit. That’s why you need . . .

3 Things Every Concealed Carrier Should Carry With Them
Tyler Kee for TTAG

A Comfortable Holster

Gun guru Clint Smith famously pronounced that carrying a gun should be comforting, not comfortable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the process as pain-free as possible.

If carrying a gun is physically annoying or painful, your average armed American won’t do it on a daily basis. Say what you will about A Nation of Wimps, choosing a comfortable carry system (gun and holster) is the single most important factor for daily concealed carry.

The general rule of thumb on concealed carry: carry the largest gun you can. Given the wide range of firearms on the market and the huge selection of holster styles (inside-the-waistband, outside-the-waistband, appendix carry, ankle carry, boot carry, small-of-the-back, etc.) you could spend a fortune trying to find the perfect, most comfortable combination. Or, as most people do, buy the wrong gun and holster combination and give up.

3 Things Every Concealed Carrier Should Carry With Them
Dan Z for TTAG

That’s why reluctant concealed carriers should start by pocket-carrying a small revolver (e.g., a Ruger LCR) or a semi-automatic pistol (e.g. a SIG SAUER P238) inside a simple sleeve holster.

Yes, there are plenty of arguments against “mouse guns.” But we’re talking about training wheels here. It’s a painless starter gun and holster combo that the owner won’t need to get rid of if and when they graduate to a different carry system with a larger gun.

Women who wear tight jeans (with nominal pockets) or tight dresses have to find other comfortable concealed carry solutions, such as a small semi-automatic pistol (e.g., the Kahr CM9) in an inside-the-waistband holster positioned in the small of their back, or an undergarment holster. But the point remains: buy a carry system. Don’t buy a gun and then try to find a way to carry it.

Go to a gun store where you can try out carry guns and holsters together, even if you have to drive hours to get there. Safety check the gun (always) and holster it. Walk, sit, jog in place, practice your draw (again, safely). Adequately road test your daily carry rig this way and you’ll be a hundred times more likely to use it on a daily basis.

3 Things Every Concealed Carrier Should Carry With Them
Dan Z for TTAG

A Cell Phone

There is no defensive gun use situation where you don’t need a phone. You need your phone to report a potential threat to the police and we hope, avoid having to use your gun in the first place. You need your phone to report a defensive gun use. And you need your phone to contact your attorney before you give a statement to law enforcement officers.

Always call the police after any defensive gun use, even if you don’t pull the trigger. If you show your gun and the bad guy or guys take off, call the police. If you don’t, the bad guy (or guys) may call the police, ID you and accuse you of being the aggressor who threatened their lives.

[Note: state your name and location, a brief description of yourself, the location of the incident (if you’ve left the scene) and the general nature of the event (e.g., “there’s been a shooting”). You don’t have to stay on the phone to answer the emergency operator’s questions. Anything you say – and how you say it – can be used against you in a court of law. When the police arrive, promise a full statement and cooperation, then invoke your right to silence.]

If you don’t have a phone – it may have become lost or damaged during the defensive gun use – ask to use someone else’s. It’s critical that you make the call, rather than a bystander. This helps establish your innocence.

There are plenty of other items a daily concealed carrier can carry besides a concealed weapon: spare ammo, a knife, a flashlight, a backup gun, pepper spray, etc. But the three items above are the gateway to daily concealed carry. With these three items you can keep calm and carry on. Every. Single. Day.

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    • Yes a flashlight. I prefer one that only has one mode or with a separate mode button so I’m not fumbling through some strobe, sos, low, med, high, nightlight, etc, bs. Something in the AA size category has been found to be big enough to use and small enough to always carry at least for me. I love a bigger 18650 size light and same with the AAA lights but the AA size has suited me well for every day carrying.

      • I am a disabled U.S.M.C. VETERAN, I have to do most things differently than most. When in the wheelchair I carry both a AA 200 lumin flashlight and the multi mode 800 lumin which has the bright light first. I also carry a knife, always. My wife and I were at breakfast and I asked the manager to ask a motorcycle owner to move his bike out of the wheelchair loading area. He threatened myself & wife in front of about 25 seniors. They called cops. when we left there he & girlfriend threatening us again, I dialed 911, short story, they didn’t pay breakfast, had warrents…. went to jail. I applied for ccw that day, took class… etc, now almost always carry,except where not legal. have lock boxes in vehicles that have cable to attach to some part of frame. Don’t want my firearm used in a crime. Wife works at Denver Detox, graveyard and gets threatened at least 6 times week. she has a taser I gave her, and eventually will get her CCW permit. This world isn’t like when we grew up.

    • Pretty much every cell phone today has a flash light.

      Plus please, tell me, how often do you see yourself aggressively clearing rooms or alleyways as a defensive concealed carrier?

      How do you plan to explain such actions to a jury?

      • Cell phone flashlights are good for things like reading something in bad light, or heading to the bathroom without turning on all the lights. If you need actual, useful light output in a situation where it’s truly actually dark, that’s when you need a real flashlight. This is not some fantasy scenario. There are streets in my neighborhood, because of big trees and buildings around, that become extremely dark if the streetlights go out. A cellphone flashlight can help you avoid tripping on a bit of uneven sidewalk, but it’s not showing you much more than that.

    • Durn tootin’.
      If your going to carry a pistol concealed you’re going to need ammo, especially with a small revolver or 9mm of less than 10 rounds. It also means a sturdy belt and two extra magazines or some way to store a couple speed loaders. Outnumbered and out of ammo is never a good idea and nothing says you’re going to face only one assailant.
      If you’re sensible, you’ll prepare accordingly.

  1. When I started ccw’n I initially had an edc like I was gonna invade Poland. Full size gun, spare mags, knive, light, medical kit, etc…. Over the years I packed less and less. Now I’m down to pocket carry (in a holster), a phone and a small pocket knife. Got tired of lugging around a bunch of stuff especially in the summer.

    • I still carry a full sized gun + reload most of the time. Besides wallet, keys, phone and watch I have carry Leatherman crater, Piranha and Micra and a one cell Streamlight. Total weight is under 4.75 pounds. Maybe the reason I don’t find that particulately heavy is that I go to gym four times per week.

    • When I first began occasionally carrying a loaded gun, I would have to wait 30 years to use a cell phone. If I were a few miles into the woods and attacked by a crazy, and managed to shoot the mofo, I’d shoot him again, maybe again, then walk away and toss the gun into the first body of water I encountered, if you would do different you should reevaluate. So, we have two extremes, always report and never report. Saying that *EVERY* response should be the same is idiotic. Be prepared. If you successfully defend yourself, take a minute to evaluate your circumstances, before you reach for a way to complicate your life. If you do not have a brain, do not carry a gun. You are not likely to ever defend yourself with a gun anyway.

      • Unfortunately (depending on the circumstances) we have reached a point where the police can solve any unplanned crime that they want, it’s just a matter of resources. Not reporting is not an option, especially if you live in a big city. If you encountered a police car on your way to and from the incident they most likely have your plate tagged in a computer. The county I just moved out of has facial ID software running on all department vehicles, notifying you if a wanted criminal is walking down the road – but could also be used to track someone’s whereabouts later on. Your cellphone will rat on you. Your car possibly as well. As we saw in Smollett’s case all businesses now have cameras pointed to the front of their properties as well. If you are in an incident, especially one with shots fired, report it immediately if your local police have any funding or work ethic. Honestly part of me expects that in 20 years all cold case files will be reviewed by AI with access to any data from that time period that was saved. I think at this point it’s just better call a lawyer and deal with things head on.

        • Bobski, this is the best advice. Big Brother is everywhere and the best thing to do is to be the first to call it in. The last two times I was involved in a traffic accident I was the first to call it in and when I did, the 911 operator asked “are you the person in the ‘x’ colored car?“ The traffic cameras had caught it all and they were waiting for the first to call it in; the one who does gets much credit.

      • Actually all you needed to do Is replace the barrel,extractor and firing pin….unless that would cost more than the gun then never mind.

    • I am with you. Done the same for 15 years. Most men can carry 9mm or 40 in their pocket, why go through all the rigmarole to carry anything more? I carry every day, all day because it easy with a pocket gun

  2. Six things. Add a reload, a knife (it doesn’t have to be a Jimmy Lyle Rambo special), and a light. A one cell Surefire is fine.

    • Hey, there are flashlight competitions, too, jesus, some of the available choices are SCARY! Cook you til your skin boils in 2 seconds.

  3. I love my 1911 with a de-cock. It’s much safer than m 9mm with a grip squeeze safety. I’ve dropped the 1911 several times with no problem. I once dropped the striker fired 9mm and it discharged.

    With a heavy trigger pull for the first round on the 1911, but a reasonably light trigger pull on the second and subsequent rounds I can fire the first round in the general direction and get any assailant to start moving in whatever direction he likes to avoid subsequent rounds.

    All subsequent rounds can be well aimed once he’s exposed his retreat strategy.

    • If your 9mm fired when dropped, you should have a gunsmith look at it immediately. It shouldn’t do that, striker fired not withstanding.

    • What!? David what movie did you get that gunfight strategy from? For sure not a realistic one. If this shit weren’t so serious I would have laughed. Hard.

      • Seriously, David. Your strategy sounds like a throw back to the ’80s when the double action auto was becoming popular. As well as the concept of the first shot being a “throw away” round. There are no throw away rounds. “Retreat strategy?” Sounds like running away. That usually means no longer away. That sounds like no longer a threat. Shooting at your previous adversary now sounds like a felony. What DA 1911 are you shooting. I remember the Colt Double Eagle and some models marketed by Para Ordinance. Thought all of those had long fell by the wayside.

        • Esp no throwaway rounds with a 7+1 round 1911. Maybe if you are carrying a 17+1 gun like a Glock 17. But definitely not if the throwaway round is 12.5% of the rounds you have loaded in the firearm.

        • There are no “throwaway” shots to a prosecutor. If you fire it, you’re responsible for where it goes.

    • No complaint on a hammer fired pistol with a de-cock.

      But any pistol that fires when dropped is either an antique or defective. No modern handgun should fire when dropped. Any that even slightly dents the primer should be taken to a gunsmith or returned to the manufacturer.

      • I got so distracted by the “dropping the pistol part” that I read right past the whole DA/SA 1911 thing, lol.

    • Given the casual approach you describe, just running away would normally be the best choice. Otherwise, rather than firing off a round to who knows where, how about just thumbing the hammer back? Then shooting the mofo, rather than pissing off BBs in dangerous directions. I do agree that the fuckup may reevaluate his actions once he discovers someone else is armed, but I would prefer trying to SHOOT him while sending that message.

    • If your 1911 has a heavy trigger pull for the first round,but a reasonably light trigger pull on the second and subsequent rounds, you should defer from using it immediately and have a qualified gunsmith look at it imminently. Either it has a very serious malfunction or you got gipped, it is not a 1911. 1911’s have only one trigger pull, single action.

  4. – Ammo
    – A flashlight – and I mean a good one, of at least 200 lumens, better 500. Lights this bright become part of your self-defense tooling.
    – A knife – because, sometimes, self-defense situations come in distances too close to draw a gun. Close-up, knives can be superior self-defense tools. You need to know how to use them, and you need to understand that it will get messy if you have to use it.

    • Carry insurance

      The problem with a top 3 list is there is always more things that they forgot to add 🙂

    • “– A knife – because, sometimes, self-defense situations come in distances too close to draw a gun. ”

      If you can draw a knife, you can draw a gun

      “Close-up, knives can be superior self-defense tools. You need to know how to use them, and you need to understand that it will get messy if you have to use it.”

      Knives are messy? Compared to what – Guns? You gotta be kidding.

  5. 1. A 1911.

    2. A second 1911.

    3. A third 1911.

    Leave everything else at home, your bases are covered for whatever may come.

  6. I carried for years with a inside waist holster. As became older and more weight it started hurting. I tried outside holster , leg holster could never find anything handy or comfortable. Friend with gun shop mentioned a smaller gun. Bought Ruger .38 with 2 1/2 barrel. First my right hand is crippled with man made trigger finger.Never had trouble shooting with man made finger. Could not even pull trigger. was jerky with bad pattern. Took to gun smith to see what could be done. He recommended left hand. I went home and practiced to where I am more accurate and faster with left hand. Found left front pocket in jeans worked fine for holster.
    3-4 second draw cock fire in 4 in circle. I have to go to one of worse Crime Cities to V.A. I was there day before thugs blocked freeway. Broke car windows. I carry. No gun allowed on V.A. property.(I fought a war for them.) I put a small sturdy safe bolted in trunk of car. Lock gun in that just before going on their property. They approved it.

  7. I would carry everywhere if not for all the places where it is prohibited. This makes it a necessity to have a holster that is easily removed and put back on. The biggest problem is my workplace, I am not about to risk my job to take my gun out of the vehicle let alone concealed into the building.

    If not for such annoying limitations I would never have less than the mouse gun .380 in a pocket holster and would routinely carry a full sized pistol openly.

    That’s just life where Second Amendment rights, private property rights and miscellaneous laws come into conflict with simple good sense.

      • Aurora was typical case of higher risk of death caused by gun laws. The guy was prohibited form owning a gun, he had no carry licensed yet was carrying. Criminals and guys who are bad guys are not affected by laws. The only thing the gun laws and workplace prohibition did was make sure the victims were unarmed

  8. I work in a no gun zone. Park at work in a no gun zone. I drive through no gun states. And my state has such an onerous process for getting a licence I don’t have one.
    I’d carry if it weren’t flat out illegal for me to do so.

    • GS650G .you must live in N.Y , just saying. It is a shithole of a place to live. I know because unfortunately I live there. I give it an A+ for being the biggest offender of 2A Rights. Good article Dan , thanks.

      • nyc may be but NY state is better than many others in that you can at least secure a license to carry. Good luck with that in NJ, MD, etc.

  9. From reading this article, it sounds like I’ll need to carry around an attorney – or at least keep one on retainer!

    • I think some of us would be suprised that many do not have CCW insurance (a retainer for attorney services after a DGU). I keep my CCW card and CCW Safe card together in my wallet.

  10. 3 non-obvious things maybe? Title is a little clickbait-y

    Would have said


    But for objects:

    Spare Magazine/speed loader (Of reputable brand)
    Flash Light (200 lumens+)
    Cell phone (Reasons stated in article)

  11. “[I]t helps to imagine self-defense situations as you go about your day. Imagining that you’re taking evasive or attacking action while you’re disarmed. This mental exercise trains your brain to consider non-firearms solutions to life-threatening situations (always the best case, when possible) and reminds you just how useful a gun can be if you have to use one.”

    LOL, great idea for everyone to move through life constantly thinking about being threatened by deadly attack. Is it every person of color you’re afraid of, every person between 12 and 70, or just everyone?

    • I do this all the time, even when I cannot carry, especially prior to, during and after transitional spaces. This cannot be done while being distracted and becomes routine with time.

    • “Is it every person of color you’re afraid off”

      Are you a race baiting Jussie Smollett type only here or all the time?

      Firstly people who carry tend to be less fearful, not more fearful. Awareness is not fear.

      As far as what demographics commit more violent crime and therefore objective prevent a higher risk, there are some fairly huge cohort differences.For example are you denying military age males are not more likely to commit violent crime?

      Any and EVERY basic non-gun self defense class teaches you to increase awareness. They also teach you different cohorts are more dangerous. if a grandmother appears to follows you on a a three block city street section walk at 2pm it objectively NOT the same risk as three military age males doing so at 2am.

      So, STFU. Ok? you are obviously a victim waiting to be victimized — in addition to someone comfortable with your own race bating hate speech.

  12. Nyet!

    Hammerless J-frame 10 pound trigger in coat pocket carry not needing holster.


    Cell phone not needing in 1983 and just big distraction today.

  13. I’ve been packing a pair of pistols so long that I don’t feel quite right with just one…I also have a high discomfort threshold. That said, three items won’t do…how about:
    A gun
    A spare mag (2 preferable)
    All the normal stuff (a phone, keys, money and ID.)
    A knife
    A flashlight.
    At this point I’d add a second gun.
    Now add another knife.
    Perhaps a less lethal here: spray, baton, something.
    Now add a second light, and second keys and second container for additional money and cards…
    Hey, I’m almost dressed!

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