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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.