3 Things You Won’t Learn in Your Concealed Carry Class

things they don't tell you in concealed carry class

courtesy Alien Gear

Most states have mandatory training requirements as part of their concealed carry permit process. The quality of that training can vary. Widely. That said, most of it tends to be pretty good and fairly comprehensive, including everything from the basics of how guns operate to compliance with local laws.

But no matter how well taught a CCW class may be, they don’t cover everything. Here are three things they never teach you in conceal carry class.

1) Carrying a Gun Will Make You Paranoid, At Least at First

The first time you strap on a concealed firearm, it feels like you’re carrying a Howitzer. You’ll be convinced you have a big sign over your head telling everyone, “I’VE GOT A GUN!” Even in states with a gun-friendly culture (places like Arizona, Alaska and Montana), first-timers worry that a stranger is going to notice their gun and confront them.

Pistol-packing paranoia makes perfect sense. Public speaking is Americans’ greatest fear; we’re hard-wired to be afraid of public embarrassment. Being “outed” while carrying a gun – especially by someone who’s rabidly anti-gun or terrified of them – is like public speaking on steroids.

“Oh my God! He’s got a gun! What do you need that for?!”

Even if you live in a gun-friendly area, that fear isn’t completely unrealistic. No matter how much you mentally rehearse a reply to a gun-shamer or prepare for a law enforcement response (!), the prospect of an armed confrontation — no matter how remote — still creates low-level paranoia (and constant checking of your cover garments).

It’s not comfortable.

Exposure therapy — i.e. Wally walks — is the only “cure.” The more you carry a concealed firearm without being outed, the less anxiety you’ll feel.

It’s something every new carrier has to go through, something that usually lasts between a week and a month. The trick: go through it. If you find excuses not to carry daily, the paranoia will never entirely go away. Or, worse still, you might eventually abandon the whole idea of concealed carry.

2) Carrying a gun changes you – for the better

Gun control advocates have this strange idea: they believe that carrying a gun makes a person into a macho, trigger-happy, make-my-day wanna-be.

Like so many gun-grabber “arguments,” they’ve got it exactly backwards. Carrying a gun actually make you less confrontational.

Why would you want to engage in any confrontation when any confrontation could lead to escalation which could lead to a ballistic response which is the last thing you ever want to have?

This confrontation avoidance thought process becomes second nature for concealed carriers. You become far less likely – if not completely unlikely – to engage in road rage or any sort of altercation with a stranger.

Sure,  there are CCW carriers with anger issues which won’t disappear when they receive the state’s permission to bear arms. But that’s not you, a person who took the time to read an article entitled ‘3 Things You Won’t Learn in Your Concealed Carry Class.’

Another psychological aspect instructors don’t mention: concealed carry makes you more independent. By assuming direct responsibility for your own self-defense and that of your loved ones, you lose your inherent, perhaps subconscious dependency on the state’s protection. You realize that you are a sovereign citizen. That you are your own first responder, responsible for your own safety.

It’s an understanding that you’re in control of your own destiny in a worst case scenario, when controlling your destiny is a matter of life and death. That, in turn, makes you feel more in control of your own destiny at other, less dramatic times.

Most firearm instructors will talk about the enormous responsibility of carrying a firearm. What they don’t tell you is how it makes you a better person.

3) Carrying a gun is addictive

The only way to tell if you’re addicted to something: take it away and see if you suffer withdrawal. At the risk of giving anti-gunners more ammo to (further) disparage Americans who exercise their gun rights, I’m going to say it: concealed carry is addictive.

Anyone who carries a gun on an everyday basis can tell you about those times when they suddenly realize they’re not carrying one. Like when they disarm to go into the post office, forget to re-arm and enter a non-“gun-free zone.”

Crap…I don’t have my gun! They’re plagued by the thought, “What if this is the one time need it?”

The former paranoia of having a gun eventually becomes the paranoia of not having one. Traveling to states that don’t recognize your concealed carry license/permit can be an ordeal for a regular concealed carrier. There are gun owners who won’t go anywhere where their gun isn’t welcome; local businesses, entire states and foreign countries.

Normally, NGP (no-gun paranoia) manifests itself in increased situational awareness. Gun control advocates believe this behavior indicates some kind of moral weakness or personality disorder. It is, in fact, a normal, survival instinct, amplified by carrying a concealed weapon on a regular basis.

I’m sure those of you who carry have other examples of what you didn’t learn in concealed carry class. Please share them below.

comments

  1. avatar Thomas says:

    Thanks Staffi,

    Some thoughtful, uh, thoughts! 😉

  2. avatar Texican says:

    Most CCW classes don’t teach you how to shoot. If you don’t know how to shoot you should get those skills before you’re CCW class.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      CCW class isn’t supposed to teach you how to shoot. It’s supposed to teach you the law.

      1. avatar Bobski says:

        In Oregon the required training does neither. I remember signing up for an online “class” and hitting play on the video. Then I did the dishes and made my kids lunch. Then I came back and took a short multiple question test on basic gun handling and safety. I chalked this up to the Oregon Democrats not wanting you to know the laws, because as far as carry goes this is a very permissive state (once you have your CHL.) Carry in schools, churches and the state capitol building, all the way up to the governors office (gasp!!) no force of law for signs, no duty to retreat etc… That combined with shall issue makes (for now) Oregon one of the best states for carry that isn’t constitutional carry. But if they taught people the law they couldn’t attempt to wrongfully arrest them anyway – I’m looking at you Port of Portland Police.

        1. avatar WareWolf MoonWall says:

          My experience was much better than yours in Oregon, but I also went to an in person course which was provided by a retired LEO.

          They essentially covered the fundamentals of making smart and legal use of force, offered some basic advise on the nature of revolvers vs semi auto, and encouraged folks to actually buy ammo to practice with the firearm and to always carry.

          I actually thought it was a pretty interesting course, particularly for the people watching.

      2. avatar SoCalJack says:

        Mine taught me how to shot from the hip at close range, shoot my gun while in a jacket pocket, and to use a loud, clear authorative voice at the BG to “drop the weapon!”
        IMO, the instruction with feedback is what seprates CCW training class from practicing by myself.

      3. avatar Texican says:

        And you wouldn’t believe how many people show up with no shooting skills.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “And you wouldn’t believe how many people show up with no shooting skills.”

          And yet, there is a nearly *endless* number of examples where people with zero formal training do just fine in a defensive shooting…

        2. avatar WhiteDevil says:

          Guns are easy to operate machines, after all.

      4. avatar frank speak says:

        lawyers never tell you everything…why should they?…

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          when in doubt…don’t…which is the best legal advice you’ll ever get….

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Texican,

      Everyone knows how to shoot because everyone knows how to point a gun and pull the trigger. That’s all there is to it. Point and pull the trigger. It isn’t rocket science.

      That is all the skill anyone needs to prevail in something like 98% of self-defense events.

      1. avatar JD says:

        My God you are full of shit as the day is long. Every time you spew this absolute bullshit, I will be right here to call you on it.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          ‘JD’, he’s one thousand percent correct.

          You’re the one who doesn’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

          Is it ideal? No.

          But there are countless examples of people doing just that at close range.

          There have been about 500 years of very smart people continually optimizing the design…

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “That’s all there is to it. Point and pull the trigger. It isn’t rocket science.”

        One of the best examples of a dead-nuts simple, yet intuitive user interface.

        (Guns were user-friendly centuries before that term was ‘popular’…)

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          One has to wonder if JD knows the history of the term “bullet proof”. That history pretty well proves that 99% of what he says is total horseshit.

          Also, WTF is going on with you today Geoff? You’re swearing at people multiple times. First that miner guy and now this. It’s almost like you hung out with me this morning or something.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Also, WTF is going on with you today Geoff?”

          A potential health issue related to last month’s ‘fun’. What will be will be.

          And I’m pretty much fed up with some of the new trolls we’ve attracted. And I’m gonna call their bullshit out…

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          Fair enough.

          Hope all goes well for you health-wise and trollslaying-wise (hopefully not in a osrs way).

        4. avatar possum says:

          Hang in there Geoff.

        5. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Thanks, Strych and ‘Marsupial One’…

        6. avatar JD says:

          Lmao more fucking retards! If all of you think that’s all there is to self defense and shooting, I’ll come out and say it, you all suck and have no idea how to shoot. Geoff (who spells his name the gay way) call away. Just know you wouldn’t stand a chance in a gunfight. It’s absolute bullshit that uncommon sense spews that people read and think huh, well I guess that’s all I need to know! As someone who actually Does know what the fuck I’m talking about, I at least feel the need to point out bullshit when I see it.

        7. avatar JD says:

          And strych9 I was winning championships at the national level when you were still swimming around in your daddy’s nutsack. You’re still shitting green so you need go go sit in the corner and shut your suck and learn something..

        8. avatar jwm says:

          jd, you’re a liar and a piss poor one at that.

        9. avatar JD says:

          Jwm how am I a liar?

        10. avatar jwm says:

          JD. Show proof of one national win. You’re a snarky kid that’s read a few things and it makes you think you can run with the big dogs. You have no real world experience and every time you post you prove it.

        11. avatar JD says:

          Lmao! Jwm, I have nothing to prove to any of you sloths. If my name and face wouldn’t be plastered all over the inter web I would provide links. However, i DO have a business so you’re not getting shit. I’m no kid. I’m no special operator either. I will tell you I gained my shooting experience from the competition field and I currently hold GM and M rankings in both major governing bodies and multiple divisions. I’ve taught 1000s of students both civilian and Leo alike. And I see you types all the time saying you know what you’re doing and then shoot the floor or shoot the ceiling on an indoor range. Set out a 8.5”x11” piece of paper at 9 feet and watch the so called experts miss every shot in their magazine. Or the guy who knows what he’s doing because he’s been taught by their friends and they have been shooting a long time, had a jam and has to muzzle the entire range because he really DOESN’T know what he’s doing. So that’s why I post and have the attitude like I do, is because I see it all the time in person. I had a Vietnam vet come in one day, nice guy, did some Shit in the jungle. Decided he was gonna carry a snub nose .44 mag. I showed him the correct stance and arm positioning to absorb recoil, and you know what he told me? Son, I’ve killed people in the jungle I can handle this. First shot he buried the hammer in his left cheek. And what a pain in the ass that is because the class has to stop and I have to administer 1st aid and call an ambulance. Well I’m here to tell you he made it out of the hellhole jungle without a scratch, but he didn’t make home from the range that day without a scratch. And it’s all ego! Listening to what someone has to say and teach because they do it for a living, can save a lot of headaches. Hey, you guys do what you want to do. Stay lowest common denominator for all I care. Some of you may even be at the mediocre stage. If that’s what you want, fine. But just don’t spread bullshit around that no one needs to be trained. And I really don’t understand why all you guys think training means rappelling down walls kicking in doors etc. that’s not what I teach.

        12. avatar JD says:

          Oh and jwm those big dogs of which you speak? Jerry Miculek, Rob Leatham, Todd jarret, Dave sivigny, Ernie langdon, Phil schrader, etc etc etc. Yes I’ve shot with all those guys and many others. Ive hung with all of them. I’ve never had less than a top 10 finish. You guys on this board aren’t big dogs, you’re all yappy yorkies..

        13. avatar jwm says:

          jd, again, you’re a liar. And not a good one. Some big mouthed punk with no life. Never shot a gun.

  3. avatar joel says:

    All i can say is I’ve experienced all three of these points, almost in that order. I do occasionally travel to foreign countries, like Germany, California, or India, and i do not like leaving my gun at home. Situational awareness goes WAY up.

  4. avatar Bruce says:

    “2) Carrying a gun changes you – for the better”

    One thing that it has done for me is give me an excuse not to drink a beer or two when we are out in public. I am the designated driver anyway, but there is often, esp with my spouse, pressure to let loose a bit. Even more the case when it comes to pot, which is becoming progressively more legal as time goes on, because having THC in your system typically invalidates your CCW permit. One reason to forgo all of these mind affecting substances is that you really don’t want to face a prosecutor arguing that you discharged your firearm at least partially as a result of your altered state of mind.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Do you need to make excuses not to indulge in certain behaviors? No….works for me.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I’ve never understood this line of reasoning.

        The law varies from state to state but if it’s legal do people really think “Golly, sober I’m responsible and law abiding but if I have a few sips of the Devil’s Brew I’ll go apeshit and shoot a bunch of people!”?

        1. avatar joel says:

          I know more than a few angry drunks that i would be perfectly fine with carrying a gun sober, but would be ready to shoot on site if i saw them holding a gun drunk.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          They can’t really claim to be responsible people if they get totally wasted all the time.

        3. avatar Hannibal says:

          Look at it from the other direction. Say you’ve had a few. You are involved in a dispute. You end up using your firearm. The police arrive and smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your person. Maybe the shooting was justified but the DA and system will take much more of an interest thanks to your consumption of alcohol. And think about when the civil suit hits! Remember Bernie Goetz? He was found ‘not guilty’ of murder\attempted murder but got nailed for 43 million in a civil suit, damages that do not get discharged by bankruptcy. Imagine the glee in the lawyer’s eye when he finds out that you own a nice house and had two beers before paralyzing his client.

        4. avatar strych9 says:

          “Look at it from the other direction. Say you’ve had a few…”

          OK, let’s look at this both ways just to be fair. We’ll look at both worst case scenarios. Both assume that it’s legal for you to have had a few but that you are not legally drunk and nothing else illegal has been done on your part.

          Option 1: You disarm. Now you’re legally free and clear from a malicious prosecution but this situation means your fucked because you need your gun and don’t have it. The idea that this would have been a legit shoot means, by definition, you’re screwed without your gun because otherwise you wouldn’t have shot someone. If you didn’t need the gun you’d be charged regardless because you shot someone when you didn’t need to. But, since you have no gun you’re not charged with a crime because you’re the victim. However, you’re dead, seriously fucked up and/or possibly bankrupt due to medical bills.

          Option 2: Drink responsibly and carry the gun responsibly: The same situation arises. You defend yourself successfully (for the purposes of this argument). The DA maliciously charges you and you get sued by the attacker’s family. You’re in jail and bankrupt.

          Where’s the difference? Either you’re dead and your family is fucked or you’re alive and your family is fucked.

          This isn’t an argument for not carrying when having a couple. It’s an argument for not carrying.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          I guess I should have been clear. I don’t drink or use drugs. Period. Any time anyone, regardless of our relationship, asks me to do something I’m not down with I simply tell them no.

          I don’t make or look for excuses to not do these things.

        6. avatar strych9 says:

          jwm:

          I wasn’t referring to your comment, I was referring to the OP by Bruce. I agree with your line of reasoning entirely.

          My point was that I don’t understand his line of reasoning, not yours. I was the one who was unclear.

        7. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “I know more than a few angry drunks…”

          From *years* of personal experience being ‘stewed to the gills’, no one ever becomes anything when they are drunk. They are the *exact same* way sober, but they hide it better sober.

          Wanna know the very best way to find the true personality of someone? Like a potential life mate? Get ’em drunk and pick a fight with them. Their inner self will be made as clear as a bell…

        8. avatar jwm says:

          Geoff, alcohol, like the internet, brings out the real person.

          Witness jd as a prime example.

  5. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    And if someone asks you if the reason you are carrying is because you are afraid you should answer that I am not afraid, it’s you who are afraid.

  6. avatar jwm says:

    Crap. We got transgenders, lgbwhatever, we got white women identifying as black, we got pyscho AOC in congress and now we got to contend with building fuckers.

    How is that even possible? Course, there are a lot of slots in there……..

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      *slowly rubs temples while sighing heavily*
      🤠

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Something, something, round peg, rectangular hole…

      2. avatar Cloudbuster says:

        “Something, something, round peg, rectangular hole…”

        And geometry porn, too.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      jwm,

      Oh, that was pretty good — and incredibly sly!

      Thanks for the laugh.

    3. avatar Fully Involved says:

      Well autophilia is a thing, so there is no doubt in my mind that this is a fetish too. Im sure if you look hard enough you’ll find online porn catering to it.

      The times we live in….

  7. avatar OldProf49 says:

    Keep in mind that while Arizona is certainly more “gun friendly” than most blue states, our political landscape is changing. Our urban areas (Phoenix, Tucson, etc) have seen an influx of liberal blue staters for several years and they won’t be satisfied until they’ve remade Arizona in their blue state’s image. Arizona voters recently elected a liberal extremist (Kyrsten Sinema) to the US Senate and most of her votes came from the urban Phoenix and traditionally liberal Tucson areas. Liberals gained several seats in our state legislature last November, and they’re already flexing their newly found muscle. I’ve seen more “NO GUNS” signs posted in the last year than ever before. And I’ve learned the hard way that while open carry is legal, it’s not tolerated as it used to be, even when no sign is posted.

    1. avatar Defens says:

      It’s a sad trend – as a native Oregonian and a 40 year Washington emigrant, I’ve also watched the liberalization of once-great states. It doesn’t feel that liberating.

    2. avatar binder says:

      You must have been living there very long. I remember when Licensed concealed carry was new. Trust me, even “pro” gun people were trying to figure it all out.

      In the Chicago area, I have seen more and more signs disappearing.

  8. avatar Jay says:

    What is this thing you call…. post office?

  9. Why would you want to engage in any confrontation when any confrontation could lead to escalation which could lead to a ballistic response which is the last thing you ever want to have?

    Correction: is it the next to last thing you ever want to have.

    But the point is true. When I’m armed, which is pretty much always when I’m out and about, I am a more easy-going and tolerant man, more courteous. Heinlein got it.

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    What isn’t covered varies from state to state and trainer to trainer.

    My only question is if people really become calmer and more… tolerant while carrying. I kinda think this is just something we say but is really just “magic talisman” thinking. Generally it seems to me that most legal gun owners were never predisposed to bothering other people.

    It’s the type of person who chooses to carry that generally dictates the way they interact with others rather than the choice to carry dictating/changing behavior.

    1. avatar Herbert Smith says:

      I’m not a combative guy anyway (much), but I am very aware of what I could lose if I get in a confrontation while armed. Therefore I am more careful as well as more aware when carrying. I study the law more too. So yes, it makes me a better person.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I suspect you’re just more aware of your own nature rather than aware of reality and changing your behavior.

        Of course there’s no real way to know for sure because we don’t have a “control” you to compare this against. I just note that I’ve never met anyone who was changed like this. I’ve known a lot of people that tell me they changed in this way when they started carrying but when I point out how they were before suddenly realize/agree that they’re not different they’re just more aware of the way they think, and in reality, have always thought.

        Not that any of this really matters, it’s merely a point of academic interest to me (and probably virtually no one else).

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          while it diminishes some risk…it greatly enhances others…you need to know what you’re getting into…and consider all the possible consequences…this is serious business…so get some insurance…

  11. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Exposure therapy — i.e. Wally walks — is the only “cure.” The more you carry a concealed firearm without being outed, the less anxiety you’ll feel.”

    I’ll offer this –

    To get over the embarrassment that you might get ‘made’ by someone you know locally during your ‘Wally Walk’, do it two or three towns down the road from your usual locale…

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      “To get over the embarrassment that you might get ‘made’ by someone you know…” stop giving a fuck about the opinions of other people, what they see or how they feel. If you find this difficult Google “how to stop giving a fuck” (no, really) for assistance.

      Embarrassment issue solved without the increased travel time or cost. Just seems easier to me.

      1. avatar SouthAl says:

        Yup, when it comes to this, my friends think I am taking 1000 mg a day of that new drug, “fuckidol”.

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        only liberals think that way…and try to rationalize it through apologetic responses…the rest of us just take it as a matter if course that a great many more people are armed these days than used to be…….

  12. avatar MLee says:

    Those are true. As I tell new folks to carrying, the first time you carry into a store or something, you’re going to feel like you are going to go to prison.

    I almost never forget my gun, but I have. Just a few days ago I forgot it. What I generally do though is forget my wallet, get to where I’m going and check myself by patting my butt to see if my wallet is there and it’s not, but I got my gun….which isn’t good because some cop could be a shit-head about it.
    As far as making me a better person, carrying a firearm carries with it an added responsibility. Just like me having a pilots license, I make sure I don’t endanger it by doing dumb things and so it is with my CPL.
    It’s a well known fact that people with carry licenses are far less to commit crimes, even less that that of police officers.

    1. avatar jram01 says:

      MLee;
      Good points. That’s the way the all of us should think.

  13. avatar rc says:

    This is pretty much spot on…first week I carried I was convinced people could even tell I was packing when I was walking around in my house. After that, I realized that most people wouldn’t notice if you were walking around with a “I’m a murderous terrorist” tattoo on your forehead. Just cover the basics and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t touch ‘it’ in public. And yes, I do feel vulnerable in those situations where I must disarm. That is why I simply avoid any state that doesn’t reciprocate with my own. I don’t go there because I can.

  14. avatar Smith Wesson says:

    I think this is a really old article that is being re used.

    1. avatar MLee says:

      Some things are worth a re-hash, don’t you think?

  15. avatar Hans says:

    Hay, I still lick their stamps.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Now, that was funny. 🙂

  16. avatar Gadsden says:

    I wouldn’t use the term “sovereign citizen”. Those people are just as big of asshats as Antifa. They are anti private property too, just as much as they are anti law.

    1. avatar Toni says:

      actually most “soveriegn citizen” types i have met have been very private property, very self defence, very minimalist govt and very free market economy as well as anti corporate banking. Yes i have met a couple of the sort you mention though. In certain situations though i do like the old dutch model where if they were no longer up to the work of keeping the dyke (the wall that kept the sea out) in good repair as well as the rest of the work on the land they would put their shovel in the dyke and leave for the nest person to take over the work and from what i hear there were always plenty waiting for that opportunity. there was good money to be made from those blocks along the dykes but it was a lot of hard work and a lot of responsibility to the community at large hence why it was the way it was

  17. avatar Kendahl says:

    A contributor to (1) is places where, although legal, you will no longer be welcome if your gun is discovered. I used to think ankle carry was discreet until a nurse asked me to pull up my pant legs so she could attach electrodes to my calves for an ECG. Now, it’s pocket carry so I can disrobe if needed without revealing that I’m armed.

    It can be hard to tell whether someone objects to guns in particular or to self defense in general. A good way is to start off with, “I don’t need a gun.” They will nod in approval. Then, continue with, “If someone attacks me, I can kick him in the crotch and then the face.” (I know that’s not valid for a mass murderer beyond arm’s reach.) You can tell be their reaction what they really object to.

    Some medical professionals handle patients roughly when their injuries are the result of an activity of which the professional disapproves. The son of a work colleague broke his leg riding motocross. His father had to ask the hospital staff if they would show as little sympathy to a football player with the same injury as they showed his son. I’ve heard of injured crime victims having the same experience after the staff learns they fought back.

  18. avatar Imayeti says:

    Good write up staff. Thanks.

  19. avatar possum says:

    A CCW holder was having much trouble with a neighbor. He.quit carrying because, ” No he and I are going to get into it and the last thing I need is more trouble, I’m leaving the gunn at home.”.. .this was a good article I think

  20. avatar frank speak says:

    they make the rules…you need to understand them…compliance is your option

  21. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    2- for sure. Metro Detroit and I don’t even flip the bird after getting cut off anymore. It’s not worth escalating the conflict. Michigan has open carry, I open carried a few times after getting my CPL and no one seemed to notice, got over the “paranoia” of concealed quick. If people don’t notice the holstered pistol in the open, they’re probably not seeing the same pistol covered by a T-Shirt.

  22. avatar possum says:

    Well this is weird,. Back before CC was a thing, I never worried people would see my firearm . Now that CC is a thing that same sidearm seems to print like an M102

  23. avatar Robman says:

    #2 and #3 apply to my own experience but not #1. I was never worried about someone identifying me as a concealed weapon carrier, even from the start. I have always pocket carried; I started out with a compact .38 snubbie and later switched to a .380 ACP. I was always confident that no one except the most trained and attentive would notice that I was carrying.

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