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Last week, I had a blind date. I was excited and nervous. And, for the first time in my life, armed. That’s right, I took my newly acquired Smith & Wesson 686 revolver with me on a first date. 

It was an evening date at an upmarket restaurant in a decent part of Austin. I dressed up — but not too much. It was cold that night. Keeping in mind that I planned to carry, I opted for a pair of jeans. 

I went through the typical pre-date beautification process. Near the end, I added a step. I looped the brown leather holster through my belt and secured it to my hip. I looked at myself in the mirror and felt my ensemble was complete. 

I’ll be honest: I was nervous about carrying on a date.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out? The 686 is not a small gun by any stretch of the imagination [ED: 4″ barrel]. Strapped onto my petite frame, it looked huge. While my shirt and blazer easily concealed my weapon, a distinct bulge was still perceptible. 

I worried about the greeting. If we both leaned in for a light hug, might my date inadvertently touch the gun and know I’m packing heat?

I seriously considered taking off the 686 and going without. The idea of being in a situation in which I would need to defend myself was unsettling. But I decided for the first time, and once and for all, that I should have the best tool for the job of personal self-defense. 

The date went well; he never knew I was conceal carrying. I felt safe.

I can’t honestly attribute that feeling entirely to the fact that I was speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Although it was a blind date, I knew the fella well enough beforehand (texting and phone calls). I also choose to meet in a public place in a safe neighborhood.

Before leaving for the date, I told someone where I was going, how long I planned to be gone, and whom I was meeting. I covered my bases well.

There’s something to be said for having that extra measure of protection. Wearing my gun, I felt like I stood taller. I felt capable of protecting myself all by myself. As an independent woman, I find that invaluable. 

From now on, I will always venture into uncharted territory with my gun by my side. Just in case.

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  1. “From now on, I will always venture into uncharted territory with my gun by my side. Just in case.”

    You should venture into chartered territory with your gun as well.

    • This. Not that what you did was wrong. Good job and welcome to the fold. However, if by some stroke of incredibly bad luck you do need to use it you do not want to explain under oath that you only carry when you think you might be in danger. If you knew you were going to be in danger wouldn’t it be more reasonable to simply not go there? It doesn’t take that much mental gymnastics to convince a jury of that in places like Austin. Ignoring all of the other reasons to carry everywhere you can, being able to honestly answer that question with a simple “Everywhere.” may be a way-of-life saver as much as your gun was a life saver.

        • You are very welcome. Just passing along what one of my instructors included. That may also be in Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” but I don’t remember for certain. Looks like its time to re-read a classic.

    • You do realize that you materially shifted the balance-of-power in your immediate environment? That’s real empowerment. And, once having experienced it, things will never seem quite the same again. Welcome to the tribe, kid. The TTAG guys have probably already told you this, but the done thing is to never tell anybody—unless they’re a member of the tribe and then only privately or not at all—that you’re carrying. I mention this because there’s always a strong temptation to do just that when you first start. It’s a good way to lose friends and terrify relatives. Or first dates.

      Sigh, I can remember first dates . . . I think.

  2. Nice Bullard Holster! It accessorizes well with everything you’ll wear!
    Good call to wear your revolver- blind date or no blind date, Austin is getting more and more sketchy.
    So- tell everyone, are you seeing him again?

  3. “I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out?”

    If it does freak him out to the point that he doesn’t want to see you again/thinks your crazy/starts talking about MDA/whatever then I would take that as a sign that he’s not your Neo (“The One” for those of you under a rock the last 20 years). In that regard it’s kinda like going to his place for the first time and finding a poster of Bloomberg on the wall, one of those cute pink protest hats on the back of a chair or literature on local places that do sex change operations, this probably ain’t gonna work out.

    Not to be crass but eventually he’s going to notice your heater unless you’re the nun (Nun dat poonanie for you!) type. In which case he’s not going to be interested for the long term anyway.

    • And in that event ma’am, he was only ever interested in getting in your unmentionables and you’re much better off without him. That is, unless you’re so good at concealing you somehow manage to get to your honeymoon with your weapon concealed without him noticing. In which case, BRAVO!

    • I would take that as a sign that he’s not your Neo (“The One” for those of you under a rock the last 20 years).

      Technically, Neo was “The Six,” as there were 5 “The Ones” before him. 😉

  4. Great choice of a gun, as long as your clothing selection always lends itself to it’s concealment.
    Nothing quite as intimidating as a large revolver. The 686 is extremely accurate as well, even at distance.

    • You are correct. I won many a match with my pair of 686s(well, one’s a 586…) at the 50 yard line, back in the day. Only one malfunction in 30 years and God knows how many thousands of rounds. At least 20K cast lead, plus however many jacketed.

  5. Better that he had noticed (besides the problem with nor being able to conceal properly). If he had approved you would know he was someone who is capable of making decisions based on reason. If he had disproved, you would know he was someone who made decisions based on emotion, which would cause major problem down the line in a relationship.
    I guess I don’t see the reason to hide things on first dates. A good relationship will be based on honesty, not deception.

  6. Good for you. Will there be a second date? On what date do you feel it is right for the other person to know?

    I didn’t start carrying until after I was married but it is still interesting to know how someone would deal with exposing the fact that you are packing heat. As a female it will definetly be different than as a guy: “is that a gun in your pocket?” She asked.

    “Why yes, yes it is. I never leave home without my Glock 19,” he replies.

    The shooting range is an excellent date idea.

    • I’ll second that! My wife and I got to be good friends at the Ft. Benning rifle range. We still go shooting together to this day.

  7. “…looked huge…distinct bulge…big stick…my bases…protection…”

    i’m glad it went well.

  8. Well done. The first time is always the hardest. It will get less awkward with time. The point is you made a decision to protect yourself from any and all scumbags who may be out there. Welcome to the fold. And congrats on concealing successfully. I have found its much harder to conceal as a female (or at least that’s what my wife says)

  9. ‘I couldn’t help but wonder if my date spotted my gun, would it freak him out?’ – Not in Texas. Unless you’re in Austin. Doh!

    If he is that’s his problem. Perhaps you could get motorcycle and let him ride on the back.

  10. If my blind date showed up with a 686 on her hip I would ask her to marry me before the date was over.

  11. I was a relatively new concealed carrier when I was carrying on a first date with a woman, (In Austin too actually) she had no idea on the first date, and asked “what’s that?” when she felt it on our second date. That was a fun few seconds. Went well though, she’s a decent shot now having been a far left confiscate everything but the the 1700’s era muskets type before. Still can’t get her to carry herself yet though.

    • James,

      Not everyone should be carrying a self-defense firearm. If she is at least supportive of carrying self-defense firearms, I would call that a solid win!

    • With the caveat that for males there is always the risk of a negligent discharge… maybe on the second date?

  12. Open carry. It saves times. He will either think its awesome or be freaked. Either way you will know if your wasting your time or not.

  13. Sounds like a good article on 1st date safety. Meet in public, tell a friend where you are going & who you are going with, carry an L-frame revolver.

    Surprised there’s not more marriage proposals above yet.

    Question: what ammo was in your cylinder? (Can’t be too careful on a first date. And I think I once heard RF promoting .38 +P, lamenting “.357 Magnum makes me look fat.”)

  14. Back in my dating days, most girls I went out with knew I carried a gun by the time we decided to go out, even on a first date. It’s an integral part of my life and something, like politics and religion, I’m up front about because if they can’t accept that part of me, they can’t accept me.

    Those few times when girl found out later that I’d been carrying, I simply explained their time with me was the safest they’d been in years, they just didn’t know it. Being in AZ, a few huffed and puffed a bit for effect, but it was never greeted as a negative.

    As a lady, you have all the same reasons to carry as a man, and more, IMHO. Keep carrying. A 4″ 686 – what a choice. Great (big) gun!

  15. I went on a first date, and was carrying. Just my Keltec, but at least I had something. Things got friendly, and she felt the gun in my front pocket. She started to laugh, and grabbed her purse. Where her Beretta Tomcat was. We both laughed, and went back to what we were doing.

  16. Had a hug at the end of a first date, and I had to quick move to a side hug to avoid the “is that a gun in your pocket moment.”

    Yeah, only date with her, she wasn’t POTG material.

  17. Carry it for a few months and you won’t care who sees it or where you can’t take it. You will think if you don’t like it you can stick it in your ass

  18. if he’s worth your time he DID notice that you were carrying, he just chose not to mention it. Were I single, and on a date with you, I’d have noticed, offered to blow off dinner/movie and asked if a range visit would be a little more worth your while.

    I always prefer shooting to paying more than it’s worth for food. just sayin

  19. Anyone who freaks out because the other person is discreetly carrying protection isn’t long-term relationship material anyway.

    Also… and not saying this is what happens or anything, however, if a guy tells you that guns make him feel uncomfortable, you can say that you think you should both see other men.

  20. “The date went well; he never knew I was conceal carrying.”

    That’s an okay date. A date goes really well when he figures out that you’re carrying a M686 and lets you know that he’s concealing a M629.

  21. I’m going to have to buck the general consensus here and say that I wouldn’t be comfortable with a girl carrying on our first date. Not because I’m uncomfortable with firearms, but rather because she felt that I was a threat. I don’t particularly care for being mistrusted. If you don’t have a good enough sense of a person to spend one-on-one time with them without entertaining the possibility of using lethal force, you probably shouldn’t go on a date with them. That’s all I have to say about that.

    • More likely, the girl who carries on a date with you is one who doesn’t trust you to have the ability to protect her from harm.

      Maybe wait until the second date to manufacture artificial trust issues.

    • Why would you assume her carrying of a gun has anything to do with you?

      Christ dude, I doubt your internet dating profile is that intimidating so how fucking narcissistic can you be?

    • I mean… if someone doesn’t know you, why would you think they should place you in a ‘non-threat’ category?

      And if you think that someone shouldn’t date a person they think MAY be a threat then you’re basically throwing out any dating whatsoever except with people you know well. Not realistic.

    • Isn’t that kind of like saying that a passenger that conscientiously straps themselves in must have a preconceived notion that you are a bad driver?

  22. You cc’d on a blind date? Ya know, if I wasn’t married, I’d be in my car driving to Austin right now just to ask you out.

  23. If he didn’t notice it he’s gay. What men wouldn’t be checkingbout his date. And a 4″ 686 in a small frame is going to be noticed.

  24. Read The Gift of Fear.

    Women that get into trouble are the ones that feel guilty for trusting their gut or not wanting to offend someone that is setting off red flags or just seems “off”.

    It’s social conditioning and people tend to make excuses rather than heeding subconscious warning signs and acting accordingly.

  25. That Smith & Wesson 686 is one fine piece of machinery. It will bring you untold joy and giggles at the range.

    As you get comfortable with it and try other guns just for yucks, you may (probably) figure out that there are other sidearms out there that offer easier concealability and more capacity for threat stopping.

    Have fun, and stay safe!

  26. FWIW, I recommend Glympse ( / android iphone app). Share your (well, at least your phone’s) location for the duration with your friend. Settings are powerful.

  27. Wait! You’re a woman who carries a revolver? Careful with that! You may have a riot of men fighting for your affection. (Hope the date was great)

  28. Congratulations on joining the gun carrying public. After the first few awkward times of ” can anyone see my gun? and ” I hope it stays in place” it will become more and more natural to carry. The only downside I would mention is that when you are in a situation where you cannot carry, you will be surprised how aware you are that you are unarmed.

  29. Women who shoot are always more attractive – even if one does not initially know they shoot. I suspect ya’ll emit some pheromones that say, “I can protect you, and your children.” or something. Perhaps it is just the self confidence?

  30. Well played.
    When my wife and I go out we are both packing.
    Even to movie theaters that say they have a GFZ policy, but don’t really because they don’t post the doors. (Just don’t put it in your bag because they sometimes look. They just don’t pat down.)
    Of course, in my state very few places that claim to have a corporate GFZ policy actually do anything to enforce it.

  31. One comment on hugging. Be the Trump in the “Trump v Clinton” match. In other words, go low for the hug forcing him to go high, at least below his arms, and you can kinda steer him away from your heater. Not exactly traditional positioning, but may work well (especially if your date was more than a little taller than you), and may work well initially.

    Also, Van Gogh would be jealous of your brush set. 🙂

  32. Congratulations on your 686! It is also my first handgun. (An impulsive and irresponsible purchase that I shall never regret making should I live to be 100.) Regarding your “Petite” frame, I can sympathise entirely. Being of neapolitan parentage, I come from a long line of small people. (I’ve never seen a tall one anyway) There I was, squeezing a Minneola Tangelo in the produce section at H.E.B. when- quite suddenly and to my horror- the beast slid down and took my britches with it! Talk about open carry! I put in an order to both the “Hold Up” Suspender Co. and Tucker. Hope it helps. If only I had a woman’s hips.

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