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TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia are armed and intelligent.They’re engaged with the whole gun thing: 2A politics, firearms technology, ammunition choices, self-defense strategies, gear, guns, the works. About half of our readers are AI regulars. The rest find their way here through specific searches on Google or Facebook. If anyone qualifies as participants in the “concealed carry lifestyle,” it’s them. You. Us. Yes, well, I’m not convinced that such a thing exists. Not surprisingly. Kevin Michalowski, editor of Concealed Carry magazine, disagrees . . .

Concealed carry is a lifestyle because it is not something that should be taken lightly. It is something people should learn about, embrace, participate in, and grow with. Carrying a gun is not something you just “do,” like driving a car or cooking lunch. It is something that requires thought, training, obligation, and commitment. Choosing to put on a gun means you are accepting a great responsibility in the protection of yourself and your loved ones. This lifestyle is complete with its own peer groups, activities, and even language.

True story?

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  1. It depends on the person.

    I try to avoid businesses that I know are anti-carry or anti-gun in general, like the Common Man in NH is against my gun club’s building of a 1000 yard range, so I won’t eat there.

    I don’t think 5.11 clothing looks very good in comparison to Carhartt. I don’t drink anyways very often so I don’t have to worry about mulling drinking while carrying – soda at a restaurant is cheaper than hard alcohol.

    I’ve always tried to observe and analyze my surroundings, so calling it OPSEC just sounds good.

    When I’m carrying, I’m not thinking about carrying. I’m thinking about going about my day.

    • Ditto. I think that situational awareness is far more important than what I’m carrying, or even whether I’m carrying.

      Every day, in every way, I try to avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Being an EMT has opened my eyes to how very much some people seem to want to be the stupid person, seeking out new stupid places and bizarre things to do.

  2. I guess in the beginning it was those things.
    I’ve been carrying so long, it’s like tying my shoes. I just do it.
    Like Craig above, I think about opsec, but it’s second nature.

  3. Whether you want to call it a lifestyle, carrying does complicate your life. You have to keep it concealed from the sheeple who can include friends and relatives. You also have to be more careful than other people about your speech and actions.

  4. There’s something to his thesis, but as in all else, different people are in to different degrees, for different reasons. A lot has to do with what other “lifestyles” one is into, and as indicated already also with how carrying affects the way one lives. As an extreme example, a naturist lifestyle and a concealed carry lifestyle will have little to no intersection; as a more common one here, if you work on a commercial fishing boat the modifications to a concealed carry lifestyle will be serious (for starters, a primary rule when working on a trawler is to not carry anything heavy that isn’t necessary to the job).

    As a final thought, I;d want to ask him what differences there would be between a concealed carry lifestyle and an open carry one.

  5. There is not a place that I am not Observing when I move, even when relaxing with my friends. I keep the training thing going. A;ways w.atch your six

  6. Carrying a gun is not something you just “do,” like driving a car

    Wait, what? Driving a car is just something you just “do?” No training, no commitment, no thought or obligation? Something tells me that I don’t want to be on the same road with Kevin Michalowski. Ever.

    Concealed carry is very much like driving a car and requires about the same degree of care. But it’s not a lifestyle.

    • Statistically driving is much more dangerous than shooting. It is one of the top most dangerous things that “normal” people do on a regular basis. It continues to bewilder me why people drive with so little caution.

      • “It continues to bewilder me why people drive with so little caution.”

        They’re utterly oblivious to the fact they’re not immortal.

        It simply never crosses their mind.

      • In your job, I think the most difficult thing would have to be trying to not tell the next of kin just how simple it would have been for the deceased to have paid a little more attention, been a bit more prudent, and the deceased would not be dead.

        • I don’t do a whole lot of driving these days but enough to observe that what goes on between too many drivers’ ears is blank space; they’re in Condition White while operating a heavy vehicle at high speeds in the middle of other operators and vehicles doing the same thing. It boggles the mind that there aren’t MORE accidents. It’s been ages, but back in my LE days I responded to more than enough such scenes on the roads and the aftermaths stay in my head to this day; and then I recall the guy I saw one time traveling down a busy highway at 70+ while reading a newspaper spread across his steering wheel. Or the soccer mom trying vainly to maneuver her giant SUV out of a busy supermarket parking lot while operating a cell phone.

    • +1
      I was going to challenge that statement also. Driving certainly does require commitment, training, and constant attentiveness. If it doesn’t include those things, then it is bad, dangerous driving, and we have all seen how bad it can get when done incorrectly.

      The same applies to concealed carry, but in different ways.

  7. I carry a tiny NAA magnum revolver 24/7. It’s in a holster, in my front pocket. I hardly ever think about it, but I know it’s there in case I should someday need it.
    When I go to town, I carry a larger caliber firearm, but the tiny magnum is always there.

  8. My first reaction was “not really.” But I looked up lifestyle and got: “A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or group.” So technically, I guess it fits.

    I just don’t like the term lifestyle. Lifestyle makes me thing of magazines like “Southern Living” or even more shallow crap. Oh, look at my Prius! Clearly my lifestyle is socially and ecologically aware! Lifestyle sort of edges into “look at me!” as a way of sending some social signals so that other members of that set can recognize each other and thus group into some chittering flock, praising each other on their shared consciousness, or perhaps lack of it.

    Being armed and truly prepared for me is more substantive that “style”. Hung up on that word, I recognize. Willing to go to the mat to defend myself or my family isn’t a robe I wear – it’s just who I choose to be. So it’s who I am, not just what I do. Not sure that makes sense, but that’s where my head is.

  9. Yeah I don’t know about lifestyle either-throw a tiny gun in my pocket with a nemesis…I just have it with me-and a knife. BTW I can’t get the azzwholes form CC mag to quit bombarding my E-mail after showing interest 2 years ago. Every few months I have to delete…

  10. I don’t look at it that way. I mean, to each their own. If you’ve got kids and/or like to get wasted a lot I could see where training, obligation, and commitment would be needed. Or if you just choose it for yourself.

    But I don’t think it has to be like joining the Sacred Order of the Gun for everyone. Rather, some can just pocket a roscoe, roam around, go about their business, get home and leave the gun in a drawer until they want to carry it again.

    I think the idea that it has to be a lifestyle for everyone is dangerous: I worry that it will be used as part of a narrative to push for more training required for CC licenses, frequent renewal, cruel and unusual punishment for CC’ers who intend to comply but forget to renew or something. Like how fudd-ism in the gun community has been used to push the idea that sporting is the only legit use.

  11. It is all those things that Michalowski says but it is not a lifestyle. A lifestyle is something that organizes your life. Concealed carry is something that fits into your lifestyle. If you organize your life,around your gun then you don’t have much of a life.

    • “If you organize your life,around your gun then you don’t have much of a life.”


      There’s consideration involved as to where I’ll be throughout the day, but a damn gun isn’t a ‘lifestyle’ choice like a new car or fashion for women.

      Attaching a ‘lifestyle’ to a gun is frankly disturbing.

  12. I expect it rises to the level of a “lifestyle” for some folks, but I sure don’t want it to be for me. Kind of like I don’t think carrying insurance against other types of risk should be a “lifestyle”.

  13. To me, it’s only a “lifestyle” for someone if they make it that way; i.e. only wearing the latest/greatest CC-specific clothing & gear, religiously renewing their magazine subscriptions & taking the “wisdom” dispensed by gun-writers as gospel, sporting multiple firearm-related brand stickers on their vehicles, and competing in various shooting disciplines on a regular basis.
    I’ve found a similar “lifestyle” choice with mountainbikers; there are those who own pro-level rigs and love primo singletrack dearly, but you would never know it just passing them on the street or in Walmart. Then there are those who go whole-hog, and it’s easy to guess what they ride, how often, and their politics simply by looking at them & their vehicles.

    • Bingo! There’s a business built around concealed carry as a “lifestyle” and it’s what I’ll call an “enthusiasm” or hobby for many people. I like the references to what it takes to operate a motor vehicle safely and how that’s not a “lifestyle.” Imagine a magazine called “Defensive Driver” with paid subscriptions, internet forums where people argue about the best techniques for driving when it’s raining, etc. Many would think that the participants were being a little obsessive about safe driving.

      I do think that this enthusiasm is beneficial to everyone, in that it puts a lot of information out there (some good, some not so good) for everyone, both “enthusiasts” and those who just want to carry a sidearm for self defense.

  14. I guess, from the perspective of a sheeple, it might seem that way… Just like all real responsibilities, it comes naturally to higher intellect. Lacking higher intellect makes it seem exotic and all-consuming…

    I’m an excellent driver. I got that way from both experience, and pushing the limits. My situational awareness is already several orders of magnitude above most people from riding a motorcycle most of my life. Not as a weekend warrior wannabe, but as my primary transportation for most of my adult life. Small-mined people might call that a “lifestyle” too, but only because they’re stupid.

    I carry a gun. It’s a responsibility. Yup. Big effing deal…

  15. “Concealed carry is a lifestyle…”

    No, rather concealed carry is a result of a lifestyle, one of seeing the world as it is, taking care of yourself in that world, and making hard choices when you have to. Concealed carry is one manifestation of a lifestyle of autonomy, competence, and responsibility – in politics citizens of a republic vs. elements of a polity.

  16. I am not sure if I have a “concealed carry lifestyle”.

    I tend to dress around my concealed carry handgun. I invest in effective skills and hardware. I make it a point to be extra aware of my surroundings. I am armed almost everywhere I go.

    I guess you could that a lifestyle. Somehow, I never really thought of it that way.

  17. After 30 years of daily carry, I can confirm it’s a lifestyle. It affects the way I dress, where I go, what I teach my family and friends, and how I regard and treat others.
    Just this week I was in a type of store that is targeted by robbers with high-end aspirations, when two young men who fit a profile came in, asking the staff a common preliminary question used in such robberies. I went into condition orange and prepared to draw, scrutinizing their clothes for gun bulges and them for threatening movement. Told the store didn’t handle that sort of merchandise and directed to another store, they left. Not 30 seconds later, I saw one coming back in and made ready to move fast, but he just stuck his head in and asked for directions. I relaxed after about five minutes.
    Preparation, both mental and physical, makes carrying a gun a responsibility that alters our lives.

  18. I work in the environmental remediation industry. I’m HAZWOPER trained, hold clearances to work in refineries, DOD and DOE sites, and have specialized training in hydro geology and geology. Does that mean I “live the HAZMAT lifestyles”? I sure hope not!!

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