Concealed carry IWB holster
Previous Post
Next Post

By Brian Ford:

If you’re one of those who recently got a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit, you probably feel ready to start carrying your firearm everywhere. But just because you’ve been issued a permit doesn’t mean you’re immune to legal or other kinds of trouble with your handgun.

There are some common mistakes gun owners make which can easily be avoided. Instead of risking an incident which could have serious costs and consequences, keep the following tips in mind to be an effective and responsible concealed carrier.

1. Take Carrying Seriously

From the start, you need to be in the proper mindset to carry a firearm. Having a handgun carries with it a lot of responsibility with potentially serious consequences. It’s too easy when you first start to carry to feel invincible because of your weapon.

Instead, always see your pistol as a tool for self-defense and be realistic about scenarios you may encounter. Your ultimate goal should be to avoid conflict if at all possible. Your firearm is a last resort, not a show of force.

2. Stay Trained with Regular Practice

In most states, obtaining a permit requires proper firearm training to cover the basics. But just because you’ve taken a class doesn’t guarantee success using your firearm in a real-life situation.

Seeking out more training – and practicing those skills – is essential to being effective if and when the time comes. Following through with regular practice in a secure situation like a gun range will ensure your skills stay sharp. This can also teach you more about how your weapon performs, how to handle a malfunction, and reloading under stress; all of which are critical to know before a dangerous situation occurs.

3. Pair Your Firearm With the Right Holster

Choosing the right firearm for your situation is only part of the job; you also need a proper holster. It’s best to test a few options to find the perfect fit for your weapon and body type.

Selecting between an inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB) holster is a good place to start. You’ll also want to find one that is made of a durable material which will be comfortable to wear all day.

Whatever holster you choose, make sure it offers good retention while allowing a fast, smooth draw with the firearm you plan to carry.

4. Make Carrying Second-Nature

If you intend to carry a gun, you should make it a point to carry as often as is appropriate. Make your handgun a part of your normal routine so you can become more comfortable wearing it. This will help you be accustomed to it so that strapping on your holster will be as second-nature as fastening your seatbelt when you drive.

5. Avoid Unnecessary Attention

The advantage of a CCW permit is, of course, that you can carry your weapon without anyone being aware you’re armed. But that advantage is lost if you behave in a way that draws attention to your firearm in public.

People new to carrying often focus too much on their gun and may constantly reach back to touch or “check” their pistol. They may fidget with their holster if it isn’t secure or slips out of position.

Both of these common behaviors should be curbed as much as possible. If you have good equipment, your gun isn’t going anywhere. The last thing you want is to lose the concealed part of concealed carry. Having a high quality holster that’s secure and comfortable, and limiting making any adjustments only to private settings can keep everyone calm.

6. Consider Your Clothing When Carrying

Speaking of being comfortable, when you carry, it’s important to consider your holster’s impact on what you’re wearing. Form-fitting fabrics may cause your rig to “print,” making the outline of your weapon visible.

Certain styles of clothing, such as overtly tactical or camouflage gear can also impact your ability to stay discreet. Instead, try to wear loose-fitting styles and fabrics. Not only will they make concealing your weapon more effective, but they provide better draw access.

7. Keep Informed About Local Laws

As the debates regarding gun ownership and carrying continue, changes to laws are bound to happen in various jurisdictions. One of the most important ways to be a responsible CCW permit holder is to stay up-to-date about the laws in any area to which you plan to travel with your weapon. Make sure you’re 100% familiar with restrictions about where you can legally carry and use your firearm before you get there.


Brian Ford is a freelance writer and blogger based in Austin, Texas. With a love for hunting, hiking, and the great outdoors in general, he often writes outside. In his free time, he enjoys spending afternoons at his local range.

Previous Post
Next Post


      • +1

        I’ve belonged to a lot of organizations over the years, of all kinds not just gun orgs, and the only one that ever gave me more than I gave them is the NRA.

      • +1

        There is a very good reason why they hate the NRA so psychotically.

        Everything else aside, THAT should be reason good enough to be a member and to drop a few bucks here and there, knowing it goes to a good cause.

    • Everytime a liberal troll like yourself tries to trash they gain new members and get more checks. Keep following Hogg, he’s making us stronger.

    • Nanashi says:
      April 24, 2018 at 14:07
      8: Never give money to the NRA

      Yeah- give it to YETI instead.

      What a bunch of fools around here…

  1. Personal observation: I’ve seen too many female first time gun buyers gravitating towards the pocket-sized .380s… don’t do that – it won’t be the great choice you’re thinking it will.
    So I would add #8: Get some practical shooting experience with a variety of different types and styles of guns before you make your first purchase.

    • Please, not the tired “.380 is too weak for self defense” argument. My Kimber Micro CDP will leave a hole large enough to drop you where you stand. Care to take one for the team?

      • Sure I’ll take your challenge if I can shoot you with my .45 acp afterwards, and
        we can see who is left standing. We can take turns shooting each other, its your dumb idea,
        i’m just playing along.

      • The problem is the short barrels. Keyholing and accuracy suffer unless within bad breath distance.

        Of course it will put holes in someone and easy to conceal but so will full 9mms from some manufacturers.

        Just sayin

      • 3d2n: If KMc picks a bullet with adequate penetrate and places it properly, you will be down and out before you can return fire. The disadvantage with a .380 is there is no margin for error.

        Manse Jolly: Watch the YouTube video of Hickok45 ringing the gong at the back of his range with a Kahr P380 (2.53 inch barrel). The problem with such small guns is their short sight radius not their intrinsic accuracy.

      • KMc, I think he was referring to the recoil that a pocket pistol has………………….

    • Correct me if I’m wrong Bloving, but I didn’t read this as an attack on 380. Rather I think you’re saying that the small guns are very difficult to shoot well and might discourage a new shooter. If so, this has been exactly my experience with new people.

      • That’s how I read it, if so a very valid point.

        “You want it small and light for a first time gun. This 357 snubby made out of space age, near weightless polymer with the hottest rounds you can find is the way to go. It’ll fit your ickle hands perfectly.” Insisted Paul, a Cabela’s fudge & jerky cashier who got lost and walked behind the gun counter.

      • Thank you, Eric, that was precisely my point – I’ve nothing against the .380 cartridge, indeed there are a few guns in that chambering I wouldn’t mind owning and carrying.
        My beef is the tendency of inexperienced noobs immediately wanting the tiniest, nearly-sightless, nearly-gripless pocket piece in the case… after a few minutes of questions it becomes plain that they think they want That One because they are unintimidating and kinda cute. But with no practical experience trying to shoot those pipsqueak guns, they’ve no idea how hard they are to shoot effectively – let alone under stress.
        Bottom line: pocket .380s are (almost) always a poor choice for a beginner. They have their place, but not in a noob’s hand.

        • That’s why we let people test fire our Range guns if they are interested. Not surprised when they find out a P238 or a Micro .380 is easy to handle and blows away polymer pistols.
          And, just curious, do you sell firearms or are you just a range know it all?

  2. I guess I am getting a little jaded.

    It strikes me that TTAG is becoming be more about gun politics than guns.

    This comes from a scientific survey of articles. I looked at the blog posts for TTAG over the last several days.

    The last article about a gun that someone might buy (not a 3bbl cigarette revolver) was the P365 by Boch.

    So, looks like it might be time for me to move on.

    The politics and their ramifications are important, but it is most important to keep in mind why we like guns.

    It is not just about defense and liberty. Guns are fun and enjoyable!

    A day plinking at the range is good for the soul. There are guns besides Glocks and ARs. Not everyone thinks all guns have to have suppressors.

    To each his own, but I am feeling like I am the product of this site.

    Looks like it moving to be a little too slick for me. As much of a dork as RF could be, it was usually entertaining and light-hearted.

    I will miss the banter, but it seems like the banter is the only content I’d be reading and enjoying now.

    Good luck and Godspeed, TTAGers.

    • I may not have always agreed with you but I’ve enjoyed your commentary here Specialist. Sorry to see you leave.

      • Nobody ever actually leaves when they drop a drama bomb like that. He’ll be back to bask in the responses, and then be commenting again in a while.

        • Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.

          However, I get where he’s coming from to some extent and regardless, it’s disheartening to see a regular who doesn’t cause trouble even consider throwing in the towel. Specialist and I have had disagreements in the past but he does have some valuable insight and I appreciate that.

        • Agree. If I don’t like a site I just never visit. Same as everybody. No need to make a statement.
          Facebook wanted to know why I was deactivating right before I deleted the app.

    • Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

      Our rights are under attack; many of us appreciate staying informed & abreast of what’s going on. If you’re only in it for the fun stuff, no need to make a big show of it when you leave. Just leave.

        • Agreed. Frankly, it’s the blood-in-the-water feeding frenzy in the comments that drive me away from time to time. I come back for the current events, stay for the reviews, and take a break after the bickering. Too many self appointed “alpha males” (you can tell who they are because they love to call everyone else betas) tearing into others for daring to disagree. Smh.

    • Without those of us fighting the good fight, you can “enjoy” your hobby by looking at pictures and reading stories about guns that strike your fancy. That’ll be as close as you ever get to a real gun ever again.

      Thanks for the mention on the P365. I’ll try to write more reviews. And get my tires poked less often.


      • John,

        While a love what you do (sorry for your tires btw) the constant cross sniping here can get old pretty fast. Sometimes it seems like everything is a new version of caliber wars and… well shit, even I get sick of it.

        At a certain point it’s like herding cats and you just kinda wanna yell at some people to grow the fuck up since some people are just consistently needling others and it gets obnoxious. Then there are other things like constantly explaining the same thing again and again etc. I guess that’s why the vacation was invented.

    • Nobody that cares. I was in a store recently, there was a gentleman with a fanning pack by the way it was hanging I could tell he was caring. I ask him what caliber he prefers, he said .45

      • Heh, the olde ‘sagging fanny pack’. The only ones that wear those any more are CCW holders (and a few very random holdouts).

    • “The last thing you want is to lose the concealed part of concealed carry.” No, I can think of at least fifty things that are worse.

  3. Number 2 after “Take carrying seriously” should be don’t become complacent, always keep on the top of your mind that you have your piece with you or you can easily find yourself standing in a NO GUN area such as a federal building, airport, school zone, etc… Or like many of us long time carrying types, set it aside during #2 in the restroom and forget it, even if for a second, or even if you just forget its there as you pass through a crowded restaurant and don’t realize that all that brushing against someone, that someone could easily take it out of your holster FAST!

    Always be vigilant about having it with you.

    Nothing wrong with TTAG covering the basics once in a while, and as far as them becoming political, well, yes, our rights are very much under attack heavily now and without them, there would be no fun side to enjoy. This is also the TRUTH about guns, not FUN with guns, so people come here to hear the truth, be it a review or politics.

    • So true. I got all the way up to the point where you take your shoes off at BNA when I realized I still had a S&W Bodyguard in my pocket. Very much a Holy SHit moment. Back to the truck I went, won’t make that mistake again. I had a Spyderco in my pocket one time and checked it, but the .380, no way.

  4. My own advice (which is worth what you paid) regarding gun choice: get the gun you want and find a way to carry it, rather than getting a gun you think you can easily carry and finding a way to want it. The smaller and/or lighter it is, the harder it will be to shoot, not to mention hit anything with it. Maybe your main concern is ease of carry/concealment and bad-breath-distance-defense, and to you the ultimate coolness is James Bond-style – fine, get that then, just make sure you practice with it. My point is, get the gun you will want to shoot, want to carry, be proud of having, take good care of, and practice with.
    Personally, I like competition-style guns, and I carry a CZ SP-01 Shadow with a compensator, magwell and red dot sight in a modified and well-worn Stealthgear IWB holster just behind my right hip-bone. It weighs nearly 3lbs and I barely know it’s there. It tucks in nice and flat into the small of my back, is virtually undetectable, and I am as comfortable in any position as I would be without it – sitting in any car seat, etc., and I fall asleep with it on more often than I would like to admit. It both stays put and draws quickly and easily, even seated in a car. Not being overweight does help in these regards, though, and I highly recommend staying as fit as you can.
    Regarding printing: NO.ONE.CARES.
    No one is seriously looking for your gun or inspecting you or evaluating what your operating level of tacticalness might indicate regarding your carry status. If the thought crosses anyone’s mind at all, it’s because they are also carrying and it’s no more than a guessing game in their own mind as they people watch and is irrelevant.
    I see CCW “experts” opining constantly about how you should/shouldn’t dress. I don’t claim to be an expert, but from my long-term and constant experience, dress however you want and wear whatever feels natural to you, adjusting somewhat perhaps for your body-type and environment the same as you would if you weren’t carrying. I wear outdoor-style clothing almost all the time, including boots and my constant camo pants. I collect camo patterns, and have for about 35 years, and I have worn it almost constantly since high school. I like it, and don’t care at all what anyone else thinks about it. Unless I’m wearing a suit, I’m almost certainly wearing mil-pattern camo pants. I did this long before I started carrying, and see no reason to change my personal style in some vain attempt at throwing off some mythical gun-spotter. I sometimes look around at what other people are wearing – sagging jeans, skinny jeans, jeans with holes in them, 3-size-too-big Dickies, 3-size-too-small cameltoe specials, gangsta track suits, the ubiquitous fashion crime known as cargo shorts and goddamn CROCS – and feel 100% validated in caring not a whit what other people think about my damn camos. Or my gun.

  5. I carry a . 40 always fully loaded one in the barrel ready to go. With another mag. For backup. My wife always was mad cause I carried one with me,everywhere I went. Then she saw what could happen to her if somebody came up to her to mess her. So now she carries,a 380 Bodyguard. My 40 , I Carrie at church cause I am Lead Secrity ,armed ! We are not going to have an South Carolina or Tennessee Shooting at your church. I will go down first then there are a few others that will step in ,to take them out . I am the first line of defense to stop the shooter.

  6. Commenter 38specialist wrote, “It strikes me that TTAG is becoming be more about gun politics than guns.
    …….So, looks like it might be time for me to move on. ”

    THIS is why we are losing our rights(not just gun rights) to a small group of well financed people who are determined to take them from us. Too many share the apathy and don’t care to stand up for the rights that so many others have died protecting.

  7. This worked for me and I recommend it to others:
    Carry your firearm with you at home as you would in public until you are comfortable with it. Nothing better than doing chores around the house to see if your pants drag at the end of the day.

  8. What I had to get over was to stop caring if I was printing. 99.99% of people are completely oblivious and will not notice a gun on your hip even if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit

    • I have noticed even when open carrying most people don’t even notice you are carrying a gun, they are to focused on their phones

Comments are closed.