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Pocket Carry pistol mouse gun
Kahr 9mm pistol in a pocket holster (The Truth About Guns)

This post is aimed at people who have not yet committed to daily concealed carry. The NSSF estimates there are over seven million new gun owners this year, 40% of them women. Most of them bought their firearms this year for personal protection in an increasingly uncertain world and many of these new gun owners are interested in carrying a gun, at least some of the time.

If you already carry a gun on a daily basis, please share this article with your newbie and daily carry-reluctant friend. The more people who carry concealed, the safer we all will be, both in terms of active defense and passive deterrence. Not to mention the safety of our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

With that in mind, the first thing you need for effective concealed carry is . . .

A Gun

It doesn’t matter what type of gun you carry, what caliber cartridge it fires or the design and composition of the bullets. What matters is that you carry a gun.

The sad truth is, the majority of Americans with concealed carry permits don’t carry their gun. 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. Hence their hyper-sensitivity to “printing” (their gun making a visible impression against their concealment clothing, revealing that they’re armed).

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; all that’s required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing…whatever reasons are most meaningful to you.

Read the list out loud before you holster your gun.

By the same token, it helps to imagine the potential violent assaults as you’re going through your day. Imagining that you’re taking evasive action while disarmed. This mental exercise trains your brain to consider non-firearms solutions to life-threatening situations (always the best case scenario) and reminds you just how useful a gun would be if and when push comes to shove.

The carry process itself is another reason armed Americans don’t carry a firearm on a daily basis. They know they have to be aware of right-to-carry restrictions and either avoid “gun free zones” or disarm before entering.

That’s not much fun. Removing a gun from your holster in a parking lot and stashing it in the glove box, for example, is an awkward, not-to-say furtive endeavor that requires needless gun-handling, invites curious stares and the possibility of theft.

Coping with concealed carry’s legal inconveniences eventually becomes habit. But that doesn’t happen for most folks because carrying a concealed gun is physically uncomfortable, at least at first. Depending on what, where and how you carry, daily carry can be a literal pain in the ass neck. Or the hip. In fact, overcoming physical discomfort is the key to making concealed carry a part of your daily routine. That’s why you really need . . .

A Comfortable Holster

Gun guru Clint Smith famously pronounced that carrying a gun should be comforting, not comfortable. Yeah, no. If carrying a gun is physically annoying or painful, your average armed American simply won’t do it on a daily basis.

Say what you will about our being A Nation of Wimps, choosing a comfortable carry system (gun, holster, belt) 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 incredible array of firearms on the market and the huge selection of holster materials and 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, you can buy the wrong gun and holster and give up.

That’s why a lot of reluctant concealed carriers to start by pocket-carrying a small revolver (e.g., a Smith & Wesson J-Frame) or a semi-automatic pistol (e.g. a Ruger LCP II) inside a simple sleeve holster.

I know all the arguments against “mouse guns.” I’ve made them myself. But we’re talking about training wheels here, a painless-to-wear starter gun and holster that the owner doesn’t need to throw away 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 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 good gun store where you can try out a gun and holster combination, even if you have to drive hours to get there. Safety check the gun and holster it. Walk, sit, jog in place a bit, practice your draw (all with the store’s permission of course). Road test your daily carry rig 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, hopefully after avoiding the actual use of your gun in the first place. Reporting a defensive gun use will hopefully allow you to avoid arrest and/or prosecution.

Always call the police after any defensive gun use. If you just show your gun and the bad guy(s) takes off, call the police. If you don’t, the bad guy(s) may call the police, ID you, and accuse you of being the aggressor and threatening 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 invoke your right to silence until you’ve talked to your attorney.]

If you don’t have a phone — maybe it was lost or damaged during the DGU — ask to use someone else’s. It’s critical that you make the call, rather than a bystander. This helps establish your innocence.

There’s plenty of other stuff a daily concealed carrier can and probably should carry: spare ammo, a utility knife, a flashlight, a spare 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.

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65 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great article. We get so in depth with the details, that if someone were to google and find this site, beginner articles are so important. So many potential allies, on the street and at the ballot box, can be potentially lost due to our behavior on our websites and in person.

    I would like to add that although I have a great appreciation for your ability to cull the list down to three, a flashlight is nearly *indispensable* when one is carrying a firearm. From it’s ability to deter criminal action to its usefulness in identifying targets prior to the trigger pull, I seriously implore every CCW’er to carry a flashlight.

    I’m very fond of the non-threatening nature of them as well. Even when I’m in court and I have to leave the gun, knife, and even the cell phone behind in a lock box in the car, I can get my surefire past security. The blinding ability and strike bezel could save your life in a CQC situation.

    • Obviously, situation dictates, but I have been “blinded” by a flashlight before. Now days, especially for you city folks or anyone in a “blue zone” that is frequented by terrorists, you could be tailed and if you are aware of your surroundings, that flashlight might be an easy way to ditch that tail. Tons of uses for a flashlight. I mostly carry one for low light scenarios and power outages. Even if I only average one minute of use per month, or even two minutes a year, I’d still want one just in case. On a carry weapon though, borderline useless in 99.9% of defensive shoots. Then again, “blue zones” and all their peaceful protests at night and all… Still willing to bet you would never need it. I moved away from carrying one on my EDC when I got my P365XL RZ, and put my P320 RXP XC (sig and their names) with TLR-1 HL to my bedside. I’d still grab my canned .300 before I grabbed it tho 😉

      No can yet for the p320 🙁

      • I carry four items on person every day. A small pocket flashlight is one of them. I use it more often than my pocket knife. Multiple times a day….

    • “Carry insurance.”

      That can potentially save you $100,000 (if not more) in bills to be paid off for defending yourself a second time in court…

    • It’s defense, so a gun is a given. My EDC would preferably be an Echo Mag Carrier by Tulster, a Fenix LD30 1600 lumens pocket light, and ShivWorks Ban Tang double-edged Clinch Pick.

      • “… and ShivWorks Ban Tang double-edged Clinch Pick.”

        ‘ShivWorks’?

        I gotta admit, that got a smile on my face and a *snicker* outta me, just for the company name alone… 😉

      • I know someone who carries one of their picks in a bellyband type thing, and I believe went to training at the company. Can’t remember exactly but yeah those things will open a bad guy up.

      • That is a VERY nice looking blade. Perfect. I might be adjusting my EDC it seems.

        But I use custom kydex for retention. I have a couple Tulster mag pouches, they are either too tight or too loose. They work. But custom fit works better. I am too OCD to use anything else.

        • I totally understand. My Tulsters work very well and are micro-adjustable for tension. I really like the ambi clips. But yeah, if it’s gonna be down and dirty, something to help pick your way out of the clinch.💪

  2. You forgot, three extra mags, two knives, a backup cellphone, a 3-cell D maglite, a trauma pouch, a go bag, two sets of car keys, and the encyclopedia Brittanica. At least thats what people have in the “what I’m carrying now articles. One last alibi, for miner the winer49 Mao’s little red book. Just for you winer49, let us all hear from you on 20 Jan 21 when Trump invokes Jesus again…

    • 2 extra mags not 3. The light is a Coast single AA.

      No backup cell phone. No backup gun. No trauma pouch. No go bag. And what idiot even has an encyclopedia anymore? I can look anything in the world up with internet access from a cell phone. Get into the 21st century, man.

      • North American Rescue has all kinds of vacuum packed trauma kits that are handy to have, should you decide to add one to your minimalist edc. 😉

      • The irony of crimson replying to this comment is hilarious. To anyone who frequented here during the “post your gear” era, you would know that Crimson carries a 12 hour pack of random junk on him at all times. I like ya, crimson, but damn man. At least 30 pounds of crap.

  3. Your racial and political identity card for when you are stopped and questioned by the New Federal Racial Justice Friendly Administration Force, as to why you are:

    1. Going out in public with explicit permission from the state.

    2. Doing so armed with a weapon of mass destruction.

    3. All while not apologizing for your support for the previous administration.

    That’ll be 30 years of hard labor for you in the gulag.

  4. Don’t carry the largest gun you can. Carry the gun you can hit the target the best with.

    There is nothing wrong with .38 Special or .380. At normal self defense ranges .380 = 9mm. But there are plenty of pocket 9s available now.

    911 can and will keep your cell phone active after you think you have hung it up. Bear that in mind if you speak after calling them.

    • For most people larger guns are the ones they will be most accurate with so carry the largest gun you feel comfortable with. For a normal healthy adult no pistol is too heavy to carry.

    • If you’re hanging up to call your lawyer they risk legal jeopardy. You should immediately hang up and call your self defense insurance folks. You do have their number saved in your phone, right?

    • This statement is full of stupidity. I am all for hiding a body, but if you have to run and dump a gun, you are already fucked and probably in a place where you will be hunted until you are caught. You either do it where you can’t be caught and leave no evidence, or prepare to make a self defense case. Unless you live in a spot like I do, the only place the first scenario is happening is at home or in the woods away from everything to begin with. Not even a mask will save you under the watchful eyes of a suburban/city environment.

    • you realize you are online, right?

      If you don’t carry a phone in 2020, it’s for tin foil hat reasons (most of which are shockingly justifiable tho).. but writing that comment online means you have just been tracked anyways… so…

    • lol glad I am not the only one. I always have a spare change of socks, boxers, and shirts plus a pair of ranger panties. Ya just never know. They are in the truck bag.

  5. Quote: “There’s no easy way to overcome concealed carry paranoia and peer pressure.”

    Au contraire, mon frère

    As the well-worn phrase advises: “Just do it.”

    The one and only way to overcome the irrational trepidation of toting a shoot is to tote a shooter. Trust me, in short order it will become as ordinary and as acceptable as carrying a wallet, wearing a watch, or carrying a phone.

    It will never be as onerous as wearing a covid mask.

    • Jim:
      “The one and only way to overcome the irrational trepidation of toting a shoot(er) is to tote a shooter.”

      THAT has been my experience as well. I will never forget how self conscious I felt years back when I first pocked my newly-minted concealed pistol license and strapped on my shooter. But I got over it in a week or so.

  6. Carrying (open or concealed) is a system. So, 4. A gun belt
    Make it part of “Holster” and the list stays at three items.

    Non-thing things for carrying are Mindset and Training. Start with those.

    What kind of training? Start with Avoiding Violence and Managing Unknown Contacts.

  7. With the advice of the good folks/attorneys at CCW-SAFE (CCW Legal Protections Services) here is my advice.
    1. Gun, Semi-auto 9mm/40cal ($300-$600)
    2. Spare mag (ALL MAGS FULLY TOPPED OFF) ($30) USE DEFENSE ROUNDS ONLY ($1.25 ea)
    3. CCW Holder LEGAL PROTECTION (CCW-SAFE, USCCA, US Law Shield, etc) ($18 mo)
    4. Pepper Spray ($10)
    5. Stun Gun/Flashlight combo ($10)

    Not EVERY “threatening” event warrants a gun-pull. Have ready, tools you can use….and TRAIN with them!
    DEFINED: “A gun-pull is INSTANT with multiple shots fired”. If you PULL, you FIRE. Do NOT brandish.

    If you have NOT spent at least 50 hours training…you are probably NOT prepared well. WATCH VIDEOS!
    CONSULT a LEGAL PROTECTION website and READ THE FINE PRINT in the contracts. You MAY learn how
    to stay out of jail and/or lose everything you have. Remember too, do NOT go looking for a fight…and don’t shoot them in the back as they are running away. KNOW WHEN TO PULL…If you need to shoot, do it early.

    Advice from your Uncle!

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