Advice for the average Joe and Jane concealed carrier about how to prepare while blending in.
We carry a gun to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those around us. We get education in the legalities of concealed carry and train on how to deploy a gun effectively and accurately should that need ever arise. We hope it doesn’t, but we’re prepared if it does. But how do we live our lives the rest of the time, when all we want to do is go about our daily business as usual? And how do we make sure we are really ready?
The first key to preparation is knowing what you’re doing. Education on how and when and where you can and cannot carry a gun is critical. The last thing you want is to get thrown in jail because you accidentally carried your gun into a place you weren’t supposed to. Even in states with permitless carry (also called Constitutional carry, although that title is a bit misleading), there are legal protections that come with a concealed carry permit. In Missouri, for instance, if I walk into a gun-free zone and someone raises a stink about it, it’s not a crime. If they ask me to leave, and I do, then no harm, no foul. The worse that can happen criminally is they slap me with a fine for trespassing. However, that may be different where you live. Know your local laws as to where you can and cannot go with your gun.
What are your state laws about Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine? Do you have a duty to retreat? What does your state say you can and cannot do if someone breaks into your home or accosts you on the street? What about in your vehicle?
What is your obligation when interacting with law enforcement? In some states, you must disclose that you are carrying a gun; in other states, you don’t have to. What is it where you live? These are things you need to know if you’re going to carry. There are a ton of helpful online resources that detail exactly what your state requires and permits.
Choosing a carry gun is very personal. There is no one-gun-fits-all solution. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. What do you feel comfortable carrying and shooting? Pick that one.
Avoid stereotypes when choosing a firearm. If you have small hands, you might gravitate toward selecting a smaller gun, but once you take it to the range and shoot it, you might change your mind because smaller guns tend to be snappy and don’t handle recoil very well.
Like many things in life, a carry gun is all about compromise. In an ideal world, you could carry the biggest gun with the highest capacity and feel confident you could tackle any threat. However, how would you conceal it? Instead, you have to consider the gun’s overall size, grip size, and capacity. While it would be great to carry 20 rounds in every magazine, that is typically not practical. So choose a gun that is comfortable to shoot, large enough to handle the recoil, small enough to conceal, and carries enough ammo to win most gunfights. Easy, right? This is where trying out several guns before deciding comes in. Don’t fixate on having to buy one particular gun that you’ve had your eye on for a long time. It might not be the best option after all.
The whole purpose behind concealed carry is to be ready for a fight but look like you’re not. In other words, you know you’re ready and equipped but nobody else does because you look like average Joe or Jane that nobody is going to notice. It is more than a bit ironic when a concealed carrier dons a gun maker logoed hat, a 2A-emblazoned graphic tee, and tattoos up and down the arm. Not the best way to blend in. Bad guys are looking to shoot the gun guy first. Don’t stick out.
The challenge is to find clothing that looks normal yet allows concealed carry. You still want to look good and fashion-appropriate. Layering is key. Find clothes that can layer up and down and are appropriate for the season. Obviously, it’s easier to do this in the colder months than in the heat of the summer. But it can be done all year long with a little planning.
Think patterns and dark solid colors. Shirts with patterns break up the outline of the gun, making it harder to spot. Dark solid colors also work well to hide the gun because any outline can look like a wrinkle that nobody notices.
Bloused garments work well, too. Hoodies, sweats, golf coverups all do a great job of concealing a gun yet allow easy access in a crisis.
Whatever you choose, do a quick mirror check before leaving home to be sure the gun is covered.
You knew this was coming, right? After all, we’re a holster company. But before you think this is a shameless plug, remember that your choice of holsters – whether ours or someone else’s – is critical to how well the gun is concealed and how comfortable it is to carry all day. You won’t want to carry a gun in a holster that is uncomfortable.
Choose the holster that fits your gun. A good holster must do three things:
Find the best concealed carry solution for you. It might or might not be the same setup as your neighbor’s. And it may take a while to find exactly what you like the best. Regardless, be sure your concealed carry setup is one that will encourage you to carry every day.
David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. As an NRA-certified instructor, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. “Real-life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
©MTC Holsters, LLC and CrossBreed Holsters Blog, 2021.
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