Concealed Carry for Beginners: Straight Talk from Seasoned Carriers
4 min read
Starting your concealed carry journey is a big step, and it's completely normal to have lots of questions (and some nervousness). To help you through the beginning stages, we turned to the people who've been exactly where you are now – our own community. We asked our social media followers, "If you could give one top piece of advice to someone just starting with concealed carry, what would it be?"
We got a bunch of really helpful replies, so we're passing along their wisdom to you! Take a look at these awesome tips from people who know their way around carrying.
Concealment and Printing
Concealment and avoiding printing are fundamental aspects of responsible concealed carry. "Printing" refers to when the outline of your firearm or gear is visible through your clothing, and managing this is a key concern for those who carry. Maintaining discretion is essential to avoid unwanted attention or becoming a target.
Effectively concealing your firearm also makes sure you keep the advantage of surprise in self-defense situations. As Cindi W. insightfully puts it, “Nobody should ever know that you’re carrying except you.”
Our community emphasizes the importance of managing printing, but they also advise not to stress about it:
Jayne B. offers practical advice, saying, “Don’t worry so much about other people ‘seeing’ it. They are WAY too self-absorbed to notice you.” This comment suggests that while concealment is important, the average person is unlikely to notice minor issues.
Christine K. reinforces this point, advising, “No one notices…stop stressing about printing.” Her statement echoes the sentiment that most people are not as observant as we might fear.
Mike R. adds, “No one looks at your waist,” further highlighting that people generally don't scrutinize others' attire as closely as we might think.
These insights emphasize a balanced approach to concealment. You want to strive for discretion but recognize that minor printing is often unnoticed by the general public. Most people aren’t going to scrutinize you for every little lump and wrinkle in your clothing. As long as you don’t have any huge bulges, you’re likely doing just fine with your concealment efforts. Remember, the average person is usually too caught up in their own world to pay close attention to the minute details of someone else's clothing.
Training and Practice
Training and regular practice are the cornerstones of effective concealed carry. Carrying a firearm is a serious responsibility, and being proficient in its use is crucial. Our community members stress the importance of consistent practice:
Bobbi H. urges, “Practice your draw with an empty gun EVERY day!!!” This daily repetition builds muscle memory and ensures you're prepared if you ever need to draw your firearm in a real situation.
Melanie D. points out the broader scope of training, stating, "The importance of training often, not just static shooting." This highlights the need for dynamic training that goes beyond just firing at a stationary target.
Betty C. shares her approach: “Training and practice. I belong to IDPA and attend as many matches as I can. Handling my firearm has become second nature to me but I don’t take it for granted. If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Her involvement in competitive shooting reinforces the value of regular, varied practice.
Laura W. offers a word of caution: “Perhaps not 'The' most important but being aware that all CCW carriers are not properly trained.” This reminds us that training quality can vary, and it's important to seek out reputable sources.
William C. succinctly advises, “Train, Train, and Train.” This repetition emphasizes the never-ending nature of training as a lifelong commitment for responsible carriers.
These perspectives from experienced individuals underscore that carrying a concealed weapon is more than just having a gun - it's about the dedication to continuous improvement and readiness. Remember, effective training is not just about shooting; it's about understanding and preparing for the myriad of scenarios you might encounter.
Mindset and Responsibility
Adopting the right mindset and recognizing the responsibilities that come with concealed carry are just as important as the physical aspects of carrying a firearm. This involves not just skill and technique, but also a deep understanding of the lifestyle changes and ethical considerations involved.
Our community members shared their insights on the mental and ethical dimensions of concealed carry:
Jan F. describes concealed carry as "a lifestyle. Your clothing - how you dress. Everything revolves around the firearm." This emphasizes that concealed carry is not just an action. It’s also a commitment that influences your daily choices and behaviors.
Michelle G. advises taking gradual steps: "Baby steps are fine. If you aren’t comfortable leaving the house carrying, start carrying in the house til you aren’t anxious." Her advice is a reminder that becoming comfortable with concealed carry is a personal journey and should be approached at your own pace.
Patrick C. brings a profound perspective: "If you choose to carry, make sure you know who you're willing to kill for, die for, go broke for, and go to jail for." His comment reminds us of the serious consequences and moral weight that go along with using your firearm in a self-defense situation.
Beth M. adds a crucial safety angle: “Avoid shooting if at all possible,” highlighting the importance of situational awareness.
These diverse viewpoints collectively underscore that concealed carry is as much about mental preparedness and ethical responsibility as it is about physical readiness. It's a holistic approach that requires careful consideration, constant awareness, and a deep sense of responsibility.
Another theme among our community members is the idea that once you start carrying, it should become a regular part of your life. It’s about making a commitment to your own safety and readiness at all times.
Bradshaw S. gives straightforward advice: "Once you start, always carry." Once you've made the choice, stick with it. Consistency is crucial.
Jim T. keeps it simple with, "Always carry." It's a reminder that this isn't something you do now and then. It's a daily commitment.
The idea behind carrying everywhere you legally can is really about being prepared. Think of it as integrating a safety tool into your everyday life, just like you do with a seatbelt in a car. It's there not because you expect trouble, but because you want to be ready if trouble ever comes your way.