Are you hesitant to carry a firearm because it makes you uncomfortable or nervous? It's a legitimate concern and you are definitely not alone - almost everyone who carries a firearm started out feeling the same way.
Without a doubt, the best way to move past your apprehension about carrying is through training and repetition. Here some tips and training drills that will help you get more comfortable with the idea of carrying concealed.
When you first begin carrying a firearm, you'll have a few things to deal with - you need to get comfortable with carrying a gun on your body, you need to choose a location for your holster, and you need to make sure your holster of choice works for the style of carry you are using. All of these things can be accomplished by putting on your holster and (unloaded) gun and wearing them around the house. Commit to a specific amount of time and schedule for these practice sessions. For example, practice 15 minutes a few days a week to start, then ramp it up to where you are practicing every day for as long as possible.
While you're practicing around the house, make sure to perform the tasks and movements you would normally do in a day (bend over, reach for something above you, get in and out of a chair...) to make sure that your holster is working properly and your holster is in the proper location (feel free to adjust it if you find an issue).
Over time, your basic comfort level will increase and you'll be ready to start working with your gun on the range.
Once you're sure where you'll be carrying your firearm and you feel relatively comfortable with it on your body, it's time to start practicing with dry fire drills. If you're new to this concept, "Dry fire" means working with your firearm without ammunition in the gun, and it's a great way to practice without spending a lot of money on ammo.
Here are a few dry fire drills that will help you with concealed carry:
Draw to First Shot: Place your unloaded gun in your holster (triple check your gun and magazines before you start and leave all of your ammo in another room), draw the gun, and "fire" one shot. Repeat this several times during each practice session and don't try to rush it - this is about learning to safely clear your holster, get your gun up to the target.
Magazine Changes: If you are planning to carry a spare magazine, place it where you will be carrying it on your body and practice changing your (unloaded) magazines. Start with your gun in an extended position (like you just fired a shot) and focus on smooth movements, not speed. You can let the magazine in your gun fall to the ground and you can also practice tactical reloads, which is when you stow the magazine that was in your gun somewhere on your body before you reload with the new magazine.
Position Work: In addition to standing while doing your dry fire drills, practice doing the same drills while kneeling, with one hand, and while using some kind of cover like a doorway or wall. This will help you get the feel for shooting in a defensive position.
You can find more dry fire drills in The Dry Fire Primer Book
The last step to getting more comfortable with carrying concealed is doing the same drills you did in dry fire practice, but with live ammo. Drawing from the holster is a critical skill for carrying concealed, so it's important to find a place where you can practice. Regardless of the drill, make sure to start slow and methodically - speed will come, but you need to be safe first!
The best way to get comfortable with concealed carry is through training and repetition. Practicing the drills above will go a long way toward improving your confidence and skill and getting you to your goal of carrying without hesitation. If you have a question about carrying concealed, please get in touch with us!