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Not Quite Ready to Carry Concealed

November 8, 2016

confused womanMaybe you don’t carry your firearm every day even though you have your concealed carry license.  Maybe you’re not comfortable carrying in public.  You’re not alone if you feel that way.  You can’t change that feeling with words.  You can change it with experience.  Here are small steps that make carrying concealed feel comfortable.

Only practice makes a firearm feel safe and familiar.  You need time touching your gun before it feels right.  The good news is that we already know how to safely carry a firearm for self-defense.  You can practice in a structured environment and build safe habits that will last a lifetime.  Yes, you may have already passed your concealed carry course.  Maybe your state doesn’t even require a course.  If you’re nervous about carrying concealed, then it’s time to take a firearms handling class.  Here is what you’ll learn.

Let’s start at the beginning.  For example, there are easy and safe ways to load a firearm and put it in your holster.  Why not learn those techniques from a professional instructor.  You can learn “best practice” rather than from your own mistakes.

You already know how to shoot from a bench at a square range.  Now you’ll learn how to safely and efficiently take your gun from a concealed holster and shoot a target.  You’re learning more than abstract techniques.  You experience how it feels to move with a gun on your body.  You’re building a personal library of sensations that make concealed carry feel familiar.

If you take a day-long class, then you will get lots of practice loading and unloading your gun.  You’ll verify the gun’s condition time after time.  All that practice makes it feel familiar to touch, to walk, and to sit with a gun on your body.  Yes, it feels different when you’re carrying.  Give yourself the gift of time so you can experience those feelings without surprises.  You learn things that go way beyond a class curriculum.Defensive Handgun Class

Maybe you can’t imagine being armed in public.  You have your license, so here are a list of small steps so a firearm feels familiar.  Advance at your own pace and let yourself succeed.  You will carry for the rest of your life, so who cares if you want to practice a few more days.

  • Wear your empty and concealed holster at home.  Do that as long as it takes to feel comfortable.   You’re also learning how to dress while carrying a firearm.  
  • Wear your empty and concealed holster as you go familiar places away from home.  That also reminds you where guns are allowed and where they are forbidden.
  • Ask if you’re allowed to carry at work and at church.  You can tell them you’re doing research for a self-help class you’re taking.
  • Buy some snap caps and practice safely loading and unloading your firearm the way you were taught in class.  Keep building safe habits.
  • Carry your loaded and concealed firearm at home.  It feels different at first.  Put the gun away properly when you’re done carrying it.
  • Carry concealed as you go someplace familiar outside your home.  It helps to travel with other people who carry.  You can be the armed passenger so you don’t even have to drive.
  • Go get gas while you are carrying concealed.  Yes, you’re carrying in public by yourself, but you don’t have to interact with anyone just yet.  Please plan your first trip in the daytime rather than at 2 in the morning in the wrong part of town.
  • Wear your concealed firearm on a simple shopping trip.  You’ve done this a million times before.  Aren’t you running low on eggs and milk?
  • Go out to eat with friends who carry.
  • If it is allowed, add your work and church to the places you carry.

None of this is intimidating if you take it step at a time and proceed at your own pace.  Do you even remember why you were concerned about carrying a few months ago?

More tips are listed here.

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Greg Tag permalink
    November 8, 2016 9:26 pm


    Great advice. Thoughtful and low impact methods to ease into carrying- I have been suggesting similar approach to my Texas CHL/LTC students for years but the suggestions to carry to church or with carrying friends had not occurred to me- I’ll credit you in my briefing.

    Liked by 1 person

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