At the beginning, I knew nothing. Like all of us. We research, we learn, we talk with others about their experiences, and we do the best we can to stay educated and make proper decisions.
That’s right; relationships are just like concealed carry. You’re not going to get it right the first time. Probably not the second. Heck, it may take you your whole life to get it perfect. (That’s a lie, though, because nothing is perfect. Remember that, kids.)
With that in mind, we still strive for perfection, especially when it comes to carrying a firearm. To get to that perfection, here are 5 important things that I’ve learned since carrying a firearm that should not be overlooked.
1. Not A Single Part Of It Is A Game
I knew not to play around with firearms and show them off and such from the beginning, but treating them with respect –at all times– is an important quality for us to possess. Keeping this in mind is the correct way to go about things, and firearms and their accessories need to be respected. Yes, even that holster. Respect the crap out of it.
I was at a range a few years back and two people were playing hot potato with a handgun, passing it back and forth between them at two bays on the range. Just flinging it, really. Was it loaded? I’m not sure, but I was out of there because I didn’t want to find out. This is an example of irresponsibility, and maybe it’s all just a game to those two guys. Hopefully they don’t injure themselves or someone else one day, and hopefully they become aware of their responsibility as gun owners.
The bottom line; owning and handing firearms isn’t a game, and should always be taken seriously and with high levels of safety at all times.
2. Never Underestimate The Importance Of A Quality Holster
Boy, have I been through holsters. I’m sure you all have, unless you got lucky and landed on perfection out of the gate. But no, for most of us we had to learn the hard and expensive way. As new concealed carriers search the interwebs for holsters, there seems to be some strategic marketing going on from some less-than-desirable ‘holster’ manufacturers. Let’s put it this way: If you see the following from a holster company or ad, run:
- Anything with the word ‘minimalist’ on the packaging or website
They’ll try to sell you a ‘holster’ no bigger than a sharpie marker… if you’ll let them. If you see something that’s not form-fitted to your specific firearm, it’s probably wise to look elsewhere.
- Anything that’s a ‘One size fits most’ type deal
These can be hazardous and should be, in my opinion, avoided at all costs. Just ask this guy with his new b-hole.
Your holster should possess the following features, at a minimum:
- Form-fitting to your specific firearm model
- Full trigger coverage
- Proper retention of firearm
If it’s not molded, you’ve folded. You’ve either folded your cards because you need to get out of this situation, or you’ve folded the holster and it’s pulled your trigger.
Your holster, as mentioned above, should be form-fitted to your exact handgun. An all-kydex holster has been at the forefront of acceptable holsters, such as the holster seen below from Vedder Holsters.
3. Choose Your Own Carry Gun Yourself
When you are looking for your first carry gun, you’ll get opinions and recommendations from people left and right. While this is great that people are wanting to help, and some of the information will absolutely be valuable, it is important to choose a handgun that you like, and one that you’re comfortable with and can shoot accurately.
There is nothing wrong with getting advice from others, especially those with proper knowledge, but know what you’re getting into before carrying any particular firearm. While it may be good for 99 other people, you may be the 1 that just doesn’t like it for whatever reason.
4. Practice With The Ammo You Carry
You should be shooting regularly, which means you know what types of ammo your handgun doesn’t have any issues with, right? If you carry a self-defense round, you should be using that same exact ammo at the range to ensure it’s working properly with your gun. This includes feeding properly, zero malfunctions, and that you’re proficient with the round. If you fire 20 different brands and types of ammo through your gun and have no issues, but don’t shoot your carry ammo with that same gun, your carry ammo could be the only ammo in the world that your gun doesn’t like.
And if you need your gun in a self-defense situation and your ammo fails to feed or your gun just doesn’t like it, well, that’s a bad time to learn that lesson.
5. Seek Out Training Specific To Concealed Carry
Train as much as you can, and add actual in-person training courses that focus on concealed carry. There are many things to learn in this world, and they’ll help you be a better shooter and a better armed citizen. You can go from simple to crazy with these courses, and it’s absolutely worth looking into what is available in your area. Knowledge is something that cannot be taken away, and we can and should build on it regularly.
Muscle Memory is also a real thing, and regular practice and training will fine-tune your body to react the way you expect it to react in stressful situations. Without it, you’d be surprised just how much you can ‘seize up’ and forget how to do something simple like draw your firearm from concealment.
If you’re new to concealed carry, read over this article again and try to implement as much of it as you can, because I’m saving you a lot of work in the long run. These are absolutely things that come up with every serious concealed carrier, and it’s good to know this information before wasting time and money on things that might not be as important for your success.