This article will touch on 10 Tips for the newbies, and will also serve as a refresher for those that have been carrying for years. Remember, you can never train enough.
Tip #1: Buy Multiple Holsters before Multiple Firearms
Choosing a firearm and accompanying holster can be an intimidating task, and you’re sure to end up with a drawer full of holsters until you find the one that’s right for you. Getting situated with a comfortable system is extremely important. Not only will it be the safest way for you to carry, but it will also help you carry every day (because it’s comfortable). So many people decide to leave their firearms at home because they don’t like the way their holster feels. Don’t be that person. Find a great holster that you love, then maybe get yourself a new firearm.
Tip #2: Wear your Holster, Belt and Firearm Around The House First
Some call this stupid, I call it proactive. If you don’t know exactly how your new setup will act while you’re out and about, you could have something unintentional happen such as your firearm dropping to the floor or accidentally exposing it to people around you. Neither of these will result in a good day.
Take your time with your new setup and get familiar with it. When you sit down, pay attention to it’s orientation. When you stand up, see if your holster has shifted around while you were seated. It’s better to figure these things out in the privacy of your own home vs out in public which leads me to the next tip.
Tip #3: Don’t Touch It, You’ll Only Draw Attention
On a few different occasions, I’ve picked people out of a crowd that were carrying a concealed firearm. How? They gave it away by adjusting and fidgeting with their setup in public. People do notice this, and it will draw attention. If you feel that your holster or firearm has shifted, wait to check it until you’re in a private area such as your vehicle or a rest room. If you’ve practiced Tip #2 enough, you should know exactly how your holster should feel if it ever moves out of place. If it doesn’t feel like that, keep your hands to yourself.
Tip #4: Keep Your Carry Firearm Stock
I love fancy gadgets just as much as the next guy, however I have a very strict policy with keeping my concealed carry firearms completely stock (with the exception of sights). The reason is simple: The manufacturer has spent a whole lot of time and money to make your firearm work correctly. If you start adding aftermarket parts like triggers and slide release levers, you are opening yourself up to failures.
Some people will debate this all day and never be satisfied with my answer, but I’m sticking to it and offering it up as a suggestion.
Tip #5: Don’t Act Like You Have A Gun
Very often, new carriers will act a little nervous while out in the public eye. If you aren’t playing with your firearm and it’s concealed properly, no one knows that you’re carrying it. Relax, take a deep breath, and go about your normal daily routine.
Tip #6: Actually Practice And Train With Your Setup
So incredibly important that I cannot stress this enough. It’s great that you want to carry, but even greater if you are as familiar with your firearm and cc setup as you are with the back of your hand. Take yourself to the range and practice drawing from concealment. Practice with different clothing on as well. Your draw will be different if you’re wearing a t-shirt than it is if you’re wearing a winter jacket. Be prepared for any situation.
Tip #7: Always Practice Safe Firearm Handling
Remember the 3 Rules of Firearm Safety? Recite them and practice them each and every time you’re around a firearm. If you pick up your firearm and safety check it, then set it back down, and then a minute later pick it up again, you should be safety checking it again. Any time that a firearm leaves your physical possession, you should be safety checking it the moment you pick it up again. Trust me when I say that it’s not overkill. If everyone were to do this without fail, negligent discharges would diminish close to zero.
Tip #8: Don’t Advertise
Telling your immediate family and very close friends is one thing, but advertising it beyond that is not usually the best of ideas. Don’t give away your carry location either. One wrong person that has this information would get an advantage over you. Retain your element of surprise by keeping this information as private as possible.
Tip #9: Be Confident With Carrying A Round In The Chamber
Laugh all you want, old timers. The fact remains, many people that are new to carrying are at first afraid of carrying with one in the pipe. If you never were, just move along. This section isn’t for everyone.
Tip #10: Have Fun And Stay Safe
Absolutely, carrying a firearm is a serious matter. But, it doesn’t need to be stressful or intimidating. If you’ve got a setup that you’re happy with and fits comfortably, you’re ahead of the game. The fact that you’re carrying at all is a testament to how much you value life and safety. Maintain this attitude, gain as much knowledge as you can on the topic, and carry on.