Concealed carry is a serious subject. The decision to carry a weapon is not to be made lightly, but that does not mean learning to do so should be difficult. If you are willing to take this responsibility, and want to learn more, keep reading to discover 5 proven rules of concealed carry.
1. To Carry or Not to Carry?
The first rule in carrying a weapon concealed is deciding if you should at all. There are many options for self protection, knives, pepper spray, tasers, etc. These can all be quite effective, and do not require you to kill someone. Let that sink in for a moment. If you decided to carry a firearm, there is a chance, however remote, that you will have to use it to kill someone.
Killing someone is not easy, even if that person is doing everything they can to deserve it. If it were easy, the military wouldn’t spend billions of dollars and countless hours devising ways of training soldiers to learn how to do it. You need to be honest with yourself, and decided if you are ok with possibly being the reason someone isn’t breathing at the end of the day. It’s ok if the answer is no, and there is no shame in being honest with yourself as it is your decision. If the answer is yes however, then move onto rule number 2.
2. Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry
This is also an area of contention for many. Generally speaking I do not favor open carry. It lets everyone know you have a gun. It also makes them extremely nervous, and will generally attract the attention of the police at some point. Open carry, also gives away the element of surprise, and can make you a target for those with nefarious intentions. If you can legally carry concealed, I strongly recommend that you do so. Remember, the only person that should know you have a gun is you.
3. Method of Carry
Now this is where we start to get into the weeds. There are a million ways to carry a weapon concealed, but there are only a few tactically sound methods that have proven to be effective and safe for the average person. Whichever method you choose, your weapon should be able to be presented and fired with reasonable accuracy in a normal timeframe. I would define this as being able to hit a man size target, in a lethal area, from 3 yards within 1.5 seconds, from concealment. This will mean that you have to carry your weapon loaded with a round ready to fire, either in the chamber, or in the cylinder in the case of a revolver.
Next on the list of considerations is the type of carry and the corresponding holster. The following are a list of concealed carry methods that we recommend.
Off Body: Bag or Purse
This is can be a good solution for many people. In this method you carry your pistol in an inside the waistband (IWB) holster located between your leg and where your belt buckle would generally be located, in the 1 o’clock position. This is fairly comfortable and will work for folks that are in good shape.
If you happen to have a bit of a gut, the pistol can dig into your stomach, and it can also be difficult to retrieve. The only major drawback to this method is that if you should have an accidental discharge while holstering, you are likely to shoot the family jewels, or your femoral artery,neither of which are good.
This method is probably the most common. Traditionally this is a strong side carry on your hip. This has a number of advantages. It’s quick to retrieve your weapon, and you have a wide variety of holsters to choose from, both inside the waistband and outside the waistband (OWB), which will accommodate a wide variety of body types. This method is less easy to conceal than some of the others, but as long as you’re not wearing a skin tight T shirt, it shouldn’t be too obvious that you have a gun.
This is my preferred method. I believe it is the best combination between concealability and comfort, as well as ease of weapon retrieval. I also like that it is not to far off of the location that I carry my duty weapon, so there is some muscle memory carry over for the draw. I would generally recommend an inside the waistband holster for this method of carry as it is, in my opinion, the most comfortable.
This is probably my least preferred method on the list. It is cumbersome to access the weapon, and it can feel strange to walk with a weapon on your ankle. You can forget about a fast draw with this method, but for some situations it can a viable alternative.
Off Body: Bag or Purse
This method can be very good especially for women and men that for whatever reason cannot carry a weapon on their waistline. This is a fairly effective method for business settings where you may not be able to conceal a weapon in a more traditional method. It also allows you to carry a larger weapon and some more magazines and equipment.
There are a number special bags and backpacks, that have holsters built in, that can securely carry a weapon with out it flopping around. I do not recommend tossing a loaded weapon into bag and just seeing what happens. That is a terrible idea.
4. Holster selection
This is one area that I feel is quite personal to some. Most folks find a brand of holster they like and stick with it. Personally, I like inside the waistband holsters with a nice leather pad to distribute the pressure of the weapon against my side evenly. I own both the Galco King Tuk and a Crossbreed IWB as well. These are basically the same holster design, and so far have proven to be very good pieces of equipment. Here’s an affiliate link for Glock holsters, but they make them for all popular pistols.
If you prefer outside the waistband, then I generally recommend a good kydex holster, ideally with some retention like the Safariland style holsters. Either way you choose, inside the waistband, or outside the waistband, you should buy something that is decent quality, which will generally run you between $40-$60 dollars. Anymore, and you are probably paying for fancy leather and features you won’t use.
5. Drills and Training
In this section we will discuss some different methods of becoming safe and proficient with our concealed weapons. I am assuming at this point that you are familiar with the fundamentals of shooting, and know how to safely handle your firearm. If not, then you should seek that type of training first.
As always the bulk of your training will be done with dry fire. This will allow you to build muscle memory and iron out the kinks with your carry method in a safe manner.
My first recommendation is practice in normal clothes using the holster you have selected. This is important because your are trying to accumulate meaningful repetitions and ensure there are no hazards to your method of carry given your body type and manner of dress.
Next you need to practice just wearing the holster around. This means sitting in a car seat, on a couch, walking, eating Cheetos, just kidding on that last one, them shits aren’t paleo bro.
This will help you determine if this method is comfortable for you. Now to be perfectly honest no holster type, and no method of concealment will be as comfortable as not wearing a gun. I try and think of the minor discomfort as a reminder of the responsibility I have in carrying the weapon.
Now you are ready to practice drawing the weapon. You will have to practice moving your clothing out of the way in the case of shirts/jackets, or you will have to practice accessing it if you are carrying it via one of the other methods. Practice slowly at first, and over the coming days and weeks you can speed it up. Remember that while a fast draw looks cool, you cannot out draw with someone who already has their gun out. Just concentrate on being smooth
Lastly you need to work on safely reholstering the weapon. This sounds simple, but this is where the vast majority of accidental discharges occur. Shoving a weapon into a holster quickly is a recipe for disaster. There is no prize for a quick reholster. Take your time and locate the entrance of the holster, then deliberately seat the weapon.
If your weapon has an exposed hammer then place your thumb over it to ensure that it does not move as you seat the holster. Sometimes, loose clothing can catch between the holster and the trigger, causing the trigger to pull as you push down. With your thumb on the hammer, you will be able to feel any such catching, and prevent an accidental discharge. Trust me folks, reholstering is serious business, I’ve seen this exact scenario replay it self with gloves, and clothing catching between the gun and holster. Be deliberate and be careful.
You now have the 5 rules of concealed carry. There really is nothing fancy or ground breaking, but this is a serious decision to make. Legally you will be held to a higher standard because you now have the means to end someone’s life very quickly. A gun is not a solution for every problem that might pop up, including assholes and fist fights. You should only use your weapon to defend yourself or others from death or serious bodily harm.
“A good rule thumb is if you don’t think that you or someone else is imminently in danger of an extended stay in a hospital or morgue, then you probably shouldn’t pull that gun. ”
Once you feel comfortable with with the basics of concealed carry you should seek some further training. I recommend some force on force training using airsoft pistols that are the same type of system that you carry. This will allow you to put your basics to a real and legitimate test. The first time you participate in this type of training you will generally find out that there is quite a lot that you need to work on. Luckily learning what you don’t know is the first step towards wisdom.