Tips for Starting to Carry

posted on June 18, 2018

Daily concealed carry seems effortless for many. We refuse to be victims and hold sacred having the ability to protect and defend ourselves if needed. Each day we make carrying our firearm a part of our routine. This should be black and white, cut and dried, and easy for anyone who exercises their Second Amendment right, correct? Wrong. There are many citizens among us who value this right yet are hesitant to exercise it because they’re timid about carrying. Their apprehension is understandable. I would surmise that each and every one of us know someone who struggles with being afraid to carry. When we meet those people, we must abstain from chastising and instead offer solutions they can use to overcome their fear. In this article you will find helpful tips that, when practiced, will “ease you into carrying.”

Dry firing lets you improve your mechanics. The goal would be to balance a round on the top of the slide and have it not fall off during the dry-fire drill.

Walk before you run.

A great way to build your comfort level and confidence is to house carry with a safe firearm. You should always treat your gun as if it is loaded, but for this drill, make sure it is safe. Practice muzzle control. Always confirm that the magazine and chamber are empty. I would suggest even leaving the magazine out. Keep the firearm on your person while going about your regular day at home. This is an excellent way to become accustomed to having it on your person. You are in the comfort of your own home and relaxed. It also allows you to try different carry positions and experiment with various holsters and gear. You will start gaining confidence and you will find out what does and does not work best for you. 

Trigger-finger discipline is a key component to safety when you carry. You want to practice drawing an unloaded, safe gun and check to see that your trigger finger is along the slide. Practice will help this become habit.

Uncovering what “triggers” your fear.

It all comes down to the trigger. Most people know the trigger causes a firearm to go “boom,” so to speak. The unforeseen comfort in that knowledge, is knowing that is the only way a firearm will fire. Knowledge is power. When you understand more about the physics of the gun, you will begin to feel less threatened by it. The most important thing to remember is to keep your finger off of the trigger. Your trigger finger should rest straight down the side of the slide. With the magazine out and the chamber empty, practice handling your gun as you house carry. Throughout the day take it in and out of the holster working on trigger-finger discipline. When you draw, stop and find out where your index finger is. It should be straight down the slide. If it is not, correct the position and keep practicing. Repetition will help trigger-finger discipline become second nature.


Taking your gun apart allows you to get a better idea of how all the parts come together to perform a function.

Dispel the mystery.

We have been conditioned to view a firearm as an evil device. Every time my mother sees my gun she gasps, as if it could move across the room and fire at any moment. Ladies and gentlemen, a firearm is an inanimate object that is controlled by the person handling it. Guns do not harm people. Guns are much less mysterious than most realize. A great technique to help someone comprehend this is what I like to call “the break down.” This is where you break the gun down to each intricate piece. If you are not comfortable with this, I would suggest asking a friend who is. Watching this process begins to unravel the mysteries. When you see each piece taken off and separated you realize that these are just rods, springs, plastic and metal all put together in a fashion that creates a firearm. This technique is a good way to visually understand how it all works making it less intimidating while gaining a respect for it.

Mastering the mechanics.

Once you’ve become comfortable with your unloaded firearm. it’s time to go to the next level, working on the mechanics. This is where you begin to utilize dry firing. Dry firing is the practice of firing the gun without the ammunition. Find a secluded space where you can concentrate. Ensure the magazines and chamber are empty. Prepare a target. I use a piece of tape with a black dot adhered to the wall for my focal point. It’s always best to make certain any ammunition you have is in a separate room. Practice releasing and loading the magazine, racking the slide, pointing it and firing. This is a very basic yet effective way to work on your trigger press, grip and sight acquisition. Ten minutes daily is more than enough to improve your handling skills.

Hitting the range.

Now that you have eased into handling, it’s time for the real deal. Firing at the range. Training to fire your gun is imperative. I would recommend finding an experienced instructor and having a few private one-on-one lessons. This takes away the distraction of other shooters that can cause you to become nervous. Most people retain more information in this type of setting, especially when it deals with hands-on learning. You will feel more at ease and have the full attention of the instructor. This is training beyond your concealed-carry permit training. Once you become acclimated, move into training classes where you can train with other shooters. You can never acquire too much training. Shooting is a perishable skill, so training and having consistent range time is crucial.

There are no time limits or expiration dates. When you choose to carry a firearm, it is on your terms. You decide when you are ready to move on to the next steps. You are in control. With time and patience everyone who desires to carry and exercise their second amendment right can become a confident and responsible gun owner. It may not be “easy” but yes, you can ease into carrying and overcome the obstacles that currently keep you from doing so.


The Armed Citizen
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