Receiving a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean you are ready to start carrying your firearm everywhere. New permit holders might not realize the variety of mistakes that could compromise their permit or lead to other legal trouble. Here are 10 of the most common problems you might face that can easily be avoided.
- Getting into the Right Mindset
It’s important to adopt the right frame of mind about your new tool for self-defense. Carrying a firearm brings a lot of responsibility and even pulling it from its holster can have considerable consequences. It’s important to determine the right handgun for your needs from the start and to be realistic about why you are carrying. You should have the goal of doing all you can to avoid conflict. Remain cool and use your firearm only as a last resort, not a show of force.
- Make Sure You Have Proper Training
Depending on where you live, the training requirements for your concealed-carry permit might only cover the bare minimum guidelines. These guidelines might cover details like eye protection and target practice, but they don’t properly prepare you to handle real-world scenarios. Training for using your firearm in self-defense is very different from target practice on a range. Before signing up for a class, make sure you do your research and find one that is reputable. Also look for courses that focus on training you properly rather than quickly. Consider new training even if you’ve taken courses in the past.
- Equipping Yourself with the Right Holster
Equipping yourself with the right holster for your weapon style and body type is also important. Several popular styles exist. You can opt to carry your weapon inside the waistband, outside the waistband, or with an iwb/owb combo holster. Keep in mind that just because a holster is fashionable doesn’t mean it’s the best one for your gun. Make sure the holster fits comfortably, too. Materials like nylon and leather are typically preferable over Kydex when it comes to concealed carry.
- Carry as Often as is Appropriate
A firearm will not help you in a dangerous situation if you do not have it ready. If you plan to carry a firearm, it’s best to become accustomed to it early. You will become more comfortable with it the more you wear it. Whenever you carry, it should be as second-nature as fastening your seatbelt when you drive.
- Practice Drawing and Firing Regularly
Whenever you carry, you have to be ready to use your firearm successfully at a moment’s notice. If you don’t routinely practice using your firearm in a secure situation, like at a gun range, it might not be effective when the time comes. Practicing doesn’t just ensure your skills stay sharp, but that your firearm is ready and functioning properly. You will start to learn more about how your gun performs, whether it’s likely to jam, and what kind of ammunition works best.
- Be Aware of Your Clothing
Wearing fabrics that are too form-fitting may make the outline of your handgun easily visible. With looser-fitting clothes, you should be able to more effectively conceal your weapon and have better draw access. Also consider the style of clothing you wear. You don’t want to wear overtly tactical or camouflage gear when trying to carry discreetly.
- Avoid Printing/Exposing Your Weapon
Make sure your weapon is properly concealed. Printing—where the outline of your gun is visible to others—is a potential issue you should be aware of. Intentional printing or exposure of your gun may scare people and is illegal in some areas.
- Stop Checking Your Gun
When you first start carrying a handgun, it’s hard not to think about it. Some new to carrying constantly reach back to touch their gun to make sure it is still there and properly secured. This is a bad habit that you should break immediately. It draws attention to yourself and can make others uncomfortable. If you are well-trained, well-practiced, and have a quality holster, you can be confident that your weapon will be useful if needed.
- Make Sure You Don’t Adjust in Public
Speaking of drawing attention to yourself, there’s nothing worse than routinely adjusting your holster in public. Getting your holster back into a comfortable position can be tricky depending on the holster and style of clothing. Tugging at your shirt or waistband to adjust your holster is bound to raise suspicions. This is why it’s important to wear a holster you are comfortable with. If you find that you need to fix your holster, it’s best to do so in a bathroom or somewhere private. If this is consistently an issue, consider changing your carry position.
- Research Applicable Local Laws
The last and most important thing to do before travelling with your sidearm is to be 100 percent familiar with any area laws regarding firearms. State and local laws can vary i. As a responsible gun owner, you need to know where you can legally carry and what laws exist regarding drawing your firearm.
Brian Ford is a freelance writer and blogger based in Austin, Texas. With a love for hunting, hiking, and the great outdoors in general, he often writes outside. In his free time, he enjoys spending afternoons at his local range.