Photo by the National Shooting Sports Foundation
Congratulations! And, it’s about time!
You finally took that step—the step that allows you to more consistently protect yourself, your family, friends and anyone threatened with deadly violence. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in your shoes—a new concealed carry permit, a new firearm and a new future. Yes, a new future. Once you make the commitment to carry, your life is different. Though you didn’t ask for this, let me share a few thoughts about your new life.
First, you’ll find that your new associates with concealed-carry permits are careful, responsible and trustworthy people. This is a serious commitment for serious people. By carrying, you are saying that you are willing to step into the void between evil and innocence and that you will accept the consequences. It isn’t easy. After you’ve been carrying for a while, however, the fear, anxiety and excitement will wear off and you’ll realize that carrying concealed is an important contribution to a civil society.
You’ve taken upon yourself the responsibility to protect those around you. Despite what the mainstream media says, this is the opposite of machismo.
Hopefully, you now will find yourself more aware of what’s happening around you. You will be thinking about how you would act if the unthinkable happens. Let’s be clear: It probably won’t. The chances of you ever having to use the protection tool you now carry are infinitesimal. But, as one person said to me, “It’s not the odds; it’s the stakes.” We carry because the stakes are so high.
You’ll probably worry about things like how to carry, whether or not to carry a round in the chamber and more. The first time you carry you will think that everyone can see your gun. You will feel like you must stand out like a sore thumb. Would a different holster print less? Would it be less obvious to carry appendix or strong side? Remember, you will only draw attention if you do things to draw attention. So keep carrying and training.
There’s no substitute for putting in the time and building your experience. A good place to find all the expert instruction you need is NRAInstructors.org. You’ll soon find that your confidence grows as you get more experience and try different options.
Initially, you may feel more comfortable if you carry with the chamber empty. My advice is to get over that. With the proper holster and the right attention, I think you are much safer with a round in the chamber. If that infinitesimal chance occurs you will need every millisecond of advantage. The time it takes to chamber a round and present may be too much time—the difference between life and death.
Your permit is only the first step—the gateway. To be able to effectively respond to the emergencies that can occur, you must continually improve your skills. Dry-firing, target practice, simulations … it all plays a part.
As important as the physical training is, you must also train yourself mentally. First, your mindset. You must prepare yourself to act. You must prepare yourself mentally to take immediate and decisive action. In spite of the possible fear and the unknown, you must be willing to be one of the minority who will stand up and act.
How do you get the confidence to act responsibly in an emergency? I already mentioned it—training.
Next, you must never stop learning about the Second Amendment and all it implies. Where did it come from? Who influenced its inclusion in the U.S. Bill of Rights? Why is it so relevant today? What threats does it face? You must be educated in order to educate others to thereby insure your future (and your kids’ future) as a gun owner. This is one reason why an NRA membership is so important. We are fortunate to live in one of the very few countries where citizens can keep and bear arms—don’t take it for granted!
Finally, encourage and help others to take this responsibility seriously. That way, you’ll help protect this incredible freedom.
Again, congratulations. Let’s hit the range and exercise our rights!