Everything You Need to Know About Concealed Carry
If you’re considering being a concealed carrier, there are a few main things you might want to be aware of. Even if you’ve had your license for a while, it wouldn’t hurt to have a refresher on defensive logic, gun safety, and legal information, especially given the addition of constitutional carry.
Whether you’re planning to obtain a license to carry or use the constitutional carry ruling, walking around with a firearm should be taken seriously and with responsibility. After all, it’s about protection and self-defense as opposed to “looking cool.”
With that said, there are a number of things you can do to increase your safety as well as those around you. The first thing that anyone, new or old, needs to know is proper gun safety, because too many shooting incidents are accidental.
You can find extensive rules online, but the basics are pretty simple. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you plan to destroy something, and make sure that you have the safety on at all times in your holster.
Always assume that your gun is loaded, because that’s a main cause of the aforementioned accidents. If you’re cleaning it, loading magazines, or at the range, aim it away from you and double check the chamber by locking the slide back.
Following basic safety measures can mean the difference between life and death, so they should be considered heavily if you’re planning to carry. Of course, when you do carry, there are also things you can do to increase your chances of survival and concealment.
While open carry is possible sometimes, the concept of concealed carry is not to let anyone know you’re armed until you have to. That means dressing the part, for starters, so wear loose clothing and a belt to keep you from adjusting constantly.
You don’t need training to be vigilant, so casually observe your surroundings. Note suspicious behavior, exit routes, or anything else that might be important. Remember: Your survival is imperative to save lives, so you don’t want to be a target.
One With the Gun
You don’t need to be a crackshot with your pistol, but it’s highly recommended to familiarize yourself with your gun. Put time into going to the range and focus on accuracy and speed. Don’t worry about looking good or beating other shooters, just worry about consistency.
Being able to put a few rounds into a tight grouping inside of 25 feet will translate to not only hitting what you aim at, but not endangering nearby civilians in the process. As for speed, practice dry firing at home or at the range to get faster.
Always check and double check that your gun is unloaded, maybe even ejecting the clip, before you practice. Dry firing is basically drawing and aiming to get quicker at target acquisition from the holster. Once again, carrying is a huge responsibility and should be considered as such.
Another useful skill to practice is reloading, because you never know what situation you’ll be in. If you conceal a revolver, a speed-loader can be a lifesaver, whereas it’s advised to have 2 extra magazines or clips for a semi-automatic pistol.
Efficient reloading is key, so make sure to work in the springs of your magazines. Speaking of working things in, you’ll need to get a holster you’re comfortable with. Some gun laws have added new options for holsters, but you’ll want to break in any holster you get.
This is especially important for a leather holster, because they’re usually stiff, but it will affect your draw and comfort. Lastly, if you’re new to carrying or planning to, carry everywhere. You never know when something could happen and that’s the whole point of having the license.
Knowledge is Power
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but where does the gun fall on that scale? The answer is unclear, but laws take precedence and there are many regarding concealed carrying. However, it’s no longer required to learn them before carrying in some states.
The first thing to learn is your state and federal laws, which will answer most of the questions you might have. For example, some states specifically require a license to carry in that state while others just need you to have one.
One of the most recent adjustments to the laws is the passing of constitutional carrying, which allows anyone over the age of 20 to legally carry a firearm. Before, anyone outside of law enforcement or the military had to have a license to carry concealed or openly.
However, it’s important to know the differences because the laws differentiate. That’s why you’ll see different signs on buildings, though some buildings are off-limits no matter what. Hospitals, schools, government structures, and bars are just a few.
Bars and restaurants have to have a “51%” sign if over half of their sales are from alcohol, but it should be assumed not to take your gun on the premises. There’s also a “30.06” and “30.07” sign for banning firearms, the former being concealed and the latter being open-carry.
You should know that a 30.06 can be posted anywhere in the building and be effective while a 30.07 has to be posted at every entrance. If a building has both signs, you can’t bring your gun inside. 30.06 essentially covers both while a 30.07 still allows concealed carry.
Because there are so many rules and there’s the chance of a defensive shooting taking place, it’s recommended to join a legal retainer for concealed carriers. One of the best ways to learn all of this and get contacts is to take the license to carry class.
You’ll learn the latest laws and how to carry properly, but you’ll also become a licensed carrier. One thing they’ll go over is what to do in the case where you have to use your pistol: Call the police, keep it brief, and identify yourself to avoid being shot by accident.
Either way, you should check out a license to carry class, gun safety course, or join a gun club to stay up-to-date with gun laws and knowledge that could keep you and the people around you safe.
Whatever you plan to do, keep in mind the responsibilities that come with concealed carrying. Firearms have only one purpose and self-defense is serious, so be safe, get comfortable with your gun, and learn all of the related legislation.