Observations of a CCW newbie


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DWS1117
April 24, 2005, 09:55 AM
Since I have had my CHL and been carrying for about 2 weeks there are a few things that I have learned. Hopefully some of these observations will help other newbies.

The following is based on carrying a Kimber Ultra Carry (3" 1911) IWB in a Tucker holster.

1. Pants and belts. At least for my build, the type of pants seem to make a difference in weapon comfort. My old favorite pants are now on the last resort everything else is dirty pile. For some reason they are just not comfortable while wearing my gun. Maybe it is the elastic in the waistband. Good sturdy pants such as denim and a good still thick belt can be the difference between being comfortable or not.

2. I am sure at some point the "awareness" of the gun wears off and wearing the gun becomes as natural as zipping your pants or swallowing your food. Someday I'll know the gun is there but I won't give it a second thought.

3. Holster. At first my holster wasn't feeling good. Since the pants revelation, The holster doesn't seem as bad as it once did. I will be sicking with this holster for a while longer.

4. If the gun isn't it the right posisition, a beavertail and cocked hammer on a 1911 hurts. Ouch!

5. Act normal! Try not to project " I am carrying a gun". Most people won't notice or care.

6. If you carry IWB and go out to a really nice dinner, carry a different gun or a different method. Learned this one the hard way after my wife and I went out to Saltgrass Steakhouse for our anniversary dinner tonight. I ate waaayyy too much and my pants got way to tight. Also when going out I have noticed that I always try to sit with my gun side to a wall or away from a main traffic area.

7. I have noticed that you can carry on with most normal activities while carrying. Mowed the lawn yeaterday while wearing my gun. It didn't bother me one bit.

8. Darker colored shirts don't print as much as lighter colors.

9. I have noticed that I am more aware of my surroundings than ever before.

10. Driving was one of the things I didn't look forward to. With the right setup, it isn't all bad. Most times I hardly notice the gun there.

That's all I can think of right now.

Does anyone else have any tips the may help other new or inexperienced ?

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MikeIsaj
April 24, 2005, 10:41 AM
You make a lot of good points that most of us that carry either full time or on occasion have experienced.

I found myself wth several holsters before I settled on a comfortable carry. I find a high ride holster and a loose shirt to be the most comfortable. I am thicker around the middle than I once was and IWB can be uncomfortable when sitting a lot.

If you are carrying frequently, I'd find a smaller framed weapon to carry. Any 1911 is a lot of gun to conceal. Pocket guns make sense in several ways. They are small, some are extremely light and can hide in very small spaces. Also if you need it, reaching into a pocket is more discreet than reaching into your waistband.

I would also encourage anyone to know the law before you carry. In Pa. it isn't required before getting a permit and personally, I think it should be. The justification for deadly force is a complicated law in Pa. that needs to be studied carefully to understand. And Pa. is friendly to the idea of self defense. I've heard some pretty strange assumptions about lethal force that will get you in a lot of trouble if o don't know better.

Another consideration is respecting the wishes of others while in their home. Your permit concerns carrying in public. If someone does not want your weapon in their home, you must respect that. They are the king of their castle and they make the rules. Most people are not aware I am carrying and I don't anounce it. But if they become aware and object I will respect their rule in their home.

sm
April 24, 2005, 11:40 AM
DWS1117,
Good points and observations.

When getting fitted for / having alterations done:
1) never hurts to use someone that also CCWs, is Pro-Gun. These folks need monies for gun stuff too. :)
2) Use your hand to take up the area where your IWB fits . This can be "explained" if need to non-gun seamtress, alterations persons as , space for pager, cell phone, or one can wear a bandage and that is where you had some minor surgery. :)

Them all wood benches in seating booths, sure do resonate - so bang your elbow "again". :o ;) Word is church pews do this too...

Do NOT over lube , or use really strong solvents, or lube. Some "scents" are not normal everyday , and hard to explain the "accident" you had in the restroom.

ny32182
April 24, 2005, 12:30 PM
My life dictates that I can only carry occasionally rather than all the time. I have been doing so for about a year and a half.

I have found that the best shirts to wear to minimize noticable printing go like this:

Least printing: Dark patterned < light patterned < dark solid color < light solid color < white. I usually just wear a patterned button down shirt.

I have found that getting to my IWB gun in the car in a hurry would be almost impossible. Sometimes I have one in the glove box too for this reason. A shoulder holster would probably be best for driving, but I don't have one, and it is summer now anyway.

El Rojo
April 24, 2005, 12:31 PM
Eventually the gun will start to play tricks on you. For example, you will get used to it and I find going to movies helps me forget it is there. About half way through the movie I realize, I have a Glock in my waistband. Or if I am driving, I just seem to forget it is there.

On the flipside, sometimes you will be places where you are not supposed to carry and think it is there. Well it depends on your profession I guess. I used to work in a federal prison. Nothing alarmed me more the day I thought my Glock 27 was still in my coat pocket once I was deep inside the facility. Thankfully it wasn't, but just for that split second I thought maybe I had forgot to take it out the night before! I teach at a public high school now and sometimes I get the feeling it is still on my side.

Then you will hit the stage where if you don't feel it gentle poking you in the kidney, you miss it. You want it to be there. It starts to feel like it is all part of the program.

And yes, you can say, "It is my cellphone or my pager". I have found here in the PRK, no one suspects you are carrying. If they do, it is because they are a cop and they think you are a cop too. However, I don't think I have ever been made in public in the last 5 years.

Double Maduro
April 24, 2005, 03:28 PM
Here are some pointers for you Noobs, Not meant negatively. :neener:

1. Don't "pat the piece", it is there, you don't need to touch it.

2. Don't constantly tug at your cover garment. Check when you get out of your vehicle or after attending to personal business. The rest of the time, leave it alone.

3. Don't worry about printing. Even if you do, no one will notice. Even if they notice, they won't know what it is. Even if they notice and know what it is, you are legal, aren't you?

4. Don't over lube. My dog loves the smell of Hoppe's but I don't know of a human who has ever picked up an odor from my CCW. Don't over lube because it attracts "dust rhino's".

5. Don't brag are talk to people about the fact that you carry. The fewer people who know the better. NO, there is nothing to be ashamed of. The sad fact is that sometimes even the closest of friends may do or say something that can cause real trouble.

6. Do set up a regular cleaning schedule. I blow the dust rhino's out of my CCW with compressed air, daily, this includes the magazines. I give it a field strip/clean/lube every two weeks.

This is a life saving tool, treat it as though your life depends on it, someday, God forbid, it may.

7. Relax. It is natural to be nervous when you start to carry. Focus on not drawing attention to your CCW and the comfort will come faster.

I hope this helps.

DM

Zach S
April 24, 2005, 04:43 PM
3. Don't worry about printing. Even if you do, no one will notice. Even if they notice, they won't know what it is. Even if they notice and know what it is, you are legal, aren't you? Good and bad advice. Worry enough about it and you'll be fine. Worry to much and you'll drive yourself insane, as with any other thing.

As long as you dont so something like wear a form-fitting shirt over you gun, you'll be fine.

The only people that will notice a little printing are other people CCing, and you'll notice them as well. IME cops dont notice, or dont really care.

Zundfolge
April 24, 2005, 05:08 PM
I've been carrying for a couple of years now, so I remember what it was like when I started carrying. I have a few responses to your observations.

1. Pants and belts. At least for my build, the type of pants seem to make a difference in weapon comfort. My old favorite pants are now on the last resort everything else is dirty pile. For some reason they are just not comfortable while wearing my gun. Maybe it is the elastic in the waistband. Good sturdy pants such as denim and a good still thick belt can be the difference between being comfortable or not.
Elastic is evil ... great for sweatpants and pregnancy pants, lousy for carrying a gun (even with a good belt).

2. I am sure at some point the "awareness" of the gun wears off and wearing the gun becomes as natural as zipping your pants or swallowing your food. Someday I'll know the gun is there but I won't give it a second thought.
Just wait until the day you all of the sudden freak out because you think you've lost you're gun ... then you reach down and discover its still there. THEN you'll have reached that 100% comfort stage (I had this happen a lot when I carried a Kahr MK40)

3. Holster. At first my holster wasn't feeling good. Since the pants revelation, The holster doesn't seem as bad as it once did. I will be sicking with this holster for a while longer.
Good holster/belt is the key. Too many folk start out with a cheap Uncle Mike's type holster and end up buying something like a P32 because they can't imagine carrying a heavy gun like your 1911 ... with a good holster there's guys CCWing full size USPs and stuff.

4. If the gun isn't it the right posisition, a beavertail and cocked hammer on a 1911 hurts. Ouch!
Never carried a 1911, but back when I packed a Makarov I discovered that .... its one reason why I'm not all that interested in a 1911 for carry. While you're happy with your current holster, you might look into one with a piece of leather that covers the back side of the gun.

5. Act normal! Try not to project " I am carrying a gun". Most people won't notice or care.
No doubt ... most of the sheeple wouldn't notice if you where packing an HK MK2 SOCOM in a tactical thigh holster, let alone your tiny Ultra-Carry in a good IBW. :P

6. If you carry IWB and go out to a really nice dinner, carry a different gun or a different method. Learned this one the hard way after my wife and I went out to Saltgrass Steakhouse for our anniversary dinner tonight. I ate waaayyy too much and my pants got way to tight. Also when going out I have noticed that I always try to sit with my gun side to a wall or away from a main traffic area.
I've done the same thing (eat too much) ... just go to the bathroom and loosen your belt a notch (or unbutton the pants). Better yet; don't eat "too much" (yeah, right, like I could stop myself either :p )

7. I have noticed that you can carry on with most normal activities while carrying. Mowed the lawn yeaterday while wearing my gun. It didn't bother me one bit.
24/7 is the way I carry ... 1. It gets you to that "100% comfortable" stage faster, 2. While you'll probably never need your gun while mowing, just think if you're watching TV and some thugs kick in your front door ... you going to get to the gunsafe and arm yourself fast enough?

8. Darker colored shirts don't print as much as lighter colors.
Patterns are even better for breaking up the outline of your piece.

9. I have noticed that I am more aware of my surroundings than ever before.
I've noticed that as well as what I call "Gun Zen" which is this mental state where you find that you're more calm, relaxed and the little things bother you less (like some schmuck cutting you off in traffic) ... when you are fully aware that your actions could carry the weight of life and death its amazing how your priorities get rearranged.

10. Driving was one of the things I didn't look forward to. With the right setup, it isn't all bad. Most times I hardly notice the gun there.
Driving is one of the reasons I moved my gun from 4 o'clock to 3 o'clock ... can't draw while seatbelted in with the gun at 4 o'clock.

Standing Wolf
April 24, 2005, 06:24 PM
Try not to project " I am carrying a gun".

Why? One characteristic criminals look for is fear or lack of self-assurance. The more positive and sure of yourself you seem to be, the less likely you are to have to deal with the vermin.

I have noticed that I am more aware of my surroundings than ever before.

Amen! Full attention to one's surroundings is always a good thing—and the lack of it is another thing criminals look for.

chris in va
April 25, 2005, 03:53 AM
Eventually you may end up with a 'summer carry' type CCW such as my P11. The thing is so comfy, I don't know it's there half the time...and neither does anybody else. There *is* something to be said for guns without all the external controls (hammer, safety, decocker, slide stop etc).

The P11 is what made me uber-comfortable carrying. My full size CZ was (and is) too bulky for my tastes and gives me the jitters when going about my business, but hopefully that will be cured with either a good quality holster or the smaller PCR compact version.

YammyMonkey
April 25, 2005, 05:11 AM
At first you may get some soreness from your gun and/or spare mag(s). Give your body some time off if you start getting sore. Your new leather and your body need time to break in and just like a solid pair of boots, it'll take some time.

If you have an IWB mag pouch and find it uncomfortable, stick it between the belt and pants instead of inside the pants. Much more comfortable.

Don't worry about the squeaking leather around your waist. Nobody else will notice it, or think much of it.

Watch out for the wind. It can be a real pain to deal with, especially with a lightweight summer shirt.

Commissar Gribb
April 25, 2005, 05:28 AM
I'd like to get into CCW, but I'm positive that the 1st Sergeant would throw a :cuss: fit if they found a gun in my dorm room.

Flyboy
April 25, 2005, 01:22 PM
Watch out for the wind. It can be a real pain to deal with, especially with a lightweight summer shirt.
Amen! I was doing some volunteer work in Oklahoma City (like we ever get wind around here, right?) wearing a light button-down over my 1911, and the wind picked up. Picked my shirt halfway up. I smoothed it back down, and then noticed the two guys to my right. They just sort of looked at me, and didn't say anything. A couple of minutes later, the project director asked me if I had a license to carry a gun.

Technically, by failing to conceal, I broke the law. Fortunately, everybody was cool about it, we all got back to work, and nobody (save for a friend who talked to me later) mentioned it again.

If it's windy, tuck in your shirt!

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