My first CCW experience - wierd.


December 13, 2003, 10:48 PM
I have been around guns my whole life and am an avid shooter. I have carried concealed on just a few occassions while backpacking in the wilderness. Carrying a gun concealed in public is something I have never done because of our draconian laws. I just received my CA CCW on Monday and things are different now.

I went to the a large local indoor mall today to do some Christmas shopping. I had my Glock 27 in a small, black Tommy's Gun Pack. Illogically, prior to going in, I think I half expected dozens of people to scream "gun" as I walked by. To my amazement, I did not notice ONE single person give me a second look. Not one. Thousands of people completely oblivious to me and my fannypack designed to hold a gun. Kind of amazing.

This will not be a surprize to those of you who have carried for years. However, a first venture out into the real (and gun unfriendly California) world is a real unique experience.

No one noticed. Wierd. In a good way.

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December 13, 2003, 11:06 PM
Folks just don't notice.

I carry a full-size steel 1911 with a magwell under a Shoot-Me-Vest every day, but people remain stubbornly unrecognizant. :uhoh:

December 13, 2003, 11:11 PM
I know what you mean. I just received my license on December 4th. :D
We went to the mall that night. I kept thinking someone was going to
yell "HES GOT A GUN" .
I have carried every day since. SP101 in front pocket.
Now finding the perfect holster battle starts.


December 13, 2003, 11:21 PM
congrats on your permit. been about a year and a half for me. nobody has ever noticed. not even my co workers that i am around all day. hell my wife and daughter nver notice.

December 13, 2003, 11:25 PM
I know just what you're saying...first time I carried in public was at an outdoor flea market; kept expecting that tap on the shoulder - I was carrying front waistband under a loose shirt. But as you said, no one notices. Texas law says 'concealed in a manner that would not be noticed by a person with normal power of observation' or words to that effect - so who decides if it's concealed enough?
SP101 (.357) with Winchester SXT .38+P's is a nice combination for daily wear.

Bob F.
December 13, 2003, 11:27 PM
Go ya' one better! Dropped a steel/compact 1911 in the mall last Christmas-bad shoulder holster/stuipdity. Picked it up, stuck it under my arm as if reholstering and went to find a rest room where I could work on el cheapo in some privacy. Not a problem. Wasn't anybody really close when it went clunk and this is a pretty gun-friendly area. Thank God!

December 13, 2003, 11:48 PM
:D :D :D

I remember when I went out into public the first time carrying concealed. Although I had been around guns all my life, I kinda felt like a criminal or something. I just KNEW somebody would notice and yell for the cops!

I went into the men's room to see if it was printing. I wasn't as far as I could tell. Somehow I just expected SOMEONE (I suppose with X-ray vision or something) to notice and have a SWAT team charge me.

I know how you feel. I think most of us kinda felt odd at first. Good news is that it passes quickly. And unless you are REALLY obvious with it... like you said... no one notices!

I have had a couple of friends get their license and I asked to go out with them the first time they carried. - Kinda fun to watch them be all nervous and paranoid!

Bob F. - not sure how that would have worked around here but glad it went OK for you. :what: Although I no longer worry about anyone "noticing", I am still very paranoid about retention. (Dropped my gun from an "unsnapped" horizontal shoulder rig onto the hardwood floor. Thankfully there was no one around nor any damage to the gun!)

Logistar (Been there) ;)

December 14, 2003, 12:10 AM
Yea, going out with a concealed weapon is weird the first time.

I acclimated myself by carrying a full size 1911 concealed at home while waiting for the application/approval process. Nobody in my family ever noticed, even during a huge family get together.

Still, going out among strangers was a little unnerving at first, you feel like everybody's watching you, but it's all in your mind. Most people just don't even notice things out side of their own thoughts and routine. I'd bet most folks couldn't even remember what color your shirt was two seconds after you talked to them.

Once you jump in with both feet, you get used to carrying pretty quick. Now, I almost forget about it.

December 14, 2003, 12:18 AM
People in CA are mostly oblivious - CCW is rare enough that it never occurs to most people and there are very few restrictions on where you can tote it.

December 14, 2003, 12:33 AM
The best way I can describe it is walking around with your fly down. You think everyone is watching. But your fly is located at 4:00 so you can't really check it. :o

December 14, 2003, 12:38 AM
Pendragon hit the hammer on the head. People walking around California with concealed weapons is not normal (unless they are crooks or cops). Here in good ole California, most people don't even think about CCW. Therefore, there isn't even a need to check.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
December 14, 2003, 01:23 AM
I've had my CHL for over 2 years. I catch myself checking my 4-to-6 in mirrors or reflections all the time. AFAIK I've never been made, though. I do sometimes carry in a Galati fannypack worn slung right at 3 but I just call it my 'man purse' and keep guy-type things in the front end of it.

Congrats on becoming a responsible Citizen and carrying. You'll learn that some folks appreciate you doing it as much as you do yourself.


December 14, 2003, 03:45 AM
Its amazing what the average croud member will not notice. I bet you could carry openly on your belt with just a windbreaker for cover and get away with it (dont try it unless you have open carry though :D ) I think what gets most people "made" is attitude more than anything. Back when i first got into carrying i notice that i was a LOT mroe aware of the people around me. And i started to notice people that were carrying. For me the thing that always caught my attention wasnt so much SEEING a gun but, seeing the behavior of the person with it and what they were wearing. Seeing a guy checking his four o'clock frequently, or regularly brushing (checking) behind his strong side hip or wearing way more clothes than necessary (untucked shirt w/ jacket in the summer) tend to tip me off more than anything. I also noticed that i did the very same things untill i grew more comfortable with carrying. I think being "succesfully" concealed has more to do with how comfortable you are with your set-up than anything else.

December 14, 2003, 04:59 AM
c_yeager is exacty right!

body language is the give away. They may not see your gun, but they can tell something is up from the way you fidget. Fortunately for us, most people don't have the awareness to notice. You're best chance for "getting made" is more likely the lady working loss prevention for WalMart than a cop.


December 14, 2003, 08:39 AM
I reminds me of buying beer when you are 20 years old (I'm 41 now). The key to your success 25% how you look, 25% your attitude, and 25% how sharp the guy behind the counter is. The other 25% is just luck.

December 14, 2003, 08:55 AM
I carry a full-size steel 1911 with a magwell under a Shoot-Me-Vest every day, but people remain stubbornly unrecognizant.My CCW instructor told us to stay away from "Shoot me first vests" and "Shoot me first packs". He said he could always pick out those packing, but now that I think about it the only ones that are really ever going to notice or even be suspicious are the uber gun nuts and then you don't have to worry about them in the first place anyways.

El Tejon
December 14, 2003, 09:05 AM
Mmmm, a very small percentage of the bgs know what they are. The sheople have no clue.

Dave, not so wierd, just usual.:D The few times that I've open carried around here I hardly get a glance.

December 14, 2003, 09:38 AM
Can someone help me out here, I don't consider myself a sheople but I haven't a clue what this is. Jim.

December 14, 2003, 09:50 AM
Someone else can probably explain it better, but as I was told if you're a bad guy and looking to rob a store you'll want to take out the biggest threats first and those that appear to have guns would be your first victims.

December 14, 2003, 09:50 AM
I believe they are talking about the ubiquitous "photographer's vest" that many CCW'ers have taken to wearing as a cover garment, especially in hot weather. The Royal Robbins 5.11 vest is a good example. You can often see various gunwriters wearing one in the gun rags, Massad Ayoob seems to be wearing one in every other photograph I've seen of him.

December 14, 2003, 10:06 AM
During the summer, I usually wear a Sig P228 in an OWB holster when I work at Blast-O-Rama. On occasion, I'll need to go down to the mailbox across the street. Even though the neighborhood has a lot of car traffic, I've never been questioned or stopped by the sheeple* - most of them suffer from severe cranial-rectal inversion.

*Sheeple (noun) - an overly domesticated strain of Homo Sapiens. Common traits include an unreasonable fear of weapons, a strong desire to be protected to the state, and the ability to whine for extended periods of time.

December 14, 2003, 10:42 AM
You'll get used to it.....the only weird time is trying to find a place to put your carry gun when using public bathrooms(for a sit down job)........but people in general are clueless...especially around they have blinders on(lucky for us)...:cool:
A good holster and belt make all the difference......if your gun stays put you don't have to fidgit with it a whole lot.IMO

December 14, 2003, 10:45 AM
I like to look at people and see who is carrying. Unfortunately, living in NY not a lot of people tend to carry so I have slim pickens for observing. With that said, only gun people tend to look and notice other gun people. I tend to not carry except when I am going camping/hiking/work on the property because my piece is not very concealment friendly (5.5" Ruger Blackhawk, .45 Colt) but a quick flannel shirt does more than enough to cover up my shoulder holster.

If it wasn't breaking the law in NY (and I had the training for it) I would like to open carry at a mall just as an experiment. I bet that 98% of the people would ignore you and the other 2% would ask what sort of gun it was and if you got a good deal!

Hot brass
December 14, 2003, 12:29 PM
I also carry in a Tommy fannypack, 1911 or a P14, both are 45acp. The only time I have been made was at the local shooting range. A rent-a-cop came over to talk gun. I had my fanny pack on. He asked if I was PD? NO. Sherriff? NO. What cha carryin? What? I said what cha carryin? What? He turned and walked away.

I mostly carry in the Tommy, or a Sparks VMII.

PS, congrats on the CCW;)

December 14, 2003, 12:49 PM
The feeling of ''obviousness'' is probably the strongest impression in early days .... but as everyone comments .. really, the average Joe is just not that aware to see things ..... plus, the ubiquitous cell phone bulge etc is another common factor people are used to.

Even so - I do still find a measure of the ''obviousness'' feeling even now ..... but channelled more now into just a careful alertness to my concealment. Plus, having developed ways to check which will not bring attention.

Last night, wife and I went to my son's FIL surprise 60th b'day party ..... I wanted to be discrete of course and even thought perhaps the Smart Carry would be #1 choice. In the end because pretty cold ... used thin shirt over t-shirt and kept the regular pancake hi-ride with SP .. but more to 3.30 then 4.30 so that right arm was a better ''shield''.

Only prob remaining was the coupla times at close quarters ... people squeezin by or a ''hug situation'' ... but .... I know I was not made. Even my wife I think forgot to check me as she often does .... but she is totally used to it anyways.

I think the ''mall situation'' is perhaps the one above all where because of being often surrounded by large numbers of people ... you can feel much more obvious.

But hey .. carry with care and responsibility ... and remember you are a societal asset!:)

December 14, 2003, 01:06 PM
The only thing that ever really bugged me was wardrobe selection.

At 5'5"/200 lbs and into weight lifting , I'm not exactly fitted to carry certain guns without some thought in what I wear. Well for the first time I finally went armed without a cover garment, extra big shirt or cover garment. That was with my new PM9. What a joy!:D

Still, I'm extra careful about bending to drink at water fountains, picking up low items and sitting in chairs. Nothing like a big "CLUNK!" when you sit down to make a waitress look at you funny!:D

Anyway, my goal is to even make "gunny" folks think I'm unarmed.

Good Shooting

December 14, 2003, 01:16 PM
Congratulations, Dave! It always does my heart good to welcome a new member to the club.

Regards, fiVe

Matt G
December 14, 2003, 01:22 PM
The day after I got sworn-in, I went to class at my university. I had my KelTec P-11 in my waistband with the belt-clip. Those stupid desk chairs pushed the sharp parts of it into me. I got up and moved to the wall to double check that it had not rode up and out of my waistband.

The day before, 'twould have been a felony.


December 14, 2003, 02:07 PM
its amazing dave,

I have carried for over 40 years, and have never been 'made'. Most of that was before there was any license at all, and even then, no one ever noticed.

Jeff Thomas
December 14, 2003, 03:29 PM
Congrat's, Dave ... you point out what I found most interesting about the entire issue. It isn't really the technical or legal issues that are most interesting about firearms ... it is the philosophical / "head" issues.

Ever since getting my first CCW / CHL, I've carried daily ... usually in Thunderwear, so it is really in deep cover, and practical for general office environments. Felt the same way as you at first ... everyone must be looking. I've gone up to a lot of LEO's to discuss this or that, and I don't think any of them had a clue. It is nearly invisible, and I've never been "made".

As noted above, it is a question of attitude and comfort. Once you get used to carrying, and of course knowing you're one of the good guys ... you have nothing to sweat. So, you're relaxed, and give no indication of the truth.

To paraphrase Ayoob ... enjoy being one of the sheepdogs, protecting the sheep. You have teeth and claws like the wolf ... but you're not a wolf... you're one of the good guys. Ready to defend innocent life with your safety rescue tool ... until the professionals arrive.

Regards from TX

December 14, 2003, 05:04 PM
Only 6months and 3 days until I can apply!!!

I have to get that holster that I conjured up. Come on loan checks...:D

December 14, 2003, 05:31 PM
The first time I carried I went to a Circuit City. After paying for my stuff, as I went to leave the person in front of me set off the anti-shop lifting exit alarm. I was bit self-conscious as it was, so that really surprised me. I stepped back, so they would know it wasn't me, and then walked out as security came. I had never thought about what I would do if store security wanted to frisk me.

Anyway, congrats! And just remember, when some old friend or your great Aunt Bessie comes to give you a big hug, keep your arms LOW, and let them hug high.

Best -

December 14, 2003, 07:52 PM
Dave3006 and Hot Brass,

I'm assuming you guys live in gun-friendly counties of this state? I live in a county that has rated as top 5 WORST in the state. I've gotta move. Good job on the CCW, I've gotta get one. Take care.


December 14, 2003, 08:14 PM
I really realize how unalert I am. I am usually aware of what goes on around me, but I have never noticed anyone CCWing...and I live in TX!

December 14, 2003, 08:21 PM
I have been carrying for about 40 years. The biggest obstacle that those of you who are rather new at this needs to overcome is self awareness. Your life is for living, enjoying and participating in. You need to get over the feeling that that weapon is 3 feet long and weighs 30 lbs. You are carrying concealed, so there is absolutely no reason why anyone would pay any attention to you (unless you are as purty as the ladies of The High Road) so there is no reason for you to pay any attention to you either. Go about your business as usual.

Another thing. As a civilian, resist the impulse to carry some big honkin' weapon. There is a plethora of fine firearms today that are rather petite, yet carry the sting of a bald faced hornet. The less you have to hide, the better. A little something is better than no something.

You are not the Caped Crusader either. For 99.9% of us, there will never, ever be an occasion to use that weapon. It should be part of you, yes. But don't go looking for trouble, and if trouble comes your way, do your very best to avoid participating in it. I don't mean run away necessarily, but use your head. You must be fairly smart if you havn't shot yourself yet.

Most of all, you need to understand and be fully prepared for being able to do what is necessary if you need to use that thing. If you have doubts about it, don't carry it because you may be worse off because of it.

Practice, be safe, use your head, and personally enjoy the fact that you are one of a few citizens who deliberately chooses to participate in life rather than walking around in a cocoon.

:cool: grampster

December 15, 2003, 06:07 AM
Well said Grampster....:cool:

December 15, 2003, 10:27 AM
I broke the self-conscious-carry feeling after packing a S&W 686 w/ 4" bbl to a few buddys' houses without anyone being the wiser. They were sympathetic to RKBA, so if any did notice, it was no biggie. Heck, I even packed a 1861 Colt Navy in .44 IWB, just to see if I could pull it off. No sweat. Just don't load the chamber under the hammer, is all.

The biggest givaway is body language, IMO. If you decide to carry under a shirt, LOUD patterns are helpful and solid colors, esp white, are a liability. Not much you can conceal when wearing only thong underwear, shower shoes, and a pair of wool socks (If you can, I don't wanna know WHERE). Gotta dress for the occasion.

Shoot-Me-Packs are a give-away to fellow CCWers, but not to the gen'l public. One way to throw the CCWers off, too, is to sew a big "Eastpack" or some other label to your galco man-purse & pistol pack.

Oh, and save the S&W, Sigarms, & Glock caps & shirts fro the range.

December 15, 2003, 10:49 AM
And just remember, when some old friend or your great Aunt Bessie comes to give you a big hug, keep your arms LOW, and let them hug high.

Ah yes, but what if two people who are packin', who both wish to remain discreet, are in a situation that requires them both to hug, how are they supposed to properly pull that off? ;)

Just something I was always curious about.


P.S. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it... :D

December 15, 2003, 11:15 AM
Ah yes, but what if two people who are packin', who both wish to remain discreet, are in a situation that requires them both to hug, how are they supposed to properly pull that off?

I've actually had that happen! :)

Go for the "official" bouncer hug: shake hands, and while still mid-hand-shake, lean in right shoulder to right shoulder, wrap left arms high. Not something to lose any sleep over, but once you know, you don't have to think about it again.

December 15, 2003, 11:48 AM
You'd be insulted if you realize how little anyone else thinks of you (not you personally but a collective you). Discretion with a CCW is not difficult. Just need some common sense and preparation.

December 15, 2003, 03:07 PM
geez skunk, you're so skinny your fly is at 4:00? are you putting two legs into one pant leg? :neener:

redleg, you and i probably have a similar physique, except i'm fatter. i've been carrying my 1911 since last spring, and can get by with nothing more than a t-shirt. i used to carry my steyr m9, but the holster i had allowed my shirt to ride up. when i'm in a regular exercise routine and this gut starts going away, i notice that the gun rides closer to the body, and is much easier to conceal.

Sean Cloherty
December 15, 2003, 04:29 PM
What Pendragon said is tru for Mass. as well.

That a mere citizen (or more properly - serf ) can legally be entrusted with firarms is just not anywhere in the realm of possibility in their dream world so being made is not very likely. It also has the pleasant side effect that there are no - "No GUNS, or .30-06 equivalent laws/language/signs to be found.

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