Recommendations for the proud new concealed carrier?

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Jun 2, 2008
Hi, everybody. I'm picking up my CCW tomorrow morning and, while I'm excited to start carrying wherever I can, I'm wondering if there is more than just sticking the gun in the holster and heading out into the world.

We've probably all seen books and articles to the effect of "Directions for new parents." I was really hoping someone has a link to a good page/article describing "Directions for new CCW holders."

I'm not looking for actual laws, regulations, or state-specific info. I'm thinking about what I need to know in addition to that stuff.

Thanks in advance for your help.
good luck & long life
be comfortable that you have the answer for when a situation gets out of control.
situational awareness will keep you keyed into your surroundings and in tune with events as they unfold.
in that you never actually want to have to use the gun; situational awareness and good sense will help you to avoid potentially bad situations. strategic avoidance of, or retreat from a 'bad looking' whatever is a whole lot better than being hurt or having to hurt others-- without regard to fault.

and--you have to practice with your carry choice until you just think 'gun' and it is in your hand such that your only conscious thought is 'shoot or dont shoot'.
Congrats and welcome the the club! I think you ask a very good question. Here are a few of my thoughts in no particular order:

Stay away from alcohol while carrying
You can have a gun or a temper but not both
Keep it concealed; I also like to keep it something of a secret, but you may have a different opinion
Remember that your firearm IS NOT a well-thought out personal-security plan, it's part of it and, as such, not a deterrent to crime
Become familiar with force continuum and consider how / when you would use your firearm; I ask you give this some serious thought (this board is a great place to seek input on that topic)
It's a license to carry, not a license to shoot at will

I hope this helps and thanks for caring enough to ask.

Take care,
Like SCKimberFan says, keep your hand off of it. Just carry it everyday and it will eventually become part of your wardrobe. It will start feeling normal later. You will get over the novelty.

Carrying made me think seriously of the consequences of use.

I never let even my best friends know I am carrying. The only one I share with is my daughter. She is a Marine and gets it.
Although I am puzzled about your "excitement" about carrying a gun you are correct that there is a lot more involved than just having it.
What training have you had in the actual use of your firearm in an inter-personal confrontation? You should certainly consider proper training as your first necessity.
What an excellent question. Here's my take:
  1. Invest in good equipment. A quality holster and gun belt make carrying comfortable and convenient.
  2. Don't share this part of your life with anyone you don't have to. I wish I had been more discrete with some ignorant family members.
  3. Get to know your local laws. I almost broke the law by accident on one occasion (we're currently trying to expand carry laws in Texas).
  4. As suggested training is invaluable. It also makes you look good if you ever have to use your firearm. Speaking of which...
  5. ...stay out of trouble.
  6. Practice.
  7. Get involved in the political battle to preserve your rights.
  8. Have fun living in the greatest country in the world!
Welcome to the club.:)
Thanks, friends.
Rebel, you remind me of my dad chastising me when I told him I had "fun" driving for the first time with my learner's permit :eek:. Obviously, carrying, as with driving, carries with it a serious responsibility - no pun intended. Anyway, your point is well taken and I see how what I said seems foolish in that sense. However, while I do eventually want to seek more training, I won't wait until that point to begin carrying.

Soooo... as a first step I think my wife (her permit is ready, too) and I will take a walk around the neighborhood tomorrow afternoon to practice, maybe to the grocery store. :)
you have been given some very good advice here. take it, AND use it. my 2 cents worth are, first, get a GOOD, COMFORTABLE HOLSTER. you will have to experiment on where you carry to find a place that is comfortable. be VERY discreete about who you tell!!! make it a NEED TO KNOW basis. you never know who will "rat you out" in a true emergency. practice, at home drawing your EMPTY weapon, AND clearing jams. it could save your life. practice as often as you can shooting, i like to play "kick the can" when practicing. if you can hit the can well, you should have no problem with a center of mass shot in an emergency. make ABSOLOUTLY CERTAIN that it is legal to carry where you go. i have to check often. you do not want to end up in jail because you didn't do a little reading. good luck, be safe, be ALERT!

At first, you will always be concious of its weight where you decide to carry it. ALWAYS have it there. Fairly soon, it will start to feel normal to have the wieght there. You will no longer notice it.

ALWAYS carry it. You want to reach the point that it feels strange to NOT have the weight of it there.

Because if you only carry it SOMETIMES, a time may come where you need it, you reach for it, AND IT'S NOT THERE.

If it feels strange to NOT have it, chances are this will remind you to carry it, resulting in it actually being there if you do need it.
When you're out and around with your gun ALWAYS be aware of the big picture. Before you act consider the totality of the situation, then make the best decision. And, like everyone else has said, practice, practice, practice.
I am puzzled about your "excitement" about carrying a gun
Oh come on AZ_Rebel, give the guy a break. He's stepping up to the plate and taking his personal safety seriously. It's a big step and it's fine to be proud and excited about that.

As for practical CCW advice (worth exactly what you are paying for it <grin>).

1) Start out with an unloaded firearm and wear it around the house (concealed of course) for a bit. This gives you a chance to get used to it and to make sure your carry rig works well for you. Few things suck more than being out for the day and finding out your carry rig hurts you.

2) A solid belt is worth it's weight in gold. I'll also recommend The Belt Man! As for holsters, like all of the rest of us you'll have a box or drawer of attempts before you find the one (or few) that suit you.

3) Consider what you will do in a public rest-room AHEAD of time. Discovering that you don't have a plan when you really have to go SUCKS in a major way.

4) Find your local laws regarding carry. Read and understand the law(s). Print out several copies, keep a copy in your glovebox(s) at all times.

5) Have a way to secure your sidearm in your vehicle if you encounter a "can't carry" situation. (I bolted a lockbox into my trunk)

6) Cover shirts that are darker, and have irregular patterns do a great deal more for concealment. Light, single color shirts are terrible.
congrats! here is to hoping that you never have to use it.

saspic and moose nailed it imho. get yourself a reliable firearm, good holster, learn local laws on concealed carry, PRACTICE, PRACTICE MORE, and it probably is a good idea to use discretion on who you let know.

ccw is nothing to be ashamed of, but you never know who is just ignorant enough to ask if you have a gun in the middle of the restaurant, grocery store, movie theatre, etc. so for that reason, may i suggest discretion.
I concur with reading Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme”. I addition, I strongly suggest anyone who is considering ownership and carry of firearms for self defense take Ayoob’s Judicious Use of Deadly Force. Then, couple that with some good local defensive handgun training. Unless you are flush w/ dough or are facing an immediate threat, I suggest that weapon and gear selection wait until you can hook up with a knowledgeable trainer who can help you with the selection process. This is one of those things where one size does not fit all. A knowledgeable and well prepared trainer should be able to provide you with firearms and gear to evaluate before buying. I wish I had taken this route. I am fortunate to have access to a local trainer who is willing and able to provide firearms and gear for use in classes for those who are just getting started. A knowledgeable trainer will be able to help you refine your goals. Spend some time researching trainers you consider. Look closely at their qualifications and feedback from customers. You want to train under people who are going to teach that which is relevant to you. For example, I am not LE or mil, so taking a class on dynamic entry and structure clearing is not as relevant to me as would be something like low light handgun shooting. I do not want to waste time and money training under someone who is focusing on skills and tactics that are not likely to be of use to me. Be wary of trainers who advertise high speed low drag, essentially catering to ninja wannabees. You want meat and potatoes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to develop good relationships w/ knowledgeable trainers and other individuals who will share their relevant experience with you.
We picked them up this morning.

It's ironic, in light of the discussion above, that when the secretary at the sheriff's office handed us our permits, she said "have fun" with great sincerity. I gave her kindof a funny look and said something like "Uhh... thanks." At least she didn't say "don't murder anybody."
Training! Attend at least one defensive handgun course a year. It should be at least two days long.

Know the law. Get a printout of it and keep it in your car bag. VCDL has a great example pamphlet that covers Virginia gun rights.

Have a pro-gun, pro-self-defense attorney available. He or she needs to be willing to be paged and arrive ASAP to be your mouthpiece.

Train some more. Focus on tactics.

Learn knifing and combatives. Many times, these things will occur at punching distances.

Get fit so you can run really fast and punch really hard. There's nothing worse than watching some of these grossly overweight open carry guys waddling around. They look like bloated wildebeasts...sure, they have horns, but they're still food for the lion. All the gun means is that a second guy needs to go for the gun arm first.
I'm some distance from an urban environment, so I rehearse when I have to go down the mountain and into the city for any reason. It brings a few things to mind - many of which have already been mentioned:

Make as few changes to your wardrobe selection every day to accomodate your concealed weapon as possible. If anything, dress a little more conservatively.

A triple miror can help you know the "printing" limits of both your clothing (reach, twist, sit, etc) and your carry mode(s). Adapt. Rehearse.

Never go anywhere at any time with a firearm that you otherwise would avoid for any reason if you were unarmed.

Previsualise common scenarios in your everyday life alone, and with your wife. Get team training with her!

And know that to those of us who've been there too (first day, etc) will probably be able to spot you a mile off ("Wet Paint" and "I've got a SECRET" body language).

Absolutely, have fun. Despite frequent assertions to the contrary (just teasing), grown-ups still do have fun! Be safe. Train regularly, train together, plan and train for the worst. Then, you'll have a chance to be relaxed in everyday life and may have less of a startle/fear reflex in time over the ordinary.

Lead by example - kids are watching you.
Never go anywhere at any time with a firearm that you otherwise would avoid for any reason if you were unarmed.

I think that sentence probably ranks in the top five most useful things ever posted on a firearms forum.
Trisha, I really like the triple mirror idea! That's something simple I had not considered. My wife will appreciate it, too, for obvious reasons.
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