Your personal carry rules/guidelines

My number one rule is to carry it where's its legal and leave it at home if its not legal.

I carry a Springfield XD-S in a IWB holster at 4 o'clock and an extra 7 round magazine at about 10 o'clock. That's about it for "rules", except I don't talk about it, display it, or otherwise advertise I'm armed. I also will walk across the street or in the other direction to avoid any type of situation that might precipitate me having to draw my firearm. No matter what happens, or why it happened, using your firearm will be a painful experience best avoided.
in my case, to avoid social disharmony, my otherwise lawful ccw must be just that, always concealed.

i always carry one additional reload, even a ten round speedstrip for a naa bugout1, 22lr, single-action, mini revolver, which is impossible to reload tactically fast.

as a retired civilian my job is to remove myself from the threat, not to remove the threat from society. if a humble 22lr handgun buys me enough space and time to “get off the x,” all is good, as i’m most-practiced with my fun and cheap 22lr handguns.

i was socially distancing before it became the wuhan flu fad. trust your gut, avoid potentially bad situations, places and people.

i don’t rely on a ccw until i have put 300 rounds bare minimum through it.
1. Reliable.
2. What I practice with.

Everything else is pretty much practical stuff. Stay away from stupid people, stupid mobs, stupid places, keep your head up (out of the %$%& phone), concealed.
I also carry a couple of spare magazines.
Reminds me …. and this is OT, but I think I read somewhere that failing to voluntarily notify LE that one is legally CCW when one comes into contact is a misdemeanor in some jurisdictions, or is on legislative agenda somewhere, maybe.

I‘d have to go back through my emails and all the legal mail I get to be sure.
This is definitely one of those things that vary from state to state. Regardless of one's views on this, if you're going to carry you should know what the requirement is in your area.

Here in Alaska it's a misdemeanor to fail to notify an officer if you're carrying during an official contact.

An official contact would be if you got pulled over for a traffic violation. By contrast, if you saw an officer in a coffee shop on a break and struck up casual conversation, that would not be an official contact.
By contrast, if you saw an officer in a coffee shop on a break and struck up casual conversation, that would not be an official contact.
That is not something I would ever do (on GP actually) because it leads right into a legal gray area.

I have a pretty hard rule against starting unnecessary conversations with anybody outside my circle.
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yet remain flexible in their execution?
Not flexible in the least with regard to the serious business of going forth armed in public. Feel like this is the type of thread topic that invites a lot of overthinking (holster brands? attire? "philosophy?" really?)

No personal carry "rules" or "guidelines" for me. Simply carry the handgun of the day, same type of holster, same position, spare mag pouch same position, every day. Strictly observe the laws of whatever jurisdiction/city/state I'm in.

Wait, I do have one rule: no pocket carry or AIWB (or is that two rules?)
I can dress as I choose and that is conducive to concealment, untucked loose fit shirt; it is not difficult to conceal a Glock 19 size pistol wearing shorts & shirt.
My philosophy is to try to carry a pistol I'd want to defend myself with anywhere, everywhere.
To elaborate: I'd rather defend myself with a Glock 19 versus a snub or LCP regardless of where; make the "effort" to carry that.
"Good" vs "Bad" area, anticipated threat, risk assessment, ect... No. Try to carry the pistol you would prefer to defend yourself with anywhere, everywhere.
Try has an exception for work, post office (amazing how many people on gun forums often frequent inside the post office as if other options don't exist), or court; but, not ballgames, concerts.
Disarm for entertainment is lacking in try, try harder. (or not, doesn't affect me)
For me it is:
1. Don't leave home unarmed unless specifically going where I am not legally allowed to carry.
2. In home armed or one close by because 100% of all home invasions occur in the home.
3. Stay aware of who and what is going on around me when out.
4. Mind my P's and Q's when out.

In Michigan your CCL is tied to your vehicle license plate. So if pulled over by any LEO, read that as not just police, I am legally required to inform the LEO if I am armed and where it is located. It is not considered an interaction to speak to an LEO.
My rules are that every gun is useless if it’s so uncomfortable that you won’t carry it, and every gun is useless if you can’t hit with it. An LCP in your pocket that you shoot well is far better than a Gucci glock with a red dot in your dresser at home.
I'm in my mid-sixties now, I don't go looking for trouble, but if I find myself in trouble my goal is to break contact with minimum force and minimum consequences for all involved. I've built a good life with abundant financial resources and don't want to jeopardize my freedom or my wealth, which will almost certainly be the case if I ever end up in a self-defense shooting. Here's my rules:

1. Stay physically fit, realizing that a gun fight starts off as fight, which progressed from an altercation, which can be de-escalated, which can usually be avoided in the first place if I stay away from stupid places and stupid people. The point is that there is a causation chain and I can usually break the chain at a number of different places but if I can't I'm prepared to fight.

2. I shoot competitively and train at least twice a month, shooting steel challenge targets. I'm confident that I can hit what I need to.

3. If it's night time and I'm away from my home, there's a snubbie in my pocket.

4. If I need to be anywhere besides the low threat environment I'm usually in, I'm carrying my M&P compact 40 cal IWB.
Carry weapons aren't fashion to be changed at a whim. Carry only what you are good with in a crisis. Carry in a manner that you can consistently, quickly, and effectively draw and fire. That takes training and practice ... and commitment
My favorite is a S&W shield45, I can carry it and 2 mags in my liberty overalls front pocket, it fits perfectly on my side in an Alien gear holster when wearing paints. If I am outdoors and not going in public my favorite is a S&W M&P45 with a 1911 a close second. I started carrying around 1980 with a S&W mod 27 then a mod 29, a 1911 was given to me around the mid 80s and it was my favorite until the M&Ps came around. I've always carried a speed loader or a speed strip when I found them.
I'm Jewish (hence my use of my Hebrew name as my user name on this and some other forums). I'm no longer Orthodox so I don't wear my yarmulke everywhere I go anymore, and thus I'm no longer very identifiable as Jewish (and since dad isn't Jewish, my last name isn't jewish, so using a credit card somewhere won't identify me either). Still, things are getting squirrely out there, I have had threats online, and I've heard my students say some hateful things (not to or about me, at least not for years, but about Jews). Even though I've never been into jewelry (other than watches), I have started wearing a Chai, and since so many people don't know what that is, I'm about to get a Star of David necklace (I will not let antisemites scare me into hiding).
I retired from teaching about two years ago. Thank you for your continued service.

I was declared cancer-free about four years ago and have worn prominent symbols of my faith ever since (large earring and tattoo). No one has ever said anything negative. Not even once. Just an occasional positive comment. I hope your experience is the same. :)
Everyone who carries should know that if they ever have to use their gun, it's likely going to be one of the most consequential actions of their lifetime, even when used in a clearly legal manner. IT IS GOING TO SUCK.

Time, distance movement and cover are your friends in a hostile situation. Survival is number 1. Neutralizing a threat is number 2.

When faced with a deadly force situation. Move, move quickly, move away and move toward cover. Given that most shots are taken at close range and shooting scenarios are short lived, this decreases your odds of getting hit and buys time. Time makes for better decisions and increases the odds that the hostile situation will play out.

If in the company of family/loved ones, you should have a basic plan that includes them moving, moving away and moving for cover. They should know how you are going to react.

Obviously, there are times that we can't move away, create distance and find cover, but we need to program ourselves to understand that time, distance, movement and cover are our friends.

What and how to carry dominate our conversations, but mental preparation is equally if not more important. I am sure most of us visualize scenarios as we go about our day to day lives. Do you visualize yourself moving and finding cover?
My rules, out in the public:
Strong side carry
Not noticeable
9mm or bigger and high capacity
I will not engage unless my or other lives are in danger or to prevent injury (exemption for face to face robbery or mugging)
Different rules for home invasion
My carry rules are:

Pants on gun on.
Concealed is concealed.
Strong side OWB or Pocket Carry. With the rare IWB thrown in.
9mm striker fired with 1 or 2 backup mags.
I must be able to hit targets at 25yds with it.
Be aware of your surroundings. Face the door when seated.
My "wife" has medical issues and doesn't move fast. So I'm prepared to fight if need be. Flight is most likely not going to happen.
I'm not Batman with an utility belt, I don't carry knives, pepper spray, first aid kits, tourniquets, or flashlights. There is a fixed blade knife, first aid kit, and flashlight in each of my vehicles. If I know I will be outside after dark, I will carry a pistol with a WML + a hand held flashlight.

When traveling out of state, I refresh myself with "Duty to Inform" laws. I don't inform unless I'm required to.
If flying, I bring 2 handguns with me. If driving I bring 2 handguns and a rifle with me. I do my best to plan my travel around states that have reciprocity.

You're free to do as you please but I carry everywhere. The rare occasion I'm not carrying, there is a gun in my vehicle. The post office doesn't deliver mail to my house and I'm forced to pay for a PO Box - my rule is concealed is concealed. You can infer whatever you want from that. In my rural community I have seen people open carry into the post office.
To make a long story short, I have largely adopted the “snubby lifestyle,” carrying guns to get me out of trouble, rather than carrying guns for going out to look for trouble, or to go and get into trouble. (I did not say “start trouble!”)
My philosophy is patterned after old 007.
I plan to NOT pull my gun.
I carry a money clip with $100-$200 worth of cash and two prepaid VISA cards. It is to throw down if I get mugged.
I keep aware.
I drive defensively.
Mind my business.
I'm not a cop, or a soldier.
Unlike 007, I don't have a license to kill, or the desire.
But......should something go south I am armed over 90% of the time, and a graduate of three advanced combative handgun classes.(just in case)
1- Carry what I want.
2-Know how to use it.
3-Know when to use it.
I like the above comments and many more in the thread. Because
It's not about capacity.
It's not about cartridge choice.
It's about getting out of a bad situation!
My rule/guideline is carry something that I shoot well and enjoy shooting enough that I’ll practice with it a lot, as typically most of my range time is with my CCW (or a similar model).

Typically I can find a sweet spot in the Glock 19ish size that I shoot well, can conceal, and enjoy shooting.
I carry what concealable handgun I would like to have in my hand if I need it. Basically for me that rules out snubbies and mouse calibers.
I don't go with a gun to places where I would not go without a gun.
I practice and get professional training.
I know that I'm not a LEO, or a wannabe LEO.
I know that shooting someone, even if clearly justified and legal, can very well change my life in bad ways.