So, you want to conceal carry?
Have you asked yourself why?
Is it because you have a fear for your life and you want to defend yourself when you’re out in public?
Is it because you know other people who conceal carry and you think it sounds cool?
Is it because you don’t necessarily want to, but a friend or family member is telling you that you need to do it. Regardless of what your reason is, the simple fact is you are here reading this article, and that means that you are at the very least considering conceal carrying and you would like to learn more information about it.
Here are the top concealed carry tips for beginners:
Concealed Carry Is A Burden
Concealed carry is a burden no matter how you slice it. It’s a burden in the sense that it’s a major responsibility. You have to keep your firearm concealed and out of dangerous hands. Many people have difficulty comfortably concealing a firearm, for instance.
It’s even more of a burden in the sense that you have to live your life now knowing that you may have to shoot someone in self-defense. Besides the psychological effect it may/can have on you, you also have to deal with the legal issues of a self-defensive shooting as well (you’ll most certainly end up in a courtroom and have monstrous legal fees).
Concealed Carry Is An Investment
It’s not something that most people think about, but concealed carry is indeed an investment that you will need to make.
Just a number of costs that you will be incurring with concealed carry include the following:
- A Defensive Concealable Pistol ($300 and up, depending on make and model)
- Spare Magazine or Speed Loader ($10-50, again it depends on the make and model)
- Magazine or Speed Loader Holder ($15 or up)
- Training FMJ Ammo ($10-20 for a box of 50)
- Self-Defense Ammo (potentially $25 and up for a box of 20)
- A High-Quality Holster ($50 and up, usually)
- A High-Quality Gun Belt ($40 and up)
- Training With A Certified Firearms Instructor ($100 and up)
So yes, concealed carry is not cheap. It is an investment that you need to make.
A Reliable Firearm Is Essential
Here’s a golden rule to fall when it comes to firearm reliability: your defensive gun should be able to, after the break-in period (usually around 250 rounds), to fire through one thousand rounds without any hiccups or malfunctions whatsoever. If it’s unable to do that, it’s not a weapon that you can trust your life to. This is why out of all the concealed carry tips that are out there, having a reliable firearm is without question one of the most important.
An Ergonomic Firearm Is Also Essential
Your firearm may be reliable, but is it also ergonomic? In other words, is it something that you actually enjoy holding and shooting? If the answer is no, then don’t carry it, because you won’t use it.
The only way to know if a firearm is ergonomic to your hand is to actually hold it. Don’t just buy a gun online based on what you hear on the internet or watch on YouTube. Instead, actually go to a gun store or a sporting goods store and hold it in your hand before you purchase it.
Don’t Forget A Good Holster
Just as important as a good firearm is a good holster. It makes absolutely no sense to carry a high-quality firearm in a low-quality holster, right? It’s also why having a good holster is one of the most important concealed carry tips out there.
And here’s some truth: low-quality holsters suck. Plain and simple, they’re uncomfortable to wear and they do a poor job of their intended purpose.
The best-concealed carry holsters, on the other hand, will meet the following criteria:
- Be comfortable to wear on you
- Be built out of high-quality materials
- Offers excellent firearm retention
- Covers the trigger guard of the weapon
A high-quality holster that is built to those specifications should cost you around $50, but it’s an expenditure that will most certainly be well worth it. A good holster that we typically recommend is the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0. It provides adequate padding between your body and holster to keep you comfortable but it also repels moisture. It is made of high-quality materials that ensure firearm retention.
Where Will You Carry?
Have you given any thought to where exactly on your body you will carry? There are many places you can conceal carry on your person, including:
- IWB (Strong Side Hip)
- IWB (Appendix)
- IWB (Small of Back)
- OWB (Strong Side Hip)
- OWB (Small of Back)
- Shoulder Holster
- Ankle Carry
- Pocket Carry
Basically, those above positions are your primary places where you can conceal carry. Yes, there are off-body carry options as well, but don’t even think about those (AKA don’t carry a gun in a purse or a backpack or a briefcase or a messenger bag or anything that’s off your person, because your gun needs to be kept on your person at all times).
There are advantages and disadvantages to each position
Each carry position also offers its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. OWB on the strong side hip is going to be the most comfortable position, but it also renders the gun and holster the most exposed.
Advantages and disadvantages of IWB Carry
IWB is something that you can get used to, but it’s bound to be uncomfortable at first. Still, IWB is one of the most popular places to carry, either strong side hip or appendix carry. Strong side hip is more comfortable, but it also restricts drawing the weapon to your dominant hand. Appendix carry means you can draw the weapon with either hand, as well as when sitting down, even if it’s not the most comfortable way to carry.
Generally speaking, small of back options should be avoided, because they leave your gun exposed to someone else getting a hold of it from behind, in addition to the fact that they put your vertebrae at risk if you are thrown hard enough against a hard surface.
Advantages and disadvantages of Shoulder Holster Carry
Shoulder holsters are very uncomfortable as they add a lot of weight and will really start to make your shoulders sore after extended use. Furthermore, they only work if you are wearing a jacket of some sort. Many articles and resources on concealed carry tips recommend shoulder holsters as a carry option, but truth be told they’re not the most convenient choice.
Advantages and disadvantages of Ankle Holster Carry
Ankle holsters are notoriously uncomfortable, at least at first, but are a good choice if you are wearing pants with a tucked in shirt. They do require you to kneel down to one knee in order to draw the firearm, however. Ankle holsters are also a popular choice for backup guns.
Advantages and disadvantages of Pocket Holster Carry
Pocket carry is good for really small guns such as .380 pocket pistols or .38 snub nose revolvers. It’s not a realistic choice at all, however, for mid-sized to full-sized guns. Furthermore, pocket carry only allows you to draw the gun with one hand, and drawing while sitting down is extremely difficult.
So in short, no carry option is perfect. But that’s okay. Nothing is truly perfect in life, right? Just try out the different carry options and see what works the best for you.
Carrying Spare Ammunition Is A Good Idea
It’s also a wise idea to carry just one spare magazine or speed loader with you as well. In the case of semi-automatics, the biggest cause of failures is not because of the ammo or an issue with the firearm itself, but rather from a failure with the magazines. To get back in the fight, the quickest solution is to eject the spent magazine and insert a fresh one.
Furthermore, if your firearm is a low capacity model (AKA a 5 shot snub nose revolver or a 6 shot .380 pocket pistol), then a reload would also be highly valuable, especially if you need to defend yourself against multiple attackers.
What About A Backup Gun?
Backup guns are a popular concept and with good reason. They’ve been used to save the lives of police officers and civilians alike. Still, resources and experts on concealed carry tips remain largely divided over whether a backup gun is something worth carrying.
Basically, a backup gun is a second gun that you conceal carry on you. It’s usually a smaller gun than the primary, though it’s also fine to carry two identical guns on you.
Why would you possibly carry a backup gun? There are a few reasons:
- Your primary gun may fail, and it’s quicker to draw a second gun versus trying to fix it
- Your primary gun may run out of ammo (not likely, but possible)
- You can arm somebody else in a defensive situation (AKA, two good guys with guns rather than one)
- You can draw a gun with your non-dominant hand (depending on how you carry)
- You have a secondary option should your assailant get a hold of your primary
So yes, there are many reasons to carry a backup gun. Many police officers carry backup guns and sometimes civilians do as well too.
That being said, is packing a backup gun always a good idea? Not necessarily.
Thoughts to consider about a backup gun
For one thing, it’s burdensome enough to carry just one gun on your person and keep it concealed. But two? Now you have double the problems.
Furthermore, packing a backup gun may not be allowed in certain areas (this is why research is so handy) and you also most certainly won’t look good in the courtroom with it. Even if you were the defender in a legally justified shooting, it would be very easy for the opposing side to paint you as ‘looking for trouble’ because you were carrying two guns on you.
The point? You probably shouldn’t carry a backup gun if you’re just starting to conceal carry. Eventually, you may get to the point where you want or feel you need to, but for now, just stick with one.
Research Your State’s Laws
Concealed carry laws vary significantly from state-to-state…very significantly. It’s entirely your responsibility to find out what the specific laws are in your state and to abide by those laws.
The best way to research your state’s laws will be to conduct the research online and to take a certified course with a reputable instructor (which may be required already). The NRA’s website actually provides really good conceal carry laws by state. You can check that out HERE.
Don’t Carry While Drinking Alcohol
In the vast majority of states, it is illegal to conceal carry while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. In fact, in some states, it is even illegal to enter a bar or anywhere that serves alcohol and conceal.
Now you may think that this only means you can’t be legally drunk and conceal carry, but that it’s still fine to have a drink or two and carry. Wrong. So long as the authorities can detect that there is indeed alcohol in your system while you are packing a firearm, you will most likely be arrested, your concealed carry license revoked, and you may be charged with a misdemeanor as well.
Lesson learned: don’t drink and carry. If you know you’re going to be going out with friends or by yourself and drink alcohol, leave your gun at home.
Conceal carrying a firearm in public is, in conclusion, a major responsibility. It’s not something that you should take lightly. If you do, you probably shouldn’t carry.
Rather, treat concealed carry like the responsibility it is and with the concealed carry tips that you have learned about in this article.