Each person’s life requires a slightly different schedule. In an effort to make life a bit easier, especially for newly minted concealed carriers, we’ve included a helpful list of ten things every concealed carrier should do or consider before leaving the house. For each person, this list may apply differently – but the basics are there for your convenience.
1. Secure Unused Firearms Before Departing
If the gun isn’t attached to you when you step out the door, lock it up. The last thing you need to do is provide a potential armed intruder the opportunity to secure a working firearm. There’s no reason to level the playing field. A gun safe is the most recommended way of storing firearms you don’t intend to have attached to your body. A vehicle gun safe isn’t a bad move either if you drive frequently over state lines.
2. Did You Check Your Laws?
Memorizing all the rules and regulations about your state’s gun laws is hard. Do yourself a favor and print them out and keep a copy in your vehicle for your reference. Highlight important parts such as state rules regarding where you can or cannot bring your firearm.
- Definition of Brandishing
- Federal/State “Gun Free Zones”
- Duty To Inform Laws
- State/Local Restrictions
If you carry a copy of these legal parts for each state you intend to cross through in your travels, you’re well on your way of avoiding a big ole legal mess. “Sorry, officer – didn’t know” is not a very successful argument.
3. Did You Swap Out Your FMJ?
Full metal jackets are great for range practice. Maximum penetration and cheap! However, for your daily carry, we don’t recommend FMJ. You want biggest wound channel for your buck. Before you step off, make sure you have at least one magazine of either hollow points, soft points, or ideally Hydro Shoks.
4. Grab An Extra Magazine To Go
Your firearm is loaded – good. Bring at least one extra magazine. It can stay in your vehicle or come with you – your call. You don’t want to be stuck needing it and not having it. Also check out our article “Should You Use a Concealed Carry Magazine Carrier.“
5. Wearing Your Gun Belt?
A gun belt is an essential piece of equipment for the concealed carrier. Made out of a thicker, sturdier material, it helps keep your trousers center balanced instead of slumping from the weight of your pistol or revolver. Now a gun belt doesn’t need to be an old Western style gunfighter belt. It can be whatever style suits you but it ought be at least one to two inches longer than your normal belt and thicker, sturdier material helps.
6. Is Your Firearm Secured In Its Holster – On Your Side?
An inside the waistband holster is truly one of the best ways to secure a concealed carry firearm. And an added caveat – a high retention inside the waistband holster. High retention means that the outer shell, leather or Kydex, grips and holds onto the gun.
If you have to drop into a dead sprint or jump or do anything requiring rapid movement, a high retention inside the waistband holster keeps your firearm exactly where you want it.
7. Can You Secure Your Firearm In Your Vehicle If You Need To?
Being a daily carrier means knowing what’s off limits. Some states allow businesses to enforce strict regulations on who may carry into their store. Employers can limit employees bringing a concealed carry firearm into work. Have you planned for this?
Always make sure you have a way to secure your firearm inside your vehicle should the need arise. Where ever it is located should be a lockable compartment that is not visible to anyone walking by the vehicle.
8. Do You Have The Right Firearm For The Right Occasion?
Different situations require differing levels of discretion on behalf of the concealed carrier. For warm weather situations where fewer layers are being worn, consider switching down to a micro or sub-compact as a means of maintaining concealment of the weapon. For cold weather environments where more layers are being used – a full-size or compact will work just fine.
9. Is Your Home Defense Plan Good To Go?
Before you leave the house, you should have an idea of how to clear and secure your house. When returning home, maintain situational awareness. Don’t let your guard down just because you’re returning from a long day at work or the gym.
10. Do You Have Your Concealed Carry Permit On Your Person?!
If you’re carrying, you need to have your permit or license on you at all times. Outside of constitutional carry states, you need to be able to prove to any member of on-duty law enforcement that you have the legal right to carry a concealed firearm on your person. Failing to do this can range in severity from getting a fine to losing your permit or even facing jail time.