When I read online discussions about concealed carry, I’m both impressed by the depth of knowledge of the hive mind and by some glaring omissions in the discussion. The gaps tend to fit a broader pattern I’ve noticed, and with which regular readers—if there are such things—will be familiar. As a community, we tend to lose sight of the forest as we focus on our favorite trees. We seek to win converts to our favorite make/model/caliber/etc, rather than develop solutions that work for other individuals. When I’m not careful I’m as guilty as anyone; the hypothetical regular reader has probably noted some of my personal favorites. So in today’s discussion of concealed carry, we’re going to take a different track and talk about universal mistakes to avoid with your CCW. This list is nowhere near complete; I’m just trying to hit some of the more egregious or easy to make errors.
Neglecting Your Equipment
This to me is the big one, and again I’m guilty as charged. It’s easy to forget to clean your CCW, but even easier to forget to rotate ammo or magazines. As these are equally necessary for a functioning weapon, it’s a potentially deadly mistake. Also: when was the last time your holster/rig/belt got some TLC? All equipment has maintenance needs, so make sure you see to yours. And toward that end . . .
- Forgetting About Your Holster. Your holster, or other carry system, is a critical component in your concealed carry life. You need a holster that will retain the weapon, keep it concealed, help mitigate printing and be comfortable enough to wear regularly. This latter point is often overlooked, but it affects more than your physical comfort.
- Adjusting Your Behavior. Have a holster you can trust and wear comfortably so you don’t check your weapon, even subconsciously. Those small touches and arm motions are noticeable, and there are more eyes out there than you think. Select a carry system that allows for seasonally appropriate clothings—a trench-coat in the middle of summer is sure to raise some eyebrows. Make sure your carry system doesn’t affect your stride, another tell-tale giveaway. Constantly messing with your carry system is a bad thing; learn not to do it.
- Showing Off Your Weapon. I really shouldn’t have to say this, but it comes up in surprising ways. Drawing your CCW to show to a good friend in a parking lot is still a risk, as you don’t know who else is watching. You can do it inadvertently as well, with improper clothing. And while nothing may happen immediately, people do talk. You don’t need word getting around about your concealed carry habits.
- Forgetting the Basic Rules of Gun Safety. You know them, you love them—but do you live them? Exposure can breed complacency, and carrying a handgun every day can flip a mental switch that turns it into “just another thing.” You’re responsible for your firearm, and any rounds fired either intentionally or negligently. Review your carry habits, your daily routine, and your carry system to make sure you’re following the guidelines.
I’ll make a final suggestion, which I think is important: when exercising your right to carry concealed, keep a good attitude. Be more polite, more courteous, more generous than the average person. We’re all ambassadors for the 2nd Amendment community, so make sure to portray us in a positive light.
As I mention above, there are a lot of other potential errors and points of discussion. I would ask that in the feedback you stay within the guidelines I’ve laid out here: general mistakes instead of nitpicking equipment or caliber. I do want to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch.
And, as always: stay safe out there.