New to CCW? Avoid These 5 Bad CCW Habits

Avoid These 5 Bad CCW Habits

Avoid These 5 Bad CCW Habits

First off, let me say that there is no judgment in this article: we were all newbies once. No one is born knowing how to shoot, CCW, or most other skills. That having been said, the beginning is foundational to all that comes later. The old saying about shooting remains true: there are no advanced techniques, just advanced applications of basic techniques. Your newbie years should be spent building a solid foundation mentally and physically. Toward that end, here are some bad habits that everyone should avoid.


It’s all too common to see newbies to CCW lacking any and all confidence in their nascent skills and developing abilities. That sort of self doubt can lead someone to abandon the CCW journey before it really begins. And that’s a shame, so if you’re a newbie CCW person or if you know one don’t let this get in their way.

Leaving their Weapon in the Bathroom/Locker Room/Etc.

It’s a strange thing, the human mind: so adaptable that sometimes it gets stupid. When you get used to carrying a CCW every day, it sometimes ceases to be a weapon and becomes just another thing you’re hauling around. So just like people occasionally forget their wallet or their phone . . .well, the consequences here are potentially much more severe. Stay vigilant.

Forgetting Safety Basics

The basic rules of gun safety still apply. Keep them in mind at all times.

Touching or Adjusting the CCW

It’s one of the most basic and primary errors people make, such that cops are trained to watch for it. Don’t let this become a habit: learn to trust your holster and belt to keep the weapon secure.

Wardrobe Malfunctions

They’re not just for mediocre Superbowl half-time shows from years ago. The wrong clothing choice can lead to printing, accidental reveals of the weapon, delays or disruptions to deploying the weapon, and other problems. Adjust our dress sense according to your CCW needs rather than face these issues.

Signaling/Being “That Guy”

This is a personal pet peeve: the guy who’s carrying concealed while wearing 5.11 pants, a GLOCK shirt, and an NRA baseball cap. That kind of advertising is bad for business—it tells almost everyone that not only are you carrying but that, in their minds, you are the stereotypical “gun nut” to be feared or reviled. This goes beyond clothing: that “This vehicle insured by Smith and Wesson” bumper sticker or NRA decal on your car isn’t doing you any favors—particularly if you routinely secure guns in the vehicle. My advice is simple: adopt an grey man approach to living and keep it low key. The time and place to advertise is at the range or gun show. Show off there to your heart’s content.

So what’s the solution to all of this? Well, it’s really fairly simple: you have to keep training and drilling/building/maintaining good habits. “Slacking off on training” or “Overconfidence” almost made the list, until I realized that they were the conclusion and the solution. Stay humble, keep learning, and recognize that this journey never really ends.

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at
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All great reminders. While I don’t wear identifiers like NRA caps or shirts, nor do I have decals on my car, I am quite partial to tactical pants from Condor and wear them most days. I’m trying to find a “like brand” that doesn’t shout out “shoot me first” to the bad guys.


some people think there god when they buy a gun that is what gets them killed

Kevin Benko

I don’t know if this should be in the top 5, BUT

“always carry or never carry” is a good one, in my not-so-humble opinion.

denny crane

I’m constantly touching my cell phone holster. I hope that doesn’t get me killed.

Fred Miller

One thing which should have been mentioned, and that I have witnessed many times, is people will reach to their holster to check their gun. If you’re a CCW and in a state where it’s not allowed to print or let anyone know you’re carrying, and is simply a bad idea because it can send a signal to an observant bad guy, this is something you completely want to avoid doing. You should NEVER have to check your gun in any way in public for ANY reason. You should carry a gun which is a comfortable size in a holster which stays securely in position and is equally as comfortable. Basically, you should be able to forget you’re carrying. If your gun is too heavy and drags your pants down, or your belt doesn’t hold everything in place, or your holster is uncomfortable or doesn’t hold position, then you need to make some changes. In NY, if John Q. even suspects you’re carrying, all he has to say is “I think that person has a gun” and you’re, at the very least, given the hard stink eye and put on the defensive. If the law becomes involved, then you can find yourself in a real mess, even to the point of losing your permit.


I wear some Tru-Spec cargo shorts and BlackHawk shirts(look like fishing shirts with vented back) for work but with so many clothing brands out no one would know it was those brands unless they got close enough for me to notice them staring. Now weekends are jean wrangler cargo shorts and X-large t-shirts in a dark color. I do own some of the new 5.11 Flex jeans but again look like normal jeans.

mule man

Yeah just for him I’ll hide my membership in the NRA—bite me sheep

Tim Lange

Was in a restaurant a few months ago, during a period I was being extra observant to see if I could figure out who was carrying. This middle aged couple, very over weight, was a couple of tables away. They had “gun” shirts, “gun” caps and both were obviously carrying. The amount of food they ordered was unreal. I keep expecting them to show up on an anti-gun poster. Sigh….