I have written about Tom Givens before, having been in two of his instructor classes. The thing about Tom is that he has done an excellent job contextualizing the defensive use of the firearm for the private citizen. Plenty of people teach shooting, but personally, this is the thing that I think really sets Tom apart. Very few, if any, have done it as well as him.
Some time ago Tom published a book titled Fighting Smarter. Concealed Carry Class is the “new and improved” version of Fighting Smarter, with Gun Digest as the publisher. The old title is cooler, the content is what matters though. This version of the book is well-formatted, and generally well illustrated.
Is Tom Givens’ Concealed Carry Class a Must-Read?
There are very few books that I put in the ‘must read’ category. Mas Ayoob’s Straight Talk on Armed Defense, Scott Reitz The Art of Modern Gunfighting, and if you are an instructor Mike Seeklander’s The Art of Instruction. Now, I think Concealed Carry Class can be added to that list.
Concealed Carry Class is a well-organized 262 large-format page book. The first 100 pages are about the “software” of personal protection with a firearm. Really, this is my favorite part of the book. These are the pages that talk about the legal and correct use of force, situational awareness, decision-making under stress, and the list goes on. Quite truthfully, these are the topics that matter most.
The next 50 pages or so are focused on equipment. What types of handguns are best suited to the task, understanding holster and ammunition selection. All the stuff we people of the internet like to have spirited debates about. Tom’s take is hard to argue with. There isn’t any fluff, he tells it like it is and doesn’t cut anyone any slack. His argument against AIWB is one of the better ones I have read. Good enough that it requires some additional consideration. If you want to know what it is, you will have to read the book.
The remaining 100 pages or so are on technique. Everything from the basics like aligning the sights and pressing the trigger to use of the handgun in low light, reloads, and ready positions. Tom even goes into how to conduct reloads on small revolvers. Something many people do not have much exposure to.
The last 10 pages of the book, like the first 50, are some of the most important. They provide options for how the reader can measure current skill, how to set goals, and points the reader in the direction of the next steps for training.
As a whole, Concealed Carry Class doesn’t answer every question or deep dive into every detail. There isn’t a secret recipe hidden inside, or some special new insight. It gives best practices and cuts through the noise with strong signal.
If someone reads Concealed Carry Class and never follows through on any of the guidance for continued training they will be better off than before they read the book. If someone does follow through, takes the advice given on continued training, and pursues continued development, they will be light years ahead of the general gun-owning public.
Concealed Carry Class is worth the read, even if you have been at this game for a while. At the very least it will refresh lessons already learned. If you are new to firearms or carrying firearms for personal defense, it will not steer you wrong. It will orient your compass in the correct direction, and point you down the best path to follow for responsible gun ownership and personal defense.