All fifty states now allow for the concealed carry use of a firearm in some manner, and more and more people are doing so. However, it’s not quite as simple a matter as it sounds due to the many rules and requirements involved with concealed carry wear. Confusion and headaches can be avoided if concealed carry wearers take the time to educate themselves before doing so. Below are some pointers to help those considering concealed carry wear to get started on the right foot.
1. Concealed Carry Is Concealed Carry
As in, no one should be aware that you are carrying a firearm. Unfortunately, many novice concealed carry wearers wear outfits and bulky holsters that make it very apparent that they’re “packing”. They engage in mannerisms (e.g. raising their shirt to look at their firearm or clutching at their firearm) that make it obvious to all that they’re carrying a gun. Clothing should be worn that’s loose enough to conceal the firearm and won’t interfere with potentially drawing it. As for how concealed carriers should behave when carrying a gun, it should be effectively forgotten until it’s needed.
2. Comfort Is Important
Unless it’s a cap pistol, you’re going to feel a piece and related accessories when concealed carrying. This is why clothing and firearm equipment should be comfortable while doing so. Make selections that you can wear every day in a variety of settings. But comfort doesn’t equal “safety casual”. Remember the infamous incident in a New York nightclub when a professional athlete thought his sweatpants pocket would be a great place to carry a loaded handgun? Also, until your body gets used to daily firearm wearing, there will be a period of adjustment. If after several weeks you still find it very uncomfortable to do so, then it might be time to rethink clothing being worn, equipment being used, the firearm type being carried, or all three.
3. You Can Never Be Too Educated
Because of the many variances in concealed carry permitting between states and even some municipalities, it’s a good idea to protect your rights by attending as much concealed carry training as possible, even when it exceeds requirements. These classes can also be a great resource for learning about techniques, new accessories, and clubs and organizations as well. If you want to read up more about the various gun laws, a good resource is handgunlaw.us that allows you to look up gun laws for a specific state.
4. Not All Holsters Are The Same
Only in the movies will a single holster fit all firearm needs. Concealed carry wearers should choose the right holsters that are specifically designed to be used in conjunction with the firearm that they are carrying. And all concealed carry equipment should be simple and safe. Simple because you want to draw that piece quickly and easily if you have to, and safe because you don’t want it discharging when an innocent passer-by bumps into you.
5. No Brandishing
Hey, even with loose, comfortable clothing and sturdy, non-bulky equipment, accidents happen and you may find yourself “exposed”. Provided that you have the proper permitting, many states don’t carry penalties for inadvertently revealing that you’re carrying concealed. However, other states do. Gun-loving Texas doesn’t even allow a gun imprint showing through clothing. So again, it’s best to wear comfortable, concealing clothing in addition to knowing local requirements. And be aware that deliberately showing your concealed firearm to threaten or intimidate others isn’t permissible anywhere, even as a joke. Unless you’re withdrawing that weapon to protect yourself or others, it’s a good idea to simply not broadcast the fact that you’re wearing one at all.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
While that need will hopefully never come, you are wearing that concealed firearm for a very specific purpose. Therefore, you should get in plenty of practice with drawing and firing from a concealed carry wearing position. A firing range is the safest place for this type of practice, but do check ahead in advance. Not all shooting ranges allow firing from a concealed carry wearing position.
7. Your Permit, Your Friend
Law enforcement experts recommend carrying this document on your person whenever you’re carrying concealed. And of course, just in case one of those law enforcement experts asks you to produce your permit, it’s a really, really bad idea to keep that permit in the same pocket as your firearm.
8. Know Where You Can’t Go
While a concealed carry permit allows you to do just that, it will not allow civilian wearers to wear that firearm everywhere. While restrictions vary as to where concealed carry is allowed, there are a few universal locations where only authorized law enforcement or military representatives are allowed to bring concealed firearms. These “no-go” zones for the rest of us include:
• Any structure owned or leased by a municipal, county, state, or federal government body for the purpose of conducting business for public benefit.
• Any meetings being conducted by an elected or appointed governing body for public benefit.
• Any type of detention facility or any facility used to process, detain, or house arrested persons, either adults or juveniles.
• Any elementary or secondary school, although some institutes of higher learning are now permitting on-campus concealed carry.
• Professional and amateur sporting events generally don’t permit concealed carry, and this even applies to many gun shows and shooting events.
As even an accidental carrying of a concealed firearm into a “no-go” zone can result in the permanent loss of a permit, it’s always better to check first rather than to be sorry later.
Laws can vary widely by state regarding concealed carry and traveling through airports or bus or train terminals. Some states ban it altogether, others allow it if the firearm is identified prior to boarding and treated as checked luggage. “Ignorance of the law” won’t save you or your permit here, so always check before travelling.
A shocking number of concealed carriers think that because they’re wearing a gun daily, they have to inspect and clean those guns less often. Daily concealed carry can actually cause more maintenance problems like corrosion from perspiration, and clogging from pocket lint as well as holster wear, so inspections should be done daily.
We hope the tips above helps some of you out there thinking of starting to carry concealed. If you have some advice that you think will help others, please share it with the rest of us by commenting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!
About the author:
This article was contributed by Joe from SmokingBarrelUSA.com. Joe is a gun enthusiast that started his blog specifically to not only learn more himself, but to also share what he learned with others in the community. SmokingBarrelUSA.com aims to help promote gun safety, debunk some myths that exist today about firearms, as well as help folks to choose the right equipment to suit their specific needs.