What You Need to Know About Carrying a Concealed WeaponJuly 24, 2014 by Melanie Swick | 4 Comments
I’m a huge advocate of being armed whenever possible, but there are a lot of misconceptions about concealed carry leading many people to make the kind of mistakes that endanger themselves and their families.
I’m not going to get into the legal aspects of concealed carry because that varies from state to state. Instead, I’m going to cover the tactical aspects because that is universal no matter what environment you’re operating in.
Get professional training
Knowing the law can be critical both to staying out of jail and to successfully defending yourself, so seek professional training on a regular basis. No matter how experienced you may be, you never have enough training. Most people reading this will never complete the sheer volume of professional training I conducted during my time in the Marine Corps, but I still train on a monthly basis at a minimum. You should too.
Draw a “line in the sand”
You need to establish your own rules of engagement long before you find yourself in a life or death self-defense scenario. Anyone who has been through it can tell you that you don’t have time to calmly analyze all of the pros and cons of a decision before a thug hopped up on crystal meth bashes your skull in with a bat. Once you’ve identified that a credible threat exists, your decisions need to be as simple as “if this, then that.” For example, you might decide that you will draw your weapon on an approaching attacker, however if they continue advancing, you’ll show them what a double tap feels like.
You’re carrying a concealed weapon to protect yourself, right? Then be subtle about it and blend in. If everyone knows that you’re carrying a weapon, you will draw the attention of bad guys, concerned citizens, and poorly trained law enforcement officers—exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
When that loudmouth drunk at the tailgate party starts spouting off to everyone in the area, get yourself out of that area. Sure, you shouldn’t have to, but it’s better to avoid a fight than to win one—especially when you are armed. (Remember George Zimmerman?) I usually recommend avoiding places where conflict is likely, such as sporting events, bars, or protests, but if you can’t do that, a close second is bugging out before conflict escalates.
Wear a holster
If you value your man-bits, invest in a quality holster. Tucking a Glock into your waistband is unsafe, uncomfortable, and ineffective. All it takes is one wrong movement for a negligent discharge to ruin your day. That same movement can cause your weapon to tumble from your hiding place. Never mind the fact that the sweat and oils from your body will corrode the finish on your weapon.
Dress to blend in to the environment and to properly conceal your weapon. Yes, it may be legal for your 1911 to print through your t shirt (it is here in Florida) but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Even with a large outside the waistband Kydex holster, most polo shirts will easily cover throughout your typical range of movement. An untucked button-down shirt or a light jacket will cover it under pretty much any circumstances.
Stop adjusting your weapon
If you shift your weapon every time you stand up or move, you’re going to draw attention. It’s fine to pull your shirt or jacket over your weapon after standing, but you don’t need to push your holster back three millimeters into your “sweet spot.” It’s fine where it is. People generally do this because they’re worried about others seeing it. I’ll share a little secret—99.9% of people will never notice your concealed weapon unless you fidget with it. Hell, most are too buried in their iPhone to even notice an openly carried handgun.