Not Quite Ready to Carry Concealed

by Rob Morse

Many people don’t carry a firearm every day even though they have their concealed carry license. Are you one of them?

There is a world of difference between the theory of armed self-defense and the practice. Here are small steps that make carrying concealed feel comfortable.

Only practice makes a firearm feel safe and familiar. You need time touching your gun before it feels right. Practicing in a structured environment also builds safe habits. Yes, you may have passed your concealed carry course. Maybe your state doesn’t even require a course, but it is time for you to take a firearms handling class. Here is what you’ll learn.

Let’s start at the beginning. There are easy and safe ways to load a firearm and put it in your holster. Why not learn those techniques from a professional instructor? You can learn “best practices” rather than learning from your own mistakes.

You already know how to shoot from a bench at a square range. Now you’ll learn how to safely and efficiently take your gun from a concealed holster and shoot a target. You will learn more than abstract techniques. You will experience how it feels to move with a gun on your body. You will build a personal library of sensations that make concealed carry feel familiar.

If you take a day-long class, then you’ll get lots of practice loading and unloading a gun. You’ll verify the gun’s condition over and over. All that practice makes it feel familiar to touch, to walk, and to sit with a gun on your body. Yes, it feels different when you’re carrying. Give yourself the gift of time so you can experience those feelings without surprises.

Some people hesitate to be armed in public, even though they have their license. If you have this same hesitation, here is a list of small steps as you climb that hurdle. Advance at your own pace and let yourself succeed. You will carry for the rest of your life, so who cares if you want to practice a few more days?

  • Wear your empty and concealed holster at home. Do that as long as it takes to feel comfortable. You’re also learning how to dress while carrying a firearm.
  • Wear your empty and concealed holster as you go familiar places outside the home. That reminds you where guns are allowed and where they are forbidden.
  • Ask if you’re allowed to carry at work and at church. You can tell them you’re doing research for a self-help class you’re taking.
  • Buy some snap caps and practice safely loading and unloading your firearm the way you were taught in class. Keep building safe habits.
  • Carry your loaded and concealed firearm at home. It feels different at first. Put the gun away properly when you’re done carrying it.
  • Carry concealed as you go someplace familiar outside your home. It helps to travel with other people who carry. You can be the armed passenger so you don’t even have to drive.
  • Go get gas while you are carrying concealed. Yes, you’re carrying in public by yourself, but you don’t have to interact with anyone just yet. Please plan your first trip in the daytime rather than at 2 in the morning in the wrong part of town.
  • Wear your concealed firearm on a simple shopping trip. You’ve done this a million times before. Aren't you running low on eggs and milk?
  • Go out to eat with friends who carry.
  • If it is allowed, add your work and church to the places you carry.

More tips are listed here.

None of this is intimidating if you take it step at a time at your own pace. You might not even remember why you were concerned about carrying a few months ago.

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.