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First of all, welcome to the world of concealed carrying! Most concealed carriers would agree that carrying a weapon will make you feel safer and more prepared if the unthinkable happens. Still, there are a few things that are easily forgotten, especially if you are also fairly new to firearms.
1. How to Conceal
While it seems extremely obvious, how to conceal your weapon should be a major consideration. Despite what some people will say, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some people will prefer to carry appendix, some over their back pocket, and some will use completely different methods to carry. For the new concealed carrier, this could be overwhelming.
In my opinion, the best way for you to carry is whatever you are comfortable with. For me, I prefer carrying over my back pocket, but find that it’s harder for me to conceal the weapon there, based on my body shape. This drove me to consider carrying appendix, which is now how I carry for most of the year.
Finding the best way for you to concealed carry will almost certainly take trying out multiple holsters. For my first carry weapon, I had four different holsters before I found the right one. It’s like a glass slipper, except for guns, so it’s way more awesome. Trying out multiple holsters to find the most comfortable one is extremely important, because if you aren’t comfortable carrying with one holster, odds are you won’t carry at all.
Another important factor to consider is the time of year. During the summer in hotter areas, a pocket gun, such as a small .380, in a pocket holster will be your best friend. As the weather gets cooler, it will be easier to conceal bigger guns in multiple ways, as you will be wearing more, heavier clothing.
Keep in mind the fact that carrying a weapon means you have to be prepared to draw it. In the event that the unpredictable happens, the last thing you want is to be fumbling around, unable to efficiently draw your weapon.
My advice would be to practice drawing if you are new to carrying or trying out a new holster. Empty the magazine, clear the weapon, and practice drawing. As you get more proficient, and if the range you shoot at allows for it, start practicing with live ammunition. The more efficiently you can draw your weapon, the more prepared you will be.
3. Thumb Safety
This reminder is aimed specifically at someone that is new to firearms. Keep in mind whether or not the firearm you are carrying has a safety. If it does, and you have to draw it, remember to flip the safety! In a high-stress situation, simple things like this are extremely easy to forget. Once again, practicing drawing and using your weapon will help develop muscle memory.
4. Best Ammo
For someone new to firearms, the different kinds of ammunition can be overwhelming. This could be argued endlessly, but do some research on the best ammo for personal defense and make your own decision. My personal preference is to carry hollow point ammunition. Hollow point bullets are designed to expand when they enter a target, which will cause more damage to a bad guy.
Another thing to keep in mind for someone new to concealed carrying is the time of year. If your potential target is wearing a huge winter coat, you might want some hotter ammunition or a larger caliber weapon to penetrate the extra layers.
5. Extra Ammo
Yet another facet of concealed carrying that could be argued endlessly. My opinion on whether or not to carry extra mags/ammo is that it should be based on your assessed threat level. If I’m just taking my dog on a walk or running to the gas station, I may not carry any extra mags. If I’m going to a more crowded area, like a shopping mall or a grocery store, I’m probably going to grab some extra ammo on the way out the door.
Overall, carrying a concealed weapon is an excellent idea, provided that you know how to safely and accurately operate the weapon you are carrying. For me, the added peace of mind is an awesome feeling.
While there are hundreds of factors that go into concealed carrying, these five reminders are just a few of the basics for someone new to concealed carrying to keep in mind.
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