“Where do I even start?”
Have you ever wanted to carry a concealed firearm but never found the
time to look into it or simply didn’t know where to start? In this article you will find
the most important, and sometimes overlooked, things to consider before you
“pull the trigger”…
1. Why/what do I want in a concealed weapon?
Are you looking for something to defend your home from a potential
threat? Do you want something to carry everywhere, well everywhere that’s legal,
in case of an emergency? Or maybe you love the great outdoors and want an
insurance policy in case Yogi decides he wants a bite out of you instead of your
Whatever your reason is, know it and make your purchase
accordingly. When it comes to the thousands of variables involved in handgun
ownership, everyone will have a different preference; and there are quite literally
THOUSANDS of variables when it comes to buying a handgun: size, weight, grip,
sights, material, caliber etc.
These all factor into finding the right “piece” (cue crickets) to your second amendment puzzle.
2. Who’s this “caliber” guy?
Caliber basically refers to the diameter of the barrel (or bore) of the gun,
and thus, the diameter of the bullet being fired. It gets a little tricky because they
can be referred to in either fractions of an inch or in millimeters.
Another factor coming into play is the length of the shell casing where the powder is stored.
More powder and a bigger diameter generally cause more damage but come at
the cost of more kick back (recoil). So without getting too technical, you’re
looking for something with enough power to take down your target while still
maintaining control and accuracy.
9mm rounds are the most common rounds in the world for having this nice marriage of control and power and, as an added bonus, are relatively inexpensive. However, because of the 9mm round’s popularity, they will be one of the first calibers to sell out in times of crisis (or even perceived crisis)… food for thought.
3. Where do I put this thing?
Consider where on your body you will be carrying. Ease of access, your
clothing preference, and obviously the size of the gun should all be taken into
Make sure the firearm you are intending to buy fits COMFORTABLY wherever you plan on carrying. There are a myriad of holsters and accessories to help achieve this ideal fit so that there’s no excuse for constantly adjusting a concealed weapon.
Once it’s tucked, it should stay tucked.
Side note: Don’t be that guy who is constantly adjusting his concealed, trying to
discretely drop hints about it like it’s an elephant in the room that everyone really
needs to know about.
4. Practice Shooting With Your Firearm
Quite possibly one of the most important steps is firearms training. Your
firearm should be as comfortable in your hand as the TV remote, something
you’ll only achieve by training with it.
There really is no limit on how often you should practice live fire exercises, aside from what your budget will allow. Even so, there are many exercises that can train you to become more comfortable with your firearm at home and not spend a dime.
One additional variation to consider would be to practice under some form of duress. Think about it, if the time really came for you to act on your second amendment rights you won’t exactly be swimming in a sea of tranquility.
That sort of stress or added pressure might be difficult to simulate at your typical gun range, but definitely something to consider. It could even be something as simple as running or doing some push ups to at least elevate your heart rate while practicing.
5. Are there repercussions for defending myself with my firearm?
In short, yes, there definitely can be. Even if you know the laws well and you act completely within your rights, you’ll want someone fighting in your corner. Heavily consider getting a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) Insurance Policy.
Similar to owning a gun, this is one of those “I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it” type of things. CCW insurance is an often over-looked aspect of owning a firearm but can save you lots of time, money, and possibly your freedom.
Just like with car insurance, or any insurance really, there are multiple providers. USCCA is one of the most well renowned providers today and in most cases you can’t go wrong here. In addition to being insured, just be informed.
Gun laws are constantly being amended and definitely vary depending on where you live. So stay informed, especially if you plan on traveling.
6. Responsible Gun Ownership
You will (hopefully) hear this statement echoed many more times before you buy your first gun but, a gun is a tool for killing. Plain and simple. You should always make every attempt to deescalate, or better yet, avoid potential conflict.
It all comes down to situational awareness. My favorite illustration of situational awareness in regards to concealed firearms is Copper’s Color Codes:
If you live in the yellow, you will be much more adept at avoiding and correctly recognizing the red. That being said… If it is unavoidable and a life threatening situation presents itself, this is why you have bought a concealed weapon and act with confidence.
The most important takeaways here are buy the right gun for YOU (not your spouse, best friend, or local gun store clerk), practice, know the laws, and always be responsible. Doing your homework will save you dollars and headache, so do yourself a favor and make sure you consider all options before you conceal.