Concealed Carry And What You Need To Know
The best way to protect yourself or those around you when out and about is to carry a firearm. It may not be as simple as that though because many state laws require a permit to carry.
Every State Is Different
Just because your cousin in Arizona can carry a firearm by simply being a permit holder doesn't mean that you can too in California. All state gun laws are different. Some states are way more lenient when it comes to carrying.
For example, some states have constitutional carry also called permitless carry, unrestricted carry, or Vermont carry. This refers to the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit.
States like Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, just to name a few, have permitless carry. Some permitless carry laws are not applicable to non-residents.
Other states have some sort of permitless carry as well but are limited. In Montana, constitutional carry is only allowed outside the city limits. In Illinois and New Mexico, you can only carry permitless with an unloaded weapon and fully loaded magazine.
The phrase "constitutional carry" reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not abide in the restrictions of gun rights, including the constitutional right to carry or "bear" arms.
State laws can change in the blink of an eye. In July 2015 the District Of Columbia became a permitless carry jurisdiction for a few days when its ban on carrying a firearm became unconstitutional. The ruling stated that any Washington DC resident and non-residents without felony charges could carry without a permit or license.
The ruling then stayed six days later on July 29th.
There are different ways to carry a firearm if your state allows you to carry whether, through an issued license or permitless carry. One of the most common is Concealed Carry.
Concealed carry is basically carrying a firearm in public through a concealed way. This is favored by many because it keeps the person carrying a concealed weapon incognito to the public. This can be for many reasons one of which being that it keeps the surroundings at a more common level, with the element of surprise going to the law-abiding citizen who is carrying.
One of the main problems with concealed carry is just that, concealed carry. Many people find it hard to conceal their handgun, especially when the state law frowns upon individuals who print.
Changing your wardrobe may be something to look into as well. Your waist tight jeans may not work if you want to go IWB (inside the waistband) for concealment. Not wanting to deal with printing issues may lead you to a bigger size when it comes to Polos and T-shirts.
Many state laws are not crystal clear when it comes to brandishing or printing of a firearm so naturally, most people just won't deal with it and leave their CCW in the vehicle or home.
I know, I know, this blog is called "Concealed Carry And What You Need To Know" But, it has to be said because of its slight controversy.
Open carry is the most effortless way to carry because there is no "dressing around your concealed carry" If you feel like tucking in your shirt or wearing fitted clothes you can. The obvious set back to some people is that you are exposing the fact that you have a firearm.
For some reason or another, this rubs people in the industry the wrong way. I personally have no issue with someone wanting to open carry.
I understand the reasons behind why many people oppose open carry. "You'll be the first one to get shot" or "the criminal will take it away from you and shoot you".
Then there are the people, who are on the side of the Second Amendment mind you, that are just basically offended for whatever reason. "He's just trying to show off" or "He's just making a political statement".
I am an individual who feels that if it's legal, then you are more than welcome to do so.
Traveling To Another State?
The Reciprocity Map shows you what states reciprocate the approval of issued permits. It can definitely help you in knowing what states honor your concealed handgun license.
This is super important when traveling and crossing state lines. People have been arrested for carrying a loaded handgun on them unaware that their concealed-carry gun permit in their home state was not transferable to another.
For example, Nebraska, Nevada, and Kansas honor each other's permit license. Rhode Island doesn't honor either of them.
Remember that CCW licenses are issued at the state level. There is no federal law that speaks for the entire United States on this issue. Know your state laws and those that you will be travel too. Just because you are a law abiding citizen in your state does not mean that you are following the laws of another state.
Not knowing state reciprocity can cost you dearly. Possession of a firearm in a state that is not gun friendly is serious. It doesn't take long. Google search a reciprocity map and find out where you can and can't carry.
Find out what type of gun carry is allowed as well. Can you open carry? Can you run a magazine that allows more than 10 rounds? What are the state firearms allowed to be carried? Just because you can carry doesn't mean you can carry the same way you do in your own home state.
This, in no way, is an attempt to put fear into your traveling. Going on a road trip with your firearm is something many people do every single day. So to all you license holders, enjoy your travels and have fun. Just know your laws.
Also, laws keep changing every day. Make sure the reciprocity map is up to date.
Commitment To Carrying
Carrying a gun is a big decision. Only you know when you are ready to start carrying your firearm. The most important thing you need to remember in your road to concealed carry is COMMITMENT.
Commitment is what is gonna keep you going after the motivation is gone. What do I exactly mean? Here it goes. Say you saw a YouTube video of a tactical guy hitting a target 10 yards away from concealment while sitting in his car and shooting through a glass window in under one second. You will be motivated to go out to the range and try that very same drill.
You are gonna see what gun he's shooting. What holster he is running and what targets he is using. Then you will try to be "that" guy. Buy the shirt, grow the beard and get the tattoos... maybe.
You are gonna be motivated one thousand percent to go out there and carry concealed for the rest of your days. Trust me, I've seen it happen.
Then, reality sets in. Carrying appendix isn't as easy as it seems. It's actually a bit uncomfortable and the beard is itchy.
What's gonna keep you going? COMMITMENT, nothing else. Because when everything else fails, that is all you have. Commitment is gonna keep you going. Just like you've been going at it with working out or your new diet. Commitment is what will push you to carry when things get a bit uncomfy. When it's hot outside and you don't want to go IWB. When adding 2 pounds to your waistline is just way too much today... COMMITMENT.
It's A Way Of Life
Once you understand that concealed carry is a commitment, you'll understand that it's way more than that, it's a way of life.
The fact that you may have to go with a different wardrobe or bigger pant sizes makes this a lifestyle. Dressing around your EDC is gonna be something you may have to do.
I've heard people say, "Don't dress around your gun, make your gun dress around you." I understand that statement and I have to say that there is some truth to that. With that being said, I run a Glock 43 sometimes when I carry concealed and I've had to adjust even with a gun that small.
If you want to carry a pocket pistol, you may have to get jeans with bigger pockets or run a different kind of pant. Things get very real when you can't layer up anymore because of the hot summer months. Having to get a better EDC belt for maximum concealment.
My life has changed ever since I committed to carrying my gun every single day. I can't leave home without it. I have left my phone at home but I will turn the vehicle around in a heartbeat to get my gun and holster.
I know it's crazy but I have been conditioned to carry my gun everywhere I go. It's funny because I run Bravo on my phone! Literally, I do. I would rather leave that at home than my EDC.
But that is what it takes to concealed carry. No one ever said it was going to be easy. I Won't even say that it does get easier, which it did for me but there are times when I think, "I'll just leave it in the vehicle this time, what could happen?"
Then, I come to my senses and think, "No! my family needs me to be that person that will protect them no matter what!"
There is always a compromise when carrying concealed and that's what makes it a way of life. It's not just you anymore, it's you and your gun.
Where To Carry Your Gun
Most people who carry a gun will carry somewhere around the belt line. Why? Because it's the most practical.
There are many ways to carry, maybe a little too many. Just kidding. the more the marrier. People like to conceal carry in shoulder holsters and ankle holsters. Women also carry in more gender appropriate areas because of their wardrobes like inner thigh holsters and even holsters that are placed under a bra.
But for the most part, it's on the belt line. Where you ask, well that is gonna be up to the end user. Whatever area they feel more comfortable with.
There is the most obvious area called the 3 o'clock, for right-handed shooters and 9 o'clock position for left-handed shooters. This is also known as strong side carry and may be the most popular place to carry due to the fact that your strong hand is close to it at almost all times.
Let me take the time to show you what all these "o'clock" positions mean. Here is an illustration that may be able to paint a better picture. Here you will see all the positions that a gun can be carried in when it comes to the belt line.
Now that we are clear about carry positions, let's talk about the 4-5 o'clock position or 7-8 o'clock position for left-handers. This is a more concealable place to carry if you are running larger guns like a 1911 or a Glock 17. These firearms have a more pronounced grip. This leads to being more difficult to conceal.
Let me just say this. The hardest thing to conceal is the grip of the gun. It tends to stick out like a sore thumb when under certain garments. It's what tends to poke out when you bend over to pick something up or slouch when sitting down.
This is why the 5 and 7 o'clock positions are sought after when trying to get the best concealment possible. This area is way flatter than the strong side where the waist has more curvature making it ideal for maximum concealment.
Small-of-the-back or 6 o'clock position is another great place to conceal. The issue(s) with this carry option is the long draw, reholstering and the fact that when sitting down it presses into your spine and can be very uncomfortable. Not to mention trying to reholster the gun especially with a safety snap on it.
I have saved the best for last, appendix carry. I'm not saying it is the best way to carry. What I am saying is that this carry position is one of the most talked about carry options because of the general area of carry. Every position has its pros and cons but this one takes the cake.
It is probably the best place to conceal a handgun. Obviously, there is the variable of being too heavy or fat. If this is the case then appendix is not for you although I know bigger people who carry appendix consistently with no issues whatsoever.
Abner Miranda from Tier 1 Citizen carries appendix with no issues and he is a bigger guy.
The biggest issue with appendix is the "danger" issue. An accidental discharge can be fatal if the femoral artery is involved. This can obviously be deterred by using a good gun holster that keeps the trigger guard under covered and by keeping your trigger finger off the trigger when drawing or re-holstering.
Some say, 'It's pointing towards my family jewels especially when I'm sitting down" That is true. But, isn't a handgun just an inanimate object? It won't go bang unless you press the trigger. This is why, again, a good gun holster is imperative.
Choosing The Right Gun
Most people want a hand cannon for concealed carry, Big mistake. This is where reality sets in even before they get their concealed carry license. They try it on and think "How am I gonna conceal this behemoth?"
I know that firepower and knock down power are very attractive when it comes to handguns BUT, you have to think about carrying this gun with you at all times. It needs to be something practical for concealment when choosing the right gun.
I know people that can carry a Glock 17 all day long and are fine with it. I also know people who couldn't carry a pocket pistol for 10 minutes. Remember when I spoke about commitment? This is where the rubber meets the road. Some people are just not committed.
One of the best things to do is go with a friend to a gun range that has a gun that you've been looking to buy. Try it out and see if that will work for you. There are also some gun ranges that allow you to rent pistols. This is also an excellent idea for first-time gun buyers or someone who is looking for something else.
Remember, there are many variables when it comes to carrying and choosing a gun. It's not just about being able to conceal it. There is also the ergonomic factor. Does it feel good in my hand?
Choosing the right caliber is also important. If you can't shoot a 45 ACP because it kicks like a mule, you may just end up leaving it at home. You may have to go with a smaller caliber like a .380. I'd rather have someone carrying a .380 than nothing at all.
Weight is very important as well. A fully loaded Glock 19 weighs around two pounds. You may not think much about that but you are strapping it around your waist. Remember that some people can't even carry keys in their pocket much less a couple of pounds of steel and polymer on their belt.
All these questions are super important. Take your time and find what works best for you. It could be the difference between carrying your gun with you or just carrying your CCW license in your wallet.
Choosing The Right Gun Holster
Having the right gun holster may be the last straw to dictate whether you leave your gun at home or take it with you every day. There are tons of gun holsters on the market. Wondering what will work best for you is like trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. The world may never know.
The best way is to try different holsters and see what works best for you. Whether you choose to carry appendix or strong side, there are plenty of choices out there.
Ultimately people want something that is comfortable with good concealment. Bravo offers a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. This allows you to try it out for a full 30 days to see if it's a right fit for you.
Try to find holster manufacturers who are willing to let you try it to see if it's for you. You don't want to get stuck with something that you will never use.
Choosing the right type of holster is also important. Do you like leather holsters? Are you a Kydex or a harder plastic type of holster person? Are you looking for a level II type holster for added security? These are the question that you need to ask yourself before you commit to a gun holster.
At the end of the day make sure you get a quality gun and holster. Don't skimp on these things. These two items are crucial to your safety. Especially if you are carrying every single day.
You Don't Have To Be A Kung Fu master To Start Carrying
Many people feel "not worthy" of carrying a firearm because they don't have 30 hours of rigorous training under their black belt. I don't know who told that if they can't make a head shot at fifty yards they shouldn't be carrying.
Now, before you start thinking that I don't care about training, let me say this. Training is SUPER important. By all means, if you get a chance to take a course from someone who is legitimate, please do it.
What I am saying is not everyone can or just won't take a weekend training course. This does not automatically disqualify them from carrying. I have read and seen way too many stories where a mom saves her children from a carjacker by shooting him in the face with her gun that was in her glove compartment.
Or a woman waiting for the bus early in the morning in a cold urban area and gets attacked. She lives another day because she pulled her gun out of her purse and shoots the perp in the throat.
These are just a couple of stories out of hundreds and hundreds of other stories that turned out well for the victim and hundreds of others that turned out bad because they chose to not carry that day or felt they weren't worthy because of some voice they heard on some social media feed.
Of course, this is just my honest opinion, nothing else. As I was saying before, only you know when you are ready to carry on a daily basis.
Know your state and local laws, do your due diligence and find out what it is you can and can't do when it comes to concealed carry. Stop listening to all the negativity and commit to it one hundred percent. Don't look back. Stay focused. Listen to positivity and remove yourself from all the fluff out there.
Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster on the market.