So you decided you want to conceal carry a gun for your protection. Congratulations. But how do you get started? This article will help supplement your research on concealed carry. Before we get started let's discuss safety. There are four main rules for gun safety. They are: Always treat every firearm as though it is loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot and always be sure of your target and what is in front of it and
behind it. If you have shot at a range in the past you are used to shooting in one direction, standing and looking in one direction. When concealed carrying you are not in a statis one way direction, you are now in a 3D environment of potential shooting. Behind you, next to you, in front of you, it is all a potential direction you will need to engage a threat. So get used to this by going to a concealed carry course at a reputable trainer/instructor. I have a list of recommended instructor at the bottom of this article, but Rockwell Tactical comes immediately to mind. The next thing to know and you should have known if you have owned a gun before is every bullet that leaves your gun comes with liability. This is serious responsibility, never take it lightly. Every year there are people who die when they assume things like their gun is "already clear, they go to clean their gun and boom, they are dead. Always treat EVERY gun as if it is loaded, check it yourself every time. Never assume it was or is unloaded.
WHAT GUN TO CHOOSE
This is a difficult thing to discuss because I cannot recommend just one gun. Each person is different and their ergonomics are not the same. I personally carry a Glock 19 (15+1 round capacity). I have found this a good balance between a standard size pistol, like a Glock 17 (17+1 round capacity), and a subcompact like a Glock 43 (6+1 round capacity). There are great guns out there like Smith and Wesson M&P series, Springfield XD series, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Ruger, Kel Tec and more. I recommend you research some guns on the internet, watch reviews from myself and others and make a list. They hit the gun shop and try them out. Make sure to shoot them before purchase. I know in my area Trop Gun Shop has a range and you can shoot all kinds of different guns. This is super helpful before dropping hundreds of dollars on a concealed carry pistol. I do not recommend purchasing a concealed carry firearm without shooting and trying it out. Particularly if you have never concealed carry before. While you can carry a full sized gun I recommend you get something compact. It will be more comfortable and concealable. Particularly if your a smaller frame person. Your going to be carrying this gun everywhere, so think long and hard about which gun you choose. As I said earlier I chose the Glock 19. It is one of and if not the most popular choice out there. A good capacity, high modifiable and lot's of aftermarket parts to make it your own. If you can think of something to upgrade there are companies out there making parts for the Glock 19.
Another thing to consider is are their holsters made for the gun you choose. If you choose a, for lack of better wording, not popular model of gun you holster choices might be limited. So before you buy look around at top holster makers to see if they have that model in their inside the waistband (IWB) offerings. Some of the best holster makers out there, like the Raven EIDOLON, only make them for Glock. So you cannot go wrong with a Glock if you choose that as your concealed carry firearm.
Here is where the dick measuring contest begins! You will hear a lot of opinion out there on what caliber to carry. I carry and recommend 9mm. It weighs less, has great ballistics and is accurate at
longer range. It is also cheaper than large calibers. I believe shot placement is the most important factor in defending yourself, not how big a hole is made. Do not believe the one shot kill propaganda out there. I hear people say that for instance .45 ACP is awesome for one shot knock down power. If you read reports and research shootings you will see that is an amazingly odd occurrence. One shot knock down with any handgun concealed carry caliber is the exception not the rule. Do not base your life off the exception. Don't get wrapped up into thinking you are carrying a cannon, shot placement is where you should focus. Using targets like those from Rockwell Tactical or RE Factor Tactical help you train for shot placement. If you got some person high on drugs you might have to shoot them a few times to stop them if they are a threat to your safety. There are many reports where people have been shot numerous times and are still advancing to do you harm. Go to a training course and learn it!
DRY FIRE AND LIVE FIRE PRACTICE
When you get your gun it is time to practice. Do not load any rounds and verify your gun is cleared. Take the magazine out, lock open the slide and verify no brass/ammo is in the chamber. Do not have
any ammo in the magazines, verify they are clear. Look at some videos on drawing a gun from a holster, how to hold a pistol and reload it. Now it is time to dry fire train. Practice loading a magazine,
getting a good grip and focus the sight picture on something like a light switch. Do this a bunch of times (100+), get a feel for your gun. You are building muscle memory with your new concealed carry gun. Once you get a holster then dry fire practice drawing the gun out of the holster and doing the same as before. This will also, since it is an unloaded gun, provide you confidence in your drawing of the gun. If your gun does not go click until your focused on your practice target, which represents a bang in real life, then you should feel somewhat comfortable going to the range and doing some live fire. This is a free and is very important. You also are not wasting ammo. The more you practice, the more you become proficient with your new gun. Once you have done a lot of dry fire practice and feel good, hit the live fire range and work on the fundamentals of shooting. I would say to start out around 5 yards and progress a few yards at a time as you master each distance. Generally around 7 yards is a good distance because most self defense happens inside that distance. You might feel you need to shoot 25 yards from the get go, but do not do that! Work up to it with little victories. Win the battles will ensure you ultimatley win the war that is shooting proficently.
HOLSTER AND BELT
There are zillions, literally zillions, of choices for concealed carry holsters. They are called inside the waistband (IWB). You can also do concealed carry with an outside the waistband holster if you have an overshirt or are wearing a jacket, etc. But I recommend an inside the waistband holster. Concealed carry holsters have come a long way over the last 5 years or so. I recommend a hard shell holster, like
Kydex or injection molded. I do not recommend an all Leather and certainly do not recommend any soft material. Kydex is hard, so when the gun is holstered nothing can get into the trigger guard and make your gun go boom in your pants. Leather over time wears out and nylon allows object to press into the trigger guard. Kydex or injection molded in my opinion is the safest option. You will have to pick what you want to do. If you want to appendix carry then you should purchase a specific appendix carry holster. If not then a normal non-appendix style will be what you want. Raven Concealment makes some of the best on the market. I recommend anything from Raven, G-Code INCOG, GunCraft, VEIL Solutions, T.REX Arms and Battle Ready Holsters. There are others, but I have used the ones I just mentioned and know they are good to go. I recommend a low or no shield. A shield is something that protrudes on the inside part of the holster which while holstered keeps the gun from rubbing against you. The problem is that when you draw the gun, if you bend it will dig into you. I do not like this, so when I order holsters I choose the low/no shield option.
A holster is just one part of the puzzle here. A good belt lays the foundation for consistent draws and manipulation. The one I am using at the current time is Magpul Tejas. Magpul has a few Tejas options.
The Magpul Tejas gun belts are made of leather and they have one reinforced polymer option. I prefer the leather option. But when ordering your holster you will need to specify the width of belt loops. I recommend 1.5" belt and loops. This is the most prevalent when ordering holsters. If you do not have a solid belt, it can sag and cause inconsistent drawing and carrying in general. There are companies out there making some Cobra buckle belts. While I like these, they scream "I am tactical!". Anything from Snake Eater Tactical, Boxer Tactical or Talon Tactical is great. I have tested and reviewed Cobra belts from all those companies. It is personal preference really. Just make sure to match the belt size to the holster belt loop sizes before ordering.
Now that you have the gear and have done some dry fire training, maybe hit the range to do some low speed drills and shooting it is time to advance. Sign up for a course and put it all into action. Not only will you learn a ton of information at a training course, you will find out what your gear does in
the real world. Something like Rockwell Tactical's Applied Concealed Carry comes to mind. At a course like that you will learn: Legalities of concealed carry, Ways to carry, Holsters, Clothing, Review the fundamentals of shooting, When to draw, Threat Analysis, Draw and Distance one encounters. These are all important and provide a great foundation to your concealed carry journey. The legalities are huge, learn them early and often. You want to be a responsible concealed carrier. The best part about going to a course is it will get you out of the static one direction range. You will learn about the whole world around you. If you have hunted it is just like that. But if you have not or never owned a gun this is going to be huge. Try to hit one to two courses a year. Muscle memory goes away. You have to train and dry fire practice to say current. Shooting a handgun is difficult compared to a rifle, your proficiency goes away quick. Never stop training.
Until you have done all this, do not start to concealed carry. I am sure you are excited to begin but having the knowledge and tools will ensure you are responsibly carrying. Huge liability if you shoot at a bad guy, miss and hit someone else. It takes time, practice and understanding of your limits and what your proficient at to be a responsible concealed carrier. Your safety and others is the main concern. Going through everything I said will put you on the right track. I hope this was helpful and hit me up if you have any questions. I have thousands of videos including ones on concealed carry on my Youtube channel if you want to check out gear reviews and further discussion on this subject.