So you have decided to become a concealed carry permit holder and arm yourself for the protection of yourself and your family. It’s a wise choice in these uncertain and sometimes scary times. Before you begin, let’s go over everything concealed carry related that you’ll need to consider.
The Beginners Guide to Everything Concealed Carry
- Getting your concealed carry permit
- When will you carry concealed?
- What will you carry concealed?
- How will you carry concealed?
- Other things you need to consider when you start carrying concealed
Becoming a concealed carry permit holder and making the decision to carry a concealed weapon brings a new level of responsibility. Some of these responsibilities are imposed on you legally. Others come from a moral and ethical relationship with your community and your family. Before you start the process, you must consider all of these and how they will affect your life.
Let’s Get A License
The first step is to become a concealed carry permit holder. The state where you live is the issuer of concealed carry permits. Laws and requirements vary widely from state to state. Almost all states require some formal training to qualify for a permit as well as background checks.
Find a Good Instructor
The key to getting a concealed carry permit in most states is to take a class, qualify on the range, and take a knowledge test. Finding a good instructor who is certified by your state to teach the course and administer the test is a must.
If you frequent a gun store or shooting range, chances are one of these establishments already has a program in place for qualifying to get your concealed carry permit. Another good source of information is your friends who may have already taken a course and qualified. Ask their opinion and how they felt about the course they took and the instructor who conducted the training.
In today’s modern age, online training is also available. This is beneficial because you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Here at Online CHP, we offer a free training and test in order to take the first step in getting your concealed carry permit. Our instructors are nationally certified with the National Rifle Association, and our training will allow you to apply for your concealed carry permit quickly.
Doing the Paperwork
Most of the time, the instructor who teaches the course will also assist you in completing the application for the concealed carry license. In most states, this involves filling out a form, getting your fingerprints taken, and supplying a photograph to go to the licensing agency.
Good instructors will lead you through the process and make sure that the paperwork is complete. Many instructors will also be able to do the fingerprinting and take the photos required. Look for an instructor or course that provides a full-service operation.
Your concealed carry permit has arrived in the mail and you are all set to start carrying! Now what? It’s not as simple as you might think. You need to put some thought into the whole concealed carry routine before you strap on that gun for the first time. A little forethought will go a long way to making the whole concealed carry situation more natural and routine.
When Will You Carry?
This question may sound a little obvious, but stop a minute and think about it. When will you carry concealed?
Are you going to carry your gun every day? How is that going to impact your everyday life? How does your employer feel about concealed carry in his business? Is it even legal for you to carry a concealed gun in your place of employment?
What about your leisure time? Do you intend to carry your concealed gun when you are at the little league baseball game with your son? How about at church? What are the legal considerations?
Part of your training will be a thorough review of the laws in your state. In most states, the rules of where you can and can’t carry a concealed gun are clear. You must understand those laws perfectly. These laws will, for the most part, dictate where and when you can carry a concealed gun.
What Will You Carry Concealed?
You probably already have a gun if you are considering becoming a concealed carry permit holder. You may have more than one. If so, kudos to you! The question you should be asking is, “How suitable for concealed carry are the guns I now have?”
By nature, concealed carry means that when you are carrying, no one can tell that you are carrying a concealed gun. That is the whole concept of concealed, right? The concept of concealment definitely rules out some pistols and revolvers from the concealed carry category. That Ruger RedHawk chambered in 44 mag with the 7.5” barrel probably is not a good choice.
There is a lot of good information and help on the internet to make choosing a concealed carry gun easier. Do some research, ask your friends who are already carrying concealed, talk to the guy at the local gun store, and then make an informed decision. If you are just starting out, our comprehensive guide to the 10 best concealed carry guns is a great starting place for research.
How Will You Carry Concealed?
The options of how you will carry concealed are almost as long as the options of what gun to carry concealed. A few of the more popular are:
- Inside the waistband of your trousers.
- Outside the waistband of your trousers.
- Shoulder holster.
- Ankle holster.
- Inside a briefcase, purse, or another type of bag.
There is lots of good advice and suggestions on the internet about deciding how to carry, where to carry and what kind of holster will work best with your choice of gun and carry style. Deciding on how and where to carry means more research and education for you before you strap on that gun for the first time.
Finding the Right Fit
There are other methods, but they are mostly a variant of one of the types listed above. Finding the right fit for you is a matter of trial and error for the most part. This trial and error method explains why most concealed carry permit holders have a drawer full of different styles of holsters.
Again, advice from friends who hold concealed carry permits and who carry regularly is a good place to start. Finding the fit that best suits your body style, the gun you want to carry, and the situations in which you will carry dictate, to a large degree, the style of the holster and carry position.
If you are like most of us, you will find that you need two or three different styles of holsters to meet your needs.
Consider The Other Things
Getting that concealed carry license and making the decision to carry every day brings with it many other considerations. You need to have thought through these before you strap on that gun the first time and walk out the front door. Many of these things your instructor should have brought out in your class, but you should revisit them regularly.
Why Am I Making This Decision?
What led you to this point? Putting on a gun every day is not a casual decision. It implies that you are aware of all the laws and regulations that govern you and the permit that allows you to concealed carry. There are also matters of responsibility and care. Keeping and carrying a gun puts the responsibility for the control and safety of that gun squarely on you.
The decision to carry a concealed gun is a private matter but it affects everyone around you, whether they are aware that you are carrying concealed or not. It certainly affects your family, and that should be a large consideration in your decision.
The reason for carrying a concealed gun should be answered in your mind and perhaps made with the knowledge of your family as well. The decision to carry concealed is a shared responsibility, whether you like it or not.
The Added Responsibilities
The very fact that you are keeping guns in your home adds to your responsibilities. The safety of those in your home and those who visit your home falls directly on you. You must make sure that you can store and maintain those guns in a responsible manner.
Carrying concealed also puts on you additional responsibilities to your friends, neighbors, and your community. You are assuming the responsibility to act safely and rationally at all times when you are carrying that concealed gun.
Perhaps the most important responsibility that comes with carrying concealed is the moral and ethical duty that is implied by the very act of carrying a gun. State laws vary widely in how the state looks at your responsibility to act in defense of yourself, your family, and others who may be in imminent danger. Understanding this responsibility is one of the most important parts of deciding to carry concealed.
Train and Learn
Getting the permit and buying the gun are just the beginnings. If you intend to carry regularly, you must continue to train and learn as well. Knowing everything concealed carry related takes time and regular learning, both from an educational standpoint as well as physical practice. Regular range time is essential to building skills and confidence in your shooting. Keeping abreast of changes in gun laws is a part of being a responsible concealed carry permit holder.
Thinking about the other things that you may require is another set of responsibilities. What else should you have or know as part of your concealed carry routine? Some of those things are:
- A tourniquet and a trauma first aid kit
- Knowledge and practice using the tourniquet and trauma first aid kit
- Legal advice and protection
- Maintenance and upkeep on your concealed carry gun or guns
Though we never like to think about it, the reality is that if you decide to carry a concealed gun, there may come a time when you must draw and use that gun to defend yourself or your family. That is a huge consideration in the decision to carry concealed.
Understanding and accepting that by putting that gun on your waist or in your bag, you open yourself up to the possibility of taking a human life, even in defense of your own, is a decision that must be thought out thoroughly. It is a commitment that many are not able to make. You must be sure that you can take that step if and when the time comes.
If you have gotten this far and remain convinced that you want to become a concealed carry permit holder and carry your gun, you deserve commendations. The decision to take responsibility for the safety and protection of yourself and your family is an act of the highest character. You should be proud of your decision and act accordingly.