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You’d be surprised how many people take a concealed carry permit class and then rarely, if ever, carry a pistol on regular basis. After all, it’s not a “Concealed Leave-In-It-Your-House Permit,” is it? The problem is that, for most of us, carrying a pound or more of metal on your hip is not a natural act, and making concealed carry a part of everyday life is an uphill climb. Some suggestions to make the transition to the concealed carry lifestyle are:
- Shoot a practical pistol match. Aside from the fact that they are chock-full of good people and a lot of fun to shoot, you’ll be walking around with an (unloaded) gun on your hip and getting used to how it feels to have one with you all the time. Plus, there is no better way to find out how you’ll handle the major stress of having to use a gun in defense of your life than learning how you use a gun during the minor stress of shooting a match.
- Carry your gun around the house. Actually, this is a good idea before and after you get your permit. Most states (consult with a lawyer on this to be sure) allow for concealed carry on the premises of your abode, and the safest place to store a gun outside the home (on your person) is also the safest place to store a gun inside it. Plus, carrying a gun around the house gets you used to what it feels like to walk around with your sidearm on your hip in anticipation of that fabulous day when your concealed carry permit arrives in the mail.
- Take a firearms training class. Your concealed carry class was not a firearms training class; it was a firearms licensing class. It no more taught you how shoot quickly and accurately under stressful (very stressful) conditions than your driver’s license test taught you how to avoid sliding on an icy road. The NRA’s Basic Pistol and Personal Protection classes are two great ways to get started in firearms training as they provide certification that is recognized nation-wide and deliver solid, useful information on how to use your pistol to defend your life. Start with those, then look around for other trainers in your area.
For example, there is a married couple here in southwest Florida who teach firearms training, and their “shoot n scoot” event is a unique blend of training and practical pistol match which really gets new gun owners used to the idea of carrying a gun on their hip and uses practical shooting to teach them to shoot well under stressful situations. This is important, because if, God forbid, you need to use your gun to defend your life, you won’t rise to the occasion; you’ll fall to your lowest level of mastery.
Years ago, during my first concealed carry class, my instructor told us that on average, only one in three of his students will make the decision to carry on a regular basis and the rest will just carry a gun “when they feel they need it.” We’ll talk about that latter stupidity at a later date but, for now, make the commitment to carry your defensive firearm whenever and wherever you can, because you probably won’t get to chose the time and day when you’ll need your gun the most.Published in