Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
What to Do After You Get Your Concealed Carry Permit
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 Guns, Law
I know this may not make sense, but other than the time involved, a concealed carry permit is actually slightly easier to get in this state. When you apply you have to put down the names of more people to get a gun license than a concealed carry. Given who those names must be, the relationship, and the length of time you must know them, it is often easier for those moving from out of state to fill out the form and go the conceal carry route.
Go figure. I did not believe this myself.
So, some people just go the concealed route without ever intending to conceal carry.
This is all good advice, especially #1 and #3. (Although I’d probably steer a newcomer toward IDPA rather than USPSA.) Competitive shooting is unbelievably fun, and you’ll never find a friendlier bunch of people. It’s also a great way to find out how you’ll shoot under pressure; even the mild stress of the timer is enough to make you forget everything you think you know, especially when you’re new at it.
I think a lot of new shooters are intimidated by the thought of competing. Don’t be: it’s actually an incredibly welcoming environment for shooters at literally any skill level. You can be a rank beginner and shoot alongside a national champion.
What is “this state”?
I shoot both on a regular basis, and the complex rules regarding reloads, order of engaging targets, etc, in IDPA can be a little confusing to the first time shooter, compared to USPSA’s “engage targets as they appear” stage briefing.
Actually, given my preference, I prefer “outlaw” steel matches that have lightweight rules and the immediate (*ping*) feedback of shooting steel.
I agree that IDPA’s rules can seem complex, but it’s good for beginners in that you’re pretty much given a stage plan. “Start here, advance to this position and engage these three targets in this order, then go here and engage these two targets in this order.” With USPSA there can be an awful lot of decisions to make, which can be overwhelming for a new shooter. The scoring is also more complicated, though honestly a new shooter shouldn’t be worrying about score.
But yeah, outlaw matches of all kinds are often a better introduction. In my area, I’d steer new shooters to a local outlaw match; it’s basically USPSA-ish, but with extremely lax equipment rules (basically, shoot whatever you want as long as it’s safe), relatively low round counts, and a very friendly helpful atmosphere.
Another great post. I would move #3 to #1.
Must counter this boo with a huzzah. Huzzah!
Actually, IMO, #2 is most important: All the training and all the matches in the world do you squat if your sidearm is at home, in a case, under the bed when you need it most. Carrying around a pound of metal on your hip is an unnatural act: I got used to carrying by walking around my house and to the mailbox on the corner each night with my pistol, then I did The Wal-Mart Walk, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sorry to stray from topic.
I’m a recent handgun owner (have had rifles since I was a kid, growing up in Montana). I got the CPL at the same time, and intended to grab a gun that I could carry if I ever wanted to. I went down to the local range and rented 6 or 7 different handguns, unloading several boxes in the process.
The sub-compact ruger that I shot (.380, I believe) was a pain – it felt like it wanted to rip my trigger finger in half, and although I was still pretty accurate with it (at 15 yards, my grouping was decent, but low), it really wasn’t fun to shoot. I went with the HK VP9, which I liked much better.
The gun I purchased really isn’t great for conceal, but it is good for getting comfortable with pistols in general. I opted against the sub-compact for now, although I’m looking at CZ, Glock, Springfield, and a few others for sometime soon.
Point being – I figured that if I’m going to carry something around, it ought to be a gun that I’m comfortable with, which means I like taking it down to the range to get some regular exercise.
This was all advice that came from Brent, Skipsul, and various threads on Ricochet. Before looking into it, I was ready to head down to Cabela’s and buy whatever looked best. I’m glad I didn’t do that; and I’ve been appreciating these threads, so keep ’em coming. Thanks!
Wait, what class? ;-)
For what it’s worth, I obtained my CPL primarily to avoid the 5 day waiting period when purchasing a gun, and secondarily to carry concealed.
But this is good info, anyway!
This is what you should have bought:
Hah – I was going to say. I went down, had my fingerprints taken, did a background check, and paid $60.
I do remember taking (hunter’s) safety courses when I was 16, though.
That would be lots of fun. But I think it would chafe in an ankle holster.
“It’s an .88 Magnum. It shoots through schools.”
I have thought about carrying it, just for fun. And the exercise.
Carrying only when you think you might need it, is like only wearing your seat belt only when you think you might need it. In both cases if you don’t have it on when you need it, its too late.
I have had a concealed carry permit (in various states) for the last 25-30 years and rarely carried my weapon. However, this last July, when a crazy man walked into that theater in Lafayette, LA, something got through to me. Maybe because my best friend from college lives there, maybe for some other reason. I now either have it on me or with me whenever I leave my property. I can’t always have it on me, because my state requires that it not be visible, that it is literally concealed. Some of my clothing just doesn’t hide it well enough.
Out of curiosity, what is the difference between having it on you and having it with you? Like you set it down or something?
This is a good idea, even if you don’t have a permit. The logic is that if there is a home invasion while you are present, you may not be able to retrieve your weapon in time if it’s upstairs in the end table by the bed, and you’re downstairs watching the game . . .
As for the rest of the post, sound advice . . .
Carrying around the house is how you figure out what works for carrying. I am right handed and thought a right side IWB carry was best until I carried in the house and found I preferred a left handed IWB holster positioned in the center of the back. That was easy to conceal and I could get it with either hand.
In my purse rather than in a holster on my waist. Not as good, but better than leaving it at home.
Great point Wiley. This is why I prefer cross-draw or shoulder carry…that and many IWB/OWB configurations are very difficult to draw from while seat-belted in a car. Granted they’re not very popular carry options but it works for me.
Has anyone on this thread been in a situation where they had to draw their firearm, for real? Just curious?
I, by God’s grace, have not, but I know two people who have. One is a Redditor I used to go shooting with, and the other was the boyfriend of a good friend of mine who failed to de-escalate a road rage situation.
Bottom line, if you can de-escalate, do so. If you can’t, make sure you’re the first one to call the cops. My friend’s boyfriend didn’t do that, and the other guy got to set the narrative in the minds of the cops, a narrative that led to him having his right to own a gun suspended for three years.
* I am not a lawyer, nor did I sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Consult with a professional about this sort of thing.
Apologies if this hijacks the topic; brand new to Ricochet.
Anyway, I used to carry a gun; required until retired; carry was my norm. Very little below is my own; it’s a compilation of info I’ve picked up over the years & what I used when training.
With guns, realize you’re writing in ink; you get one shot — yes, pun intended — so get it right the first time. Not just the shooting aspect; also, when to draw; shoot/don’t shoot; & what to do/say in the aftermath. Your choices have lifetime impact. Do it wrong & the bad guy wins the aftermath.
As for any high-stress/high-importance action, prior preparation stacks your odds of prevailing. Do not count on constructive thought during, or after, a life-threatening event. It just won’t be available.
Decide on your actions today. Practice. Refresh periodically. Combat units drill things like “Contact left” or “Man overboard, starboard side” — so the response is both automatic & correct.
Incorrect: Practice makes perfect.
Correct: Practice makes permanent.
So, only perfect practice makes perfect.
For mindset/mental attitude, study Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense. Carry a gun or not, his 7 simple concepts can be useful across most of your life.#1 is “Be Alert”, for example. There used to be a pdf somewhere, a free d/l of the first version of this booklet.
If you carry, learn & live Cooper’s 4 laws of gun safety. #1: “All guns are always loaded”. Follow these & it won’t matter if you carry a .22 derringer or a bazooka. They’ll work.
My suggested priority stack for a life-threatening event is:
1) Survive the attack
2) Do so in a manner so you avoid arrest
3) Do so in a manner that you survive (remember, no one wins) the civil lawsuit; there will be one.
The “be first to hit 911” advice is outstanding. This is HUGE. Innocent people want the cops. Join that group.
For any 911 call, always taught my kids to say 2 things twice:
1) Where you are
2) The emergency in a few words
You may get a rookie dispatcher whose trainer just went for coffee. This way, if you have to drop your phone because the situation escalates, the cavalry is both enroute & has an idea of the incident.
Suspect hit? Request an ambulance “for gunshot wounds.” Remember, you shoot to stop an attack, never to kill.
When police arrive, Masaad Ayoob has the best advice I’ve seen. (Could this live in your wallet, behind your CCW permit?)
1. This guy attacked/tried to stab/etc. me.
2. I want to prosecute him.
3. Point out evidence.
4. Point out witnesses.
5. I’ll give a statement after I’ve had time to talk w/counsel; am pretty shaken up now.
Now, exercise your right to remain silent!
Nothing works in every case, but this may help you tailor your own plan.
I never had to draw my weapon, but I woke up early one morning (about 4:00 am) when I heard a car drive up the driveway. I went to the window, looked out, and saw it turn around and go away. I went back to bed. A minute later, it came up the driveway again. I got my weapon, put it in the pocket of my gym shorts, and went outside through the garage (turning all lights on) to check it out. Turned out it was a couple of folks trying to find the house of a neighbor to pick him up for an early flight.
Bottom line: what if it was someone with evil intent?
The NRA magazine has a column called “The Armed Citizen”, which tells the stories of ordinary citizens who had to use (or in most cases, merely show) a firearm to thwart a dangerous situation. These stories normally come from local newspapers, but the national media will never make the effort to show how firearm ownership stops many crimes, even without a gun being fired.
If you are asking if I have ever shot at anybody? No. If you are asking if I had pulled my gun in my defense when I was sure I was in harms way. Yes. Several times in fact. I don’t pull a gun lightly. When I do I plan to use it. I am sure that by having it I saved myself from a beating if not my death. there is something about a gun in hand that causes bad actors to reevaluate their course of actions.
Question, if anyone is still paying attention. Actually two:
Do you carry “code 1”? I’m a little nervous about it, and the machismo types tell me its the same as carrying a paperweight. I get that it takes a second or two to rack the slide, but it’s really a crap shoot as to what kind of situation I will ever find myself in, and I doubt that it’s gonna be a quick draw match.
Second, do you carry completely 100% concealed? Do you worry that much about “printing”? My problem is I am a bit, well, portly in the middle. So its nearly impossible to carry without it being somewhat visible.