If you’re one of the thousands of people who have decided to take your self-protection seriously and apply for a concealed carry permit, congratulations, you’re in good company. The ranks of people who have decided to stop being a victim and become their own first responder are growing every day, and carrying a concealed weapon is an empowering act that signifies you are adult enough to take charge of your personal safety and the safety of your loved ones.
For many people, though, a concealed carry class is their first step into the world of firearms training, and as such, they arrive at the class with no understanding of what lies ahead and how they should prepare for a concealed carry class.
A concealed carry class is a permitting class, not a training class. A concealed carry class gives you as much training for the realities of carrying a concealed weapon as your driving test gave you about dealing with your morning commute. Get some training after your concealed carry class, because you are not going to rise to the occasion, you’re going to sink to your lowest level of training. The NRA Personal Protection Inside The Home course is an excellent class that will give you the basics of defending your life with a firearm and is also one of the few training classes that is recognized by other instructors nationwide.
Some other things to consider before your first class are:
- Think about how you’re going to carry your gun. There’s a list of pros and cons about the two most-common holster styles over here to use as a starting point for your decision, and also consider the fact that a pistol is just part of your self-defense plan.
- How are you going store your gun in your home? Who is going to have access to the gun? How are you going to keep it safe from unauthorized access? I am a huge fan of quick-access gun safes because I’ve found they are just as easy to access as a gun in a bedside table drawer, yet keep your gun secure from prying little fingers.
- Buy a copy of Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self Defense. This is a no-brainer. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to be in charge of their own safety, not just concealed carry permit holders, because it lays out, in layman’s terms, what legal challenges you may face if you need to defend your life.
- Consider purchasing concealed carry insurance. I belong to the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network because I found that the benefits they offer cannot be matched by other programs. With top-rank consultants like Marty Hayes, Massad Ayoob, and Dennis Tueller (yes, that Tueller) and a reimbursement program that starts from Day One (if needed), I think they’re the best around when it comes to legal help for legal gun owners.
- Practice situational awareness. This is a hard skill to define, but essentially, it’s the art and science of paying attention to what you’re paying attention to. Is there anything out of place in your immediate vicinity, and if so, why is it out of place? What are you options if what’s out of place starts to affect you? What can you do to prevent it from affecting you? We are born with the gift of fear: Use it wisely.
And finally, relax and have fun. You’re among friends who want you to be safe, and want to help you arrive at that goal. Remember that, and the rules of gun safety, and you’ll do just fine.