Concealed Carry: Important Considerations When Choosing What, How, Where and Why???

In my opinion, conceal carry is the best method to carry a personal protection handgun. To me and most folks, itbest way to carry a pistol has numerous advantageous over open carrying. Naturally, in a bad situation you wish to capitalize on all the advantages you can in order to survive and concealed carry gives you some advantage. In my role as a firearms sales person at a big box store, firearms instructor and educator, I constantly get approached by folks that are seeking firearms for personal carry. In most cases, the individuals are new to carrying a handgun; in some cases they have some experience with handguns, but not carrying.

By Dan C. – a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Karambit Knife

And finally you have those with lots of carrying experience, but no exposure to training for bad events. In all cases the buyers are purchasing a personal protection handgun for the right reasons, but have a total lack of understanding about carrying in particular, the full dynamics of how to carry and the vital role it plays when you need to access your weapon rapidly.

So with that in mind, I wish to cover “five” major factors that you should consider when buying a carry handgun. Keep in mind you cannot pick any one of the 5 factors independently. The value in their roles is the sum total of all the factors combined. If you chose any of the factors independently or only pick a couple of them, then you are likely to fall short of the full advantages of carrying a concealed handgun.

Size:

It always amazes me, the number of folks that want to buy a small handgun, just because it is small. In most cases best ccw pistolthis is the first indication that the individual has very limited handgun shooting experience. So the first step in the process is to educate the individual about the role of ‘grip’. As mentioned in my previous articles “grip’ is one of the most important factors in buying a handgun. So it is important if you are considering a carry handgun, purchase one that you can grip well. Small handguns are exceedingly hard to grip correctly and thus more difficult to shoot, which means less practicing if you do not enjoying shooting it. So as much as one might think small is good, in most cases as it pertains to hand guns, small in not good. It is much better to buy a larger handgun that you can grip well and shoot comfortably than to buy a small one that you hate shooting. This point goes deeper than just practice. It also affects your mentality when a bad event happens. So if you have a handgun that you do not like shooting, you may have a reluctance to pull it out when you need to, due the negative feelings and lack of confidence you have about shooting the gun. Then what you thought was an advantage has now turned into a disadvantage, right when you need all the advantages you can muster.

Also Read: 20 Things You Need In Your Get Home Bag

So when choosing a carry handgun instead of first looking for something small, focus on a handgun that you “grip” well, feels comfortable in your hand when shooting. You will be far more confident should you ever need to draw your weapon.

Concealment:

Carrying concealed is an art. It is not always easy nor does it work well without planning. Carrying a handgun forbest self defense carry gun personal protection takes planning, preparation and wardrobe consideration. In order to carry effectively you must do some planning. That means you must first determine how you wish to carry and then make subsequent decisions based on that decision. I cover the topic in more detail below, but I feel inside the waist band (IWB) is the best location to conceal a carry handgun.

The next part of the planning phase is to find a very snug, well fitting holster that will provide retention for your handgun. This process has two components: (1) the holster and (2) your ability to comfortably wear the holster. Though these two components must be considered together, they also are totally independent.

As mentioned above, you want to find a holster that fits the requirements mentioned above. I prefer a kydex one that allows you the ability to change the cant. For those that are not familiar with “cant”, let me explain. The “cant” of a holster is the angle in which the holster sets in relationship to your body. I like mine to cant slightly forward thus allowing me to grasp the handgun easier and it keeps the grip close to my side when bending over. I feel leather or holsters made of malleable material inhibit your ability to reholster your handgun and sometimes can make it harder to draw from.

Related Article: Urban Survival

Once you have found a good holster, now comes the hard part for most folks, what to wear when conceal carrying. 5_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_Ruger_Alaskan_homeGet ready because I am going to cover territory here that some might be sensitive. The recommendations below are for both men and women. If you are going to wear a handgun for personal protection, then you must have the mindset that you are going to need to dress differently and take that into consideration every time you get dressed and buy clothes.

If you are used to wearing your shirts tucked in, now you will need to buy shirts that are designed to be worn untucked. In most cases to wear inside the waist band you will need to wear your shirt untucked. In colder weather you can wear a tucked in shirt then a sweater or jacket over it to conceal your weapon.

Wearing inside the waist band has several more aspects that you need to take into consideration. If you are overweight or like to wear your pants or skirts very tight. Then you are going to have a problem. In each of these cases, to address the extra space need by your handgun and holster you will need to buy pants and skirts that are at least one inch larger than you normally wear.

Also Read: Survival Situational Awareness

Next you need to consider a belt that is firm enough to hold the weight of your handgun and holster. That means even when you dress up, you are going to need a belt that has more rigidity to it. A flimsy belt or a leather one that stretches will make carrying your firearm cumbersome and uncomfortable.

Attire is the one consideration that most folks completely forget about. Most folks that wish to carry feel that they can do so with their existing wardrobe. In most cases that is NOT the case. Dena Adams makes some great undergarments for women that enable them to carry a wide range of handguns completely concealed and still wear very feminine clothing. However, in most cases, you will need to revise your attire to comfortably carry your CONCEALED handgun. For me, that meant changing the type of shirts I wore. I traditionally wore all my shirts tucked in. But when I started carrying more inside the waist band I had to start buying shirts that were designed to be worn untucked. I also had to buy belts that were able to hold my holster more secure to my side.

So once you begin wearing your concealed carry handgun more frequently you will then learn that you must dress differently. Women have another option most men don’t and that is purse carry. Again, many women look for something small to carry in their purses. My limited experience in trying to find anything in a woman’s purse is that something small is sure to get lost in there.

Related: How to Spot Someone Carrying a Gun

So what can a woman do to enhance the finding their weapon in a time of need. Here is my suggestion. Go to your local hardware store and buy and piece of Velcro that is about 4 inches by 4 inches. Then empty your purse and glue the Velcro to the inside of your purse on one of the lateral sides. Next buy a holster that has Velcro on the outside of it. Stick that to the Velcro in your purse in a position such that when you open your purse, your handgun is perfectly positioned for you to withdraw it. This will greatly enhance the likelihood of finding and drawing your handgun from your purse smoothly, quickly and confidently in the event a bad situation should arise. Remember, drawing from your purse should be practiced often so you can become very comfortable with the technique. This brings us to Accessibility.

Accessibility:

This is the most important aspect of carrying a handgun for personal protection. If you cannot readily access yourself defense shooting firearm when you need it then you are at a major disadvantage. There are lots of sources that provide a wide range of data on shootings, but most confirm that shootings are usually fast, last less than 5 seconds and involve at least 8 shots fired. So if you cannot access your weapon fast and get on target, you are most likely not going to be in a good position. Just a note here…. Just because you draw your weapon does not mean you are going to fire it. In many cases, weapons are drawn, but the need to fire it does not happen. However, the fact that you felt the situation was significant enough for you to draw your weapon, then you must be prepared to use it.

One of the most common forms of carry that I get asked about and many buyers consider is “pocket carry”. Pocket Carry to me, is most likely one of the two worst places to carry your “primary” handgun, ankle carry being the other. The reasons for my position on this are based on the following factors. First, you must have a very small handgun to fit in your pocket. So as mentioned above, the small size will make it hard to shoot, fairly inaccurate and there are far less rounds in the magazine than I would like. Secondly, it is going to be extremely or almost impossible to retrieve your handgun from your pocket while you are experiencing a bad event, just getting the handgun out of your pocket without any extraneous factors can be problematic itself. But add to it you may be running, knelling, squatting or laying down in response to the bad event that is in progress. That even makes it more unlikely you will be able to get your weapon out of your pocket in a timely manner. So my recommendation is that you never want your “primary” personal protection handgun in your pocket or on your ankle.

In my experience the best way to carry a handgun is inside the waist band. I carry my two “go to” weapons (Sig P320 compact or Sig M11-A1) inside the waistband at 4:30 at about a 12 degree cant forward. Again, for those that might not understand this terminology, the 4:30 location is just past your hip. I feel the 4:30 location allows you to readily access your weapon while in almost any position and even while running and the 12 degree cant keeps the grip of the weapon close to you body even when bending over, thus not exposing the fact you are wearing a handgun.

Many well respected firearms experts like the appendix position and I think there is nothing wrong with that location as well. But for me and my size, the 4:30 position is more comfortable.

Now I will say that there are times when I was working private security and or based on my attire I would wear in the middle of back. There are several factors you must take into consideration when wearing in that location. First, your holster must be reversed. So if you are right handed, you will need a left handed holster to correctly position the handgun in the middle of your back. Secondly, you must consider it is going to be much harder to access your weapon and that it takes extra practice to be proficient at drawing your weapon from this position. And finally, when you are sitting down it can be very uncomfortable and in some cases your handgun can get caught on seats, if the back rest has opening in it. So there several limitations you must consider when wearing in the position.

Also Read: First Aid – An Essential Survival Skill

In an article posted by Greg Ellifritz titled “STAND, MOVE, OR SEEK COVER…WHAT WORKS IN A GUNFIGHT? They found if you stood still during a shoot out there was an 85% chance you would get shot, if you moved it dropped to 47% and if you found cover it dropped to 26%. So as we all know, there is tremendous value in moving when the shooting begins. With that said, it is important and vital that you can access your weapon while you are moving and seeking cover. So it needs to be in a location that you can readily access in those situations.

Thus, I highly recommend that your personal protection handgun should be worn on your waist, where it is readily accessible no matter how compromised your position.

Functionality:

The last thing you want in a bad situation where you need to draw your weapon is to wonder whether it is going toEDC_gun_bag function or not. Nothing can be scarier than not having confidence in your weapon. To prevent this from happening your must do a few things.

Related: Katrina Pistol (How to Build a Survival Pistol)

First, spend your time researching the firearm you think you might like to purchase, secondly, get lot of advice from seasoned experts and finally shoot the firearm before you buy it. Remember, the Manufacturer should be your first consideration, followed by Grip, Trigger Control, mag capacity are your main aspects of choosing your handgun. You can read my article on this site on “How to Choose the Best Personal Protection Handgun”. My top 4 personal protection handguns you may wish to explore are the Sig P320 compact, Sig M11-A1, Ruger SR9C, Glock 19 Gen 4. I firmly believe the Sig P320 is the best personal protection handgun on the market.

Secondly, get good training from a well qualified instructor. There are lots of firearms instructors out there, but there are very few good ones… Find a good one…. Then practice practice practice. Be exceedingly comfortable handling and shooting your firearm. Semi-automatic pistols can experience malfunctions due to not holding the gun’s frame firmly enough when shooting, which can allow the frame to move back at the same time the slide moves back. This is called “limp wristing” and it can happen to even strong men who have the wrong grip or arm position as they fire the gun. It is one of the last things you want to happen, so having a good grip is essential to functionality.

Effectiveness:

The discussion is always about what round is the best for personal protection based on the effectiveness of the bullet. I strongly endorse the 9mm round. Here are my reasons for that caliber, not necessarily in the order of importance, but as a sum total of all the factors.

  • It is the cheapest of all ammo so you are more likely to practice more.
  • Most 9mm handguns have larger capacity magazines than other calibers, so you have more rounds if you need them.
  • There are more handguns made in 9mm than any other caliber, so you are more likely to find one that fits your grip.
  • The lethality of a 9mm is the same as a .40 or .45 when a vital area is hit.
  • It is easy to manage the recoil and shoot thus you are more likely to hit your target.
  • The various sizes of 9mm make it an easy caliber to carry.

The second component of effectiveness is to get good training. To know the correct method for drawing from a magpul_tejas_gun_belt_ruger_super_blackhawk_alaskan_riding_perfectlyholster, have an experienced instructor teach to the skills of safely drawing, presenting of your firearm, quick target acquisition and trigger control. In addition, you must learn the correct and safe means to reholster your handgun. There are numerous videos on Youtube that demonstrate great techniques for drawing from your holster. However, there is no better way to learn the skill than from a qualified instructor.

Also Read: B.O.L.T Pistol (Bug Out Long Term)

The most important aspect of effectiveness is practice. If you do not practice drawing from concealment, drawing from your purse, quickly acquiring your target and placing rounds accurately, then you are setting yourself up for failure if a bad situation should occur and you need to use your handgun. Practice creates confidence, helps you overcome fear, and builds muscle and mental memory; all important factors when dealing with a crisis situation.

So, in summary, concealed carry is not as easy as most folks assume it is. It requires you to take several aspects into consideration prior to putting conceal carry into action. Naturally, you hope you never had to access your handgun in response to bad situation. However, if you do, you want to be able to do safely, quickly and confidently.

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11 thoughts on “Concealed Carry: Important Considerations When Choosing What, How, Where and Why???”

  1. You say; "…It always amazes me, the number of folks that want to buy a small handgun, just because it is small…" Of course, in an ideal situation, I would want to carry a Colt 1911 in 45 ACP, but it was TOO BIG TO CARRY WITHOUT SHOWING! I settled for a Colt Mustang Pocketlite in 380 because It did not show under my suit jacket. I got my New York City Concealed Carry permit in 1989, (after two years of applications, three appeals to the NYPD, four attorneys and $11,000 in fees and insurance). At that time I was a highly-paid Technology Consultant to Wall Street banks and brokers; for a time I worked with the New York Stock Exchange on the trading floors. Had my concealed carry handgun ever been detected by Security, I would have immediately been escorted out of the building and never allowed to return – NYPD concealed carry license be damned! These are good reasons to carry a small gun! Because – in many Board Room business situations a concealed handgun is simply not tolerated. I settled for the anemic little 380 ACP cartridge, using Glaser frangible ammunition which I hoped would make up for the stopping power of 45 ACP hollow points. Luckily – in twelve years of carrying every day on Wall Street – I never needed to even show the little gun. Coming home on the subway and Long Island RR, that little gun was a lot of comfort! During those years I was drawing down a salary north of $300,000 per year – which I could not have commanded if anyone ever knew that I was "carrying" – even though I was "carrying" legally. Don't disparage a small gun – it's better than no gun at all!

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  2. Your quote, "this is the first indication that the individual has very limited handgun shooting experience.
    It always amazes me, the number of folks that want to buy a small handgun, just because it is small.
    In most cases"
    It always amazes me that people forget there are people small or cripple that cannot shoulder a full size weapon daily or they are trying to be covert because of their work environment but choose to carry anyway because better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6. I know veteran cops that can't carry full size steel because of hip and back problems.

    Any quality small gun is better than a stupid look on your face The church shooter here in Texas ran away after confronted with only a few shots if a big gun is better so why not a pistol AR or the new pump action pistol shotguns ?
    your comment was border line, verging on demeaning those that carry pocket pistols what about small frame women how about 110 degree summer wear where ya gonna hide that hog leg, in a speedo ? what about shoot through and striking a innocent bystander ? most big gun ammo penetrates minimum 11 inches most crackheads ain't that thick so it would take 2 crackheads and 1 innocent bystander to stop your bullet try not hitting a secondary in a walmartian parking lot.

    back off on those testosterone supplements there are enough arguments on 9mm vs 45, AR over Ak's and 5.56 over 7.62 can't we all just carry and get along ?

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    • Snake, I agree with you both. The most comfortable gun I've ever carried was a Keltec p11. At the time it came out this pistol was the lightest 9mm on the market, weighing in at 14oz. However, it's recoil caused MAJOR discomfort and because of this I rarely practiced. Next I swapped to a Berretta M9A1 to which I love to shoot and accuracy improved remarkably. The author is absolutely correct that every aspect of attire must be considered when concealing such a big gun. Weight is also an issue. I find that the 4:30 IWB is best carry for me. That said, it's still a bear to conceal with a t shirt on. Most recently I found the Glock 43. It's again downsizing, but mostly because of it being single stack. Accuracy within 25ft rivals that of the Berretta as does recoil. Conceal carry is much easier accomplished with a greater range of options. Downside is that round capacity is cut in half. I believe the bottom line is that the gun is a tool and should be used as such. No one would ever try and tighten a bolt with a hammer, and I am in the same line of thought on which gun, what caliber, position and holster is best. Carry what is comfortable, but not to the point that accuracy and knockdown power is compromised.

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    • Well of course there’s always exceptions, but for the most part the author is correct. I don’t know how many times I see people especially women, see a small pink gun and say, “that’s the one I want.” Without even shooting it. It’s because the gun is small, a woman, not all women mind you, but the ones who are inexperienced will find the small gun “cute” or sized for them. When in reality, a larger pistol is far easier to shoot and manipulate. Your post reaches to extremes and is the one that borders on absurdity. No one carries a hog leg concealed, 110 degree weather or not. I carry a Glock 21 concealed in only a t shirt during the summer months. Exactly what are you going to conceal in a speedo?! If you’re wearing a speedo in public the first place, you’ve got bigger problems. Most crackheads aren’t 11” thick so by shooting at one you’ll shoot through 2 of them and hit an innocent?! WHERE DO YOU COME UP WITH THIS BS? I’m a certified and current NRA instructor among other certifications, and I tell my students to avoid these keychain guns. They are not fighting guns. I’ve never met someone who had a disability that couldn’t shoot a full size gun better than a keychain gun. YOUR inexperience shines through in your comment, for example, you know cops who can’t carry a full size steel because of hip and back problems. Well it’s 2018 and the poly framed guns are lighter fully loaded than an empty steel 1911, and usually with more than double the capacity. The tools are out there and can be had. I don’t tell my students what to carry. I present to them the knowledge to make an informed purchase. Ultimately it will be up to them to decide what to buy. More often than not they buy what I recommend and tell me they couldn’t be happier.

      Reply
  3. When things go “suddenly south”, on you, two things matter most. .1) Why, you lost your situational awareness, and .2)having a firearm is better than having a stern look on your face.
    You will never “need” your concealed carry firearm, until you need it BADLY! Maintaining your edge, to avoid the opportunity for conflict or thug interaction with you and yours, is a most desirable trait to incorporate into your Every Day Carry (EDC).

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  4. Good article. For a long while I visited this sight daily, not so much these days. I would love to see more articles like these. Thanks SC for what you do!

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  5. A couple of comments. I have tried to carry a full sized pistol. Just doesn't work for me unless I have lots of bulky oversize clothing. Open carry – I can do that but not in Texas where I can.

    Just like juscallmesnake states, when it hits 100 degrees in the shade with 90% plus humidity in Texas, wearing only a jock strap makes one feel overdressed! So, I have a couple of mouse guns. A S&W Bodyguard with laser, and a new to me Sig (sister of the P238) in 9mm. Neither the .38 nor the 9mm are my favorite carry calibers. I also use a lanyard – but not on these pistols. I use it on my Berretta 92 FS and my Colt 1911A1. Been using it for years. In short range shooting, a police officer (no less) stated "if you have time to do that, you have time enough to call 911!" Really? I think that is pretty egotistical of him! The laser is great for training. In a CQC situation, I will be backing up to get distance, deploy my firearm, and defend myself. I am going to point and shoot!

    I find the SERPA holster to be a great addition to my holster line up. It, like any other tool, requires practice in it use. It is positive in its retention and I do not have to buy new pants to accept an IWB style holster. Just some notes.
    The San Antonio church shooting was done by a coward as was Las Vegas of which we know darn little. He would have run if the guy he encountered was shooting a .22 at him! He knew he had been "made". He ran because he knew his "number" was up. Both the San Antonio Church shooter and the Las Vegas shooters committed suicide rather than face the punishment they were facing.

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  6. As far as concealed carry I carry Bond Derringer. It is 45/410 normally I carry two 410 PDX rounds. This is my protection carry shopping and etc. I don't need to carry my larger capacity 9 mm for grocery store. If I am going into an area where I need more, I carry more. But my derringer is still the first thing I am going to use. At close range one is done. Most actions are under 8 yards and under 2 rounds being fired. If you actually practice its all you need.

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  7. First pic has the Sig P938. Great gun. 1911 action and fits nicely in your pocket. Its not a .45ACP but you can place it in the back pocket of a pair of carharts. It is not hard to shoot either, for a sub compact.

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  8. I've managed several gun stores and carried guns for years (decades)—yes smaller can be good, but too small makes it hard to hold on to—a smaller pistol, like say a Kahr CW-9 can be a good size for many people, I have two for the wife and I—not a tiny pistol, but enough to hold on to—also the Walther PPS and the HK P2000sk are smaller pistols I like—small, but not too small—shoot like full-size pistols and all three have been completely reliable…

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