If you want to become better at concealed carry, take the time to review these basic yet taken-for-granted things that are proven concealed carry techniques. There are things that we already know and do but sometimes tend to neglect.
MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH AN APPROPRIATE MINDSET.
Being a concealed carrier takes a lot of responsibility and accountability. A proper mindset for concealed carrying is therefore important so that you can avoid putting yourself into conflicts. Discipline yourself. Motivate yourself to protect you and your family, and not to show everyone how excellent you are with shooting.
That gun serves to be used for trouble only, and not to protect the whole world and solve all its problems. Nor does it make you cool. So you should remind yourself that you have to abide by the law and accept all the responsibilities for yourself and your family.
When possible, avoid conflicts by simply turning away and leaving the area. This is not showing how weak and cowardly you are, but rather, it is showing how intelligent and responsible you are to think first of all the things that may be affected. The best way you can win is by avoiding a fight. Deadly force should always be your last resort. The gun is just a protection tool, the real weapon is your mind. Being armed is not enough, you should also be mentally prepared.
CONTINUE TO ENHANCE YOUR SKILLS WITH TRAINING.
When you train, make sure that you learn the basics, important topics, safety precautions and different techniques in concealed carrying. There should be regular practice and education. They will help keep your skills and knowledge updated. Regular practice will also help in conditioning your body and mind for a possible encounter. You will be able to develop the muscle memory that you can rely on in case there is an emergency.
If you have attended a relevant training course over five years ago, you should enroll yourself in some refresher courses to improve your methods and techniques. You should also undergo a new training if you own a shotgun or rifle before and have plans of switching to a handgun. As much as possible, attend a refresher course and key topics training once a year. They will increase your preparedness and ability to respond to high stress environment through your muscle memory.
INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SPECIFIC LAWS OF YOUR STATE AND JURISDICTION.
It will be safer if you know what specific situation does your state allow you to fire your gun. Some states will not require the use of deadly force for a few situations, while others do not even allow civilians to carry concealed guns. For some cases, you are required to show your concealed carry permit to the law enforcers and narrate everything especially if a defensive encounter just happened. There are lots of responsibilities that gun owners should know, so make sure that you seek out and study the updated laws and requirements for handguns on your state.
YOU SHOULD CARRY REGULARLY.
After all the hardships, time, effort and money needed just to obtain a concealed carry permit, still, some carriers do not carry all the time and just choose to have their pistols on the days they feel like carrying it. They will only have their guns on them when they are going to a place where they think is at-risk for threats. This is a no-no for every carrier. If you have a valid license, and is legally permitted to carry one, then do so all the time. Nowadays, all kinds of places and situations are considered dangerous and prone to threat, including malls, parties, villages, schools, parks and even churches.
AVOID TOO MUCH ADJUSTING AND CHECKING OF YOUR PISTOL.
Some carriers may feel conscious every time they are going out. They worry too much if the shirt covers the gun properly or if the gun is properly positioned on the holster. As a result, they will adjust the handgun and check if it is secured in place. This is a very bad habit. Why? Because this can draw people or even an attacker’s attention to you and your concealed pistol! You may look suspicious to others and to the police.
Relax and avoid touching the concealed gun. You should always have a secured belt, good holster, proper clothes and cover. Do not wear tight or form fitting clothes and even light-colored shirts and pants. If you buy new pants, choose one that is one or two sizes bigger than your normal size. This will give space for the in-waistband-carry.
SELECT YOUR HOLSTER CAREFULLY.
Choosing a quality holster from a reputable brand is important for a concealed carrier like you. You should select a holster that is made specifically for the gun you have. Yes, a nylon holster can hold your gun inside a range bag, but if you need to carry the gun, you should choose a holster that fits perfectly to it. If the holster fits perfectly, you can easily draw or put your gun onto it. You can also reach for and conceal it without difficulties.
A custom-fit holster will conceal your gun properly and gives protection to the trigger to avoid contact with your body and accidentally pulling it. A good holster can hold your gun even though you are walking or moving. You can buy a properly designed holster for as low as $10. Some stores even put them on sale for $5. If you are planning to buy one that you want to last longer, be prepared to spend at least 10 percent of the price of your handgun. That may be expensive, but you can be sure that you will be safe and comfortable with your holster.
Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holsters can provide more concealment, just as long as you will choose an appropriate one for you. This is because it makes you feel uncomfortable especially if you do not use pants and belt that are not one or more size larger than the one you normally use. Many carriers also prefer to use the Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) holsters, because they are more comfortable to wear. But then, they do not provide too much concealment, and you may need additional cover garments, which will make your access to the gun more difficult. So, as a concealed carrier, you will be the one to choose according to your own preference.
CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE GUN BELT.
Now this one is a common sense. A proper gun belt will provide more support for you handgun, especially if your holster does not fit perfectly to it. Gun belt is one of the most important accessories that a gun owner must have. The support is needed to make sure that the gun will stay on its place and to avoid injury to you and the people around you.
A leather gun belt is highly recommended as it helps refrain the gun from moving. Aside from being durable, this is also comfortable to wear. A leather-made belt will not sag or roll up when worn, and it can give support for your pants as well. You will know which leather gun belt is of high quality by looking at its price, and it is better to invest on a pricey gun belt than buy a flimsy one for $15.
SELECT THE PROPER COVER GARMENTS.
In choosing your clothes and cover garments, there are many things that you should consider including the temperature, your lifestyle and your activities. For some places, wearing the same type of clothes for the whole year would be okay, but for other places, you will need to alter your style as the season changes. This can be very annoying at times, but you’ve got not choice but to adapt.
The clothes and cover garments you should use will depend on the size of gun that you will carry and your body type. If you are thin, it will not be very stylish to wear large and baggy clothing for easy concealment, but that’s just fine. Switching from Outside-the-Waistband holster to Inside-the-Waistband holster may also help. Smaller guns are easier to conceal even with the Outside-the-Waistband so you should try using smaller firearm models that has been released recently.
But if you are lucky enough to be living in one of the 42 states that allow open carrying, you should make sure that your gun is not easy to be taken away from you. Since concealed carrying is now allowed in all 50 states, open carry is not a good idea for you. Other people around you may not feel comfortable seeing you with a gun on your body, but this is still a personal choice. Whether you would like to display your gun or conceal it, make sure that you are familiar with the method of carrying you are using because some CC methods will require more cover and will make it hard for you to reach for your gun. Regular practice will make you get used to every type of clothing.
BE AWARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE SITUATION.
Situational awareness is one of the critical things in any environment. This involves being cautious of all the things and people around and knowing the variables in your surroundings. Once you arrive on a place, do a quick observation and assessment of the environment. You can use Cooper’s 4 Color Codes of Awareness, the Boyd’s OODA Loop or the NRA’s Unaware-Aware-Alert-Alarm system. This is easier said than done. It will actually take a lot of practice and skills for you to get this task perfect.
On a stressful situation, situational awareness can be very challenging. Studies show that when a person is under stress, his concentration and thinking become narrow, which make him focus on only a few things. Narrow thinking and concentration will cause you not to pay attention on all the possible threats in your surroundings. Situational awareness is taught to the law enforces and members of the military force, but everyone should develop this important skill. When you encounter a life-threatening situation, an aware mind can get rid of a threat and can save your own or others’ lives.
KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR HANDGUN
You should understand everything from the magazine release, controls, external safety to the operation and everything that concerns your handgun. Some people believe that you need at least 3,000 to 5,000 repetitions of an action before you can develop a muscle memory. Muscle memory pertains to your subconscious reaction when exposed to external stimuli. Others would say you need 8,000 repetitions, so what you really need is to practice more to get your body used to it.
Whenever you practice, make sure that you do everything right. If you continue to perform a skill in the wrong way, the muscle memory will work and you will subconsciously react with the same manner on a real situation. If you are starting to learn a new technique, take your time. Pay attention to all the details and take it slow. Let your body identify what’s right and wrong.
And finally, DO NOT FORGET TO PRACTICE REGULARLY… AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU IMPROVE WITH EACH PRACTICE.
For each practice, analyze you current skills and determine the area that need improvement. There are specific drills that you can use that focus on a certain skill. Remember: you should not be overconfident with the skills that you have now. There is always something new to learn and there is always a skill to improve. If you fail to practice, some of the basics that you know may be forgotten.
Try to complete at least one refresher course each year. Dry firing at home can be of help as well, especially if you do not have enough time to go to the range on a regular basis. Snap caps must be used at home, and your gun must be unloaded. Skills that you could practice at home include grip and trigger control, reloading of magazines, dealing with gun malfunctions, aiming and alignment. But still, you should recognize that dry firing is nothing compared to live firing. If you do not practice on the range, your skills and performance will deteriorate. Have a scheduled monthly shooting session ahead of time to make sure that you will be prepared for violent encounters.