Ten Concealed Carry Commandments
These ten commandments of CCW should be memorized and followed by the novice and expert alike - that's why they're commandments instead of just "suggestions." It's not like the first rule of gun safety is "act like a gun is loaded if, you know, the mood takes you."
1. Train How You Intend To Fight
If you plan on standing in the middle of an open field calming sending controlled single shots down range, it's going to be a short fight. Starting off, it's good to get the fundamentals of marksmanship down. Once you have those fundamentals down, primarily focus on training how you intend to fight.
- Moving targets
- Transitioning magazines
- Transitioning supported positions (cover, concealment)
- Multiple targets at variable range
- Drawing from your inside the waistband concealed carry holster
All of those five sub-points to the first commandment are things you need to be doing if you are a concealed carrier.
2. Have Permit, Will Travel
Your CCW permit is more than just something handy to have around the house – it's your passport to taking your firearm places you never considered. Having a concealed carry firearm permit allows you to travel across other states that recognize your state's issuing authority. This can give rise to complications but it is immensely easier than trying to move across state lines without a permit. Take a look at our ccw permit reciprocity map so you know which state you can carry in.
3. Thou Shalt Not Carry In New Jersey, New York, Maryland or California
Unless you're a resident of California – you're not carrying in California. Similarly, if you're not a resident of New York, you're not carrying a concealed firearm in the State of New York. And in New Jersey, nobody is carrying a firearm unless they're a police officer or a crook. Maryland? Same. These are states with extremely restrictive concealed carry laws and the general rule is avoid them. Don't put your concealed carry pistol in the glove box – put it in the trunk, unloaded and locked. These states are notorious for charging out-of-state carriers with class 2 felonies for something as simple as keeping a loaded pistol in the car.
4. Know The Law Of The Land
Ignorance is not an excuse. The police don't care, the judge doesn't care, and the prosecutor doesn't care. You carry a concealed firearm some place you're not supposed to – and get caught – they will take your permit and throw the book at you. If you can't be bothered to look up the state and federal law as to where you can and cannot have your firearm, you're gambling with your livelihood and potentially your life.
5. Wear A Holster
You're a concealed carrier. That means you can conceal your firearm on your person. In order to do that safely, you need a reliable concealed carry holster that has a high level of retention and adjusts comfortably with your body. Take your time looking for the right one but please do wear a proper holster. It saves you time, back ache, and potential liability.
6. Always Avoid A Fight
You are armed with a deadly weapon. The person who's arguing with you in line for the checkout counter doesn't know that. That person never needs to know that. Why? Because you're a responsible, mature adult. If you have the opportunity to avoid a fight – avoid a fight. Always avoid a fight.
There's times where that may not be possible and if you do feel threatened, defend yourself appropriately. But don't ever misconstrue what is simply an adult acting the fool with a legitimate threat to your safety. And more importantly -
7. Never Bully Someone Into A Fight
There are fights that you can't avoid and then there are fights you can. As a concealed carrier, it's your responsibility to decide what constitutes either. However, if you bait or bully an unarmed person into a fight you absolutely deserve everything that comes along with that. The vast majority of people with concealed carry permits are looking to protect themselves, their families, and their property. If you're one of the ones who's not, you need to evaluate your reasons for carrying a firearm in the first place.
8. Carry Concealed Everyday
No one knows when trouble will strike. While you think, “hey, I'm just going to pop over to the convenience store and pick up a soda” - that may be the time you actually need to defend yourself with your concealed carry firearm. If your inside the waistband holster is empty – you need to know who is your nearest line of defense. If that answer is you and you don't have your firearm – you're not doing yourself any favors. Carry concealed everyday.
9. Secure Your Firearms
This one is especially true if you have children in the house – but it's true even if you don't. If your firearm isn't physically on you – it needs to be locked up. That can be a vehicle safe, a safe at work or a safe at home – it doesn't matter. Do not leave out unsecured firearms. This is a recipe for disaster. It's also part of being a responsible gun owner and a concealed carrier.
10. Always Carry A Spare Magazine
At least one. It's not hard. Always have a spare magazine located somewhere. There is no firearm on the market that fires unlimited bullets – and if there is, then Alien Gear needs to know about it so they can make the inside the waistband holster for it. Just because you have a concealed carry firearm on you doesn't mean it comes with unlimited ammo. And in a live-fire scenario, you will probably be firing faster than you would in training. Having a spare magazine allows you to stay in the fight if you need to.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.