What You Need For CCW
At Alien Gear Holsters, we get a lot of questions about the concealed carry weapons permitting process. Sometimes concealed carry weapons permits (CCW) are called different things depending on the state you're in. In this article, we'll give an overview of the basics a person usually needs in order to obtain a concealed carry weapons permit and become an everyday concealed carrier.
Get Your CCW Permit
The very first step in becoming a concealed carrier is getting a concealed carry weapons permit. If you live in a constitutional carry state, chances are good you don't need a permit while you're inside that state. However, if you go outside that state, you will need a permit. You'll also need to know which states acknowledge your state's permit.
If you don't know where to start, google your state followed by “concealed carry weapons permit”. I'm a New Hampshire resident so when I googled “NH concealed carry weapons permit”, I saw the New Hampshire state's rules and regulations on the process to issue a resident pistol/revolver license. Always go to a site with “.gov” and is directly associated with your state. They will usually have that process laid out. And after a bit of reading and probably some printing of paperwork, you will be on your way to receiving a concealed carry weapons permit. The major exceptions are states that are extremely rigorous with their guidelines: namely New Jersey, Maryland, D.C., Hawaii, and some counties in California.
Once you have your resident CCW permit issued, you can then think about applying for non-resident permits in states that do not acknowledge your state's CCW. That's a subject for a later article.
Concealed Carry Training
Some states require a CCW applicant to complete a standard course prior to receiving his or her permit. If you're in one of those states, you'll likely find that your course will be great for initial familiarization with the laws governing concealed carriage, reciprocity, and a variety of self-defense issues.
If you're in one of the few states that doesn't have a training requirement, it's still recommended that you find a course that is certified through either the NRA or another major, accepted firearms organization. Not only will the course serve to give you a baseline on what to expect, it can also prepare you to deal with any of the concealed carry law hurdles you may encounter down the road.
Selecting A CCW Handgun
A lot of people just walk into the store and take a gun at first appearances. They may pick up a pistol and admire it, wave it around foolishly, or do all sorts of silly things. Appearances can be deceiving. The right handgun for you isn't just about what fits right in your hand, it's also what you're comfortable shooting. While it's good to have a budget in mind, the best possible way to know what handgun is right for you is by shooting a variety of them at a range that offers gun rentals. This is a fast and fun way to learn about different handguns and decide which one you're truly comfortable with.
Don't Forget A Holster
Your pocket isn't a holster. Your purse isn't a holster. Your waistline isn't a holster. A holster is, at the bare basic, has retention of the weapon so it cannot fall out and guards the trigger. Too many people put down thousands of dollars on a brand new gun and then pick up a cheap, fabric holster. Why? Choose a holster that has high-retention over the firearm and keeps the gun secured, most importantly chose comfortable concealable holsters that make concealed carry comfortable all day long.
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.