Should I get a concealed carry weapons permit?
Before many people get a concealed carry permit, there's a list of questions they tend to ask themselves. While the only person who truthfully knows the answers to these questions is you – take a quick moment and ask yourself the following:
Do you have time to go to the gun range and practice?
It's a common myth – myth – that a person could be expected to take out a weapon for the first time, aim it at a stationary target and put a round (or more) into it in a life or death situation. Has it happened? Probably countless times. Will you be the lucky winner in the event your CCW has to go into use?
The good news? You don't have to go to the range every day to develop the essential ccw skills you need for good response time and control.
Important CCW Exercises:
This is a great way of simply getting used to withdrawing the firearm, aiming at a target, and practicing things like proper posture, sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control. Always do dry firing exercises in a safe environment and ensure the weapon is unloaded with no round in the chamber.
Something that's smart to always incorporate into ccw training drills is talking aloud to any bystanders that may be involved. It's important to practice informing people to stay away from the attacker until police arrive, maintain cover and concealment, and just generally informing them of what just happened. The way you decide to phrase these things is completely up to you but you should practice it.
Do you plan to carry all the time?
“Daily carriers”, as they're often called, are people with concealed weapons permits who make it a point to carry their concealed handgun in their gun holster. In all actuality, you may never know how many daily carriers are moving about you at any given time because they understand the steps that are necessary to keep their firearm hidden and at the ready. Are you ready to become one of them? It's an important question to ask one's self before embarking on the journey of getting a concealed carry permit.
Will a concealed carry permit help even if you don't plan on becoming a daily carrier? Indubitably. Becoming a daily carrier is more of a commitment to being self-sufficient in the event of an emergency. As it is nearly impossible to accurately predict when and where that will occur, a daily carrier doesn't leave anything to chance. He carries his concealed carry firearm everywhere that he is legally allowed.
COUNTER-POINT: You do not have to commit to becoming a daily carrier in order to be a good-faith member of the CCW community. There are times – like going to the gym or doing rigorous outdoor activity – where it's just not possible or plausible to carry a firearm. In many states, simply having a ccw permit opens up the avenue to safely store weapons in an accessible manner in one's own vehicle. You are the final decision maker when it comes to what's good enough as long as it obeys the law and doesn't jeopardize people's safety or your own.
Will you educate yourself on the law?
Nope, it's not just ONE law you need be concerned with if you become a concealed carrier. There's a litany of handgun laws governing federal, state, county, and municipal ordinances. Some of them are overlapping and others seemingly run akimbo of their predecessors. As a concealed carrier, it's your job to understand how they play into each other. Where something is vague, you protect your interests. Where something is explicit, you comply.
Depending on which states you plan on carrying, there are issues with concealed carry reciprocity, the proper storage and handling of firearms, and even the definition of brandishing of a firearm. And sometimes, it will be you having to educate others on those finer points of distinction.
FOREWARNED: There is no substitute for being familiar with actual federal, state, and municipal law. While there are plenty of websites which can act as good point resources for things like CCW reciprocity, no one resource can ever be as 100% accurate as the actual law itself.
Are you prepared to regularly clean your gun?
It doesn't matter how snazzy the inside the waistband (IWB) concealed carry holster is or even if the firearm is a top reviewed national treasure. If a weapon and its adjoining equipment aren't maintained and cleaned regularly – something as simply as running the barrel with a bore-brush and some weapons lubricant – then it cannot be counted upon to work in a critical situation. Take care of your firearm and clean your ccw often, it will serve you well.
Are you ready to pull the trigger?
Again, only you know this one for sure. A lot of people imagine in their heads their willingness or lack thereof in actually pulling a trigger. It's one of the reasons why regular training with a pistol or revolver is so critical to developing a good idea of your CCW capacity. By the time that pistol comes out of that handgun holster, you need to have a very clear picture of the next action to follow.
Tell us about it in the comments section below.
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.