Seven experts share why they are concealed carriers
Many CCW supporters carry concealed weapons after heartbreak. Others look at the reality of the world around them, having been hardened by years spent exposed to environments where danger is not just a statistic on a fact sheet, but a facet of daily life.
The reasons are endless. However, one thing is certain: experts in the firearms industry carry concealed handguns for the same reasons everyday, law-abiding citizens do. Consider these experts’ responses and let us know why you carry in the comments below.
Joe Kurtenbach, managing editor of American Rifleman
For most people, the decision to lawfully carry a firearm is not made lightly, and it is a decision that must be remade, and recommitted to, on a daily basis. That’s because it is a right, as well as a responsibility. The reason I carry, and continuously decide to carry, has as much to do with serving others as protecting myself. I’m an Eagle Scout, an Army veteran, an NRA-certified instructor, and a graduate of some of the best shooting schools this country has to offer. My training and experience has prepared me, mentally and physically, to “shoot, move and communicate” even when “under fire,” and that ability, I believe, comes with the responsibility to also act on behalf of others—be they family, friends or strangers in need.
So while the phrases above may evoke images of dangerous and dynamic encounters, the reality is that I employ the same skills every day to overcome the mundane and inconsequential. Likewise, though I’m prepared to defend my life and the lives of others, the decision to carry a firearm is also representative of the many smaller opportunities to act for the good of others, and the responsibility to do so.
Ed Combs, associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine
I carry because statistics are a hoot until reality declares you an outlier. My time as a teacher taught me that, and my time as a deputy sheriff reinforced it. If I elect to leave my sidearm at home, I'm making the concrete decision to be unprepared for emergency lifesaving, and I'm not fond of making that decision. I don't like to live dangerously; I prefer to stack the deck in favor of personal safety, public security and civilized society whenever possible.
If you want to carry, then I want you to carry, but I also want you to be prepared to deal with the anti-civil-rights zealots who will try to literally brainwash you. Particularly in our current threat environment, resist any and all attempts to make you accept patently idiotic attitudes toward personal defense weaponry. Call out the person who wants you to believe that you’ll be LESS safe by carrying something that’s used on a daily basis to save thousands of lives. Refuse to put up with it. It’s nothing but social signaling on their end, and though they’re entitled to those kinds of silly opinions, you are in no way obligated to join them in their bizarre, suicidal fantasy.
Luke McCoy, founder of USA Carry
I would say that I’ve been around firearms my whole life. My father was in the Navy so I grew up around firearms. He taught me the basics of firearm safety as a young child and went shooting a lot when we would go to our property in Mississippi. So I’ve always been comfortable around firearms. And when I joined the Army National Guard when I was 18, I received training with the AR-15 in bootcamp.
Fast forward a few years, I was living and working in Las Vegas. I found out that one of my good friends back in New Orleans had been shot while being robbed and died in my other friend’s arms. The criminal ran off and was never caught. I told myself right then that I would do everything in my powers to not let this happen to me or my family. That week I purchased my first pistols and then soon applied for my concealed firearm permit. I’ve since moved to Tampa, FL and then back to New Orleans, LA. One of the first things I did when I moved was apply for a concealed carry permit in the state I was in.
I carry concealed every day and am currently carrying a Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 9mm in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 iwb holster.
Robert Farago at Truth About Guns
A gun is not a magic talisman. It will not ward off criminals, psychopaths and terrorists. It's simply the best tool for personal defense, bar none. So I carry a gun to protect the most important thing in my life: my life. And the lives of my family. And other innocent life. I also carry a gun because I am the son of a Holocaust survivor who lives by the words "never again." I will not allow myself, my family, my community and my country to suffer under the yoke of government tyranny. Civilian firearms prevent fascism of all stripes and, as a last resort, gives free men and women a chance to prevent the destruction of our natural, civil and constitutionally protected rights.
Carrie Lightfoot, founder of the Well Armed Woman
I conceal carry because I will not allow myself nor my family to be victims. I am responsible for my self-defense and I will not outsource my self-protection to others. As a woman, I walk through my life with a target on my back because I am smaller and weaker than most attackers. With the majority of all violent crime perpetrated against women, I am the prey. Therefore, I must be armed and trained with the defensive tools that can equalize the battlefield. There is no tool other than a firearm that effectively shrinks this target and levels the disparity of force. If I am going to be my own self-protector and first responder in any form of attack or violence, my right to carry my firearm is my “shield” and my gun is my “sword”. These give me the confidence I need to live my life freely and not be bound to fear.
Brandon Curtis, founder and publisher of Concealed Nation
I don't believe in the promotion of carrying a firearm out of fear, but rather in preparedness of what could potentially come our way. I carry a firearm to give me that preparedness, and I routinely train in order to maintain and hone my skills. It's a perishable experience, and it's important to keep going with your training, whatever it may be. I carry a firearm to protect myself, my family, friends, and anyone who may be in immediate danger. I am not guaranteed success if the need were ever to arise in which I have to draw my firearm, but the playing field would be a little more level than if I were unarmed and untrained. It's a new world, and we need to be prepared now more than ever. Don't be fearful. Be prepared. Together, we are responsible carry.
Jason Swarr, USMC Master Sergeant
Concealed carry is actually relatively new to me. I’ve only been actively carrying since I retired from the Marine Corps in 2011. Being stationed in California the majority of my career prevented me the freedom of carrying a firearm outside of base. I am now a resident of Arizona where I can exercise my constitutional right.
My current EDC setup is rather simple. I carry a Ruger LC9 in a Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster. My extra magazine just goes in my front left pocket, Kershaw Leek knife in my right. I look at my concealed gun as a “break contact” tool. It needs to be light, comfortable and mainly used to get me and my family out of harm’s way.
Granted, if I found myself in a mass shooter scenario, it is my duty as an American to use every round I carry to eliminate the threat. But as a combat veteran, I know how frantic it can be in a gunfight. Being under gunned is a bad feeling. That’s why I never separate myself too far from my vehicle. Thats where my real firepower is staged.
Owning a concealed carry weapon is a matter of safety and responsibility for the carrier and the innocent lives around him or her. These experts carry a firearm to secure the life and liberty of themselves and, potentially, those innocent lives at risk of a lethal threat. Everyday, law-abiding citizen carries a firearm for some of the same reasons these industry leaders do.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.