As a certified firearms instructor and all-around gun enthusiast I talk to a lot of folks daily about carrying a gun, what gun to carry, accessories, and even the raw emotions that go into daily carry. Few people take a class and actually continue with training after that class. Many people take a class to be able to legally conceal carry but never get their license. Others take the class, get the license, and think they are good to go out into the world with their pistol strapped to their hip right away. Out of those groups of people, the last one is the one that scares me the most. I honestly blame the instructor in those cases. Part of carrying a gun is mindset. If that is not instilled into the students during class, then it most likely will take a serious life or death situation for that student to finally open their eyes and realize they are not fully prepared like they may have thought they were. My goal as an instructor and an outdoor industry writer is to make sure more people are prepared for when that stuff hits the fan, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you with your everyday carry and survival.
Carrying a gun is a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly. It really isn’t hard to do as long as you prepare. Once you feel like you are prepared for anything and everything, then prepare some more because most likely you are not truly ready for what this crazy world may throw at you. I carry a gun every day of my life because it has actually become a fear to be caught in a bad situation without it. I couldn’t imagine that one day I didn’t carry and found myself in a defensive encounter, reach for my gun, only to realize it wasn’t there. That is terrifying just writing it.
The number one reason people leave their guns at home is because they are uncomfortable. This is why proper clothing and holsters are so important. You have to buy your pants a little bigger if you carry in your waistband. Trying to wear the same pants you have worn for years might not work well. I purchase all my jeans two waist sizes bigger than what I need because I know that I will always have a pistol in my waistband.
The proper holster can also make or break your carry experience. Once you figure out the location you like to carry on your body, then find holsters that work for you. Also, you must have multiple holsters for each carry gun to insure you can carry no matter what the day throws at you. I live in Michigan where if you don’t like the weather, just give it an hour. In the cold, it is extremely easy to conceal a pistol, but when it is 100 degrees outside and you are wearing less clothing, it can be a bit tough. You must be prepared to carry differently depending on the weather. Weather isn’t the only factor though. I recently stood up in my friend’s wedding. It was a group of gun guys who carry daily. I was the only one carrying during the wedding. Most people think you can’t conceal a pistol under a dress shirt that is tucked in. Well, I got news for you, you can, and I do it often.
Why does this all matter, you may ask? You might do just fine carrying every once in a while maybe when traveling through a bad area or something. Well, that is a victim mentality that one day could prove to be a bad decision. I compare carry to wearing a seat belt in a vehicle. No one goes out thinking they are going to crash their vehicle, but it can happen in the blink of an eye to anyone, so we wear a seat belt to help protect ourselves in the rare chance we are involved in a car accident. Daily carry is no different. We don’t go out expecting to get in a defensive situation, but they happen every day, and I have news for you, they don’t always happen in the bad areas that you may have been carrying a gun in. More often than not, these situations happen in good areas where people might never expect it. I always love the line, “I don’t have to worry about anything, because that area is a good area.” Let’s think about that for a second, if you were a criminal, would you target a “bad” area or the “good” area that has all the people who think nothing would ever happen to them? I know I am going to the place where no one is prepared to fight back. One of the biggest problems we have in America is we have created a victim mentality, and the criminals have the upper hand most of the time. This is why carrying a gun is so important to protect yourself against evil.
Training is probably more important than carrying the gun itself, because without proper training the gun is useless. I had a friend that loved tools. He would purchase every hand tool he could find and had this really sweet tool box in his garage that would make any professional mechanic jealous. The only problem was, the guy could barely turn a wrench and had no idea what to do with most of the stuff in that box. I hate to say this, but this guy is not an uncommon sight in the firearms world. Having the perfect carry setup does absolutely nothing for you if you are clueless as to how it works. By training, I don’t mean just going to the range and shooting at a piece of paper. Those tight groups look awesome on social media, but can you do that with a human standing in front of you? The game changes when stuff starts happening in real life. Adrenaline can take away your fine motor skills. If you have never trained under stress, you may not even be able to draw your pistol out of your holster. Is your safety on? You better have that safety burned into your muscle memory so as you draw that safety is being clicked off. Do you carry with a round in the chamber? I don’t care how fast you think you are at racking that round in the chamber, but when trying to work the slide under stress, you are not as fast as the guy who already has that round chambered.
I will say this again, carrying a gun is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. To be successful, you must train often and continuously make your training uncomfortable for you. Train with new people, take classes you never thought you would need, prepare yourself for any situation in this world, because you never know what you may encounter or when you may need those skills. We only have one life, it is yours to protect. Carry every day.