The Top 5 Things They Don't Tell You About Concealed Carry...
From Gun NooB: There comes a certain turning point in the lives of most gun owners. You’ll probably face it yourself, if you haven’t already. At some point, you’re going to be looking at that gun in your dresser or lock box and you might say to yourself “I want to bring that with me when I leave today.” Some will say “nah, too much trouble”. Statistically speaking, most will say that, actually. Others, however, will decide to take the plunge and get their carry permit. To those people who have decided to jump through the bureaucratic hoops, I say, “Bravo!” For those thinking about getting their permit, I say, “Come on in! The water’s fine!”
Before we go any further, let me make it clear that this isn't an article on how to get your permit. I’m not a lawyer and concealed carry laws are so different from state to state that someone could dedicate huge websites to keeping track of them...and many already have. This is for those of you who have either decided to take the plunge or who have just gotten your permit.
Now, here in Florida, they make you take a class as part of the permitting process. There are a lot of other states that do that as well. In this class, they go over the obvious stuff like where you can carry, when you can use force, and more. You can also read lots of guides online like “holster tips” and “What to look for in a carry gun”. There are some things, however, that no one seems to tell you and I wish someone had told me when I first started.
These are the top 5 things they don’t tell you about concealed carry.
5. You will buy a lot of holsters.
First off, yes, you will need a holster. Even if you’re pocket carrying you will want a pocket holster. That won’t be the only holster you buy. You’re always going to be on the lookout for a holster that works just a little bit better or is just a little more comfortable than the one you’re using now. Personally, I have a number of holsters for each gun I own. Do I use them all? Nope. There are a couple that I think I only used once or twice. Trust me when I say that you will eventually have a collection of them yourself.
4. OK...so how do I...you know...go?
No need to be embarrassed, we all have to use a public toilet eventually. If you pocket carry, no problem. That’s the easy way. If you’re carrying inside the waistband, however, things get a bit iffy. I tended to avoid public restrooms at all costs to begin with but now that I carry, they’re extra scary. So what do you do? Do you take the gun out and risk dropping it in the toilet or leaving it in the stall? Do you leave it in the holster and risk it falling out or being seen? It’s a stressful situation and, let’s be honest, it’s difficult to “go” under stress.
Personally, I’m in the “leave it in the holster” camp. Make sure your holster has decent retention (like a great Kydex holster) and don’t pull your pants all the way down to your ankles. If the holster you use doesn't keep the gun in place, I'd highly recommend looking into a different kind (see #5). Even if it does, keep an eye on your gun while you "go" to make sure it doesn't go anywhere. You’ll be fine once you get used to it. It’s just another in a long list of things to be conscious of.
3. Your gun is going to get messy. Like, REALLY messy.
I hope you like cleaning your gun because you’re going to be doing it a lot more often. It doesn't matter how you carry, your gun is going to get filthy. Look, guns like a humidity of around 40%-60%. The area immediately surrounding your body is...significantly higher than that. Your body is emitting moisture 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless of temperature. If it’s hot out, however, you’re going to have a lot more moisture. It doesn't matter if it’s in your pocket or waistband, your gun is going to get damp. Even worse, it’s a salty damp that just loves to eat the finish of any pistol out there, including stainless steel.
Don’t even get me started on the oils, dead skin, hair and lint that will be coming off you. One day, I’m going to do a bacterial swab of my gun on cleaning day just to see how disgusting this thing gets. Did you know that 75% to 90% of the dust in your house is dead skin? How about the fact that, after 2 years, ⅓ of your pillow’s weight is dead skin? Yeah, that stuff is going on to your gun also.
Pocket carry? Stick a hygrometer in your pocket on a warm day and see what it reads. It’ll be just about as damp as your armpits. Also, you get the added bonus of pocket lint and the remnants of last week’s receipts or business cards that you forgot to take out before the wash. All those things will get into every crevice in your gun. Get enough in the wrong place and it could cushion the firing pin enough to prevent the gun from shooting at all.
Just remember, with guns in normal storage, you can get away with a wipe down and lube every 6 months if you haven’t used them. With your daily carry gun, you’re looking at every two weeks at the bare minimum. During the summer, plan on every week.
2. You will never buy pants the same way again.
I used to be a fabric feeler. I’d look at a pair of pants and say, “Well, that’s stylish and the fabric is nice and soft.” Now, the first thing I do is stick my hand in the pocket. Before you start yelling, “Pervert!” keep in mind, I tend to pocket carry. If I buy a pair of pants, I need to be sure I can fit my gun in the pocket. It’s amazing how small they’re making front pockets these days. I used to be sure that if I got a pair of cargo pants, I would be good to go. Not any more. There are some cargo pants that I wouldn't even be able to get my fingers into the pocket, much less a pocket .380. Keep in mind the angle of the pocket too. Sometimes the cut of the entrance can show the handle of your gun even if it’s a super deep pocket.
If you carry in the waistband, you’re instantly gaining a couple inches on your waist. Figure two inches at least. If you wear a size 34 pant, start looking at the size 36s now. Admittedly, there was a bit of a sting on my confidence when I had to jump up 2 sizes. Just keep telling yourself it wasn't the Taco Bell, it was the Glock.
1. You will be very paranoid about people seeing your gun for a while
Typically referred to as “Concealed Carry Anxiety Syndrome” or CCAS, it will drive you nuts for the first couple months. The first day you carry a gun is the worst. You will swear every person is staring at the spot with the gun. You’ll be standing in line and expecting the kid behind you to yell “look, mommy, he/she has a gun!” You’ll expect a cop to tackle you every time you turn a corner.
Eventually, you’ll realize that nobody cares. Unless you’re flat out brandishing the gun, no one is going to think twice about you. Seriously, how often to you stare at someone’s belt? If you happen to notice a slight bulge in their shirt, I doubt the first thing you think is “gun?!” If they see that you have something in your front pocket, people are more likely to assume “cellphone” than “.380”.
Take a deep breath. Like I said: no one cares. You’re just another nameless face in the crowd. The less you pay attention to your gun, the less other people will also. The more you try to hide it, the more you’re going to draw attention to it.