You took a concealed-carry class from a well-known instructor who visited your local range recently. You learned a lot—especially that there was a lot yet to learn—over the two days of the course. During the class, it became readily apparent that the Glock G22 and the belt-mounted Kydex holster you used while participating in the class would only serve your everyday-carry aspirations in a limited scope of circumstances. You now recognize that there is another pistol and associated gear in your future, since the Glock is too big to comfortably carry in an IWB holster all the time, and will not work in a pocket. You are now searching for guidelines and suggestions that will help make the transition from carrying a gun to carrying a gun concealed that meets the seen and unseen criteria specific for that purpose.
You are wise in that you realize trying to make one-size gun and holster fit all purposes ends up in a series of compromises that produces something that might work, but doesn’t fully suit the purpose for which it is intended.
There are a series of questions that need to be answered in order to find the most effective answer for you and your needs. Keep in mind these questions are specific to you and your lifestyle. That is not to say you shouldn’t see what other people are carrying and how they are carrying. Information from others, reading and researching online can be confusing, but if you consider what you learn as pieces of the puzzle enabling you to find viable answers to your original questions, you will be on the road to success.
There are five questions that need to be answered initially, assuming you intend to carry concealed every day, followed by a few more questions dependent upon the answers to those first five questions.
A good place to start would be the size of the gun chosen for everyday carry. Is it concealable in the location you have selected to carry? Consider your body size and type, the clothes you normally wear and the type of physical activity you engage in on a daily basis just as some basics to think about. Be aware if the gun prints through the clothing in the carry location, it should not be considered concealed. Visualize yourself being viewed by a casual observer during your normal, everyday activity. If the gun or gear supporting it is visible or “prints” through your clothing, you have work to do. In some states, exposing the handgun—even unintentionally by, say, reaching up to grab something from the top shelf at the grocery store—can be considered “brandishing” and result in potential legal trouble.
Another consideration is retention of the gun during a physical altercation or other vigorous activity. Not only should the gun be concealed, it should also be secure in its carry location from a potential take away or when in physical conditions beyond the norm.
Accessing the gun to put it into operation goes without saying, however, everyday activity must be considered. The primary consideration should be whether the draw can be made from the carry location when standing, seated or any other position common to daily activity. It is surprising how many different positions we find ourselves in during a day’s time when we think about it. Rest assured, there will be compromises, but go with the law of averages and mitigate the compromises as much as possible.
Recovery back to the carry location or other means of securing the gun after executing the draw is a concern that needs to be given significant thought. Consider that, if the gun is drawn, there is a high likelihood of emotional excitement that diminishes cognitive thought and motor skills in general. This could lead to forgetting to reapply the gun’s mechanical safety, if one is available, before reholstering, or inadvertently leaving the finger on the trigger while reholstering. Keeping the gun pointed away from body parts during this process under stress is a challenge that makes being aware of the trigger and what is happening to it during the storage process extremely important. It is not essential the gun go back where it came from as long as the place it goes is safe and secure.
Convenience is one of the considerations of concealed carry that is given little to no thought. Unless the gun is as easy to put on as putting your wallet, cell phone, keys etc. in your pocket, excuses will be made not to carry. It’s the “I’m just going to the corner store for a quart of milk, gas for the lawn mower, pack of cigarettes,” syndrome where the wallet is necessary, but nothing else is needed for the few minutes it takes to run up the street. These are situations where deadly consequences present themselves on a daily basis. Are you willing to take the chance?
Once these questions are satisfied, the quest for a gun and associated gear comes next. That will be the subject for a future column.