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Advice for, and biggest mistakes made by, newbie concealed carriers.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    What advice would you give someone who is just starting to carry a concealed weapon and what do you feel are the biggest mistakes made by new carriers?

    I feel the biggest mistakes made by new carriers boil down to three real big ones.

    1. Trying to carry too much gun too fast.

    2. Not buying the proper accessories (belt, holster, etc.)

    3. Carrying a gun they are not comfortable with the operation of yet.

    When I first started carrying I made all of these mistakes. I almost convinced myself that it just was not worth the effort and that it was something I was just not going to be able to do. I tried carrying too big of a gun which made me physically uncomfortable, I was not certain what holster/belt to use so the gun never felt stable, and I carried a gun that I was not confident enough with to feel safe with one in the pipe so I was always a bit emotionally uncomfortable too.

    My advice to new carriers is not to try to jump the gun (so to speak) too soon and start small. Find a gun that you are comfortable with the operation of and that comes in a small enough platform that it is not such a shock to your normal movements and dress. Guns that have a thinner profile are often more comfortable to carry and guns that have shorter grips seem to conceal easier. Also, spend a few dollars on a nice leather holster and a stable belt. You do not need to spend a fortune though. Many holsters in the $50 range are available that are every bit as good as more expensive holsters and a good belt can be as little as $35-$40. Take the time to experiment with different positions too. Maybe wear them around the house for a few days before venturing outside with them. What works for others might not work for you. Start small and work your way up. Maybe start with a gun like a small and simple to operate Kahr CW9 and before you know it you will be carrying cocked and locked commander sized 1911's like they were nothing. :)
     
  2. JUSTIficatioN

    JUSTIficatioN Seattle, Wa Member

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    Awesome thread playboy! I just started carrying a few month ago, and thought the exact same things that you stated. Comfortable with it now, but i went through five holsters before i settled on the one that works best for me (uncle mikes left hand IWB carried at 8 o'clock). A lot of things go through your mind that first day you go out in public with your CCW, but common sense and responsibility will get you through it I feel.
     
  3. smithmax

    smithmax here Member

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    Try to avoid adjusting your gun every 5 minutes.
     
  4. wavo

    wavo Portland Member

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    Great thread playboy.

    Exactly the things I need to know. I will start carrying soon, and I'm already on the right track with thinking something small to start with (Kel Tec/Ruger LCP), I want something bigger but I know if I start with a beast I'll be too nervous about not being able to conceal it.
     
  5. Chee-to

    Chee-to Oregon Well-Known Member

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    It depends also on the season, during the winter you conceal just about any size weapon with a winter or light coat, summertime is a bit more challenging to conceal a full size weapon when wearing cargo shorts and tank top, even with Tuckable ITP holsters....
     
  6. thelendog

    thelendog Milwaukie Member

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    Yes! Don't touch your gun! I make a game out of spotting people carrying around me and this is a frequent "tell". You can always spot fanny pack holsters too. "That's weird, why does that person have a fanny pack? And why is the belt on it so wide? Why does it have that zipper all the way around it and those tabs? Why so much velcro?"

    Don't be nervous. This will come with time. People really will not notice that you are carrying! I carried a glock 21 all day today in a scabbard under a t-shirt w/out a raised eyebrow. And yes, when someone does actually spot it, you'll be able to tell.

    Don't tell ANYONE that you are carrying. There's no need for your buddy to joke about it, or when the SHTF you don't want anybody saying something fun like "shoot him!" or "why won't you do something!?!" because the time isn't right for you to draw yet.

    There's gotta be plenty more.
     
  7. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    How often do you spot people that carry? I've tried and have never noticed (other than my friend who I know carries). Could be that living in boonies limits how many people I would see who carry.
     
  8. Wenis

    Wenis Tri-Cities, WA Member

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    +1
     
  9. G-19

    G-19 vancouver Member

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    Great topic and thank you for all your input!!!
     
  10. RangerEric

    RangerEric Southern Oregon, United States Active Member

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    Good to put some thought into cover garments as well. Maybe not everyone goes through this, but it took me a little while to learn to "dress around my gun", was constantly worried that my shirt was too short or too tight, usually cause it was. Going up a size in shirts and finding shirts that are just cut a little longer alleviated a lot of stress for me. Dickies work shirts are my friends now.
     
  11. BooKilla

    BooKilla Portland, OR Member

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    The advice I would give would be to practice, practice, practice with whatever gun you decide to carry. Like our buddy Clint Smith likes to say, "you don't need a $3,000 pistol, you need to learn to use the gun you got". There are lots of different carry guns and carry methods. No single one is the best and lots of them work for different situations.

    Gun size can matter, but is not paramount. I have carried, and often still do carry a full size 1911. However, I often carry M&P .40. I have been known to carry smaller things like Walther PPK/S's and S&W 340's. The smaller guns are nice and light to carry, but I try to think about I will shoot the best with. No matter what, the gun must be with you! Over time, you will develop a sense of what is really important to you and what you can live with. If weight or size or color or width or whatever else is the determining factor to carry or not, then change it. The gun that is left at home is of no use to you.

    Another thing....nobody can see your gun. I have heard this often and felt a little of it myself when I first started carrying. You'll feel like everybody can see your gun, but I assure you they can't. If they do, you can tell. Their eyes will light up. Dress according to what you'll be doing that day and nobody will ever see your gun.

    Oh...and....good luck!
     
  12. tomgow29

    tomgow29 Pierce County Member

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    I have always purchased quality holsters, however, it took me about 10 years to figure out that if I spent $60 dollars on a quality gun belt (Aker or Galco), my guns did not shift on me and I did not have to replace my $30 dollar belts two or three times a year.

    When you budget for a carry gun, do not forget to figure the gear into the cost of the gun.
     
  13. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    People generally don't know your carrying even if your concealing badly a large gun. The people that generally figure it out are carriers as well and they won't bother you. Do not worry about this to much.

    I agree with the get a small gun but having both a tiny gun and a large one is nice and gives you more options. Fact is a tiny gun can be carried wearing about anything and won't be left behind. A larger gun will give you more fire power and greater accuracy but can't be concealed well in the summer. If you can only afford one gun get a good medium to small size gun. There are a lot of good options out there. 9mm and up is where you really want to be caliber wise. Practice drawing and shooting at a gravel pit or range that allows it. Do not try to be Billy the Kid right away. Start slow and focus on all mechanics of the draw and fire. Probably best to practice this at first with an empty gun.

    Never draw your gun unless you intend to fire it and then you damn well better be sure it's justified.

    Resist the temptation to check your weapon all the time. A good holster is key, try on as many holsters as you can before you buy and buy the ones you like the best. Yes buy more then one holster it increases your carry options.

    A good thick leather belt will serve you well. You do not need a special gun belt that costs a lot of money but if you can spare the cash it is a good way to go as well.

    Most important! Study the law in regards to where you can and can not carry and when deadly force is authorized. Study study study and practice practice practice with your guns. Take a self defensive shooting course or 2 or 3.
     
  14. sillyrabbit

    sillyrabbit Salem, Oregon Member

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    Then...... When you're finally comfortable carrying every day, every where........ then comes getting comfortable with adding the BUG !

    The BUG was an easier carry for me, I eliminated the (two) extra mags I was caring and substituted with my bug.

    Still, I was self conscience for a while wondering if I was properly concealing two guns......... but alas, in no time it became comfortable and now I feel naked without the second (although I will admit I do occasionally revert/substitute extra mags for the BUG on occasions that demand or warrant it).
     
  15. wavo

    wavo Portland Member

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    This is a great thread.
    I know there are certain places where you definitely don't want to carry (federal buildings, police stations...etc), but what do you guys do if you're going to a private biz or area and you see a circle with a slash through it over a gun, do you just continue on your business or do and about face, and leave your gun in your car?

    I had to take a random drug test the other day. It was at a lab, not a full blown hospital and I noticed the 'no weapons' sign as I walked in. Are we allowed to carry in hospitals? I wasn't carrying (still waiting on CHL) but wasn't sure what I would do if I was.

    Anyways, great thread, taking it all in.
     
  16. tonyspdx

    tonyspdx Gresham, OR Member

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    I dont really care if my pistol "prints" or somebody see's a holster. Sure they could freakout and call the cops, but it should be your job to "normalize" the sight of carried weapons. Concealed or open doesnt matter if you have a CC permit in Oregon. The most it will show you is who\business "agrees" with your right to carry. If a business says they don't want guns in their place, then you have the choice of shopping in that business. If the cops want to talk, this would be a good "educational" moment to take advantage of.
     
  17. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    A good holster is a MUST both for providing easy, dependable access to your weapon and to avoid those embarassing drops [toilet shootings] or even loss of your weapon. A $20 hoster [with the exception of pocket carry holsters] is NOT a good holster :(

    The need to practce hitting the target is pretty well accepted but less well recognized is the need to practice drawing the weapon to the ready position. If it's gotten chilly enough to wear a jacket, put yours on and practice drawing your weapon a dozen or more times. Are you going some place where an ankle holster is your only option? Strap it on and practice drawing...

    Uhhhh, practice drawing UNLOADED.
     
  18. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Private business with a no weapons sign? I take my business elsewhere and, if possible, let both the offending business my new supplier know why I have done so.

    If going into a federal building, for example, I have a small safe bolted to the floor of my truck. I lock my gun in there and go about my business wearing an empty holster.
     
  19. wavo

    wavo Portland Member

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    That is huge. Great advice!
     
  20. wavo

    wavo Portland Member

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    I'm with you TC about taking your biz elsewhere, but there are times that's not an option, do you just carry anyway?

    All they can do is ask you to leave, but 99% of the time they wouldn't even know you were carrying.