I'm sure you have read all kinds of articles on how to conceal carry. You may have even read our "Guide to Concealed Carry". But what you may not have read is a list of what NOT to do, and sometimes that information can be just as important.
Don't Do While Carrying Concealed
Some of the items on our list should be extremely obvious; while others, not so much. Continue reading to see our list of things NOT to do while carrying a firearm.
Don't Break Federal or State Laws
Yes, this is extremely bold, and should also be very obvious. Now that we’ve got that disclaimer out there, let’s talk about some of the legal aspects of carrying.
First, it is your responsibility to know where you are and aren’t allowed to carry. For example, if you are going to go on a school campus or in a federal building, you can’t carry. It’s that simple. Those are federal laws.
Some states or cities have even further restriction on where you can carry. In many places, you can’t carry in a bar or a place that’s primary purpose is to serve alcohol. Some states also allow businesses to have signs that restrict guns on their premises.
Naturally, the bad guys will also follow this rule, so we’ve got that going for us. Oh wait, that’s not how that works at all… But that’s a discussion for another day.
Another thing that you must have to be in compliance with the law in many states is your actual concealed carry permit. That may go without saying, but just make sure that you have the actual permit with you.
Essentially, you are legally obligated to know the laws and regulations in the area in which you are carrying. Most states are slightly different than others, so be sure to look up all the local laws before carrying.
We recommend covering your bases and getting some concealed carry insurance.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
Not only is this horribly unsafe, in many places it is also illegal. Let’s just leave this one at that. Don’t drink if you’re carrying. End of story.
Don’t Forget to Practice Drawing
Knowing you have the tools to protect yourself, your family, and your community is important. However, there’s more to it than just having the weapon tucked away.
Drawing your weapon is a skill. It should be treated as such. As with any skill, you need to practice it. Even if you are just doing dry runs at home, I can’t recommend enough that you need to practice drawing. Just remember safety.
If the first time you are drawing is when your life is actually threatened, that’s going to be a sticky situation. You need to have the muscle memory developed to draw as quickly and safely as possible.
One great way to practice safely at home is to use the MantisX Firearms Training System. It is modern technology in action and attaches to any firearm with a rail and connects via Bluetooth to any iOS or Android device. This amazing system continuously collects movement data before, during, and after each shot, providing real-time feedback on your shooting mechanics.
Don’t Forget to Go to the Range
Similarly, shooting is a skill. If you have a carry weapon that you’ve only shot once or twice, you’re doing it wrong. You need to get to the range to practice safely operating the weapon and shooting it accurately.
While you’re there, you can practice some live drills by starting with the weapon in your carry holster, and practicing drawing it and firing downrange. Obviously, make sure that the range you shoot at allows this.
We aren’t saying you need to be at the range twice a week, but you should try to go every other month or so at a minimum, just to keep those skills sharp.
Another thing that you should do at the range is cycle a magazine of your carry ammunition through your weapon. Yes, it’s hard to shoot those hollow points at a piece of paper, but you need to make sure that the weapon handles the ammunition properly and you are training with your carry ammo.
Don’t Wear the Wrong Clothes
This can mean a few different things. On one hand, you should avoid wearing a ton of clothing that screams “Tactical” or “I’m carrying a gun”. On the other hand, you also need to wear clothes that are comfortable and will allow you to conceal well.
Imagine this scenario with me really quick. You’re an armed bad guy, and you’re looking to rob a store. When you walk in the store, you see a few patrons. A guy in a Polo shirt and jeans, an older woman with a purse, a guy in gym clothes with headphones on, and then they see you. The guy in a graphic tee that says “I Love Guns”, a Glock hat, cargo pants with every pocket stuffed full and tucked into your full size combat boots. Which person do you think is the immediate target??
I’m not saying not to have that kind of stuff, and I’m not saying you should never wear it. All I’m saying is that you should be careful about what kind of message your clothing will send to potential threats. If you have not heard of becoming the gray man, do a google search. There is some great advice out there on how to blend in.
Another thing to keep in mind with your clothing is that you must be able to conceal in them. This may require you to go up a pants size or up a shirt size to be able to do. The easiest way to check if you are printing really bad is to have a friend or spouse look at you.
Basically, your clothes should allow you to conceal easily and comfortably in a couple different positions. For me, this means that I always wear an undershirt so the texture on the grip of my weapon doesn’t rub me raw and I don’t get sweat all over it.
Don’t Do Dumb Stuff
This is kind of a broad one. When you’re carrying, your safety should be an immediate concern. There’s a lot that goes into this.
Make sure your holster is safe. It should fit your weapon well, and it should also completely cover the trigger of the weapon. This prevents any freak accidents of a trigger being unintentionally pulled or snagged. Don’t carry without a holster.
Don’t forget you need to maintain your weapon. Empty the magazines and clean the firearm every time it is needed.
Pay attention to your surroundings. That is why we are carrying, after all. Make sure you fully understand what’s going on around you. You should be doing constant threat analysis.
Keep a round in the chamber. If you carry without one, you’re slowing down your response time…or even preventing a response at all.
What Did We Miss?
Obviously, that last point was kind of a broad, overarching concept to cover whatever wasn’t covered by the previous points, but hopefully we’ve made our opinions clear.
When you’re carrying, you need to make sure you’re not making these simple mistakes. They could really threaten your safety or the safety of your loved ones.
We hope that this article has given you some food for thought. Feel free to suggest additions you make sure to avoid!