Concealed Carry Options
As discussed in earlier posts, there are a lot of options or methods of carrying a concealed handgun. There are probably as many ways to carry a gun as there are guns to carry. Maybe more.
The most common method is considered on-body carry.
I read an article by a police officer once who said: If you attach a crane to the gun in a holster and lift the man completely off the ground, then it’s on-body carry. Anything less secure than this is off-body.[Emphasis mine] While this is not the legal definition, I can see his point if you are a policeman. Guns have been known to be ripped off the belt by a thug.
On-body to the rest of us is any method that holds the gun in direct contact with you at all times. It could be in a belt holster or any other way of keeping it on your person. Most commonly, this is done with a belt holster, either inside or outside the waistband. Outside being most common, inside is gaining rapidly in popularity. IWB is so much more concealable and can be quite comfortable with the right holster.
Other options would be shoulder holsters of differing designs and makers. They secure the gun under the arm, usually just below the armpit, with straps around the upper body. Your gun can be held on either side for right or left-handed cross-draw. An extra magazine holder can be attached to the opposite side. They are made of leather or nylon, depending on your desire.
The rest of the on-body options are more concealable but need more time and finesse to draw from. They include ankle holsters, thigh holsters, compression shirts and shorts, elastic belly bands, and others. Many of them are made exclusively for women. Those are used under their garments in ways that would not fit for a man. Some would fit for men and women alike.
As I sit here and write, I am wearing a Glock 43 in an IWB by N82 at 4 o-clock with a spare magazine on the opposite side in a custom horizontal holster made by yours truly. I am quite comfortable with this arrangement.
Off-body is classified as somewhere not actually attached to the body. Like a purse, briefcase, day planner, etc. These items can, and often do, get misplaced or picked up by the wrong person. Then you are both disarmed and breaking the law. You must be in complete control of the firearm at all times.
Am I Able To Carry?
This question actually goes to the people with limited mobility or extreme body types. You must be physically capable of carrying, and using the firearm in a safe and efficient manner.
When I was at the Sherrif’s academy in San Bernardino, Ca., there was a woman in the class using two crutches with hoops on each arm. She was so slow and frail, she had to have an assistant to get from the seating area to the firing range. She had limited capability but was still able to control the weapon in a safe and efficient manner. She received her CCW, in California.
Body types may or may not limit the abilities of a few people. I don’t want to get too deeply into this for obvious reasons. Those folks with body types that would limit their ability to carry and handle a gun know who they are, and I will not go into describing them.
Once again, physical limitations may or may not deter someone from carrying a firearm for self-defense. I have a friend, a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. He still has the ability to handle a gun at the range, but I would seriously question his talents for self-defense with a firearm. This in no way is intended to degrade this man. It is just a fact. He and his family are good friends of mine.
Once again, this subject has to be approached with caution and dignity. Those folks who can’t qualify for carrying a concealed weapon because of physical constraints, know who they are, and I’m sure their better judgment is observed.
Am I Allowed To Carry?
This is another subject entirely. The law excludes some people from carrying, or even owning, firearms.
What Are The Laws?
If you have a criminal record, have a record as an abusive person, you cannot legally own any firearms. If you are not a citizen of the jurisdiction where you reside, you aren’t permitted to own a firearm. If you have a “documented” history of mental illness, then you won’t qualify. When I say “documented” history, I refer to numerous people that probably should have been documented, but slipped through the cracks. For one reason or another, they passed the background checks and were able to purchase a gun, then used it wrongly. We have all heard of these incidents of deranged people shooting up malls, movie theaters, and schools. I haven’t heard of any of these shootings performed by totally sane, rational people.
In almost every jurisdiction in the country, if you want to purchase a handgun, you must pass a federal background check at least once.
In Calif. you must pass this background check for each and every gun you buy, either from a retailer or an individual.
In Nevada, you must pass this check for each gun you buy until you get your CFP (Concealed Firearms Permit). After that, all you do is show your permit and the purchase is approved. You still have Federal paperwork to fill out. It just stays in the retail establishment until a Federal Agent requests to see it.
I have an article that describes some of the laws regarding the carry of weapons. See it here.
How About Private Property?
Carrying a gun on private property seems to be a totally different issue most everywhere. Even in Calif., you are allowed to carry your firearm on your own property. You just can’t discharge it within 500 ft. of any building intended for occupancy.
Until January of 2012, open carry was legal in Calif., just not practical. If you were seen by the wrong person, the police would be called. Then you would be scrutinized by all.
Common Mistakes When Carrying A Gun
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes from time to time, it’s how we learn. However, making mistakes when concealing a firearm can have serious implications. Most of the mistakes are made by those still new to carrying concealed, but even those with years of experience can be guilty of making a couple of these mistakes from time to time.
- Not Properly Trained. In many states, when you purchase a hunting license you must complete a hunting safety course of some kind. When you apply for a Concealed Carry Permit, training is required by the jurisdiction of your residence. This is usually only the basic safety and proper handling of the weapon. It really doesn’t even scratch the surface of what you must know to defend yourself and stay out of jail. Ongoing training in use and proficiency is absolutely necessary to keep your skill level up. Muscle memory is perishable, and must be renewed regularly.
- Exposure or Printing. Your concealed firearm must be just that; concealed. When you dress for carrying a gun, you must take into account how that gun will be concealed. Will it show through your shirt? Can someone see it bulging? When you raise your arms, does it become exposed? A lot of states or cities will allow open carry and if someone sees your gun, it’s not really a big deal. But most states will require your gun to be fully concealed at all times. I remember hearing about an off-duty deputy raising his arm to open the hatch of his SUV. A young child saw his gun and freaked out. His mother was distraught. The officer explained that he was an off-duty cop and everything was fine. A year later, the police department was sued because the child was so traumatized by the sight of the gun, he was having nightmares. and could not leave the house. The department settled for over a million dollars.
- A Cheap Holster. By cheap, I don’t mean inexpensive. I mean poorly made or designed. If it’s too loose or has no retention, the gun could fall out or be taken easily. If the stitching is bad, it will fall apart, usually at the most inopportune time. Some very expensive holsters are quite cheap. Some inexpensive ones are very well-made. Just be cautious about what you get.
- Improper Wardrobe. Dress for the gun. If you don’t, then it’s not concealed. This doesn’t mean always wear oversized shirts or leaving the tail out. It just means to be conscious of what you wear and how you look. If you wear a complete outfit of 5.11 Tactical garb, them you are advertising your gun, Right? Wear normal clothing so you don’t look like a walking NRA billboard.
- Checking your Gun Constantly. If you can’t keep your hands off the gun, then you are attracting attention to yourself. Your gun should be secure and concealed properly, so continually fingering it and checking that it’s covered will advertise it’s existence.
- Practice With The Ammo You Carry. If you always go to the range with cheap ammo or reloads, you are not going to really know hoe your self-defense ammo will act in the gun. You may get a malfunction that could have been avoided if you knew your gun didn’t like the ammo you’re feeding it.
- Not Carrying Consistently. If you are going to carry, then carry everyday everywhere. Not being consistent is like wearing your seatbelt sometimes. If you don’t carry always, then you will likely not have your gun when you need it.
- Not Knowing The Law. “Nuff said”.
- Wrong Mindset. If you are not aware of your situation and surroundings, then you are not prepared to help when help is needed. There is a color code of awareness that is taught and practiced by most concealed carriers. Also, you must know that conflict avoidance is the primary concern. Try to stay out of situations that could lead to a confrontation. Avoid trouble whenever possible.
In My Opinion
Carrying a concealed handgun can be called an art form. My belief is that as a CCW permitted firearms carrier, I am prepared to do what it takes to defend and protect myself, my family and those around me when the SHTF. I don’t advertise that I carry in any way. My family, except for my wife, isn’t even aware that I am armed most of the time. They just don think of it and I don’t let it show.
I believe everyone that is capable and legally allowed has the right to carry a gun, and should if they will get training and use proper judgment.
If you have an opinion about this subject, I would like to hear it. Please leave your comments with me in the box below.