It’s a common misconception that carrying a firearm is something that only men do. In fact, many women are finding the benefits of carrying a gun for self-defense to be one of their most important purchases—and for good reason!
While we hope we never have to draw our weapons in self-defense, we also know that we must be able to protect ourselves and others should the need arise.
Carrying is a big decision and one that takes time and practice before you feel confident.
It's natural to feel anxious or fearful before you conceal carry - and we never, ever advocate for carrying when you feel less than 100% confident.
Here's our top recommendations to build confidence if you think you're ready to conceal carry.
Take a class
If you are serious about gun safety, using or carrying a firearm, take a class. Even if you've been hunting since you were a child, classes inherently up your confidence and give you new ways to carry and handle your weapons safely.
You must be familiar with how to safely handle your weapon and shoot it accurately before going out with a firearm. You should also know what to do if you ever have to use your gun in self-defense or in defense of another person.
Classes help you make and practice a self-defense plan so you can react immediately and confidently in a confrontation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice is the most important thing you can do to overcome your fear and carry safely. Practice shooting in a safe environment. Both indoor and outdoor ranges have advantages for practice. We recommend booking range time at both if you can.
Here's our favorite practice routine:
- Practice drawing from your handbag or holster while standing up straight with both feet firmly planted on the ground; then practice drawing while leaning over slightly or moving forward/backward (i.e., "walking").
- Practice drawing, aiming and firing from standing, crouching and around objects if possible. If you conceal carry with one of our bags, you'll want to practice with the bag ON your body.
For example, when we practice with the Maddie Crossbody, we draw, aim and fire while wearing the bag, just like we would in a crisis.
- Practice reloading so that reloading becomes second nature when faced with an emergency situation--you don't want to fumble with bullets while someone else has already taken aim at you!
This means practicing how quickly each type of bullet loads into its respective magazine/cylinder chamber (e.g., 9mm handguns typically use magazines that hold 15 rounds versus revolvers which use cylinders that hold 5-7 rounds).
- You may also want to practice different methods for loading ammunition into these places: some pistols have clips that can be quickly inserted; others require pushing bullets directly into place using something called an "speed loader."
Once again though--the key here is repetition so don't get discouraged if things aren't perfect right away!
Know your situational limits
Before you start packing, you need to know your situational limits. These differ for everyone, but here are a few things to consider:
Know your abilities: You can't be a master of all things at once. You might have been hunting with a rifle since you were a kid, or be confident with an AR-15 on the range, but you'd never reach for either of those as a standard self-defense weapon.
Understand what kind of weapons training you have had and if there is anything else you should be doing before carrying a firearm as opposed to just owning one for fun! Handguns are very different and require different training.
Know the law: Whenever you travel (even within your own state), always check local laws and regulations regarding firearms ownership. Carry with respect for each jurisdiction's rules regarding this issue.
For example, in some states such as New York City it is illegal for anyone without an NYPD permit issued by Chief James O'Neill himself even though they live there full time! In Texas, open carry is perfectly legal, but not always appropriate or permitted in certain places.
Have the right weapon: Find out what kind of gun would suit your needs best based on factors like size, weight and caliber--all factors that affect comfortability while carrying around all day long!
Fear of accidental discharge
Accidental discharge is something every responsible gun owner aims to prevent at all costs. This one of the most common fears that keeps responsible gun owners from carrying their firearms.
There are steps you should take to reduce the risk of an accidental discharge happening.
First and foremost, make sure your gun is in good working order before transporting, using or carrying it.
That means checking that everything is functioning properly, making sure all magazines are loaded with fresh ammo and not expired or old ammo, and making sure there aren't any safety issues with the weapon itself (like broken springs) or with its holster.
You should also consider getting training from an experienced instructor who knows how weapons work in detail--especially if this isn't something they've done before.
This will help prevent accidents from happening due to user error during normal daily activities like holstering/unholstering at home or work; walking around town; driving through traffic jams; et cetera.
We also recommend everyone, whether they carry or not, be certified in 1st Aid and CPR
. You never know when you'll need to spring into action to save someone's life or administer aid.
Change your mindset
Changing your mindset is a process, and it takes time and effort. You need to be comfortable with the idea of carrying a firearm, as well as the idea of using it if necessary.
This can be challenging for new gun owners or those who only hunt once or twice a year.
When you carry, it's vital that you are clearheaded, and avoid drugs, alcohol, and even medication that would limit your response times. If your head's not in the right place when you carry, you put yourself and others at risk.
Carrying a firearm requires practice, situational awareness, and knowledge.
Carrying a firearm is a serious responsibility, but it's also one that can be enjoyed by anyone with the proper training and the right mindset.
If you have been thinking about carrying but haven't taken the plunge yet, I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to approach the idea from an informed perspective and make it work for yourself.