Tactical Confidence Through Competence

Avoiding the Five Most Common Concealed Carry Mistakes

Deciding to legally carry a handgun to defend yourself or someone for whom you are responsible is a huge decision. As President of Kangaroo Carry holsters (www.KangarooCarry.com) and Virtual Tactical Academy, I often see clients and students engaging in some very unwise concealed carry habits. The most common ones are discussed here.

MISTAKE #1: Forgetting the First Rule of a Gun Fight

The first rule is of course “Bring a Gun!” A handgun is like a parachute. If you don’t have one when you need it, you probably won’t ever need one again. For concealed carry to be of use, it needs to be a well thought out lifestyle constant that is integrated into your daily activities. By a “lifestyle constant”, we mean you carry a gun as routinely as a cell phone. Crime will happen when motive meets opportunity. The bad guys act only when they think the odds are more in their favor than yours. Therefore, you don’t know when (if ever) you will need a gun, but the whole reason for a concealed carry handgun is at-hand convenience if and when you need it. Plus---carrying a rifle or shotgun might freak out your neighbors or co-workers!

MISTAKE #2: Carrying a Variety of Guns

Variety is the spice of life, but is a recipe for disaster with firearms. There is only so much time and mental energy to train. If you have to try to learn multiple operating systems, point-of-aim and point-of-impact with multiple handguns, you will not have mastery of muscle-memory dependent skill sets that are required to effectively operate your handgun under high stress conditions. If you need more than one dedicated carry firearm, try to stay in the same gun family. If you prefer a certain type of firearm, get the other carry guns in the same configuration, operating system and grip angle, but perhaps in different sizes. For example, if you like an external safety, make sure all your carry guns have a safety in same place that works in same direction. We lose the ability to think creatively under stress and will fall back on our lowest level of training. Training with the same system, in the same way, can save the day when time is life.

MISTAKE #3: Not Having a Sensible Carry System

There are only three (3) places for a handgun: 1) In the hand of a well-trained, competent, sober adult, 2) In a holster attached to the body of a well-trained, competent, sober adult, or 3) Locked away from anyone who is not a well-trained, sober, competent adult. Under your car seat, in your nightstand, or crammed in a pocket or purse without a holster is not one of those three places. Your carry system should allow you to carry in all-day comfort in a position that works for your lifestyle and body type. Your carry system should also include where you store your gun when you take it off at the end of the day.

MISTAKE #4: Going Stupid Places With Stupid People Doing Stupid Things While Armed

Now that is a very wide net to cast for mistakes waiting to happen. “Stupid is as Stupid does!” Add a firearm to the mix and the outcome cannot be good. Carrying concealed means being clear-headed, aware, and legally responsible. You cannot afford to be thoughtless in any way when carrying concealed. Wise choices start with being sober, aware of your responsibilities as a legally armed Citizen and carrying on from there.

MISTAKE #5: Shooting Paper Range Targets = Learning to Fight With a Gun

Any training activity is best done with an eye to outcome. If your desired outcome is to shoot nice neat little holes in the center of a paper targets that do not move or try to fight back in a well-lit area, then you are golden! When you want to learn to fight with a handgun against potentially one or more people trying to hurt you, then you want to train in the most realistic conditions and environment as possible. Effective training allows for safe learning mistakes. In a realistic dynamic training environment, you will develop your ability to operate and think under progressively difficult conditions.

Until recently, this type of reality-based training was only offered to Elite Military and Elite Law Enforcement. This is a shame because this level of training is as least as important for the “average” legally licensed concealed carry citizen as a Tier One Operator. If you carry concealed lawfully, you deserve training of the same quality!

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