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Ask Ed: Concealed Carry FAQs

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NOTE: USCCA Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to editor@usconcealedcarry.com. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

Q: We live in Florida, where it’s hot almost all year round. My wife started carrying, but the belly band for her is way too warm. What is the best carrying holster/placement for warmer-climate states?

A: If she’s not looking to carry in a traditional holster, my next step would be the snap-on trigger cover and clip holster from a company such as ClipDraw that allow her to safely and securely clip a pistol inside her waistband with the trigger completely covered. Some ladies aren’t fond of pocket holsters, as they don’t always play well with women’s pants, but if a pocket unit from someone like Elite Survival Systems or SwapRig will work for her, that is also a good route. Another excellent option is the UKoala, which allows a kind of hybrid on-/off-body carry. It’s basically a purse that goes around her waist and then also around her leg. Might be worth a try.

Q: What is the difference between shooting glasses and safety glasses?

A: Safety glasses are eyewear that is rated to a specific level of impact resistance. Shooting glasses are anything that anyone decides to sell as glasses to wear while shooting. Almost all shooting glasses are also safety glasses, and any safety glasses can be used as shooting glasses. (It’s kind of like how all MDs are doctors but not all doctors are MDs.) Some of the old yellow-lensed units from the ‘60s and ‘70s, however, were not safety glasses. They were just shooting glasses.

What is most important is that you wear some kind of eyewear while shooting. You’re not trying to stop a bullet. You’re trying to stop hot brass, burning powder and other detritus from getting directly onto your eyeballs. I’m not going to recommend that you use non-safety-rated sunglasses or your usual prescription glasses as shooting glasses, but they’re far better than nothing.

Q: Why can’t I carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in my vehicle?

A: This is going to have everything to do with where you live. Some states wholly embrace the responsibly armed lifestyle, and some were dragged kicking and screaming across the concealed carry finish line. Perhaps not surprisingly, you will notice that the states that are generally “gun-friendly” will often allow permit holders to transport loaded longarms in vehicles. If you had to beg your local police chief or sheriff for a permit, then chances of you being allowed to legally transport a loaded rifle or shotgun are lower than average. But as always, I write articles, not laws. When it comes to guns, it is better to ask first rather than have to plead later. Reach out to our staff here at the USCCA with your specifics and they’ll be able to get you the information you need.

Q: Is it better to start with electronic optics?

A: I would say that if the new shooter is only new to handgunning as in, maybe this is a longtime duck or deer hunter who is just now learning to shoot a pistol or revolver then I would stick with irons. He or she will be accustomed to the concept of lining up sights. If this is a completely new shooter and you have them, going with the electronics won’t hurt anything.

I do not, however, believe that anyone should be taught to shoot with nothing but optics. That’s like letting your grandson fire the gun but not letting him learn how to load, safe, reload and unload it. No fair just teaching someone one part of a much larger equation. Once the student is performing well with a red-dot or reflex sight, it’s time to move on to shooting like his or her ancestors did.

Q: Should training or shopping come first?

A: If possible, attend a class by an instructor who will be able to let you try out a wide array of handguns. Then you’ll kind of be doing both at the same time. Similarly, plenty of ranges and gun stores offer on-site gun rental, which will yield similar results. It will always be best to actually discharge a firearm (or a firearm of its type) before buying it. And doing so is easier now than it’s ever been.

If neither of those are possible, and if you don’t have any friends or relatives who will let you root through their gun safes, then I would say you’ll have to get into a gun shop and start picking up pistols. Granted, just because a gun feels good in your hand is no guarantee that you will be able to shoot well with it. But if a gun doesn’t even feel good in your hand, the chances of you developing proper skills with it are very, very low.

Q: What slang should newbies know?

 A: Slang? None. The USCCA has an outstanding glossary of gun terms that new gun owners will find very helpful. Slang in a field in which you have very little experience is a lot like slang in a foreign language you’re just learning: You’re going to want to be very careful about using it until you know a lot more than you do now.

Don’t forget to reach out to editor@usconcealedcarry.com or one of our friendly Customer Engagement team members. You can also drop a comment below with your questions!

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