Getting Used to Carrying

Question:

After a long wait I finally received my Wisconsin CCW permit. I have bin carrying around the house some prior to receiving it and today I took the dog for long walk. I am having trouble getting used to carrying and I would like hear from others who have bin doing it for a while. how long did it take you and is it as natural as carrying your wallet or wearing a wedding ring for 30 years does it ever become a part of who you are?

One of many replies:

It is different isn’t it? It’s not like any other tool you may decide to carry with you. This particular tool comes with a huge responsibility and that is what I think made me pause and also wondered will I ever get use to wearing this thing on a daily basis?

I too at first carried around the house, trying to figure out the best carry method, the best comfort & fit. Initially when I took the dog for a walk it went along too, but it was empty-no bullets. Partly because I myself was unsure about its power, I was scared about its potential and my skill to handle without accidentally discharging causing harm to myself or other.

It took about 2-3 months before it became comfortable for me to accept having it on my person. I kept thinking that although it was concealed, it felt like people just knew! With time I realized people don’t know unless I was careless and allowed it to be printed or exposed. Just make sure you get the right equipment for your body to conceal that thing!

I wear mine concealed three different ways depending on what I’m wearing that day. I prefer to carry my compact 45, so if I’m wearing a suit then it is carried in a SmartCarry™ holster. At first I felt conscious that everyone can see the bulge, but after standing directly in front of room full of people giving a presentation nobody noticed. That built more confidence. When I’m wearing jeans, then the 45 goes into an IWB where it is well hidden and placed at a comfortable 3:30 position, yours might be different but you’ll find it. Some of my clothes can’t handle the weight or fit of the 45, so the third way is to pocket carry with a .380 TCP. It’s not a 45 but its better then pointing a stick and it reaches farther too.

The day will come for you just as it has for me and so many others that you won’t feel right leaving the house without your special defense tool! Remember Carl Malden’s TV ads? ” Don’t leave home without it! ” this will become your slogan too!

Another fantastic reply:

A few years ago, we started ending our CCW qualification course of fire by having class members reholster their loaded handgun after the last shot, then going back into the classroom. It has been really comical to see how many people feel a need to tell us their gun is still loaded or simply take the gun out of the holster and start to unload it on the bench before leaving for the classroom. When we get out of the range and back to the classroom, I ask people how many had ever had a loaded gun in a holster outside a range before – most have never even had any gun in a holster, much less a loaded gun. I ask them how it feels. Most say it makes them a little nervous, or feels “weird.”

That feeling is what we call “normal”.

It won’t be long before it will start to feel that way to you also. What will feel weird is getting dressed without including the gun as part of the normal process. You will still be aware of it, or should be if you’re responsible, but it won’t feel strange at all. Whether it’s a month or six before that happens is hard to predict. One day, you’ll have to go to a prohibited zone, like taking an airline flight, and be VERY aware that you’re not fully dressed.

Have you ever started driving a different model vehicle and suddenly start noticing for the first time how many of those there are on the road? Much the same is true about carrying a firearm. People who are not part of the armed lifestyle aren’t looking for anyone else to have a gun. If your gun is even moderately concealed, they will be far less aware of it than you are. You may be able to spot that slight wrinkle or bump at your belt line, but they probably will not. Even more, if they do notice something, they’ll probably write it off to a cell phone, pager, or one of the many other gadgets people now carry on their belts. If you’re willing to even slightly adjust your style of clothing, chances are you can adequately conceal almost anything. You will be far more critical and aware of any slight printing than the vast unwashed ever will.

Classic example – when I teach our concealed carry class, I carry concealed. The only exception is on range day since I use the same holster to demonstrate a proper draw and reholster, and it’s much easier to see with an outside-the-waistband belt holster. In addition, I mention several times throughout the day that I always carry as the content leads to it, even how I got to that point since it’s not where I started when I first got my license and was certainly not my expectation when I took my concealed carry course in preparation. Many people assume that I’m talking about other times, not right then, just making a general statement of philosophy. One of the last portions of what is usually the first course unit is concealment options – types of holsters, clothing, equipment, etc. Throughout that unit, we describe most of the common options – belt and paddle holsters, belly bands, pouches, vests, purses, fanny pack, etc. At the end, I take out an inside-the-waistband holster, put a dummy gun in it, and describe how it works. I say something to the effect, “It works pretty well, don’t you think?” That usually results in puzzled looks. I turn, grab my shirt, pull it up to untuck it, and expose my holster and gun. Usually, the only people who already knew where the gun was, or even realized I was carrying one at the time or all day, are those with whom I’ve had a private lesson prior to class and answered the “can you conceal this” question with that same demonstration. If there was ever to be a group of people who should have been able to tell I was carrying, it would be the members of a concealed carry class who had several hours of direct, up close observation in a class on that very topic. If that group won’t figure it out, even with all the clues I provide throughout the day, chances are slim the average clueless person wrapped up in their own world will either.

The more you carry, the less weird it will feel.