If you make a mistake or two with your concealed carry strategy, it’s not like it carries life or death consequences, right? Oh, wait…

Read below to make sure you’re avoiding these top 4 concealed carry mistakes:

1) Not Using a Holster

Even for a gun carried in a pocket or a purse, a holster is NOT optional.

A proper holster will:

  • Secure your gun
  • Keep it correctly oriented and easily accessible
  • Protect the trigger
A white woman wearing light gray jeans and a black blouse indexes her trigger finger along the slide f a small handgun as she draws it out of the concealed pocket of a fashionable purse. Her long fingernails are painted with gold sparkly paint.

Even if your gun is unholstered in a “secure” carrier, it is NOT safe.

Each of those three “lost” benefits from not using a holster can cause injury or death for you or someone else.

Remember NFL star Plaxico Burress? While carrying a pistol in his waistband, he experienced all three consequences of not using a holster. As his gun fell from position (loss of security), he desperately reached for it as it slid down his pants leg (loss of orientation) and managed to shoot himself in the leg in the process (loss of trigger protection).

We hear stories like this every day of people who have shot themselves in undesirable places while reaching for an unholstered gun in a purse, waistband or pocket. Use a holster. Always.

A revolver lies on its side with the empty cylinder popped out of the frame. The cylinder shows seven empty chambers.

An unchambered gun is an unsafe gun. Getting the RIGHT foundations for concealed carry life is crucial to being safe and effective.

2) Carrying With an Empty Chamber

It might seem “safer,” but it’s actually the opposite…

In a self-defense encounter, you won’t have excess time to perform basic operations on your firearm, and you may not have an extra hand available to do so either.

And with a massive adrenaline dump in progress, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to load your pistol.

Keep it chambered, keep it holstered. Get a review from the experts when you download one of our most popular guides on the concealed carry lifestyle.

A white male in a blue plaid shirt, dark knit hat and dark pants holds a large prybar in his right hand and has a blue backpack slung over his left shoulder as he faces a three-story yellow house which is being illuminated by very bright security lights. A midnight blue sky and the dark shapes of trees show in the background.

There is no “magic bullet” to self-defense. Not even owning a gun…

3) Relying Solely on Your Gun

Most of your concealed carry success will actually result from avoiding having to use your weapon.

Consider this scenario…

You’re standing in line at your local gas station. While waiting to pay, you feel a gun pressed to the back of your head. The guy behind you shouts for everyone to get down because this is a robbery. Would just “having a gun” help you here?

The answer is probably not. In fact, it might even harm you and the people around you if things go south.

But knowing how to identify what’s going on around you, learning conflict de-escalation skills and even studying basic hand-to-hand self-defense are all keys to a successful personal-defense strategy.

To be truly prepared, you MUST look at concealed carry through a comprehensive self-defense lifestyle lens.

A small family - father, mother and a very young son - stand on the bright green and manicured lawn of a modern two-story home.

Does your family have a plan?

4) Not Thinking in Advance

A self-defense encounter will start and finish in seconds. And without forethought, the average human mind will take time to process an emergency situation, often starting with “Is this really happening?”

Preparing mentally is just as important as preparing physically.

Spend some time considering what you would do if you were:

  • Stuck in an armed robbery at a convenience store
  • Approached by muggers on the street
  • The victim of an active carjacking attempt
  • Caught in a shooter scenario at a restaurant, movie theater or church

The time to mentally prepare for the future is now. By developing your strategies in advance, you’re much more likely to overcome the shock, surprise and confusion of a self-defense encounter — and successfully survive it.

Summary: You Need to Prepare to Survive

So to review, the top mistakes even seasoned gun owners make when carrying concealed are:

  1. Not using a holster
  2. Carrying with an empty chamber
  3. Relying too much on just the gun
  4. Not thinking in advance

You might have noticed a theme throughout all of these of being prepared for the absolute worst.

Each one of these mistakes could cost you your life — no matter how experienced you are.

So do yourself and everyone around you who you intend to protect a favor. Spend a bit of quality time evaluating your habits and these self-defense scenarios — in advance.