10 Common Concealed Carry Mistakes


This is a guest post from Dieter Heren, owner of, a site devoted to hunting, fishing, and shooting. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes from time to time, it’s how we learn. However, making mistakes when concealing a firearm can have serious implications. Instead of making you learn by trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of 10 common mistakes so you don’t have to find out the hard way. Most of the mistakes I’ve listed are made by those still new to carrying concealed, but even those with years of experience can be guilty of making a couple of these mistakes from time to time.

1. Having the minimum required training

In many states, a hunter safety course is enough to qualify you for a concealed weapons license. However, these courses often focus solely on being safe with a rifle in the woods. Although it’s great to know you’re not allowed to shoot over a road the next time you go hunting, it doesn’t exactly prepare you to go out into the regular world and interact with others now that you all of a sudden have a gun on your hip.

Even some classes that are specifically designed around qualifying you for a concealed weapons permit don’t do much in the way of preparing you. Do your research before choosing a class and find a reputable one that is more concerned with proper training rather than getting you out of the course as quickly as possible. The course concerned most about money will often go through some of the basics, have you shoot a few rounds, and send you on your way. You want a course that has instructors who are going to help you in every way possible to make sure you leave their class prepared.

Finally, don’t think that just because you met the minimum requirements for a license you’re now ready to navigate every situation you find yourself in. A responsible person who carries concealed is constantly learning, both mentally and physically. As legendary football coach Bo Schembechler often said, “Every day you’re getting better or worse…you never stay the same”.

2. Printing/Exposing

Printing, where the outline of your gun appears from pushing against your clothing and exposing a part of the gun are mistakes that often arise from complacency. When you first start carrying, often you’re so concerned about your gun showing in public you’ll do anything and everything to make sure it never happens. After carrying every day for years, it’s still a thought but you’re nowhere near as scared of it happening. Just take that extra second to make sure you’re not printing or going to expose your gun at some point.

Honestly, most people are pretty ignorant to their surroundings anyways, but it certainly isn’t worth the trouble of someone freaking out if they do notice because you didn’t want to bother changing your 2 sizes too small shirt. Although some people are extremely concerned about printing, it’s not the end of the world if it happens at some point (although it may be illegal in some localities). It’s certainly not something to get into the habit of doing, but compared to exposing your gun, printing is nowhere near as big a concern. If your gun is exposed, you could find yourself in some serious hot water. The last thing you want to deal with is half the police station closing in on you with guns drawn because you bent over to pick something up and the lady behind you happened to notice your gun.

Trust me, if someone sees your gun and they’re scared, the 911 call won’t be a rational explanation of what happened. Take your time to make sure you’re not printing or in danger of exposing your gun before you leave the house.

3. Using a cheap holster

This mistake is made not from purchasing an inexpensive holster, but a poorly made one. That nylon holster you got on special for $2.99 probably isn’t going to become your go to holster. There are some great holsters that aren’t overly expensive and some pretty awful holsters that are way too expensive. Whatever material you prefer for your holster, it needs to be able to retain your gun properly and be comfortable enough to wear day in and day out.

There’s a reason those who have been carrying for years have a drawer full of holsters in their house, the holsters didn’t perform the way they needed to. Don’t be afraid to experiment with several different holsters to find the one fits your lifestyle and your body properly. The benefits of a quality holster far outweigh the true cost of buying a holster solely based on price.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About Dieter | View all posts by Dieter

Originally from the state of Michigan, I came down to Florida to attend Florida State University and have been living here ever since. I enjoy all things hunting, fishing, and…

Originally from the state of Michigan, I came down to Florida to attend Florida State University and have been living here ever since. I enjoy all things hunting, fishing, and shooting and decided I wanted to share everything I've learned over the years to help out all of those who live in and visit Florida. When I'm not working on my personal site, I can be found in the woods hunting deer and hogs or out on the water chasing pelagics. I carry concealed and opt for a Remington 1911 loaded with Remington Ultimate Defense 230gr. BJHP in .45acp. My enjoyment for responsible and safe concealed carry brought me to this site.

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  • Shawn Patrick Corke Sr

    Ny is only concealed, so I like the article

  • bozo

    $20 and having your picture taken in Alabama and you are ready to go if you never held a gun before !

    • Josiah Silas Michael

      So you can go from no experience to licensed carrier with just $20? What could possibly go wrong?

  • gvw3

    Illinois requires 16 hours of training and range time after that. $200 for the class. $20 for the range time + ammo. $150 to the state for the licence. Illinois law states mostly concealed. So if your gun should show a bit you are not breaking the law.

    • Trey Harris

      This is why I’m glad I live in Tennessee

    • [email protected]

      Yet they have no death penalty for those that would kill innocent people their state? Makes no sense!


      Illinois has such heavy costs and restrictions and hoops to jump through because the politicians don’t want you to have a CCW or a foid card. It’s for your own protection because they really care about you.

      • Spark

        They wouldn’t have CCW at all if the courts didn’t force them to a couple years ago. They were given a choice: Implemented CCW laws allowing people to carry or be forced by the court to become a constitutional carry state (by virtue of throwing out all their laws against it). Since Illinois does absolutely nothing by the constitution it’s obvious which road they took. They also made sure to make it very difficult to get a permit.

  • Clifford Powers

    It does matter because people are stupid and panic, most see a gun and know better and there are those who see a gun and panic and call police then you get hassled so cc just skips all the bs and makes your day so much easier.

    • Lance Troupe

      It’s the left, that has reprogramed the public’s mind in favor to get people to dislike guns, it is their progressive way to get what they want. Once our guns are taken away, the left’s Ideology will then make us subservient to them. I will die protecting my rights to own, and carry if I choose.

      • Russ Ward

        100% correct sir

    • Cecil Howard

      You are wrong. Open carry solves all the problems. Hell there are states that constitutional carry. It’s none off my business if someone is trained . The constitution doesnt say anything about being trained….

      • Under_Our_Noses

        It doesnt say anything about being trained, but gun owndership & use was so common place, except for additional military traiing, it wasnt necessary .. its very necessary now because gun use, 7 ownership is MUCH MUCH less common place and not a part of a typical persons upbringing .. neither were handguns. I think everyone should have to pass a handgun & rifle safety & use training course before being issued a license… and can take as many times as necessary to pass it… just like a drivers license.

      • Ben Grimm

        Open carry is a bad idea. Bad guys aren’t going to open carry. Just makes people scared. Serves no purpose.

        • Spark

          You are right, it does make some people scared/nervous. Not sure why it does more so than any police officer they see but such is the case. The problem is a lack of familiarity. Almost everyone is skeptical of uncommon things. If everyone who concealed started open carrying (where legal) all of a sudden you would find people wouldn’t care after a few weeks. It would be normal. Of course there would still be the anti-gun and left wing crazies, but there is no solving their mental issues.

    • Spark

      Yea, I conceal because its just less eventful. No one asking you about your gun, looking at you because it, or freaking out about it. Much less of a chance of being asked to leave a place of business like a store or restaurant too.

      Fact is, open carry in most of the country (where legal) is not common. People are not accustomed to it and there are those truly (for no reason) afraid of guns. Concealing has almost no drawbacks in my opinion.

      All this being said: I 100% fully support open carry and have absolutely no issue with those who do. I’m not arguing one way or the other. I fully support both, I just choose to conceal.

  • [email protected]

    First…If you are going to conceal/carry, then don’t be afraid to spend good money and buy the best holster to conceal your weapon. It will also allow you easy access to your gun if you should need it in a hurry. Cheap holsters can present a real problem if it is to “flexible” when or if you should need your weapon in a hurry. Go to a reputable gun shop and ask what they would recommend. Trying to save money on a holster is NOT a good idea. Remember, you are carrying for a reason. You want to protect yourself and family and possibly others you might not even know. Stay safe!

  • William Snapper

    As far as larger carry pistol holsters I have no idea. Though I would say, pick what suits you. Conceals well, holds the pistol secure and allows you to draw quickly and smoothly.
    Generally I do not feel cheap was a good word to describe a carry holster, cheap quality maybe, just because you pay a lot for a holster does not mean it will function well.
    As for me, I have three holsters for a .380 pocket pistol. The first holster was a quality leather holster made for my model of pistol and cost about $30. It had a panel so it would not print. After a few weeks it was printing, I added a leather filler to fix the printing problem. When new the holster was so tight I could not draw the pistol without dragging the holster along. I worked the leather to the point where drawing the pistol was better. I never use this holster now.
    My second holsters is a nylon cellphone type pouch, by “Bulldog” very nice, pistol fits well and easy to use, it was about $18. I use this holster frequently when attending events where I will be mostly sitting. I put an iron-on “Red Cross” insignia on the flap. When asked what is in the pouch, I simply say I am allergic to BEE stings with no elaboration.
    My third holster, I use when mostly when doing a lot of walking, I picked this pocket holster off a clearance table at Walmart $5.
    I do not know who made it. The outside is like a velour that doesn’t slide in the pocket, the inside is smooth for easy removal of the pistol. Between the holster and print side of my pants pocket I carry a small soft leather change purse to hide any possible pocket printing.
    To each his own.
    As a matter of note, I can remember when I first started carrying, I would be walking around thinking everyone knew I was carrying, I did keep touching it to be sure it was there. After a short while those feelings and tell moves faded away. Inadvertently, I have entered government buildings when carrying, sometimes I catch myself and return to my car and lock it up, other times I don’t realize it until afterwards.

  • These are all excellent points that every CCW permit holder should read. Like you said, most permit holders are reasonable peace loving people, but it’s the others that give the gun rights people a bad name and make it difficult to pass favorable laws. The most tragic example I can think of happened right here in Florida, where a gun-toting retired cop let his temper get the best of him and killed a fellow-movie goer over texting. Incidents like that don’t help.

    • Cecil Howard


  • TrueTexan2015

    I have been carrying my S&W 38 pistol in my front pant pockets for over 20 years. Never had anyone say a thing. In Texas printing is not against the law. Your gun is still concealed. Need a holster? Air Dropped Supplies . com

  • Cecil Howard

    Im glad I live in Texas because 1Jan 16 we will be a open carry State and you dont have ro worry about exposure

  • Mark W. Mullins

    Virginia requires Basic Home Defense, and Hunters NRA Achievement Firearms Safety classes. This is a very important first step. It should not end with this required courses. A few hours a month, preferably at least once a week, practices should also be taken. There is nothing tho that compare to a father and mother teaching their kids about weapons, and how to safely handle them, that they are NOT TOYS, and even a toy gun is NOT A TOY.. A training tool to show that guns ARE DANGEROUS !!! They are for defense, and they will destroy anything they are pointed at when they are fired. The impact that a father has with his kids about weapons goes farther than any hunters safety course, or any other highly rated program that can be taught about weapons safety. GUN SAFETY…… THATS NO ACCIDENT !!!!

  • Carol Panter

    “None of us IS perfect.” You can’t use “are” if there isn’t even ONE, much less multiple people involved.

  • 730bert
  • Just A Guy on the West Coast

    Basic Understanding of Firearm Safety really should be learned by everyone, gun owner or not.
    I read an article about a licensed concealed carrier in New Jersey where you’re obligated to inform of the concealment. He had a 1911 .45 on his right hip. The Cop made him get out. Began to illegally disarm him (for violating no law) and she couldn’t find or figure out the safety and she shot the man. He recovered. But the illegal disarming caused him to be shot with his own weapon by an incompetent Cop.
    I don’t get it. A Cop demands to know if you’re concealing, (legally) and forces you to let them disarm you! It would save a great deal of heartache resources time and potential death, if they let the (legal conceal carrier) to disarm himself if demanded to.
    Cops point guns in our faces and carry all while working. But a legal concealed carry law abiding citizen is treated as a criminal. I just don’t get it.
    Its simple. Oh you have a weapon? Where is it? (Draw own weapon if truly scared of the legal carrier) get behind the car and order them to slowly disarm and place on hood or trunk and have them walk backwards towards you where you can detain the (legal carrier) until you illegally police his identity and determine his innocence. Tell them to wait until they drive away before rearming themselves.
    Rather than here’s my CCP, where is the weapon? My right / left hip. Okay thank you. Then illegally police his identity to collect revenue and be on your way.

  • Spark

    Good article. I don’t think the printing issue is a big enough of a deal though to make this list. You can print all day every day and very few people will ever notice. Those that do probably still wont be sure what they’re seeing. People don’t pay attention to their surroundings and one of the last things they will notice is a little printing. Also, if you cc on your waist it is almost impossible not to print a little if you have a to bend over unless you like wearing baggy clothes.

    Even if you do print bad enough that someone knows you have a gun, so what? As long as there is nothing illegal about you carrying then I don’t see why you should care. Yes, there are a few people who might call the cops on you (because they think you having a gun is illegal), but the odds of that are very slim.

    Also, if legal in your state you could just open carry and avoid the printing issue altogether, but that is for another post.

    This most important point in this article to me is the holster one. Most accidents occur because of the holster. So for everyone’s sake invest in a good one.