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Best Advice For Those New To Concealed Carry


Starting off, the concealed carrier needs to learn his or her ABCs.   Always Be Carrying.

If you’re not an everyday carrier, you’re doing yourself a disservice right off the bat.  Of course, there’s a bunch of things you’ll need to know before you head out there.  Here’s an article that runs through the major bits of advice that apply to most concealed carriers.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a great start for those new to concealed carry.

Nobody Is Looking At You Or Your Gun

If you’ve concealed your pistol, that’s the last you need to worry about it.  Check in the mirror to see if you can see the clear outline of your firearm.  If it looks like it could be an insulin pump or a cell phone case – chances are you don’t need to worry about it.

People are generally less aware of their surroundings than you would think.  You won’t be.  So you’ll be paying attention to how you look.  The only other people who may also be paying attention are fellow concealed carriers, law enforcement, and the occasional member of the military.   Everyone else could probably care less you have your concealed carry firearm on you will likely be oblivious if you’re printing.

A Good Holster Is As Necessary As A Good Pistol

You should get a holster will keep your concealed carry firearm accessible at all times.  The second priority is that it’s concealable inside the waistband or inside a pocket holster (the most popular methods of carry).

Your holster is every bit as important as your pistol because you’re depending on both to be there when you need them.  So, don’t welch out  on your holster or your gun.

Get An Actual CCW Belt That Supports Your Gun

Whereas before a simple thin belt made out of canvas or leather would do – it won’t anymore.  Having a pistol inside your waistline means there’s a weight dragging down.  When selecting a concealed carry belt, look for the following:

  • Stiff, rigid material that holds its form over time
    • An example of this would be a thick leather or leather hybrid belt.
  • It stays flush with your waistline no matter if you are standing or sitting.
  • It’s recommend that your gun belt be two inches longer than your normal belt if you are holstering inside the waistband (IWB).

Going right along with this – you’ll probably need pants that are a bit wider, too.  Tight pants will become very uncomfortable once you add your concealed carry pistol and holster to the mix.

Practice Your Draw All Day, Every Day

Your draw is more important than your range time.  Obviously, don’t practice your draw in front of people or in public places.  In your private time, continually practice drawing from the seated and standing position with your firearm unloaded.  This will help educate you as to where your concealed carry holster needs to be.  If you struggle or wiggle a lot drawing your concealed carry pistol, adjust your holster to a position where you don’t need to.


A nice, fast, fluid draw takes time and lots of practice.

Dry Fire Every Opportunity You Get

Dry firing is the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to become familiar with the mechanics of your pistol or revolver.  Always ensure your firearm is completely unloaded prior to dry firing your gun.  That means ejecting the magazine and checking the upper receiver for rounds.

If you’re watching TV, practice drawing and firing.  If you’re waiting for the mailman to arrive at the door – draw and dry fire.  Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire.  Do it until everything about drawing and pulling the trigger is reflective muscle memory.

Full Metal Jacket Is For The Range – Not Your Defense


Unless state law requires you to use FMJ, don’t.  Especially for calibers like 9mm, FMJ will punch straight through an actual person – meaning unless you hit a vital organ or the brain box, you’re not guaranteed a thing.  Hollow points, semi-wadcutters, soft points – these are the types of ammunition you want.

You want an actual self-defense round to create a wound channel so wide you can row a kayak through it.

Don’t Worry About Show – Just Worry About Tell


Pick the caliber that suits your shooting style best.  Don’t worry about what anyone else has to say about it.  If you’re confident you can place a .32 caliber bullet precisely on target straight from the draw, use a gun chambered in .32.  Does a .45 ACP bullet create a big hole in whatever it hits?  Generally, yes.  A .32 won’t.  But it doesn’t matter the size of the hole you’re going to create in an attacker – it just matters that you’re confident you can put it there.

Pick a caliber you shoot best.  Practice every day.  Know the law.  Those are the basics.

Do you have any additional tips to share? Comment below and let us know!

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About G. Halek | View all posts by G. Halek

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun…

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 26 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his Sig Sauer SP2022 in a Dara Holsters Appendix IWB holster.

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  • Al in IL

    Fantastic! I purchased my first handgun about six months ago and am taking my required 16 hours of classroom instruction in a couple weeks before paying the racketeering money that apparently gives me the right to defend myself with a firearm in the Socialist Republic of Illinois. This was helpful advice. I have been reading just about everything I can get my eyes on, such as this site for the past few months. My wife and I have taken a couple of pistol safety classes, and I have spent a lot of time (and money) at the range. Having this info is like a checklist. Just have a few things left to do.

    Side note: While I understood what the author was saying, it’s a little confusing and contradicting to say that hollow-point ammo is desirable because the goal is to make a hole “so wide you can row a kayak through it” and then follow it up with the caliber comment saying “it doesn’t matter the size of the hole you’re going to create in an attacker,” just that you can hit the target. Again, I understand what the point was, but it might be confusing to some.

    Anyway, thanks for the great article. I’m off to put the kids to bed, order a couple Hank’s Amish belts, and practice my draw and dry firing, apparently.

    • Dave Knight Jr.

      The only other thing I would say is practice reloading . People will say, I don’t need to I don’t need a spare. Well what if there is multiple attackers ect. P.S. PLEASE CLEAR AND RE-CLEAR YOUR WEAPONS PEOPLE. Be safe.

      • Al in IL

        I actually bought some of those orange “dummy rounds” for exactly that purpose. Kinda have to fudge that last round ejection deal before swapping mags, but the dropping and inserting of a fresh mag process is still the same from what I can tell.

        And yes, I carry a spare mag with me around the house.

    • James England

      You can use a small caliber round that can still create a very large *wound channel*. The bigger the caliber, generally the wider the hole – but the wound channel actually refers to how it mushrooms and moves through soft tissue. To be honest, I love .40 S&W and .45 ACP but I’ve found that for concealed carry pistols – they’re not comfortable for me. So I generally use a 9mm – which is a smaller caliber. Do I love .40 S&W? Absolutely. So it’s really what the individual carrier wants to do – and that’s why I recommend JHP for 9mm self-defense. Small caliber – big wound channel.

      • Denver

        Have you ever tried a Springfield XDS in 45ACP along with a Alien Ware IWB holster is the best carry gun I have found. My personal prefference of course

        • Denver

          Alien gear sorry

          • Teflon

            EDC Springfield XDS 45 in a G Code Incog holster and mag caddie attatched.

      • Al in IL

        Thanks for the clarification. And, I guess that by your standards, I must be doing SOMETHING right since 9mm JHP is exactly what I have for my (soon to be) EDC when I carry around the house.

    • Justin Cruze

      My opinion, the main reason to stay away from the FMJ for defense use, is the seemingly neverending penetration. Firstly, you should always be aware of what is behind your intended target, however, if you fire a FMJ and it continues on, it could injure an innocent bystander…for which you will be held accountable.

  • Arturo

    FMJ will punch straight through an “actual” person? As opposed to what other kind of person? This “article,” chock full of errors was clearly never proof-read.

    • Jonathan McIntyre

      Mod targets are people too! Out of all of that, the grammar of a Marine is the best criticism you got? Semper fi Devil, keep it coming hard charger! Freaking grammar Nazis.

  • GrantleyHutson

    Do as much research that you can before you buy your firearm. Talk to someone who has the firearm you’re thinking of buying. Ask them about carrying, methods they’ve tried, ones they like, ones they don’t like. Research holsters, research owb, iwb, pocket, kydex, leather, and talk to those who have used them all and again, what they like and don’t like about them. Just because an owb kydex phantom holster by raven concealment works great for a guy with an m&p, doesn’t mean it’s going to workout great for your glock.