At his bungalow in Palm Springs Steve McQueen practices his aim before…

10 Things To Avoid While Carrying Concealed


That’s a picture taken of Steve McQueen back a ways and featured in Time Magazine.  See Steve?  Steve has a loaded handgun.*  In the background, you’ll notice an open can of Coors.  While there ain’t nothing wrong with an oat soda, a Magnum revolver, or kicking it on the couch – these three things shouldn’t be hanging out together.  And we’ll go over 10 other things that concealed carriers should avoid – just so we’re on an even playing field.

*”But, how do you know it is loaded?” — We don’t.  We assume it’s loaded until otherwise proven because that’s a good practice to get into.

10.  The State of New Jersey

Surprised?  We are, too.  Every single year people carry concealed into New Jersey.  Whether it’s on purpose or accidental, it doesn’t matter.  The State of New Jersey doesn’t care the reasons – it’s a felony.  Until that changes, avoid crossing that state border at all costs while carrying a firearm on your person.

*Go ahead and add: Maryland.  Lots of people get arrested in Maryland for accidentally crossing over with a legally registered firearm.

9.  Drinking Establishments

Some states allow concealed carriers to enter into alcohol serving establishments.  Almost no state allows a concealed carrier to drink while armed.  In general, there’s nothing wrong with going into a restaurant that happens to have a bar.  But establishments that only serve alcohol – it’s just a matter of time before someone does something they’d normally regret.  You don’t need to be that person.  Let the bouncers, the bartenders, and the police deal with it.

8.  Drinking In General

Some concealed carriers don’t see the harm in having a few oat sodas (or bourbon pops) while at a gathering of family and friends.  After all – we’re all close, right?  The only problem is that if you’ve got your favorite everyday carry strapped to your hip and you’re under the influence – you’re not thinking clearly.  Even if Chechen terrorists parachute down from the sky into the middle of your family gathering, if you’ve been drinking – you’re not going to be any good at fighting them off.  We did an article way earlier on alcohol and carrying concealed here.  It generated a heated debate, but we stand by our thoughts on the topic of not drinking while carrying.

7.  Ditch Digging Friends

You know the type.  One word leads to another and before long, that friend of yours has got him or herself stuck up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  Sometimes this just ends with a minor verbal altercation or perhaps a shoulder shrug on behalf of the other person dealing with your friend.  Other times, there’s the potential that friend of yours is going to wind up in trouble.  And as much as you want to help him or her – going in armed is probably not a good idea.  If you plan on being armed, avoid friends that can get you drawn into any unnecessary confrontation.

Following up on that, if you’re wondering some good steps to de-escalating a conflict – check out our article here.

6.  Itching Or Adjusting Your Holster In Public

A concealed carry firearm is that – concealed.  Just like your body, there are pieces of you that are appropriate to adjust in front of other people and then there are other parts that aren’t.  Your firearm is one of those other parts now.  If you’re in line at the checkout – don’t worry, your firearm is still there.  But if you’re not sure – you can read the article Brandon wrote about this.


5.  Leaving One Out Of The Chamber

It can be nerve-racking, at first, to carry everyday with a round in the chamber.  Your firearm isn’t going to discharge unless you pull the trigger.  How do you know that?  Because you place your firearm in a high-retention holster that ensures the trigger guard is secure.  Now, you are in control.

4.  Angry People

Some people are just more prone to violent outbursts than others.  We know where those people generally hang out.  Sure, they can wander outside of their usual spots and there’s no guarantee you won’t run into them at the store.  Still, stay out of places that tend to have lots of angry people looking for fights.

3.  Less Than Honorable Practices

If you’re a concealed carrier, you’re expected to act as a law-abiding citizen.  You’re an unwitting ambassador of the community.  If you’re carrying concealed on your motorcycle, and you decide to whip in and out of traffic just because you can – you can safely assume nobody likes you.  That’s a pretty big statement.  But when you’re parked in your car in a tremendous traffic jam and you see a motorcyclists weave and bob between vehicles, you’d probably wish they wouldn’t.  Now, if you’re doing it, and you have a firearm strapped to you – you’re inviting misery.

Every single warm-blooded mammal in this country steps outside the law.  Whether it’s running a “Stop” sign or going faster than the posted speed limit – if you’re going to step outside the law, do it without a firearm.

2.  Follow-Up: Bad Driving

Let’s continue this point a bit further.  We covered a story a little while back where a concealed carrier was driving like an idiot in Florida.  I know, I know – you can hardly believe it.  A Floridian driving horribly.  But suspending your disbelief just a moment, this driver happened to accrue ANOTHER vehicle following him for allegedly the purposes of getting his license plate number so he could phone it into police.  That situation turned out about as bad as you can imagine it would.  Concealed carriers don’t like being followed.  But going off point #3 and continuing it into this point: if you’re going to drive like an idiot, do yourself a favor and leave your firearm out of it.  That gun is not your automatic justification to do whatever you please.

1.  Picking Up Strangers

Even worse than picking up strangers is picking up strangers who are drunk.  Unfortunately, for this one Uber driver, he found out the hard way that it doesn’t pay to use your firearm to secure an unruly, drunk passenger.

In most vehicles, your passenger(s) will be located behind you or beside you.  That means they have an uncommon advantage in close quarters – preventing you from easily using your firearm to defend yourself.  For those out there that drive taxi cabs, you’re probably shaking your head and saying, “how the heck do you expect us to defend ourselves?”

For those who aren’t taxi cab drivers – avoid the situation if you can.  For those who do regularly drive drunk and sometimes unruly strangers about, if you run into this conflict, bring the vehicle to a stop, take the keys out of the ignition, and exit the vehicle with your firearm.   We’ll go into this in more detail in a future article.

In conclusion, if you avoid these 10 things while you’re carrying concealed, you’ll find that life got a whole bunch simpler.  And simpler is good – especially when you’re armed.

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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  • James Bonanno

    Very well written James. I’ve been carrying for about 5 years now. Thanks for the words of wisdom. I try to follow the items you’ve discussed. I am from New Jersey and reading number 10 was exactly on target. Stay safe out there and shoot true.

  • Truthsayer

    Yeah. Definitely stay out of NJ. Even with a R at the helm they have not seen fit to fix their insane gun prohibition laws. I would add NY to that list as well.

    • Cisco

      If only Chris Christie would man up, and get with it, in NJ. I think truth be known, he’s got a little left wing liberal in him. He’d like us to think not, but his inaction speaks volumes.

      • Truthsayer

        Yeah. Silence and inaction tells more than people actions do in most cases.

  • Mr Poitier

    You carry your way. I carry mine

  • Geeman

    An excellent article — this is exactly what I mean when I talk to my far left friends about RESPOSIBLE Gun Ownership!

  • georgeIIII

    It’s nice to be free enough in Indiana to be legal to have a Corona with my steak while out on the town. That is my personal limit.

  • Mike M

    I’d add that if, despite trying to follow these rules, you find yourself in an unpleasant situation dealing with morons, don’t touch your weapon unless there is reason to believe that someone is about to kill or irreversibly injur someone else.

    If an encounter with an unruly drunk is going to cause you to consider drawing your weapon, not only should you not do so, but you should seriously examine whether it’s a good idea for you to carry on the first place.

    • John Smith

      Mike, that’s good advice! I once read a reply in a chat board from a guy who didn’t recommend a gun because it was too small. Seems he drew on several guys he was approaching because the found hey had broken into his car… and they weren’t scared so he had to run away. And I thought:
      1) you carried and drew a gun you had no faith in 2) and never intended to shoot 3) hoping to scare people 4) WHO WEREN’T THREATENING YOU! The problem, as I told him, wasn’t when he left the house with that gun, it was when he left home without a brain.

  • Kevin Williams

    This is the most important thing for all carry and conceal carriers, never invite yourself to a party you’re not invited to. If the person doesn’t come after you specifically don’t get yourself involved in the situation walk away. What I just said just covered all 10 of those steps and any other steps that you may wonder or be thinking about.

  • Don Smith

    You better stay out of The People’s Republic of Maryland while carrying, it’s as bad as New Jersey. Thanks to that EX taxing socialist anti-gun Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley. Remember people Marty is running for the POTUS, read up on how he personally destroyed Maryland even going so far as to taxing rain. Trump called him a whinny little baby and Trump is right.

  • Mike Putrow

    I really have an issue with a round in the chamber. The odds are you are never going to be called upon to be a hero.So, that single second it takes to chamber a round is not going to be significant. My view is that if I don’t have that second, maybe I should not be drawing a weapon at that precise moment.

    • Jerry Lee

      It is very significant. Time is your greatest enemy in a violent encounter. Over 70% of the time the bad guy gets the first strike….if you think the time to load is insignificant, try doing it with snap cap over thick carpet or padding with the friend “mock” attacking you. You will change your mind quickly.

      • Mike Putrow

        I just don’t agree. There are times when you should just wait for the right time to draw a weapon. I was a cop. There was never a psyche that said “pull your weapon first”.

      • Cecil Howard

        What Jerry and Jim said are true. As I said in my post I have been in gun fights. Albeit military but one. What the problem is alot of your instructors are reading out of the book. Let me give you a example I want the element of surprise. BS there is no element of surprise. You people have brain washed. Talk ro people who have been in a gunfight not someone reading out of a book.

    • Jim Pettigrew

      A round in the chamber in a semi auto is a must, you could be be killed in a nano second.
      Carry a revolver !

      • kyew

        I’m sure you’d reconsider your position if you ever found yourself
        needing to draw your weapon inside your vehicle. The awkwardness of
        having to rack the slide in a confined area is something you’ll never
        forget, especially if your life is in danger. Carry a revolver? Sure,
        and have a nice time with six shots and a reload that requires far more attention paid to it than reloading a magazine.

    • kyew

      The odds are you’ll never need a firearm. Just leave it at home…

      Is that really the mentality we want to advocate? We carry because we’re not fortune tellers and we don’t gamble with our lives. Would you be willing to sacrifice that precious second if the lives of your wife and kids were on the line? I don’t think you would, former LEO or not.

  • Mike Southerland

    Every single warm-blooded mammal in this country steps outside the law. Whether it’s running a “Stop” sign or going faster than the posted speed limit – if you’re going to step outside the law, do it without a firearm.
    So, is this advice for the guy who wakes up in the morning and says to himself, “I think I’m going to speed and run stop signs today. Better leave the gun at home. I’ll wait and carry tomorrow when I feel more law abiding.”? Maybe it’s just semantics, but you start off basically saying “everybody does it” and then the point is “when you do it, do it without a gun.” Practically I think I’d word this along the lines of “if you’re carrying, don’t break the law, ” instead of “don’t carry if you’re going to break the law *today*”.

  • John Kerr

    This needs to read what liberals think when they first buy a gun.

  • Cecil Howard

    You know some of the things you said are right but you never ever talk about open carry. Problem solved. I always have a round in the chamber. You must have been in a gun fight. What you said about it will get someone killed. I have been in combat. I have had to take another ones life. You sir need to be carfull what you say. Also put all those books down and get into the real world.

  • eastprecinctguy

    Re: number 10, the list is definitely longer. I wouldn’t dare cross these state lines with any kind of weapon in my possession (even in the trunk) without very thorough research.

    1) NJ – also, BB guns and pellet guns are considered firearms. Tasers and slingshots are illegal.
    2) MA (unless you have gone to great lengths to get an out-of-state permit)
    3) RI
    4) MD
    5) DC
    6) NY – you can’t even touch a gun without lots of paperwork that only residents can get
    7) CA
    8) OR – not easy to lawfully carry there for non-residents – have to live in adjoining state, etc.
    9) SC – even harder than OR
    10) IL – very hard for non-residents
    11) CO – ditto
    12) HI – forget it

    • kyew

      Even adjoining states don’t always get that benefit in SC (speaking of Georgia). Our state has a lot of catching up to do where CC is concerned. We do have quite a few that we allow to carry here though – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Just not as many as I’d like.

    • Kevin Snyder

      Colorado recognizes CHPs from 30 other states. It is an Open Carry state (except for Denver.) Colorado has no registration requirements. Knowing that – why do you advise what you do?

      • eastprecinctguy

        It’s not that simple. They only recognize resident permits. If you are one of millions who live in a state that denies the right to everyone, the distinction is the difference between a pleasant visit and a prison term.

        • Kevin Snyder

          So move to a state that recognizes the Constitution. And if you carry concealed, it’s…you know…concealed. Nobody knows. Or, as I said, open carry. You don’t go to prison for obeying the law.