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What I Learned From My First Year of Carrying

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About a year ago, I started the process of obtaining a provisional concealed carry permit. Now, I realize how much that decision has changed my life, and how much I have learned over this past year.

One of the biggest things I have learned since I started carrying is responsibility. When I initially got my permit, I was 18 years old and a freshman in college. I was already dealing with a lot of changes in my day-to-day life. The night before I carried my gun for the first time, I was thinking a lot about it. I had to become okay with the fact that carrying a gun means being ready to use it against a potential threat. I also had to fully grasp that I am the only one responsible for my actions. It seems like an easy enough realization, but as an 18 year old, fresh out of high school, it wasn’t. Carrying a gun is a matter of life or death, and the decision to arm myself every day was the first “adult” decision I had to make. I was afraid of the responsibility, but my desire to be self-reliant is what made me accept the responsibility. Taking control of my own safety is what helped me grow up in a way. Going to college 800 miles away from home is one thing, but fulling accepting responsibility for myself is what made me into the young woman that I am today. I am very thankful that Utah state laws gave me the opportunity to carry at a young age.

Another major lesson I have learned in my first year of carrying is the importance of situational awareness. When I first started carrying, I was constantly looking at my phone while walking across campus. I realized that if I am not able to identify potential threats, I would not be successful in protecting myself from them. It was a difficult habit to give up, but I have been able to stop myself from pouring all of my attention into my phone when in public places.

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I also learned how to dress in a way that would effectively conceal my firearm. Now, I am able to look at a certain piece of clothing and know if it will work with carrying or not. I have had to give up certain types of clothing that women my age typically wear, like crop tops. I am not claiming to be an expert in dressing to conceal well because I still sometimes struggle with making outfits work with carrying. The only way to truly understand what clothing and holster combinations work best is to experiment. One of the most useful tips I have developed this past year is to accumulate options. Having multiple different carry methods makes it easier to conceal, no matter what I choose to wear. I think that more carry options are important, especially for women who are just starting out with concealed carry. Having 1 carry setup and dressing around your gun can be effective, but in my experience, it has limited what outfits I am able to wear. Now that I have built up my holster collection, I can choose my carry setup based on what I have already chosen to wear. Things like the Ulticlip or the Fabriclip have made my life so much easier by allowing me to carry without having to wear a belt. Obviously certain types of clothing simply don’t work with carrying a firearm, but more carry methods does mean more freedom.

Carrying my gun every day for a year has definitely taught me so much. However, I know I still have a lot to learn. One of the ways I have been able to expand my knowledge in through the gun community on Instagram. I have connected with so many experienced individuals who have given some great advice. I have also been able to learn through helping others. I sometimes get messages from other women who have questions about carrying and by answering them, I am strengthening my own knowledge. I look forward to continuing my concealed carry journey.

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Categories: Beginners Guide, General, Women
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About Freedom Concealed | View all posts by Freedom Concealed

Jackie is a college student majoring in business and she is passionate about promoting campus carry. Her favorite firearm to carry is the M&P Shield 9mm in a CrossBreed holster with an Ulticlip.

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