The 10 Commandments of concealed carry was written by Massad Ayoob. We’re using his titles for all 10 Commandments and adding our own commentary for each.
If you Carry, Always Carry
No exception (unless it’s illegal). Don’t get up one day and say “Well, I’m just going to the store quick and will be right back home. I don’t need to bring my gun.” If you do this once, you’re sure to repeat it. You carry a firearm in the first place to be prepared for the unknown; meaning it could happen anytime.
Don’t Carry a Gun if you aren’t Prepared to Use It
In one of our first articles ever, we discuss this important question; If faced with danger, are you prepared to take a life? It’s an extremely important question that you must ask yourself and more importantly, answer it truthfully. If you aren’t 100% sure that you can use your firearm to defend yourself or your family, you should not be carrying a firearm.
Don’t let the Gun make you Reckless
“Hey man, what are you up to tonight?” “Well, I thought I’d head out around 2am and walk up and down the street to see if anyone is getting mugged. I have a gun now!” No.
Anything remotely related to the above example is not holding yourself to the higher standard that you now possess because you carry a firearm. It’s there as a tool if you ever need it. No one knows about it, and you definitely don’t go around looking for trouble.
Get The License
I’ve heard it all before and I know where you’re coming from. “The 2nd Amendment is my Gun Permit.” While many agree, we still have laws that govern our Country and States. Turning yourself into a criminal is not the way to fight back against unjust laws because the end result will be you in jail with real criminals.
Go through the motions and get your state license to carry. It can be a long process in some states, but it’s worth every second of it. Remember that it’s very beneficial to get yourself an out-of-state concealed carry permit as well, such as Florida. I have a NY and FL license and am covered in 40ish states.
Know what you’re doing
Your firearm is a very powerful tool that needs to be learned and practiced with. If you don’t know the in’s and out’s of your carry firearm, you shouldn’t be carrying it. Anything can go wrong at anytime. Knowing how everything works is key to successfully carrying and -god forbid- using your firearm in self-defense.
Furthermore, know what you’re doing as far as the legalities go. If it is illegal to carry in a Church in your state, you should know this. Keeping up to date with local and national laws goes a long way and will ensure you aren’t breaking any of them.
Concealed Means Concealed
I can’t stress this enough. I’ve heard so many stories of police arriving at a store because a person’s firearm was briefly exposed when they were doing something like reaching for a top shelf item or bending over. Know the limits of your attire and how they react when you move around in different positions.
Printing is something that you should also be aware of at all times. There is no shame in checking yourself out in the mirror to see what works and what doesn’t. You may have to change your wardrobe slightly, but it’s better than exposing your firearm to a bunch of shoppers at the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon.
Maximize your Firearms Familiarity
The more you know about your firearm, the better off you’ll be. Get familiar with everything, including your carry ammunition. Take classes, watch YouTube videos, practice. You can NEVER practice enough with your firearm.
Understand the Fine Points
Laws change frequently, and it’s your responsibility to keep up with them as a person who carries a firearm. Also understand and familiarize yourself with the laws of states you are planning to visit – or even drive through. One thing that’s legal in your state could land you in jail in the state next door. A great resource for firearm laws is www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-laws.aspx. Check it often and make sure you’re caught up.
Carry an Adequate Firearm
Find yourself a firearm that covers all the bases. Make sure it’s a caliber you can efficiently handle and provides a reasonable amount of ammunition. Carrying an extra magazine isn’t a bad idea either.
A backup firearm is also something you may consider. Many backup firearms have saved the lives of people for numerous reasons. If your attacker knocks your firearm out of your hand, reach for your backup on your ankle. If your primary runs out of ammo, your backup is fully loaded. The list goes on and on.
Also good to note: If you’re new to shooting and just bought yourself a really awesome 1911 .45, it may not be the best firearm to carry around with you. Training and experience is essential to handling any firearm, especially ones with a larger caliber. If you’re shooting at a bad guy in pubic during a self-defense situation and you don’t have much experience with that firearm, you could pose a great risk to those innocent bystanders around you.
Use Common Sense
You carry a tool that can both save lives and take lives. Having a solid head on your shoulders is a requirement for carrying -or owning- a firearm. Use your best judgement and common sense with not only firearms, but everything you do in life. Your responsibility level is elevated once you strap on a firearm. Be smart about it. Be safe about it.