I have been carrying a concealed pistol over 20 years now, and I was recently thinking about how different my technique and attitude is today, versus when I first started carrying. It occurred to me that those changes did not happen all at once, but have evolved over time.
I first got a carry permit in Alabama in 1993. In those days, to me, not only was concealed carry a novelty to me, so were guns in general. In those days, I admit I carried when I thought I needed to – to “bad areas,” late at night, or when I felt threatened. I was always aware that I was carrying, and I’m sure it showed. I was always apprehensive.
I also had not done much practice drawing from concealment, and a lot of times I carried in the small of my back. Now I know, for sure, that this is about the worst place I could carry, as I’m not able to draw smoothly there. In retrospect, it’s possible I carried there so I wouldn’t be always fondling the grip or holding my arm out.
Slowly, though, I started to change. I bought some new holsters, and I started practicing. By the time I moved to Arkansas, I was carrying more often, now at 4 o’clock usually. But I know I was still apprehensive when I carried, and I certainly didn’t carry all the time.
At this time, what I wore was dictated by whether I was carrying or not. Generally I would wear some kind of jacket and my shirts may or may not be tucked in, depending on my mood.
But now, I can tell things have changed. Because I’ve made it my life.
Now, just about all my wardrobe has shirts that don’t get tucked in. I also have a lot of vests that I wear when the weather allows, whether I am carrying or not.
The biggest difference is that I almost always carry, unless there will be enforced prohibition against it. That means I don’t carry into an area that prohibits it, where they are checking me for it, like sports events, government buildings, and the like. Other than that, I’m carrying, even at home, or at friends houses. I’m carrying now.
But what about other locations that prohibit carry? Well, since Georgia law means that if I do carry there, all they can do is ask me to leave, let’s just say, I may or may not be carrying – you guess.
And why do you have to guess? Because, over these 20 plus years, I have gotten to where I can carry without you being able to tell.
I now carry almost always at 3 o’clock, and I use a belt holster with cover, unless that’s too obvious, and then I use an IWB holster.
Sometimes I carry openly, but, as my readers know, I reserve that for certain times, such as gun rights group meetings, or when I’m working in the yard.
And I’ve also gotten a lot more comfortable with carrying, to the point that I don’t touch it, or play with it, at all. A lot of this is because of my holster, and because my belt fits.
So, how did I get to where I am? The best way I can describe it is that I learned to live with carry. I stopped thinking it was Something Special, that it was Something Different.
My advice – learn to live with concealed carry. Get a gun that fits you, and a holster that fits you, and carry. Make it your life, because it could save your life.