What exactly is the concealed carry lifestyle? Simply put, the days of openly carrying a firearm in states that encourage you to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights have waned in the face of negative publicity. Of course this is all due to the tragic, misguided actions of people suffering from a mental health crisis. Now, safely and legally carrying a firearm in public can lead to uncomfortable and downright confrontational interactions in public. For residents of the 41 “shall issue” states (meaning, the state shall issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who applies and meets the requirements) and even the eight “may issue” states, carrying a concealed firearm creates a method for the firearm owner to protect their family and assets in a responsible, safe and legal manner.
The Concealed Carry Lifestyle
To perform effectively as the recipient of a CCW (or otherwise legally carrying a firearm), become intimately familiar with your tools. Even if the weapon you choose to carry for your CCW is the first firearm you have shot, you owe it to your life to train with it every time you visit the shooting range.
In addition to the firearm itself, consider the holster it will reside in. Often, carrying a concealed firearm means placing it on your body in an uncomfortable manner. Whether the lack of comfort comes from the added weight, the protruding metal, or the mental realization that a loaded firearm is on your body, finding a holster setup that suits your firearm, body type, and carrying style is key.
Concealed carry lifestyle is just that – concealed. An effective holster retains your firearm (and accessories, such as an extra magazine) and provides for physical concealment. An ineffective holster is uncomfortable, does not provide any weapons retention system, and constantly has you trying to adjust it surreptitiously. Grabbing at your concealed weapon is one guaranteed way to unintentionally reveal to your potential adversary that you are carrying a firearm.
Each shooting range trip should combine the firearm and its supplemental equipment. The experience that is gained is experience that will prove vital during a critical incident.
Train, Train, Train More
The mere practice of drawing a weapon and firing from a position of concealment requires extensive training beyond simply firing a firearm at a paper target. That is if you want to keep your appendages intact. Naturally, the act of drawing a firearm is a stressful occurrence. In the face of a perceived threat of grave bodily injury, your body reacts in the fight mode by increasing your heart rate, increasing respirations, and limiting certain unessential bodily functions. Left untrained, the muscle tension in your hands and arms can overpower practical actions. In extreme situations, this may result in the premature squeezing of a firearm’s trigger and an unintentional discharge of a round into your leg, foot, or other appendage.
An experienced instructor at a professional firearms academy will provide you with the training you need to make effective decisions in high-stress situations. As with most training courses, your skill level will entirely depend on the amount of time (and money) you seriously contribute to your craft. Shopping for a firearms academy that will provide you with the experience relevant to your situation is important. For example, if you are carrying purely for home or workplace protection (such as protecting your storefront), consider seeking out training opportunities with practical range experience in confined spaces, low-light, and practical scenarios. More advanced training could include engaging a threat from inside a vehicle, solo structure cleaning techniques, and the best way to protect your family in large public gatherings.
It’s More Than Just Carying A Firearm
Knowing how to shoot is equally as important as knowing when to shoot. Professional training services will also teach you various alternative techniques, such as de-escalating situations or martial arts. Still, they will most importantly emphasize the importance of making decisions that keep you out of problems that require drawing and discharging your concealed firearm. In many cases, basic self-preservation tactics can be applied, such as avoiding certain areas of your town after dark or knowing when to walk away from a hostile conversation. For others, combining martial arts and weapon retention skills during an unavoidably hostile environment may be more realistic to your situation.
Have You Considered Insurance?
No one wakes up in the morning hoping that a critical incident will occur involving their decision to maim or kill another person. Utilizing the de-escalation techniques taught in many concealed firearms training classes, the goal is to mitigate potential threats to you or your family without a kinetic response by discharging a concealed firearm. In the horrific event that you are involved in a shooting, having concealed carry insurance will provide legal coverage, financial protection, and the piece of mind that you will be represented effectively in court.
One thing is certain – if you discharge your firearm, you will likely face some form of initial criminal investigation. Most, if not all concealed carry insurance providers have 24/7 phone numbers that immediately provide legal representation to their members. Additionally, certain concealed carry insurance plans will cover your spouse’s actions and, to an extent, the actions of additional immediate family members. Concealed carry insurance plans cover the police investigation, pre-trial proceedings, criminal and civil trials, and any subsequent appeals, if necessary.
As you might expect, the cost of hiring an attorney privately and without any coverage can skyrocket exponentially simply in the pre-trial phase. As a ballpark figure (not specific to any locality), assume an attorney retainer will cost a flat rate of $2,500 with additional legal research and services provided at $350 per hour. The cost of a simple pre-trail proceeding can easily top $4,000. Compare that cost to concealed carry insurance rates that average around $20 per month, and it will take an explanation from your accountant to see the cost-benefit analysis of obtaining concealed carry insurance. You owe it to your family to consider protecting their future with a simple concealed carry insurance plan.
Tap Your Local Community Resources
As part of their vetting process, certain states and municipalities require extra steps other than a background check before issuing a concealed carry permit. This could be additional firearms training (for which I will always advocate) or extra paperwork. Regardless, tapping into your local firearms community resources will streamline the process and make the experience more palatable. These people reside in your community and understand the concealed carry climate.
By now, you have certainly figured out that my initial state-permitting calculations only totaled 49. The state of Vermont will not issue concealed weapons permits to its residents. However, it does permit the concealed carry of a firearm by those who are legally allowed to carry a firearm. Vermont, you’re off the hook for the purpose of this article.