Concealed Carry Myths

By Scott Polk

Concealed Carry Myths
Concealed Carry Myths img: Guns & Ammo

AmmoLand Gun News

USA -( May aspects of concealed carry can be a hot topics for debate among friends.

But some concealed carry myths need calling out, as they may actually be putting people’s lives risk. People, who might unknowingly choose to follow this bad advice.

Here are my call-outs in no particular order.

Concealed Carry Myths #1 – You Can’t Carry A Full Size Gun

Many will tell you that you can’t carry a full size firearm when you concealed carry, instead saying that you need to carry a compact or pocket pistol.

The truth is that you can carry whatever size gun you are comfortable carrying and that you can conceal effectively, that might be a full size 1911 or you might only be able to carry a pocket 380.

.380 Auto Ammunition
Concealed Carry Myths 3 2 .380 Auto ammunition as an effective self defense round?

Personally I have 3 carry guns that I use depending on the clothing I’m wearing. In the summer in shorts I carry a 380 Ruger LCP in my pocket with a remora holster as I don’t tend to wear a belt those months and t-shirts mean I print fairly easily.

In fall and spring I move to a Sig P938 in 9mm in an Alien Gear IWB Cloak Tuck 2 and in winter when my clothing choices are heavier and I can conceal more I have been known to carry my beloved HK Full Size USP 40 or my Springfield Range Officer (yes, I have a preference of the 1911).

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t carry, find what you’re comfortable with.

Concealed Carry Myths #2 – You Shouldn’t Carry a .380

Despite what some will say there is absolutely nothing wrong with .380 as a defensive round. For years many have claimed that it doesn’t have enough stopping power to be effective, but defensive shooting is about more than stopping power. As Grant Cunningham over at Personal Defense Network points out, defensive shooting is a blend of stopping power, accuracy and speed,

The .380 will recoil less and allow you to get faster more accurate groupings then the same size pistol in 9mm.

Concealed Carry Myths #3 – You Only Need To Carry When Needed

I think many concealed carriers are guilty of this one, sometimes it seems like a lot of work to put your firearm on to run to the corner gas station to get milk, but the truth is that you never know in advance as to when you will need your firearm. Bad things happen in good neighborhoods or in corner gas stations just like yours, they happen to people on the way to and from work and even in their own homes.

Unless you have psychic abilities you can never truly know when your firearm might be needed and so it is essential that you carry it with you at all times.

Concealed Carry Myths #4 – You Don’t Need To Carry With One In The Chamber

Many people don’t carry with a round in the chamber, some feel uncomfortable with the idea that the gun is ready to shoot and others believe that they will have time to rack the slide in the event they need to use their firearm. The unfortunate truth is that in many self defense situations you simply don’t have the extra seconds to rack the slide back, in that time an attacker could be on you preventing you from firing at all. Not all situations allow you the luxury of time to give a warning or rack the slide and in those situations not having a round in the chamber could be the difference between life and death.

Carrying a round in the chamber is perfectly safe as long as you are using the correct holster for your gun and you follow all safety rules.

Round in the Chamber
You Don’t Need To Carry With One In The Chamber

Concealed Carry Myths #5 – A Concealed Carry Permit Is All You Need To Carry Effectively

Many people believe that when they take their concealed carry permit training that this makes them “trained” to use a firearm in a defensive situation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most concealed carry permit classes don’t even provide a basic firearm competency test, much less prepare you for a defensive situation.

In order to be as best prepared as possible for the event that you have to use your firearm it is essential that you undertake additional and ongoing defensive training.

A Concealed Carry Permit Is All You Need To Carry Effectively
A Concealed Carry Permit Is All You Need To Carry Effectively?

Concealed Carry Myths #6 – You Don’t Need A Spare Magazine

This is most often said by people who carry a firearm that has a large capacity however many who carry a smaller capacity firearm also carry without an extra magazine. Carrying an extra magazine is not only about having more bullets, it’s also about having the spare magazine in the case of an issue with the first. In the heat of the moment in a defensive situation you don’t want to be stuck with no options.

Often the fastest thing to do in the case of a gun not working properly is to change the magazine which may help to resolve the issue and save your life.

ATW 1911 Magazines
Spare ATW 1911 Magazines

See our related article on the Best Concealed Carry Handgun you can carry.

Scott Polk
Scott Polk

About Scott Polk

Scott Polk is a contributor to AmmoLand Shooting Sports News and active in the Great State of Idaho for gun rights.

He supports constitutional carry for everyone. He currently, works with local grass-roots organizations to educate and assist with messaging.

In addition Scott Polk is a pro-gun/second amendment business owner that specializes in internet marketing.

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I will second the suggestion that you read Massad Ayoob’s book “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense“, probably the best out there. If you carry, you need to have the right mindset, and what legally you can and cannot do.

Cleaning that gun is an overlooked requirement, they do collect lint and stuff.

And to reiterate, find the ammo that feeds and works best for your firearm, .380’s can be especially picky. Practice with you carry ammo at least a few mags to make sure there aren’t problems.

Ben Perrin

I carry a full size revolver snub nose all the time, everyday.. I’m a smaller guy and I also print easily and many ppl say don’t but I carry at 12 o’clock I’ve never had a problem. I also have a .380 I carry at 7-5 o’clock being a lefty you don’t need to kill , just stop them from what they are doing or about to do. A double tap with a .380 will do the job just fine luckily I’ve never had to use or even brandish my weapon. But you can easily carry a full size just… Read more »


Thanks for this great article & everyone that commented & have advice! Just to put in my 2 cents ..My .32 & .380 pocket rockets go everywhere with me (legally permitted) I have never felt undergunned. I carry spare mags & feed my babies Glaser safety sluggs & power ball ammo for feeding reliability .Along with actual shooting its a good idea to use rubber training guns & soft air guns to train for various scenerios . Also don’t forget to carry pepper spray& other(legall )LESS THAN LEATHAL defence .I personally carry mace pepperguard & kimber addition to my… Read more »


With respect to caliber selection you’re completely correct. If you’re shooting round nosers for defensive purposes you’re wasting plinking ammo and putting yourself, and a whole bunch of others, in a lot of danger. Almost every handgun caliber has a defensive load that is designed to expand rapidly and dump all of its energy inside a very short window to minimize over-penetration and end the confrontation ASAP. Personally I’m a fan of Hornady Critical Defense/Duty for 9/40/45 and Federal Hydra-Shock for 32 Auto. Look for good defensive ammunition for your caliber and TEST THAT AMMO IN YOUR GUN. One thing… Read more »


Not every gun can fire hollowpoints. Antique ones for example and modern ones are most reliable on fmj rounds. FMJ rounds still kill people. Hollowpoints depending upon state law are illegal for defensive carry.


Thank you Mr Polk Your article is Informative and not rambling.


I want to get my CCW permit but haven’t because my SF hubby and pretty much all our SF and SO friends say you are held to a higher standard legally. They can’t seem to be convinced otherwise. I just don’t know what to do.

Keith Brockmiller

You ARE held to a higher standard. Carrying a deadly weapon is a big responsibility. But, as they say: Better to be judged by 12, than carried by 6. It’s up to you to provide for your own defense. The cops aren’t required to be there for you. They only investigate after the fact. If you feel that you can’t be responsible for your own actions, then you shouldn’t carry. The fact that it gives you pause, pretty much says that you are


Just know the laws. Get the books on self defense shootings by Massad Ayoob. Get on an insurance carrier meant for self defense shootings. There are several. Regular insurance doesn’t protect you from being sued. My insurance carrier will not only pay for a lawyer in civil or criminal court resulting from a use of self defense, but also pay bail if needed, pay for lost work due to going to court, pay if they lose the case. 15 bucks a month for piece of mind. Know what to say so you look as pure as the freshly driven snow… Read more »


Can I ask who you use for insurance? My wife and I are interested in looking into it. It wasn’t until I read your comment that there would be an insurance for that.

Gary Moeller

One thing I would add is to go to the range often and when you are done, go home and immediately clean your gun. At home, with an empty gun and in a safe area, practice quick changing magazines with empty magazines. The major goal is familiarity with your weapon.


Alan good advice. But remember I am a citizen first, to me the whole civilian thing has a us or them attitude to it.
Just a quirk of mine because we are never called citizens by law enforcement.


Thanks Alan for the thought, you are right about lint and fuzz. Now remember I am a citizen. Civilian to me has a us and them type of attitude. I understand a civilian is a citizen, but I am a citizen first and foremost.


I have a couple of hints for new concealed carry folks: 1) Whatever pistol you decide to carry (I have always carried full-sized double-stack .45s and this hint worked with them!) make yourself a promise when you fist get your gun and license. Promise yourself that yo will carry it all the time, every day, for the next 60 days. By the time you have passed around day 30 or so, you will have developed the habit and it will no longer be inconvenient, feel too heavy, make you self-conscious, etc. BTW, even (perhaps especially) if you have kids, the… Read more »


Great advise, and I would ad one thing.
Clean your firearm and magazines if you have a pistol often. As a former police officer and range master I have seen lint and gunk in firearms making them into clubs as they will cease to function. When a carry weapon is constantly under cloth material the accumulation of lint is unbelievable. I have seen this in LEO weapons and civilian. Keep em clean!


Very true about cleaning mags. Just a quick comment about law enforcement, though. LEO’s are civilians as well. When you refer to citizens as civilians it makes it seem like you feel that law enforcement is the same as military service.


Don’t forget fingerprint, oils on the bullets will cause them to go green. Oil in the mag springs will cause them to rust. Talk to gunsmiths and they will tell you of guns that were not cleaned once a year along with the bullets being taken out and cleaned. The bullets rusted in the gun.

Don Bailey

Excellent comment Alan. Don’t be afraid your friends and relatives will call you obsessive compulsive because you seem to be cleaning your conceal carry weapon and magazines all of the time. It is simply good housekeeping. It is routine work on a tool that you may need in a critical event. Furthermore, use a good oil on your weapon, but make sure you wipe up and wipe down anything that is excessive because that too will attract dust and lint like crazy.