What Do You Do After You Have Your Concealed Carry Permit?

By Rob MorseConcealedCarry

Slow Facts
Slow Facts

Louisiana- (Ammoland.com)-  You already know that we have the human right to defend ourselves.  Let’s say you have met the all the legal requirements to carry a firearm in public. You've finally joined the ranks of 13 million other US citizens who carry.  What comes next?  What is morally required of you to be a responsible gun owner now that you have your permit?  Since concealed carry is a right, I’m not advocating stricter legal requirements.  I’m asking you to think about the practical responsibility we assume as we carry a gun.

What comes next after you have the government permission slip?

Many states require a simple course in basic firearms safety to receive your license.  That means you were told how to safely handle a gun.. at least once.  I hope you remember those rules.  I want you practice them because firearms handling is a perishable skill rather than an abstract idea.  Being safe with a firearm is a matter of developing and maintaining safe habits.

There are additional skills you should develop that go beyond safe handling of a firearm. That doesn’t mean that you ignore or “outgrow” the safety rules.  It means there are skills you need to effectively defend yourself and those you love.  I’m not saying this as some high speed ninja-competitor, but rather as an old, slow, self-defense dinosaur.  Here are a few of the skills you need, now that you carry concealed.

You need to be able to quickly and safely present your firearm from a concealed holster.  You don’t have to be up to competition standards, but you have to develop your skills so you can smoothly present a firearm without thinking.  You need to present from concealment even if you often carry off-body in a purse or bag.  Presenting from concealment is a very different activity than methodically shooting a gun from a bench at a shooting range.

You need professional training.

Defensive Handgun Class

A professional instructor explains and demonstrates presenting a loaded firearm from concealment.  The instructor watches as you demonstrate the skill.  The instructor gives you feedback before you practice on your own.  Learning is easy IF you are willing to be corrected and learn from your mistakes.  “Presentation” is neither required for most carry licenses, nor should it be.  Then again, that license in your pocket isn’t much good if you can’t safely and quickly present a loaded gun.

Speed or Accuracy, or a Little of Both-
Experience shows that physical attacks happen quickly.  Most of us can shoot quickly or accurately, but not both at the same time.  There are shooting exercises that push us to shoot accurately. Others, train us to shoot fast.  Developing your skills is only part of the purpose of these exercises.  These exercises help you recognize when accuracy is paramount or when speed is most important.  It is your experience that counts.

What is an easy shot for you may require time and concentration for me.

Shooting in Close-Contact and on the Move-
Most self-defense incidents occur at a distance of under three yards and take less than three seconds.  That is far different from the target shooting we’re used to.  We should be moving as we draw.  If the distance is close enough, we should not need to align the sights of our handgun for the first close-in shots.  We didn’t learn about close-contact shooting in our concealed carry classes. But this is the typical situation we’re likely to see in a self-defense situation.

Shoot Under Pressure-
Using lethal force for self-defense will be stressful.  Stress also makes fools of us all.  We can learn to handle measured amounts of stress as we train.  Forget the Hollywood or military idea of training with an instructor yelling at you.  At first the stress may be as simple as shooting while an instructor corrects your performance.  Later, it will involve shooting while you are timed.

Move, Shoot, and Look Around-
Criminals don’t want a fair fight.  They don’t fight one on one.  The average number of attackers is 2.3  That means we have to look for the other guys after we present a firearm.  If you have not done it yet, let me tell you that is hard to take our eyes off a threat.. even if the “threat” is a cardboard target.  That is why we practice moving to a safer position and looking around.  You have to look behind you without waving a gun around.  That is another thing you'll learn and demonstrate in a class.

Make Simple Compromises and Shoot-
We don’t always get the fight we want, but we have to meet the challenges we’re given.  We have to learn to shoot the gun one handed because we might be holding onto a loved one with our other hand.  We might not have time to put a child into a safe place before we defend them.  Are you effectively disarmed because you picked up a baby?

Normally, we practice shooting while we stand upright, but we’d really rather be crouched behind a concrete column or kneeling behind a planter.  We are likely to be attacked at night so it is important to learn how to hold and use a flashlight while we have a gun in our hand.  The advantage of these defensive positions might be enough to end a fight before it begins, so it is important to learn and practice them.

These are a few of the skills you want to have now that you have a license to carry concealed.  These skills don't require great athletic strength or speed.  All of them require practice.  Skills like these are easy to learn from a good course.. now that you know they are out there.  One of the best things about a training courses is meeting responsible firearms owners who take training and practice.

Be one of them!



About Rob Morse: Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily and on his SlowFacts blog. He co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. He is also an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

  • 10 thoughts on “What Do You Do After You Have Your Concealed Carry Permit?

    1. I thought these were all great suggestions. I’ve been looking at taking a concealed carry course for a while now, I just haven’t been sure what to expect. I found it interesting how the article suggests getting used to shooting your weapon, and how to safely present your firearm in various situations. Now that I know a little bit of what is expected after getting my permit, I don’t feel as hesitant to go ahead with it.

    2. It’s good to know that you are required to take specific concealed carry classes and get training on when and how to use your weapon. I think it’s wise to take these classes even if you don’t plan on having a concealed weapon. I think they can help you gain a better respect for these weapons and understand how to be safe around them. https://www.osseogunclub.com/classes.html

    3. I really like what was said about all the things that are covered in a permit to carry class. I think the most important one is shooting under pressure. I can only imagine if you were in a stressful situation, it would be good to have practiced shooting under pressure so lives are saved.

      1. I don,t carry a gun,I just wear a sign saying GUN FREE ZONE, That should stop them right in there tracks, and if you believe that one , I,ve got that ocean front property in Arizona you might be interested in

    4. Pls talk some about children shooting, that includes both boys and girls. Thanks in advance.

      Robinson sends, Pensacola, FL

    5. I no longer remember who taught me this, but it remains a fact. You need to practice drawing from wherever you routinely carry your pistol. You will always draw your gun at least once per day (when you take it off) and maybe more. Just make every time you remove your gun a practice. ALWAYS remove your gun from the holster as a correct “draw and presentation.” OK, maybe not at the gunsmith’s! but every other time. The practice will add up over time until the movement has become quite automatic. The important thing (besides being safe) is to make sure you draw and present PROPERLY every time, don’t get sloppy, or you’ll teach yourself bad habits.

    6. To be prepared to defend yourself, family or others………”get yourself a gun, make it a good reliable gun, and learn how to use it”.

    7. “What is morally required of you to be a responsible gun owner now that you have your permit?”

      1. Know the laws regarding guns – both as they are written and as they are practically carried out by the justice system (NOT always the same thing!)
      2. Always maintain control over your weapon. If you’re not carrying it on you, keep it locked away from children and thieves.
      3. Get training and regular practice to be proficient with your weapon sufficient to the task (being able to rapidly put all your shots in a 6″ target at across-the-room distances while moving is useful – slowly shooting a 1″ group at 25 yards from a rested position is not). Train and practice in a manner as close as possible to how you would actually have to use your weapon in a self defense situation.
      4. Teach and train your family what they need to do if a situation occurs It would really suck to have a frightened spouse reflexively grab your arm at the same time you’re trying to draw your weapon.
      5. Exercise some basic common sense. If there’s a part of town you wouldn’t go to without a gun, don’t go there with a gun either.
      6. Always exercise situational awareness, so you are not taken by surprise. It doesn’t matter how good a shot you are if you’re walking with your nose buried in your smart phone.
      7. Learn methods to avoid and diffuse situations before having to resort to using your weapon (the best way to survive a gun fight is to not get into it in the first place). Carrying a pepper spray would also be a good idea, so you have a non-lethal defense option available.
      8. Be sure you really know what’s going on before employing your weapon.
      9. Angle yourself such that bullets that miss or pass through the bad guy don’t endanger bystanders.
      10. Learn first aid and always have a trauma kit (nitrile gloves, tourniquet, blood coagulant, combat bandage) ready to render aid in the aftermath of a shooting (or accidents, etc.) You can carry all of these in a zip-lock sandwich bag that fits in your pants pocket
      11. ALWAYS behave as if you are an ambassador for all gun owners. If you behave badly, that image you create tars us all in the eyes of others. TACTFULLY correct other gun owners’ mistakes when you see them.

    8. Training and knowledge of the legal aspects of presenting (banishing) a firearm is a must. If you do so in a manner that is illegal for your state you could lose the right to CCW. Know the law!

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