Top Five Concealed Carry Myths

Opinion

Top Five Concealed Carry Myths
Top Five Concealed Carry Myth

USA –-(Ammoland.com)-Here’s a question to make your brain hurt. Are more myths and rumors passed along at the local gun store counter or on the internet? I know, it’s an impossible question. While both sources can provide valuable and reputable information, they are also the leading cause of self-defense and concealed carry trainer angst, frustration, and early onset of male pattern baldness.

Carrying a Gun Will Protect You

Perhaps the most dangerous concealed carry myth is that false sense of security that comes with carrying a personal defense firearm. Just as a fire extinguisher in the laundry room won’t help much with a surprise natural gas explosion, merely having a gun on your person won’t necessarily help you in a surprise self-defense encounter.

Pocket holsters are a great way to carry, but if you're surprised, it won't matter much.
Pocket holsters are a great way to carry, but if you're surprised, it won't matter much.

If you’re standing at an ATM putting fresh twenties into your wallet when you feel a gun muzzle jammed into the back of your neck, the fact you have a gun hidden away will not help you much. Unless you’re starring in one of those Hollywood movies staffed by gun-wizard actors who can’t wait to take yours, if that’s the case, you’ll execute a baker’s dozen Krav Maga moves, draw your gun, rack the slide a few times for dramatic effect, and shoot your way out of the situation. In the real world, you’ll be at the mercy of that creep who got the drop on you while you were focused on retrieving your money.

Here’s the point. Concealed carry doesn’t make you safer, at least on its own. Without all the supporting skill-building and training for things like improved awareness, verbal judo, close quarters defense, and defensive shooting (not plinking) you’re not going to be much better off than you were before. A gun and associated skills will improve your odds in some, but not all situations. For example, if you saw that ATM robber from 30 feet away, you’d have had much better odds of success.

Caliber Matters

This myth just won’t die. If you use a .45 ACP a single shot will down an attacker that Elizabeth Warrens' DNA testing service has proven to contain 43% Wooly Mammoth blood. A 9mm or .380 ACP will require 19 shots after an initial shock from an MK-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher.

Sure, it’s easy to believe heavier, more massive, and more powerful bullets might perform incrementally better than puny slow ones. But it’s important to put those performance differences into perspective.

How much does the size of the hole in the fiery end matter? Not as much as you might think...
How much does the size of the hole in the fiery end matter? Not as much as you might think…

Training guru and student of the gun Greg Ellifritz did a study of thousands of street shooting over ten years, recording and analyzing data points like caliber, shots fired, number of shots to incapacitate, and so on. Guess what? There wasn’t much terminal result variance for calibers ranging from .22LR to .45 ACP.

Caliber Rounds to Incapacitate % of People Not Incapacitated One-shot Stops
.22LR 1.38 31% 31%
.380 ACP 1.76 16% 44%
.38 Special 1.87 17% 39%
9mm 2.45 13% 34%
.357 Magnum and .357 Sig 1.7 9% 44%
.40 S&W 2.36 13% 45%
.45 ACP 2.08 14% 39%

I suspect Greg would be the first to tell you that these numbers aren’t the definitive rule on caliber performance. There are far too many variables at play. However, what the study does NOT show is that some calibers are magic fight stoppers while others are useless.

This is just a sampling of Greg’s data collection effort. Check out the full report at BuckeyeFirearms.org.

Shooting Competition Skills Will Get You Killed on the Street!

Using competition as practice for defensive shooting skill development will surely get you killed, right? Well, not necessarily.

USPSA isn’t exactly built (nor is it intended to be) for defensive shooting training. Most of us don’t go to the mall with speed-draw holsters mounted 18 inches to the side at just the right angle. Nor do we walk around in public with magazines protruding from every part of our body like some type of nuclear holocaust aftermath mutant porcupine.

Even though IDPA was designed to be closer to real-life defensive shooting simulation, it’s still a game. Sure, some of the scenarios that enterprising match directors concoct can be realistic, but it’s also supposed to be fun. That’s why everyone laughs when the director issues instructions for the hostage rescue stage. “You open your front door and hear your mother in law scream from the back of the house… Take whatever actions you deem appropriate!”

However, most any type of action shooting competition can teach and reinforce life-saving skills. The run and gun USPSA match will give you great practice on shooting fundamentals like trigger press, rapid-fire shooting, recoil control, and malfunction clearance. The clock doesn’t stop, nor does the peanut gallery give you a pass when your gun clicks instead of bangs in the middle of a stage. It’s up to you to deal with it – right then and with no excuses. The bottom line is obvious. While shooting sports won’t train you in tactics, they do provide a great (not to mention fun) opportunity to improve your gun handling skills.

You’re Too Small to Conceal a Pistol

Hogwash. I hear this one all the time. What this myth means is “I’m too small to effortlessly conceal a pistol making no changes to my wardrobe of form-fitting skinny jeans and a tucked in a nylon muscle shirt.” OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but as the saying goes, concealed carry is intended to be comforting, not comfortable. Not that it can’t be comfortable. Just sayin’.

I know 5’1” women that tip the scales at 105 pounds who carry a full-sized 1911 pistol with no problem. The point is that you’ll have to make some adjustments to your wardrobe and choose the right gear. IWB carry isn’t easy for everyone. While it does a stellar job of hiding about two-thirds of a pistol inside your pants or skirt, you still have to account for covering the exposed grip. Yes, you’ll have to use a style that doesn’t require tucking or wear some sort of outer garment like a sports coat. There are plenty of other carry options as long as you open your mind to the fact you will have to develop concealment around your gun, not find a gun that conceals in your existing fashion sense.

Presence of a Concealed Carrier Will Make a Situation More Dangerous

I love this one. You’ve heard many variations on the theme.

“If someone with a carry permit shoots back, then everyone is caught in a crossfire!” “Every time someone with a CCW gets mad, gunfire will result!” “You want to reduce crime and shootings with MORE guns???”

What these delusions have in common is lack of supporting data. The data overwhelmingly supports the opposite points of view. Do you know of a single case where a “crossfire” made a mass shooting worse? I don’t — not a single one. You already know the declining crime versus an increase in gun ownership and carry permit stats. Look at data, not hypothetically-fueled emotion.

Like most myths, these are easy to test and debunk. Far too much “information” gets passed along via gun store counters and internet forums without challenge. Fortunately, most are easy to validate, either by looking at the data or testing yourself. A little bit of critical thinking goes a long way.


Tom McHale
Tom McHale

About Tom McHale

Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • 54 thoughts on “Top Five Concealed Carry Myths

    1. Interesting comments indeed. The unending caliber debate stirs up dust, always. I tend to adhere to the “Carry what you shoot best, and the most”, concept. Thus, my every day carry is either a bushed STI SDC in .40, my ESP pistol. In a blade tech it hides easily as I normally dress. The single stack .45 CDP carries often as well. As far as ammo, it is truncated flat points at 900 fps. Yes, I know. When infected with the case of the little, it is a P7M8. Placement and speed, coupled with awareness, avoidance, conditioning. Hope never needed.

    2. The assertion about caliber is based on ignorant way of using statistics.

      Not all ammunition models within the same caliber are equal. There are inferior models and FMJ mixed into each calibers. That incapacitation percentage does not show the difference between top performers.

      Second, it does not account for the context of how shots are fired. 380ACP Bodyguard or LCP is harder to hit with than a 9mm full size M&P or Glock. So, statistically 9mm or other major calibers have more pistols that fires those ammo that are easier to make accurate multiple shots. That’s probably the reason 9mm, 40S&W, and 45ACP shows higher number of “rounds to incapacitate.”

      Also “rounds to incapacitate” is a logically inconsistent name for a category, because if you have a body with 10 bullets inside it, there is really no way of knowing whether if its round # 1 that caused the incapacitation or round #10. A defender will keep shooting until an incapacitation is perceived, even if incapacitation is made by an earlier shot.

    3. Gentlemen:

      I respect everyone’s opinion here, but would like to discuss a point seemingly overlooked. And that is – the awful truth that prosecutors will try to eat us alive if we shoot an attacker.. likely the prosecutor will refer to THEM as the victim.

      Perhaps for that reason alone we should consider very carefully the AMMUNITION we load our weapons with. Latest technology bullets capible of massive expansion, etc, stack the deck against us in court right from the get go. ( Ignore this fact at your peril).

      Thusly, shouldn’t we consider carrying a handgun in a caliber that will be effective using less “ offensive”, i.e. politically correct ammunition? Just a thought.

      1. Some who are greatly exerienced professional/expert witnesses and also, in many cases, law enforcement officers, advise to find out what the local alw enforcement use for their own duty weapons, and use that round. Same brand, weight, etc. Then the accused can make the point that what HE carries and uses is the same thing LE use for their own personal defense.
        Makes good senst to me… and t many juries, per the records of these esperts.

        1. @Gentlemen, one should never decide on ammunition because it is politically correct or acceptable to the libtards because their enlightened notions change with the wind. If someone told me that their home defense 12 ga was loaded with less than lethal rubber shot shells because it would be easier on their home interior, well … I can see that.
          If their EDC Smith has the first three bird shot because one can put a lot of hurt on an attacker before having to kill him, well … I can see that, too. But trying to out guess the prosecutor, hmmmm, no.

          1. Sir, why did you feel it necessary to load your handgun with Remington Golden Saber +p bullets? Well, they were the most affordable, plus Remington had a $10 rebate on each box of 25, so they were $4.99 a box and thats all I could afford….

          2. Excellent points Wild Bill. Putting thought into ammo though is not the norm for everyday people, though it will set us gun nuts off every time. Critical thinking is usually the first lesson I give when teaching someone new to firearms. For example, not just caliber and ammunition, but the old adage “Location, Location, Location.”

            For example, where I live in a small town I have an older house with much more robust wall construction than sheet rock. Rounds still will penetrate however, so I am aware of angles of defense within my house to each door and possible entry point as well as location of neighboring houses. The place directly across from the front door has all bedrooms located on the second floor so at night a shot towards my front door given a slight downward angle will be the least likely to endanger anyone other than the intruder(s), and my go two is 00 9 pellet buck. The purpose and logic has been thought out well in advance so in any event a rogue prosecutor’s argument can easily be taken apart and shown to be an unknowledgeable attack on a law abiding citizen simply defending his life.

            I highly recommend everybody have a look at their own tactical landscape for this very reason.

            1. When I watched this video it was on Getzone. Maybe this version has editing or maybe not, but the author states outright that the 12guage with buckshot is king.

            2. @Greg K

              You have to be careful because it will still go through walls, but it is very effective.

              You have 8 or 9 holes all larger than 30 caliber going into a target at once. In addition to that, bone fragments also cause damage being drug along for the ride. One shell can do damage to both lungs, the heart, arteries, and the liver if the pattern spreads enough. At that point there is no walking away. Up closer it acts more like a slug and cuts a inch or bigger hole through the target. “King” might well be a very apt description if you take into account the limitations.

        2. @Tionico

          Excellent Comment. Indeed you are correct on this statement, and I believe if you asked Massad Ayoob his thoughts on that statement he would agree.

      2. It is good to live where that kind of nonsense is not a factor. Maybe some of you should get better people into office or just move. Just saying.

        1. Not everyone has that option readily available for a variety of reasons. That being said, if I hit the lottery I’m buying land, building a bunker, and putting up plenty of “No Trespassing” signs for good measure.

    4. I’m a new commer
      With the comments from all good advices I was made to believe in enough cartridge and shot placement which could only be done when proper practice is made.
      .22mag owner. I thank you

      1. Ian Samuel Mahlabgu, yes, practice frequent and often. Shots missed don’t stop threats, so you need to carry a firearm that you can shoot well, regardless of caliber. Police have about an 80% – 90% miss ratio – we must do better, which we do because we practice more frequently. The stats referenced in this story are based on validated, real-life shootings, not specific to CC holders defensive use. However, think about hunting, do you use the least powerful round to hunt large game? I apply that same reasoning to defensive shooting, humans are not varmints, so I don’t carry varmint rounds.

    5. Good article. I take the stats for what they are. A snapshot. Even so, it does show an interesting trend, and one we all should know. When the debate around caliber shows up,it seems everyone is imagining the 300lb methed out genetically engineered superman. Adrenaline can do a lot, but bullets still hurt. The shock alone of being struck often causes hesitation or outright cessation.
      Anywoo, I don’t generally plan on finding a fight. I will probably (hopefully) never find one. Even all these hard charger, chip on their shoulder, commandos out there will probably not find a fight… though they are looking for one.
      Situational awareness is number 1 for me. Whether it’s at the theater, McD’s with my daughter or on the highway. There are lots of zombies out there right now. Fortunately, they are slow and predictable.
      Be safe out there.

    6. What is the best .357 for concealed carry? Given the general simplicity/reliability of a revolver vs. an auto, what are the top revolver choices for cc? Thanks.

      1. Larry, Any reliable revolver in .357 (produced by a major company) can be carried but generally you’re looking at those with a 4″ or less barrel length. Then decide if you are ok with 5 rounds, 6,7 or 8, without having to reload. That will give you the best gun for you.

      2. @Larry, Why the .357? Go to a range that offers different pistols to rent so you can try them out before you invest your dollars on just any handgun. Research the entire handgun market that offer conceal carry pistols that you think you can wear and carry everyday so that it becomes a part of your person. Short barrel 357 magnums are great for up- close and personal battle, but— they are not fun to take to the range and shoot. Part of the commitment to carrying a handgun is to continue training with it at the range as well as receiving tactical and “what if” instruction that goes along with updating your CC license. If you like the dynamics of the 357, consider the 357 Sig. which is offered by quite a few quality handgun companies.

      3. Larry, even after you decide on a firearm, you need to test the ammo to ensure it works well in that particular firearm. Some makers have ammo specifically for short-barreled firearms, since the burn rates of the propellants used differ. You also may find better results with +P or +P+, if you firearm is rated for it and you can handle the additional recoil well.

        The other issue is how you plan on carrying your firearm. You may decide that a flatter profile, typically found in semi-autos is a better fit (no pun intended), they also tend to be lighter, typically being mostly poly. They are also quite dependable, and as Douglas stated, go with a major, more reliable company. It will cost more, but it is your life. Also, with major manufacturers, you will likely find a better choice of holsters.

      4. The “best” .357 revolver to buy is the one that you are going to practice with! The more yoy handle it, and the more rounds down range the more you will be comfortable with. The more the comfortableity (?), the more the confidence.
        Practice! Uncomfortable guns do not encourage any of the above.

    7. All else being equal, shot placement is paramount. A 22 in the noggin is better than a 50 A&E miss. Failing good shot placement a large, heavy expanding projo, in my humble experience, works–best. A wise man once said “carry the biggest gun you can shoot well”.
      If you don’t have your tool(s) with you then you are limited on your choices. Carrying is ALL about having choices. Stand there and die, try to hide or run, fight back–choices. Try and make a difference or not–choices, that is why we carry. Freedom is ALL about choices. If you give up, you neither win nor live. You can’t out run a bullet. Choices. Arm up, carry on.

      1. No matter what anyone else tells you, the 22 LR, 22 Magnum, 25 ACP and 32 ACP rounds are all WORTHLESS as self defense cartridges, period, end of story. They all FAIL TO STOP THE LETHAL THREAT PRONTO. Often times a ’22 in the noggin’ will allow a suspect to continue his lethal assault until YOU are DOA.

        1. And here comes our resident expert, Clark Kent, disputing all the facts with…….wait for it…….his opinion! Don’t you ever get tired of those pesky facts getting in they way of what you “think” ought to be true? I remember one report of a guy shot 13 times with a 9mm and he kept right on shooting at police with a 45! Of course then there was the grandmother who shot a grizzly bear ONCE with a 22LR and killed it instantly. Kind of throws your “fail to stop lethal threat pronto” theory all to hell and back :).

          And just incase you try to call BS on the bear story here’s the link from when Ammoland printed it:

          https://www.ammoland.com/2017/06/bella-twin-the-22-used-to-take-the-1953-world-record-grizzly-and-more/

          There’s great wisdom in the old saying about “keeping your mouth shut and letting everyone think you’re a fool rather than opening it and proving it to them”.

          1. @Vanns40, and let us not forget Robert Kennedy killed by sir han sir han with a .22 cal. pistol.
            I know I butchered up the killers name, but oh well.

            1. government bulls**t. autopsy bullet paths = low to high, right to left, rear to front, not possible for someone standing in front of rfk. more bullet holes than rounds in weapon, evidence with bullet holes discarded because it did not “fit” in storage cabinets. shall i go on? just like dallas with no positive nitrates on LHO’s face, scope mounted for left-handed shooter, scope had to be shimmed before it could be tested by feds, mediocre marine core marksman. shall i go on? government bulls**t.

              —I am not a liberal, d-rat, rich, irish, or catholic

            2. @m.

              Remember what Vanns40 said about letting people think instead of opening of mouth?

              There is a difference in the Robert Kennedy and John F Kennedy assassinations.
              GCM was talking about Robert. You just called BS and started on a rant about John. Put the booze down, and drink some coffee before commenting.

        2. I have a pmr 30. 30 rounds of 22 mag with almost no recoil?! I get it’s not the perfect gun/caliber but it would certainly do the job.

      2. @ Deplorable Bill As I was always taught there are three thing is shooting:
        Shot placement
        Shot placement and
        Shot placement

        Shoot what you can handle (hit with) and the rest will take care of itself.
        Take Care

        1. @Macofjack, Very good point. I would also suggest, finding the handgun with the caliber that you like to shoot, and shoot it a lot. Just a few days ago, I had the pleasure of shooting two great handguns, one in a Glock in forty cal. and the other a Colt officer’s 1911 in 45 ACP that were both completely different from my rig, a S&W M&P that was completely different. I do shoot my M&P often and carry it. But shooting both of these unfamiliar pistols made me stop and think for every exercise I took part in. In addition, finding a good tactical instructor is money well spent.

        2. as the legendary Massad Ayoob is wont to say:

          any gun will do if YOU will do

          Never heard it put any better than that.

          Or course, given a choice, there are some guns more desireable to have as the “any gun”. But we all make that choice when we pack up in the morning. Even of that choice is NO GUN for the day.

    8. Great article. Just had a discussion as to which caliber to use for a SD handgun. I suggested that it would be whatever the shooter could handle effectively meaning racking the slide, performing malfunction drills and getting shots on target. Meaning that a miss with a 3 1/2” 12 gauge 00 buck, 18 pellets or 2 ounces is a miss but a 22 lr center mass hit is likely to disable or kill, especially multiple center mass or ocular cranial cavity hits. Note also that most/all SD caliber handguns are ballistically deficient meaning it’s 2 to the thoracic cavity followed by whatever else is needed to stop the threat.
      But ones best defense? High SA or situational awareness not acting like some clueless fool walking around head in a cell phone.

        1. Gotta love a guy who has no problem looking completely stupid for our entertainment (looking…right…at…Clark…)
          And yes, ignoring actual data and experience in favor of personal opinion is stupid.

        2. Your perfectly right Clark. Just as soon as aliengear makes a holster for my m242 bushmaster, I should finally have enough gun to stop the average mugger. If not, the mk210 HEIT should be enough to scare them off when I fire a warning shot.

    9. Proper and continuous training is what will increase the odds of survivall. Storm mountain training center is a great choice. As far as caliber debate and these stats above they seem suspect. Shot placement and put as many rounds into the threat is the most important thing

      1. @Damon, I hear ya buddy but tell that to that leo in Chicago that is facing 96yrs in prison for putting 14rnds in a knife wielding perp, and killed him dead as hell. He is supposed to get sentenced today, but I haven’t heard yet, but I have been in and out all day. I personally would like to see the cop get cut loose, but I don’t think so. The black folks are having an uprising because his three buddies got off for supposedly shuffled papers to keep him out of stir, and if the cop got cut loose, they would burn that town down, and their Mayor wouldn’t do a thing about it.

    10. I will have to go with its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it , or id rather be lucky than good , or you cant fix stupid but be aware its out there and be prepared to walk if you can run if you have to your pride will heal faster than any part of anatomy 😉

    11. Our club president put that report up from another site…Good stuff! Was interesting that the 357Mag came out on top, and that more people don’t use the 357Sig. Also Greg noted, “He suspects that the use of 9mm fmjs probably hurt the 1 shot stops.” I would say that for the 45ACP as well. I use a 185 jhp at 1030 and it opens up pretty well.

      What I have found is, “situational Awareness, is second only to not having a gun in the first place.” With that, they are close!

      So far as competition goes? I used to be a Handgun Silhouette Shooter. A very slow deliberative, high concentration sport. Most important is of course “Front Sight acquisition and focus.” You would be surprised how that transfers to combat practice, especially when the guys are asking you how you are ringing 12″ steel at 100 yards with a 45ACP Glock. Everything closer is faster and more accurate.

    12. Good article, Tom
      He said, she said, they said, we said, enough already. Though it might be tempting to jump into the hype it’s better to ” know” – for fact – what you might want to add.
      My grandmother used to say “Still water runs deep. Shallow brooks babble.”
      BTW, before I started reading the article I looked at who wrote it. When I saw it was Tom I knew it would be worth reading. And it was/is.

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