The Emotional Beginnings of Everyday Pistol Carry – Get Over It

Concealed Carry
Concealed Carry

USA –  -(AmmoLand.com)- Everybody starts somewhere. If you drive a car or fly a plane, you had that first time behind the wheel; that first solo flight. If you are like me, there was a lot of excitement and maybe a little (read: a lot) of fear.

To me, carrying a pistol seemed strange at first. You see, although I grew up with guns (Gun Culture 1.0), carrying one on the person in public was seldom done, except for police and thugs. I had carried one in the car when traveling, but carry permits were uncommon in those days.

Then the carry revolution began in Florida and swept across much of the United States. Tennessee, with the incessant urging of gun owners across the state, enacted a permitted carry law. Initially, the ninety-five sheriffs of the state-issued the permits. A bond was required in addition to the cost of training and permitting. I was able to scrape together the funds to get the ball rolling. I took the required course, paid for the bond, and went to the bowels of the City-County Building in Knox County to get fingerprinted.

Note: Bad guys can get fingerprinted 24/7/365, but to get my permission slip, I had to set an appointment during business hours.

So, I got the very expensive carry permit and started to carry a pistol. It seemed like everywhere I went people were looking at me. I thought to myself, “Do they know I am carrying a gun? Do they think I am a weirdo?”

I went to the magazine rack at Walmart once and was thumbing through some (gun) magazines, and up walked a police officer. “Am I printing? Does he think I am a bad guy?” Oblivious to me, the 12-pound anvil on my hip, and my decided list to starboard, but then he started perusing the magazines, too. Okay, I’m just an ordinary guy, participating in my constitutional right to bear arms. Everything’s cool.

As time went by, daily carrying of a handgun everywhere except where prohibited became routine, and the time came when being without at least a little pistol in my pocket became odd and uncomfortable like I forgot something.

Carrying a handgun is an awesome right and responsibility. For most of human history, the powerful have ruled over the weak. Fists or blades have enabled brigands of all sorts to rob, rape, and pillage at will. The development of the repeating handgun, beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century has changed that. The woman or the man of lesser body strength is able to project equalizing power. From Smithsonian Magazine:

The old saying goes like this: God created men equal. Colonel Colt made them equal.

If you are thinking about carrying a handgun and getting a permit (in states where required), then just go ahead and start the process. Get training whether required or not. Get some good instructional videos, such as the Gunsite 250 video course #ad.

Learn and always follow the Four Rules:

  • Rule One: All guns are always loaded.
  • Rule Two: Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy.
  • Rule Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  • Rule Four: Always be sure of your target (and what’s beyond it).

Particularly in these unsettled times, with police stations being burned and insurrectionists taking over sections of cities, you are indeed on your own.

Plan and act accordingly, and above all remain dangerous.



Liston Matthews

About Liston Matthews

Liston Matthews has been involved in the gun rights movement since 1971. He was involved in the passage of the Tennessee carry law, and its improvements. He has testified before local legislative bodies. He has contacted politicians and had numerous editorial letters published. He believes that politicians must be carefully vetted at the local level because few change their positions when they move to higher office.

Liston writes his own blog Good Hill Press is an AmmoLand News contributor, and formerly wrote at Examiner.com.

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Pastor Roy
Pastor Roy
2 months ago

I know it may seem petty to some, but I hate it when Rule #1 is stated as “All guns are always loaded.” because they’re not. Can we at least give each other a little credit for some intelligence. The right way to say it is, “Rule #1: Treat every gun as if it is loaded.” The results will be the same, but it is more accurate and doesn’t treat everyone like an idio.

RoyD
RoyD
2 months ago
Reply to  Pastor Roy

Yes, correctly placing the burden on the person rather than an inanimate object.

pureamericana
pureamericana
3 months ago

Excellent article, felt almost as if I had written it. Never did occur till now, very easy going, almost pacifist friends asking for advice suggestions 0n clbr.,brand and the choice of rev/auto as being best to carry. Kinda knew this day might one day arrive.

None
None
3 months ago

You almost have to carry here in Florida, which is fast becoming the murder capital

Superman
Superman
3 months ago

‘Except where prohibited’? You think violent criminals care about that rule? If you carry concealed, keep your mouth shut, and avoid metal detectors you should have a serious re-think about your position.

Superman
Superman
2 months ago

Would you rather be tried by twelve or carried by six?

Old soldier
Old soldier
3 months ago

Great advice.
I constantly check out new training videos and usually pick up something new each time.
Train, train, and then train some more.
The switch from service holster to concealed at retirement did take a little extra training to keep this old dog from grabbing the wrong area out of reflex. Lol

Grigori
Grigori
3 months ago

Carried off and on since I was 15. At that age, I was volunteer dispatching at our SO on weekends and school holidays. Biological dad, even in the early mid-1970’s, worried about someone attacking the office. He gave me a High Standard .22 WMR DA Deringer that I kept in an old Exxon “gift of the month”, plastic wallet to break up the outline. For a while, I was paranoid that one of the deputies might notice it, but AFAIK, nobody did. At least if they did, they never mentioned it. When I graduated high school, I began carrying a… Read more »

Will
Will
3 months ago

I never had any problems with concealed carry. It became second nature quickly. For the last four years it’s been open carry every day. That too becomes as easy a sticking your wallet in your back pocket!

gregs
gregs
3 months ago
Reply to  Will

I have to carry concealed here in fla, except when working on private property with owners permission. it just feels weird if I am not carrying, like not wearing my seatbelt in the car. even clark has a point with “except where prohibited”. as far as I am concerned my God given right and safety is more important than man-made laws.

Will
Will
3 months ago
Reply to  gregs

Gods law always Trumps mans law!

JoeUSooner
JoeUSooner
3 months ago
Reply to  Will

I’ve carried for over 9 years now (with a CCW license – which I keep even after Oklahoma went Constitutional Carry half a year ago), Like you, I never had any problems getting used to it.

But I just cannot bring myself to carry open. Despite open carry’s advantages, I see one over-riding disadvantage… open carriers are the FIRST to be shot by bad guys.

JDL
JDL
3 months ago
Reply to  JoeUSooner

Would be interesting to see the statistics on that. It seems reasonable, but it also seems reasonable that many more bad guys will have their minds changes by open carry and go commit their deed somewhere else. Then, at the somewhere else, shoot someone who takes longer to get their gun from concealment – like happened at the Texas church where the first guy responding was shot while trying to draw from concealment. I would not be surprised if open carry caused the carrier to get shot was very rare.

Bobtail
Bobtail
3 months ago
Reply to  JoeUSooner

I won’t open carry for one simple reason. The less the bad guy knows, the better.

badlands
badlands
3 months ago

I’ve carried for over 40 years now, and have always been amazed at how little people scrutinize other people. In all these years I’ve yet to have anyone notice that I’m carrying, and I generally carry midsize to full size guns. You’re absolutely right, initially you’re self conscious and thinking that EVERYBODY knows, but after a couple of weeks you never give it another thought.

Vanns40
Vanns40
3 months ago
Reply to  badlands

Just one little story: about 12 years or so ago a group of us went to a restaurant for dinner. I was open carrying. A waiter, not ours, came over and said “can I ask you a question?”. In my mind I was thinking oh boy, here we go, but I said “sure, what can I do for you?”. His reply cracked me up…….”what model Glock is that?”……

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Vanns40

@Vann, Outstanding!

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

@OV, Harry, the too slow to race horse, is not improving as fast as I had hoped, but that says more about my concern and lack of patience, than Harry’s abbesses. The farrier is coming over again tonight. Harry is not giving up and neither are we.

Finnky
Finnky
3 months ago
Reply to  badlands

@OV – Brilliant response. Don’t think I’m old enough to pull that one off yet though.

GUNFUN
GUNFUN
3 months ago

AND be careful if you decide to carry appendix.

Will
Will
3 months ago
Reply to  GUNFUN

Why? Why be careful?

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
3 months ago
Reply to  GUNFUN

Because, nobody ever shot himself while carrying at the 4-o’clock position. Oh, wait:

https://youtu.be/SEuBXWujeYQ

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
3 months ago

Wow, he was quite fortunate, not having any serious complications and in recovering so well. I do recall seeing that video at least several years ago. Still as riveting as the first time.

Knute
Knute
3 months ago

And, as is clear from the wound going straight down the leg and emerging at the knee, NOT a 4 o’clock carry. If it had been, the wound would’ve been in the buttocks!
It was a straight, strong side carry in a Serpa holster, which the victim doesn’t blame even though Serpa has dropped that design if favor of the T series. It turns out that dragging your trigger finger as you draw to release the weapon sometimes leads to the trigger finger dropping directly unto the trigger. Whoda thunk it, huh? 🙂

Finnky
Finnky
3 months ago

@CF – Another reminder of why we all need to learn trauma care. I’ve been remiss, but there is no time like the present to rectify past omissions.

Shit happens, sometimes our own fault, sometimes someone else’s. Sometimes we’re the one hurt and sometimes it is someone else. In any case having both equipment and knowledge to deal with a problem can be critical.

Knute
Knute
3 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

And another take away is how tough humans are. Note that even after a flesh wound starting at the hip and emerging at the knee, he walks off (well… limps off is a little more accurate 🙂 ) to drive himself to the doctor. If that had been an actual situation he’d have still been in the fight. A little slower moving maybe, but still in the fight.

Will
Will
3 months ago
Reply to  Knute

,this ole boy seemed real upset about shooting himself in the leg! It took several seconds for him to realize what he done! Hell,this ole boy never even cleared leather. I highly recommend using snap-caps for certain drills. It’s a lot safer and you won’t shoot yourself in the leg.

Knute
Knute
3 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will. Yeah, it really pissed him off didn’t it? 🙂 In a real fight he’d be so full of adrenaline he probably wouldn’t even notice it until later. That was those old serpas. There were dozens of these incidents before they abandoned the design. You kept your finger in the indexed position, and then pushed a button on the holster there to release the retention. Problem was; People in a hurry tended to keep the pressure on as they drew, which meant that the trigger finger was still pushing in as the trigger guard cleared. That would sometimes drop the… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
3 months ago
Reply to  Knute

@Knute – Have heard that repeatedly. Have also heard of instances where a little dirt gets into the mechanism and locks gun in holster. Have had instructors tell me tales of having to break the kydex to free the firearm, with a cocked & locked 1911 or something similar. Cannot reach mag release or work slide to clear the chamber – so everything done with live round ready to go at smallest mistake. I’d have thought that with external hammer one could lodge a foreign object under the hammer – providing relatively safety during holster destruction but not so easy… Read more »

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
3 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

Speaking of trauma care, know when to apply a tourniquet and when just apply a pressure bandage:

https://youtu.be/RLYGLqgaiqw

Superman
Superman
3 months ago
Reply to  GUNFUN

Just remember ‘off target, off trigger’ no matter how you carry concealed. There; I fixed it for you.

Knute
Knute
3 months ago
Reply to  Superman

Sup: “Keep your finger off the trigger til your sights are on the target”. See how that has a nice cadence to it so you can’t forget it?
There. Fixed it for you.

Superman
Superman
2 months ago
Reply to  Knute

Nope; mine was shorter and easier to remember. Nice try; no cigar.