*Responsibilities of a Concealed Carry Holder*
By Wheels

So, you have your concealed carry permit. Now what? By having your permit you are held to a higher code of conduct. Not only are you responsible for the protection of yourself and loved ones, but for others around you that come under attack in your presence. Remember: you are also responsible to other concealed carry holders for your conduct, and misuse of your permit will give us all a bad name in the eyes of the public.

Disclaimer: The following text is for information only, and is written for your reading pleasure. Follow your state's laws regarding your responsibilities for legal concealed carry.

You will probably try several types of holsters for concealed carry. Experiment to find which works best for you. One may not always work, but make sure you are comfortable with the one you choose. You don't want to be fidgeting with it which will tell others you are hiding something, and possibly cause alarm. The fewer people who know you carry a handgun, the better off you'll be. Do not go into any area you would not normally go just because you are carrying. Don't get cocky, you are not bulletproof and should not go looking for trouble just because you are now legal to carry a handgun. Your permit allows you to carry a concealed handgun for defensive purposes only.

Some states have reciprocity in place and may honor your permit from your home state. You can check with that state's Attorney General's office and inquire if they will honor your permit while visiting there or they may issue you a permit if you so desire and intend to visit often. You can also call the NRA-ILA for this information. Their number is 1-800-392-8683, or visit the NRA website at http://www.nra.org/

A firearm may not be useful in every place, such as a mall or on a crowded street, so you may also want to carry a less than lethal means of defense, such as pepper spray, a knife, kuboton (a type of stick on a keychain) etc. In so doing, you may be looked upon more favorably if you use one of these instead of a firearm, even if you had one with you. A cautionary note regarding pepper spray. You need to test the one you buy so you know it's spray pattern. The recommended pattern is a conical one and seems to work best. This is the one most LEO's use. You will also need to be sure to note wind direction, if any, before deciding to use it and not be caught down-wind. Please check your state's laws regarding the use of pepper spray or blade lengths for knives and carry one that's legal if you choose to carry one at all.

Practice drawing from your chosen means of concealment. This can be done at home, after first observing the rules of safe gun handling (gun pointed in a safe direction, finger off the trigger, and making sure it is unloaded), by dry firing, or you can use snap caps for your gun's caliber and practice safely with no damage to the gun. Practice loading and unloading your gun without looking at what you're doing, even in the dark and use snap caps or dummy ammo. Practice can also be done at the firing range with live rounds which will prepare you for an actual defensive situation. Try using the Weaver and Isosceles stance, and one handed with both strong and weak hand. Practice often, until your movements are smooth and natural and at ranges from 3 feet out to fifteen yards, although most attacks occur within seven yards. You may even want to use multiple targets and fire from different positions and cover. Varying your exercises will better prepare you to react to a threat and make you more proficient with your gun. You may also want to take more advanced personal protection and or firearms classes to improve your skills, there are many available and one is sure to be near your location.

Keep in mind when practicing to think about where your rounds will be going if they should happen to over-penetrate. You are responsible for every round exiting your handgun and if someone else is hurt, you will possibly face charges, no matter your good intentions. Use only factory loaded hollow points from a reputable manufacturer in your carry gun and practice with it so you will know how it performs and where it will print on a target. For concealed carry this would be center of mass. Hollow points are designed to expand and dump their energy upon impact, full metal jacketed bullets do not, so hollow points are very strongly recommended for carry use.

There are four conditions of awareness. The first is white, going around totally unaware of your surroundings. A responsible carry permit holder should always be aware of his/her surroundings and never be caught in this condition. The second is yellow, being aware of your surroundings and ready to react to any problems which may arise. This condition is one which we should all be in. The third is orange, seeing trouble and thinking about how you will react to it, such as drawing your handgun, pepper spray, or knife, observing the area directly behind the attacker and preparing for action. The fourth is red, which is the actual process of reacting to the immediate threat and using your chosen defensive means.

After the situation is over, you may be in a state of emotional shock. You will have to focus on the moment and be very careful what you say about what has happened and ask to speak to your attorney first. Remember: you shot to stop an attack, not to take a life.

Carry discreetly, carry responsibly, practice diligently, and hopefully you will never be in a situation to use lethal force to defend yourself


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All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.