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The Seven Secrets Of Concealed Carry - Secret Number Two

The Seven Secrets Of Concealed Carry

2. Don't Make A Lifetime Commitment To The First Gun You Carry

In part one, we talked about the importance of having your gun near you at all times, because having a concealed carry permit and not having your gun with you is like having a drivers license and a car but always asking your friends for a lift.

So let's talk about the gun you carry. First, the bad news: There's a good chance your first choice for a concealed carry gun won't be quite right for you. Now, the good news: That gun can be used for something else.

Back in 2006, I did extensive research before I purchased a CCW gun about what I thought was the best gun for me. I tracked down features and prices, weighed in size and power, and after weeks and weeks of research, I bought what I considered to be the be-all and end-all of concealed carry guns; a pocket-sized, 10 round 9mm handgun from a new manufacturer that cost less than $300.

And I made a bad choice.

  • Sub-compact or "mini" 9mm's aren't known for their shootability and aren't a good choice for a first-time concealed carry gun.
  • Its small size made recoil unpleasant and it was full of rough edges and sharp corners that physically hurt my hand after fifty rounds.
  • To make matters worse, because the manufacturer had just started making guns, my gun was unreliable and broke often.

I bought a "pocket sized" 9mm because I thought I was getting the best of both worlds: A pistol that I could easily conceal but that still gave me 10+1 rounds of 9mm when I needed it. I still have that gun, but it's a tertiary weapon for me, at best. After that experience, rather than try to find one gun that "does it all", I've settled into a rotation of three guns for concealed carry:

It's important to remember that my choices are just that: Mine. Would I be happier with, say, a SIG 938 or an XD-S instead of my Shield? Maybe. The truth is, however, we are living in a Golden Age of handguns. Almost *any* pistol from *any* reputable manufacturer these days is up to the task of defending your life, and it's up to you to find the one that works best for you for price, accessories and features.

When it comes to concealed carry guns, buyer's remorse is no big deal: Unless you're used to carrying the equivalent weight of one or more cans of soda around on your waist, carrying a gun every day of your life will be a learning process, and part of that learning process is learning which gun works best for you. This is even more true about holsters: You are going to buy more than one, and the sooner you accept that fact, the better. You don't have one pair of shoes for dress and work and sports, and you're going to have more than one holster for your gun as well. Don't chase fads, but don't put up with something that is uncomfortable, hampers a smooth draw or does not carry your gun in a safe manner. 

Next up in Part Three: Know the limitations of your gun and yourself.

Secret #1: Make the Commitment to Carry Whenever and Wherever You Can

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