The Three C’s of Concealed Carry

| April 8, 2012

The “Three C’s Of Concealed Carry” are the most critical factors in selecting a handgun (and accessories) for your self-defense needs.  These are:

Confidence, Comfort, and Concealability

It’s easy to talk to “experts” who will go on about ideal calibers, “knockdown power”, bullet capacity, pistol style, etc., but we have consistently found that the three factors above make all the difference in creating a postiive concealed carry experience.

Confidence – A handgun that you are not comfortable with is a handgun that will stay locked away and never be carried.  Plain and simple.  While this may seem obvious, the confidence factor goes beyond the mental sense of security you get from carrying a handgun.  Handguns are mechanical devices, which means even the most reliable pistol in the world can fail at the most critical time.  Knowing how to pull the trigger is a relatively simple task, but knowing how to quickly reload or clear a “stovepipe” in an emergency situation is also just as important.  Learning these skills contributes to the confidence you will have in times when you must defend yourself or your family.  This is why we recommend participating in friendly shooting matches sponsored by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) or the US Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).  These organizations have exciting, and extremely safe, shooting matches that will help you learn and retain the basic motor skills you should have for carrying a concealed weapon.  We recommend going about twice a year, but we’ve found that many new owners get so thriled with the events that they go monthly.  If you don’t have a local IDPA or USPSA shooting group, we recommend joining the Texas CHL Forum and asking questions there about where to shoot, and perhaps even find helpful members that can help you improve your shooting skills.

Comfort – A handgun can be heavy and bulky, or small and compact, but any handgun can be uncomfortable to wear in a holster without considering your lifestyle and needs.  Your local gun dealer should be well-versed on the many options and styles available, but be wary if they offer you choices without first asking you questions about the size of the pistol, the style of clothes you commonly wear, and how active or sedentary you are when out in concealed carry situations.  If you’re female, we strongly recommend visiting Kathy Jackon’s excellent Cornered Cat site for articles about issues that women often face regarding gun ownership, particularly the article “Straight Talk About Curves” (and if you live in the Austin area and want to speak to a woman directly about concealed carry comfort issues, look no further than Julianna Crowder at Just like cars, a good pistol/holster combination can make the difference between not even noticing you’re carrying a handgun, to being painfully aware of every second you’re carrying one.

Concealability – Nobody wants to strap on a handgun that, while comfortable, protrudes like a 1980s cell phone.  While smaller pistols can be more concealable, they can also be so small that you cannot quickly get a grip on it when it is needed, so accessibility is the other side of the concealability coin.  In any case, it’s important that you try different positions with your holster (hip holsters, in this case) that will afford you concealability without sacrificing easy access.  New concealed carry owners will always feel self-conscious the first few times they carry their handgun, but they also discover that people don’t notice if your handgun is reasonably concealed.  There’s even an amusing name for carrying a concealed handgun for the first time, the “Wally Walk.”  This generally implies an outing to a local department store (i.e., Wal-Mart) for some normal shopping needs while you are carrying concealed, and almost every person reports a high degree of self-consciousness when first walking in, then discovers over time that their handgun becomes just as insivible to them as it is to others.

We understand that there are many other factors to selecting a handgun (and accompanying holster), but Confidence, Comfort, and Concealability make the biggest difference in the long run.

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Category: General

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