I have been asked throughout my career as a police officer and firearms instructor from family and friends “I want to get a CCW, what should I do?”
Well….here is my perspective. I am a supporter of the US Constitution, not only the Second Amendment, but the entire document. I believe we are all equal. That goes for LE and Civilians alike. I believe anyone who shows the willingness and aptitude to carry a Concealed Weapon should be afforded the opportunity. I believe that as Americans we are given this right, and this right should always be respected. As a person willing to Carry Concealed I believe that it is unique responsibility and should not be taken lightly or without reflection. So here I go!
1: Stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself “Am I capable of taking a human life?” This question is not a simple one and does not have a simple answer. There is no embarrassment if your answer in no! Being honest with yourself is never embarrassing; it should be how we approach all of our major decisions in life.
2: If you move on to Question two, I believe this is where you ask yourself who you are willing to protect using this power you feel comfortable accepting. Is this something you are doing for you alone, or who will you accept as your personal responsibility? If you do feel you will protect others, are they aware of your plan? Do they want you to protect them? Are they also comfortable with your decision to carry?
3: So one and two are answered and on to number three. Have I looked into some training and education on the safe operation and liability for the road you will be walking down? What is reasonable for getting me prepared to make a split second decision that will change so many lives if deadly force is necessary? What training can I find to prepare me to be a safe operator of this firearm, and exactly what liability am I taking on?
4: OK if you are still reading now it is time to research at your local level what is the procedure to obtain your goal of legally carrying a concealed weapon?
1: What weapon will I choose? Size / Type / Caliber? Again reflection is needed. You need to decide on the correct tool for your task that you have outlined prior to obtaining your CCW.
2: When and where will I be carrying my legal concealed weapon?
3: How and where on my body will I carry this weapon? Remember it must be concealed! If multiple areas or places, how much time should I spend training with the weapon and equipment so I am proficient. Comfort is a major concern. If your placement or holster is not comfortable the novelty of carrying a firearm will surely fade, and fast!
4: What holster or holsters will I need to accomplish my task and remain safe and secure?
We all have to remember that bad guys generally have made the decision. They can, and will take your life without a second thought, so we need to make sure we never introduce any weapon to a situation that we cannot handle. This again goes back to your training, both physical and mental. A firearm will not make you physically or mentally strong. A firearm is not an equalizer in the hands of someone who is not prepared; in fact it becomes a hazard. If you feel this is the case you should seriously consider reviewing your decision to carry a Concealed Weapon.
Enough on that…..Let’s get you moving!
We are very fortunate in the US to have access to so many quality modern firearms. If you have chosen a caliber and size or location on your body, it is time to shop.
1: Don’t buy any firearm based on someone telling you “you have to get a _____” Firearms are like many other tools we use every day. You want to buy the highest quality tool you can afford. You need to feel it in your hand and be comfortable using it. Just because I like X or Y doesn’t mean it will be effective for you. If it is too large or too small and you cannot efficiently use it or fire it in control, it is a wasted piece of metal! PLEASE do not be swayed by your neighbor, local cop buddy, husband, wife, or local expert. We all need to be our own expert and see what works best for us. Read reviews by many, just like you would do with any other items you would purchase.
2: Holsters and other CCW equipment is the same. Do your own research and find what works. Once again the highest quality for your budget is a good way to go. This is where you might need to ask your favorite expert. Not so they can tell you what to buy, but in most cases they have tried many holsters and could actually have some for you to try before you buy. One very unique thing I have found to be true about your local gun shop is they are honest hard working people. In my thirty plus years of buying firearms and equipment I have yet to find a gun shop that tried to sell me anything they did not feel would work for me. I can’t say I have never made a mistake, but I have never been sold anything based on the stores profit being a factor. This seems to be a consistent in the industry.
In conclusion, don’t be in a rush to purchase anything when it comes to firearms, or equipment. Find what works for you with the guidance of multiple professionals who you trust. We all have ideas and recommendations. You would never buy cloths that don’t fit! Make sure your firearms choices fit!