Car keys? Check. Purse? Check. Gun? Check! There are strong and independent women all over this country, just like you, who have made the decision to carry a concealed firearm.
Being armed for your own defense is a big decision that needs careful consideration and planning, and I’m not just talking about looking good wearing it. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself comfortably and safely.
1. Verify your local regulations
When you are carrying a weapon, there are more consequences than just harm to be mindful of. You never want to be attempting to explain yourself to an officer for being armed in a manner or location that is not permitted. They can, and likely will, detain you and/or confiscate your weapon if you violate the local laws in this regard. So, let’s not test that theory, ok?
Check your local area for state, county and city regulations regarding firearms. Check your frequent stops in your daily routine. The grocery store? The salon? Your kid’s school? Do they allow firearms on the premise? There’s a reason we all had to go out and buy clear purses for the ballpark. Know before you head out for the day and be prepared to secure and stow your weapon if need be.
2. Take a class
You’ve done your homework, now keep going and get some expert education. Your local firing range will have resources to get you into a concealed carry class. The range instructor will be an excellent advisor to the unique differences between being a gun owner and being a concealed carrier. Even if you’ve had firearms in your wheelhouse since you were a little sprout with your first .22 or shot a Glock with a red dot sight, this is not a step you should skip. The classes provided are for gun owners of all experience levels. Quite simply put, they know what you didn’t know you didn’t know.
3. Get, and stay, familiar with your weapon
One of the craziest things that I see on more of a regular basis than I’d like to admit, is how many people who carry guns rarely handle them. They put them on. They take them off. They’ll clean them after they get used or wet. That’s it. Honey, that’s just not good enough. You are carrying that weapon with the intent to use it if someone is trying to harm or kill you. Think about that.
You aren’t going to be looking down a range at a piece of paper 25 yards away. You are going to be scared and quite probably will be freaking out. That is not the time to be trying to remember which way the safety flippy thing goes that the instructor showed you five years ago. Frequent your local range. Clean your weapon regularly. Dry fire your weapon regularly. Practice your holstering regularly.
Essentially, you need to put the work in to ensure you have the muscle memory to be able to use that firearm without having to think about it, should the need arise. Practice makes permanent… even when you’re in freak out mode.
4. How will you be carrying it? So many choices!
On a less freak out note, let’s get back to that looking good thing. You’re safe, you’re smart and doggone it you’re stylish! Ok, well it is concealed so stylish may not be an attribute you’re looking for when shopping – but it is something to consider when buying your holsters. Yes, you read that right, you’re going to need more than one. (Yay! More shopping!) No matter what kind of firearm you are carrying, you need to consider your wardrobe and the weather each day. There are so so so many options here ladies. So, shop around, ask your girlfriends or your dude friends and enjoy the fun of buying new gun stuff.
5. Safety, Safety, Safety!!!
If you’ve gotten through all the tips, I’ve already given you, you are doing awesome. You are ready, you are comfortable, and you are looking great doing it. Now let’s have a real talk. This is a gun. It kills people. It does not always kill people on purpose. Your range instructor was not kidding about all that safety stuff and accidents DO happen. There are not enough ways to tell gun owners that the number one priority in carrying a firearm in public should always be safety. If you aren’t comfortable with your weapon yet, that’s okay, you’ll get there.
Keep learning and strive to ensure that your decision to protect yourself won’t bring harm to another unintentionally. Don’t be the carrier who hits the restroom, drops the gun on the floor trying to pee in a hurry and shoots the poor person in the next stall. “I didn’t know it would fall out when I pulled down my pants” is not something the officers will be happy to hear.
So do your homework, get in class, be one with your firearm, look great doing it and try hard not to shoot people accidentally. You are totally capable of protecting yourself with a concealed firearm and following these simple tips will keep you on track to doing it in the smartest ways. Now get out there and be safe. You’ve got this.