What is Concealed Carry?

Let's take it back to the basics for just one moment. I'm not sure we've ever answered the question: What is concealed carry? In trying to remember that our audience spans generations and experience levels, this is actually an all important question to answer.

There are people who don't know and it's our job to help them discover truth instead of lies.

So, what is concealed carry? (and no I'm not talking about us, though we are stellar as a company) I'll put together my definition in just a moment, but here's the dictionary version–

to carry concealed gun or other weapon in public.

Sadly, that doesn't really begin to answer the question if you don't know what “concealed” means, or the reason “why” you'd carry a gun to begin with. So, let's take a look at “concealed” next–

to hide; withdraw or remove from observation; cover or keep from sight:

So, a concealed carry gun is nothing more than a gun that you have hidden from sight. But, the next thing we need to figure out, is the reason why. Why would someone choose to carry a hidden gun on their body?


There are a few different definitions of this depending on the context, but this is the version that applies to what we're talking about, here. Self-defense–

the act of defending one's person when physically attacked

So, if we were to combine these definitions pulled from dictionary.com, and make our own accurate definition, concealed carry can be described, thus:

The act of concealing a weapon (generally a firearm) on one's person that can be used to defend human life against threats of death or serious bodily injury.

Well, okay. But, you may be thinking, what about my big screen TV? Or, what about the hot rod in the garage?

Notice how I didn't say anything about the protection of property in that definition. The reason for this, is because defending property isn't usually okay in most of the United States.

There is some gray area in some states, but for understanding the definition of concealed carry, you should only use your firearm if you feel the imminence of death or serious bodily injury caused by another person.

Just so we have an understanding of the word “imminence,” another way of looking at it is that someone is about to attack you. This means that you see the knife, gun, or they're winding up their baseball bat to clobber you.

You see and know that it's about to happen and the only logical way for you to protect your life is by drawing your gun and stopping the threat.

Notice how I didn't say KILL your attacker. The reason for self-defense is never to kill someone, it is to stop the threat, or stop the attack from continuing.

We do understand, however, that by nature gun wounds can kill and if that is the case, then so be it. But, it is not our intention to kill. It is our intention to stop the attack.

As a side note, you may want to read this article about watching what you say on the internet and social media.

It is worth the read because if someone ever does die by result of you defending yourself and you've said on the internet some incriminating stuff, chances are good they'll use that against you in court.

This would be a great time to insert a book by attorney Andrew Branca called The Law Of Self Defense. It is totally worth the read to get a solid understand of the Law of Self Defense. Your very freedom could depend on it.

Click Here For The Book

Also know that you aren't technically allowed to carry everywhere per federal law–violate these laws at your own risk. Certain places, like the post office and other federal buildings are no-go zones with your gun.

In addition, if you have your concealed carry permit or license, it may not be valid in all states. In fact, I can guarantee that it won't be valid in all states.

You can use our FREE reciprocity map builder, here, or, better yet, just download our FREE concealed carry app with the same information on it available for Android and iPhone.

That app is a game changer.

If there is anything you'd like to add about what concealed carry is, how to do it, or anything like that, please feel free to leave a comment below.

P.S. Nothing in this article can be construed to be legal advice. I am clearly not a lawyer.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. OldProf49 on May 1, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    1) Have a gun that is reliable and is chambered in an effective caliber. 2) Get your state’s CCW. 3) GET ADDITIONAL TRAINING, both in how and WHEN to shoot. 4) PRACTICE! Remember that only perfect practice makes perfect. 5) Repeat numbers 3 and 4 as often as possible. 6) Sign up for some form of self defense legal defense fund. While not necessary, it could be invaluable at keeping you out of jail/prison and the poorhouse.

    Don’t believe some of this is worthwhile? Read Branca’s book and In The Gravest Extreme by Ayoob. If the possibilities of what can happen to you after you’ve saved your life don’t scare you, perhaps you should rethink your choice to carry. Our law enforcement and legal establishment are much better prepared to deal with passive victims, living or dead, than they are proactive ones.

    • Jim on May 1, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      You are correct, on two counts; however, you missed by that (=) much.

      Training is great; however, when you get trained, make sure you document your training in a letter you send to yourself. Do not show this letter to the POLICE. Don’t offer any information. It does this for a living. Let it (the officer ask the questions.)

      In the letter, don’t forget the 10 commandments of safe firearm handling and make sure you refer to the “weapon” as a “firearm.” It sounds silly; however, weapon sounds aggressive and firearm sound’s passive. You don’t want to give a young SNOWFLAKE lawyer more ammunition (pun intended).

      When they finally respond, the POLICE officer is in charge. He is responding to a cold call. He will want to know what is going on.Do not brandish a firearm. Do not threaten. What you say, in the first encounter, will determine if you are going to jail.

  2. David Clarke on May 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Ok. You explained concealed carry. Now explain partial concealed carry such as Illinois law.

    • Michael on May 2, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      I would like to know the answer also. Plus a good definition of partial CC. Do you mean printing, etc. ?

  3. Larry Hanes on May 2, 2019 at 6:15 am

    I understand carrying a gun on your person, concealed from sight. What about carrying a gun in your truck ? I have a ceiling rack and my shotgun is completely out of sight. Is that a concealed carry? BTW, I have a NC CCW but I want to make sure I’m not crossing any legal boundaries by having a truck gun available. I live in the boonies so a shotgun comes in handy.

    • Joshua Gillem on May 2, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Hey Larry,

      That’s a pretty tough question to answer and largely depends on a state by state basis. For example, in Pennsylvania you’re allowed to open carry without a permit/license. However, once you enter your vehicle you’re considered to be “concealed” and breaking laws if you’re still wearing your gun. You are only allowed to travel with your firearm to and from the range, gun store, etc., with your firearm in the car.

      Another example is South Carolina. If your permit isn’t valid in SC (yours is valid) you can’t carry your gun on your person but can have it in your vehicle. So you see, the best thing to do is to conduct some thorough research because laws vary in all 50 states.

      Hope this helps.


  4. Beyah A Mohammad on April 27, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Interested in training with conceal carrying

    • Beyah A Mohammad on April 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      I want to go throw the training course to qualify in conceal carrying

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