Experienced and new concealed carry holders alike are subject to a variety of major mistakes. When we do consultations with top industry professionals, we can still find 5 or more of these mistakes.
Please take a look and let us know what we forgot in the comments below.
1. Not Carrying Extra Ammunition
It isn't just a question of accuracy but also one of tactics and strategy. Multiple assailants, shooting from and toward cover, and dealing with the nerves are all good reasons to pack as much ammunition as you can. Learn more by reading our article: “How Many Rounds Should You Carry Concealed.”
2. Not Having A Permit
Some people in the industry feel that the 2nd amendment is their permit. While we agree on principle, the law doesn't work that way. Getting the permit is the best way to ensure you are legal and educated. Learn more about how to obtain your permit: “How to Get a Permit Valid In Your State.”
Ammunition is expensive, and so is the range fee, the gas in your car, and your time. Save a little money and increase your muscle memory with dry fire training. Use either an unloaded and inspected firearm or a laser simulation firearm and get it done at home or wherever you want to train. Learn more: Dry Fire Training With Laser Simulation
When you get a chance to do self-defense training, don't waste it by drawing from a hip or OWB holster. Use the same concealed carry holster you carry with to ensure you build the right kind of muscle memory. Learn more by reading “How to Draw From Concealed.”
Most of the surfaces in those bathrooms are slippery, and the gun is likely to fall, but as a worst-case scenario, you leave it in the stall altogether. There are good alternatives. Learn more here: Concealed Carry In the Bathroom
You have not been deputized and don't have an obligation to put yourself in harm's way to stop petty criminals. Let the police do their job, and you do yours! It is good to help others and protect life but learn where to draw the line.
Adding a 1 or 2-pound gun, plus ammunition inside of your waistband, doesn't feel normal. It makes you itch, sometimes literally, and that leads you to fiddle with your belt line and pants trying to find a more comfortable position. Here are some tips: Concealed Carry Adjustments
8. Hugging People Wrong
It has been soo long since I saw you last. You are so awesome! Oh … ah, that thing you just felt on my lower back or hip was… nothing at all!! Hug in a way people can't feel your gun!
Complacency is almost an inevitability when you put enough hours into firearm handling. Don't dismiss it as something that can't happen to you.
10. Wearing the Gun to A Doctor Appointment
Learned this the hard way. Doctors tend to examine you, and things go south when they run into the gun on your hip. Learn more by reading: “Considerations for Doctor Visits and Concealed Carry.”
11. Forgetting The Gun is In Your Carry-On Luggage
It sounds like something you would never do, yet the TSA confiscated over 2500 firearms last year. That is a lot of people who make that mistake of keeping your gun in your luggage.
12. Buying a Cheap Safe
It isn't like those guns are very valuable or anything … plus, if the lock takes some time to open, that is ok right? Buy a better safe.
13. Falling out of Love With Everyday Carry
Everyday carry is tough. You probably tried it for weeks, months, or even years, but now you don't carry it anymore. The world isn't getting safer, and you need to remember why you started this journey to begin with.
14. Buying a Cheap Holster
Holsters serve to make the firearm safe, secure, and available. These 3 things are of utmost importance, and trusting them to a foreign-made piece of junk isn't a good idea. Here are the top 21 holsters.
The jail is the wrong place and time to pick your attorney out of the yellow pages. Pick out the right attorney while you still have time and energy on your side.
16. Not Getting Additional Training
Ammunition does have a shelf life. Don't let those defense rounds or any other rounds sit for too long. Rotate ammunition like you do your food storage. You have food storage, right?
18. Having Only 1 Gun For Every Situation
Guns are not one size fits all. The best gun for home defense isn't the best gun for concealed carry, and neither is likely ideal for backcountry hiking.
Do you have any idea how expensive a decent attorney is? There are programs out there that will help you cover the cost, but you should be a member BEFORE the incident occurs.
20. Not Activating the NRA Gun Insurance Option
As an NRA member, you have access to $2,500 of firearm insurance coverage, but the coverage isn't automatic. You actually have to activate it beyond just joining the NRA. Learn more by reading: “Activating the NRA Insurance.”
21. Not Carrying Every Day
The absolute number 1 mistake of permit holders is not carrying a concealed gun, to begin with. If I had to guess, only 5% of my past concealed carry students actually carry a firearm daily. This is tragic. If you are among those that don't carry every day, it is time to re-commit.
22. Having Just 1 Drink
It is easy to justify just one drink when you have access to your firearm. After all, you figure you can legally drive, so what is the problem. The gun is the problem … don't cross that line! More thoughts here: “Dealing with Gun Safety and Drinking.”
23. Creating Curiosity for Children
You may think you are doing the right thing by hiding guns and avoiding the conversation altogether. Still, those actions can and likely will drive the child to experimentation and unsafe exploration at their first opportunity. Replace curiosity with education, knowledge, and experience.
24. Turning A Blind Eye to Safety Mistakes
Your friends, family, and buddies may be the most difficult to call out, but can you afford to ignore those things that make everyone less safe? Call them out and expect that they will do the same for you.
25. Drawing the Gun Wrong
A good draw includes a set of key fundamentals that emphasize safety, speed, and muscle memory. Are you sure you are doing it right? Here is a tutorial: How to Draw From Concealed
26. Buying Cheap Ammunition
The key here is to figure out what your firearm will tolerate. Some guns are more particular than others, and you don't want to be buying and using ammunition that causes many malfunctions in your firearm. Don't buy cheap ammo.
27. Cleaning the Gun in an Unsafe Environment
The best place to clean your gun is at the range right after you fire it. If you don't have that option, look for a place with an optimal “safe direction” and always maintain and clean that gun in that place with the muzzle facing the safe direction.
28. Not Carrying At the House
The number one place where you are likely to need that firearm is inside your own home. There is a 1 in 197 chance that you will experience a home invasion this year. Why would you put the gun away when you come home? Carry your gun at home.
29. Locking the Gun in a Glove Compartment
It's the first place someone looks when they break into your car for valuables. Also, along with the console, it is specifically listed as a locked container that doesn't qualify under 926A of the Federal Firearm Owner Protection Act. Learn more: “The Gun in the Glove Box.”
30. Not Trying Enough Guns Before Purchasing
If you fire 10 different guns, you are likely to find a favorite … but would it still be your favorite if you had fired 50 guns? It's worth trying as many as you can before you bet your life on it.
31. Shooting Next to Strangers
You are only as safe as the least safe person standing next to you with a gun. Its time to take action to avoid or limit strangers altogether when guns are involved. Here are more thoughts: “Dealing with Strangers at the Range.”
32. Not Wearing Eye Protection
I doubt you forget to put on your safety EAR wear … but eyes are just as difficult and expensive to repair in surgery. Vulnerable from power blowback, ejected shells, and ricochets around you, the eyes need great protection. Get some eye protection here.
When you have an intruder during the middle of the night, do you want to be looking for a key or trying to carefully spin the dial on a padlock while your adrenaline is pumping and time is critical? Get a quick access gun safe.
34. Not Securing the Gun Safe
It defeats the purpose of a gun safe if an intruder can pick up the safe and carry it out your front door to open later with a welding torch.
You can practice pulling a trigger and hitting the center target until you a blue in the face but unless you also train the draw, grip, stance, reload, malfunction clearing, etc. AND do it with speed; you aren't really prepared for the encounter.
36. Training At Long Distances
Depending on what research you believe, average deadly confrontations occur in 3-10 feet or less. Consistently putting that target out to 15 meters (45 feet) is impractical and probably not a great use of your training time or resources.
37. Not Controlling the Expenditure of Ammunition
There are several reasons why you don't want to have the muscle memory of emptying your magazine just because … chief among them because you may have multiple attackers.
38. Thinking of the Laws as Black and White
The law is up for interpretation. Only after the incident occurs, through the paradigms of two arguing attorneys in consideration of presented evidence, does a jury of 12 peers decides your fate. Justice is blind, as they say. Learn your gun laws.
39. Not Documenting All Your Training
Do you keep track of each time you train with your gun? Not only will your attorney thank you, but the data will also help you train smarter. Our no-cost training tracker available on your user profile and via our mobile app is probably a good place to start. Learn More: “How to Document All Your Firearm Training.”
40. Wearing the Wrong Clothing
Let's face it; carrying concealed isn't always the most fashionable. Start by valuing the gun over the style and work around the “self-defense” tool first.
41. Checking On the Gun
Yes, there is a 1-2 pound thing on your body that wasn't there before. It's tempting to keep checking on it and making sure it's still where you left it … but it's a bad habit that you need to get rid of early on.
42. Not Training Often Enough
How often should you be training? More. Click here for our best article we found about how often to train.
The laws change … a lot. Are you up to date with the latest changes? Stay close to the news, your gun club, and your instructor for updates. Also, check our reciprocity map regularly.
44. Carrying the Wrong Handgun
There are several important factors to consider when selecting the right concealed carry handgun, and you might need more than one.
45. Engaging in the Wrong Activities with A Concealed Gun
Some things are just not safe to do when you have your concealed firearm. Sports, clubbing, exercise, and wrestling with your kids come to mind.
46. Not Training With All Your Concealed Carry Guns
If you carry different firearms regularly, you need to be training with each of them.
47. Using Multiple Carry Holster Systems
It can be difficult to create strong muscle memory if you don't wear the same holster each day. Pick the concealed carry system that will work for you EVERY day and stick with it.
48. Training With Only One Stationary Target
Active threats rarely stay still. As your skills develop, you need to train with multiple targets and/or with moving targets. Want to increase your shooter skills for $1.28 per day and get a box of tactical goodies every quarter? Check out Guardian Nation and get access to our complete Shooter Skills library, where Riley teaches you important, useful skills.
49. Training As a Stationary Shooter
If you hold still, you make for a really easy target. Have you ever trained to move while shooting?
50. Using A Poor Quality or Ill Suited Belt
If the gun holster is depending on the belt for stability, you should use a gun belt that is strong and built for the purpose. Click here to learn the 5 major failures of most belts and even gun belts.
51. Telling Others About or Showing Off Your Gun or Permit
It is ok to be excited and proud of getting that new gun or permit … but keep it to yourself.
52. Favoring Your Gun Side
There is a tendency for new concealed carry holders to walk, favoring their gun side. Catch yourself and STOP it.
53. Crossing State Lines Without Doing the Proper Research
Just because that state honors your permit doesn't mean their gun laws are the same. Grab your copy of the latest Legal Boundaries Book – The Travel Guide For American Gun Owners. Anything under $20 that can keep me out of jail is worth it in my book.
54. Buying a Poorly Maintained Used Gun
I like a deal as much as the next person, but since we talk about life and death, let's make sure every gun purchased is in optimal operating condition. If you have doubts about your ability to inspect it take someone with you who can.
55. Not Cleaning The Gun When You Shoot
Your firearm won't operate at optimal levels if you don't take care of it. Make cleaning your firearm a habit that goes with shooting. Every time you fire the weapon, clean it.
56. Not Joining A Gun Club
It will cut down on your range fees, make you more inclined to train often, and help you rub shoulders with the smartest firearm people in your community.
And one bonus:
Someone might have told you Hollow Points were better, but they are also expensive. There is no harm in saving a little cash when you train at the range. But, training with only ball or target ammo is a mistake that can cost you your life. Throw some of your carry ammo into the mix, as well.
We probably missed some mistakes in there, so please feel free to tell us some of the things you have found or learned.
If you like this type of content, check out Matthew's post on the top mistakes he has seen gun owners make while defending themselves with a firearm.
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