This is one part in our series of articles about reasons why those with a concealed carry permit stop carrying concealed. Please visit this introductory post to learn more about this series of articles.
As humans we are naturally creatures of habit. The mind and body both thrive in repetition. Building habits and breaking habits can be difficult but this article is designed to help someone who has either never developed the habit of carrying concealed or has fallen out of the habit.
As well-intentioned as you may be, carrying a concealed firearm may not be a part of your everyday lifestyle. And make no mistake, it is a lifestyle. For some, it's a big change in lifestyle.
If you want to establish the habit of carrying concealed you must first understand how habits are formed and broken. All habits consist of 3 key parts: The Cue, The Routine, and The Reward.
The Cue is the thing in the environment that triggers in our sub-conscious the desire or need to follow the routine. Cues can be anything from hunger, time of day, weather conditions, smells, and much much more.
In the case of carrying a concealed firearm, common cues might include getting dressed in the morning, walking past the gun safe, seeing the gun safe, or other things that we do in the course of preparing ourselves for the day that trigger a sub-conscious thought or desire.
The Routine is the actual action that we take and the part of the habit most of us think of. In the case of carrying your concealed firearm the routine is the actual holstering of the weapon on your body or in your concealment system.
The Reward is the reaction that the routine triggers. This is often a feeling, physical or emotional, that we crave from practicing the routine. In the case of the concealed firearm, the reward may be the physical feeling of the firearm on your body or the peace of mind of knowing that you are better prepared for deadly threats.
This feeling of reward often creates a feeling of nakedness when you don't have your gun on after you've reached a certain point.
With that clarity please consider some of the following tips and adapt them for your own situation:
- The most critical part of creating or recreating your concealed carry habit is establishing a strong cue that will trigger, or serve to remind you to arm yourself. Potential cues may include:
- Putting the gun safe somewhere in the bedroom where you will look at it and or touch it during your dressing routine.
- Putting something on your keychain that serves no other purpose than to remind you to get your gun. When you pick up your keys you will see and feel the cue item and retrieve the firearm.
- Choose a cue that is part of EVERY day's routine regardless of it being a work day, holiday, weekend, etc.
- Keep your holster in the same place as you do your pants, shirts, or belts so you can quickly attach it as you dress.
- As you grab the firearm and slip it into the holster create a specific routine of actions in this process as well. This may include performing an inspection on the firearm before loading the magazine or other very specific steps that form a simple process out of arming yourself.
Finally, this all has to come from a desire to WANT to carry everyday. If you're not there yet, the above steps may not work for you.
I hope that this has been insightful and will serve to encourage you if you are not currently in the habit of carrying a concealed gun for self-defense, to once again raise yourself to this most critical level of preparedness.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Original publish date June, 2015.