THE ART OF CON­CEALED CARRY

TIPS FOR KEEP­ING THE SE­CRET

Gun World - - Train - Michelle Cerino is both a firearms trainer and the pres­i­dent of Cerino Con­sult­ing and Train­ing Group, LLC—a firearms train­ing com­pany she built with her hus­band, Chris, in 2011. She writes, hunts and com­petes in ma­jor 3-gun matches na­tion­wide.

My hus­band and I both carry con­cealed just about every time we leave the house. Sure, most peo­ple who know us as­sume we each have a firearm—but only be­cause they ex­pect it; not be­cause they saw some­thing to make them sus­pi­cious. I’ve seen the tell­tale signs of con­cealed carry and called peo­ple out on it. Yep, the per­son with the gun will most likely be tar­get #1 in a con­fronta­tion. I have even picked out Air Mar­shals in an air­port, and these peo­ple have train­ing far above and be­yond the av­er­age cit­i­zen. Part of the prob­lem is that some peo­ple think the prac­tice of car­ry­ing a con­cealed firearm in pub­lic be­gins and ends with tak­ing a course and be­com­ing cer­ti­fied. The as­sump­tion is that the li­cense and card they carry make the “con­cealed” hand­gun in­vis­i­ble to all those around. Wouldn’t that be nice?

How­ever, be­cause it’s not true, we have to work hard at keep­ing the se­cret.

GEAR

There are many choices in con­cealed-carry gear. Just pop into the lo­cal firearms store and ask a sales­per­son to walk you through the op­tions. I’m pretty sure you’ll get an ear­ful about what they pre­fer. How­ever, keep in mind that hol­sters are per­sonal. Dif­fer­ent styles work with dif­fer­ent life­styles. Be­fore you make a pur­chase, try on a bunch of dif­fer­ent brands and styles. Make sure the one you choose is both com­fort­able and func­tional.

As for spare mag­a­zines, some peo­ple carry them in pock­ets; oth­ers might not carry any at all. I’ve per­son­ally found the NeoMag pocket clip (TheNeoMag.com) works very well for pocket carry. It keeps the mag­a­zine in the right place and right po­si­tion for easy ac­cess when needed.

Fi­nally—cloth­ing: Car­ry­ing con­cealed might re­quire ad­just­ments to your wardrobe. Pat­terns and darker col­ors help keep the out­line of the gun from print­ing. Pants are an­other con­sid­er­a­tion. If you carry in­side the waist­band (IWB), it could re­quire buy­ing pants a size larger or CCW-spe­cific pants with flex­i­ble/ad­justable waist­bands.

The In­ter­net is a great place to shop for hol­sters. Un­for­tu­nately, with on­line shop­ping, you can’t try items be­fore you buy them. It’s the na­ture of the beast ... and also why most of us have a box full of hol­sters in var­i­ous stages of use. Re­gard­less of which belt or hol­ster you choose, make sure it is high qual­ity. Also keep in mind that a gun belt is thicker and stur­dier to keep your hol­ster and gun in place.

PRAC­TICE

You now have all your gear; so, of course, prac­tice, prac­tice and more prac­tice is in or­der. Work on your move­ments—stand­ing, sit­ting, reach­ing up and down. If you do a lot of sit­ting, make sure you can sit com­fort­ably. When you stand up, make sure the gun doesn’t move. Prac­tice get­ting into and out of your car. Your hol­ster shouldn’t shift when you do; if it does, cor­rect it. Have some­one ob­serve as you reach for a high shelf and a low cup­board. If they can see your hol­ster, con­sider how you’ll fix it; or avoid those sit­u­a­tions for which you have to reach.

Prac­tice draw­ing from con­ceal­ment with an empty gun. Be­fore you do, vis­ually and phys­i­cally check to make sure your gun is un­loaded, re­move all ammo from the room, and be sure to fol­low the four firearms safety rules. With an un­loaded gun, and us­ing all your gear, prac­tice draw­ing from var­i­ous po­si­tions, wear­ing dif­fer­ent cloth­ing. If you wear a coat, also prac­tice while wear­ing it. Find out what works best. Deep con­ceal­ment will al­most al­ways slow you down, so you might have to change strate­gies and tac­tics. That’s why it’s best to first dry-prac­tice at home.

KEEP THE SE­CRET

As chil­dren, it was al­ways fun for us to say, “I know some­thing you don’t know” (tra­di­tional sing-song voice is im­plied). As an adult, you should keep that in mind when you carry con­cealed. By keep­ing the se­cret, you main­tain the el­e­ment of sur­prise. Don’t let oth­ers know when or how you carry. Hon­estly, it’s none of their busi­ness. It is about your per­sonal safety and pro­tec­tion.

DEEP CON­CEAL­MENT WILL AL­MOST AL­WAYS SLOW

YOU DOWN,

SO YOU MIGHT

HAVE TO CHANGE STRATE­GIES AND TAC­TICS.

HANDS OFF

Be wary of tell­tale move­ments. These are move­ments that would cause a trained ob­server to know you are car­ry­ing a gun. Avoid bad habits, such as con­stantly pulling your shirt down and/or pulling your belt up. Trust that your cover gar­ment will keep your firearm con­cealed. Re­mem­ber: You tested it be­fore you left the house.

If you are in pub­lic and feel some­thing has moved or shifted with your gear, go to a pri­vate area and make your ad­just­ments there. What­ever you do, keep your hands off in pub­lic. Some peo­ple are so ob­vi­ous that al­most any­one could tell they are car­ry­ing a firearm. Be more cir­cum­spect, and keep ev­ery­thing un­der wraps.

RE­LAX

There is no rea­son to feel ner­vous when you are in pub­lic. You al­ready trained with your firearm, have prac­ticed with your gear, and, hope­fully, had some­one ob­serve your move­ments. Be­fore you walk out of your house, ask your­self, Do I look or act like I’m car­ry­ing a gun? Re­mem­ber how im­por­tant it is to keep the se­cret!

MOVE­MENT

Chang­ing the way you move might help you feel more con­fi­dent when you carry con­cealed. If you’re car­ry­ing on your strong side, start train­ing your­self to reach for things with your weak-side hand. I carry on my right side at 4 o’clock, so I gen­er­ally try to reach for ev­ery­thing with my left hand. When you’re at the gro­cery store, think be­fore you reach for that can of soup, es­pe­cially if it’s on the top or bot­tom shelf. For the bot­tom shelf, don’t just bend over. In­stead, bend at the knees in front of your shop­ping cart. For the top shelf, I would straighten my right arm against my gun and reach with my left.

If I have a cover gar­ment that re­quires my sup­port hand to clear it be­fore draw­ing, I try to carry bags in my strong hand. Should I have to draw my firearm I would drop what’s in my strong hand while I clear my shirt or coat with my sup­port hand. Al­though it is not al­ways easy, I try to tailor my move­ments to my con­cealed-carry needs.

Don’t be over­whelmed by all that goes into car­ry­ing con­cealed. Take time to learn the ins and outs. Then, prac­tice and train. You will soon be com­fort­able and con­fi­dent. GW

CAR­RY­ING CON­CEALED MIGHT RE­QUIRE AD­JUST­MENTS TO YOUR WARDROBE.

NeoMag pocket clips pro­vide easy ac­cess to your spare mag­a­zine.

Be sure to prac­tice your draw from wher­ever you carry.

When car­ry­ing con­cealed near your belt­line, get into the habit of reach­ing high with your weak hand to keep your cover gar­ment from rid­ing up.

De­pend­ing on what you wear, you might need to have your sup­port hand free to clear your cover gar­ment.

Bend at your knees when search­ing for an item on a lower shelf.

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