What's it like to legally carry a gun? / CHL questions

In about 60 days I should have my concealed carry license. I was thinking about the first day I actually go to the mall, grocery store, or restaurant with a gun. I have a few questions.

Was it strange the first day out stepped out carrying?

How long did it take until you felt “normal” carrying?

Have you had any occasions where your concealment was accidentally discovered, or suspected?

Do you have any advice for me?

No advice, just a question… I don’t have a problem with guns, but why in the world do you need to carry a concealed weapon to the mall, restaurant or grocery store?

WOW! Only one post! Good job bare, you were on the ball.

OP: No big deal. Like any new thing, you tend to think about it a lot, but over time it becomes like a watch. Just make sure you don’t completely forget about it and walk in a bank, government building, etc.

You never know when you are going to need to shoot someone. People are often robbed in parking lots, and unless the establishment you are going into has a place where you can check in your weapon once you are inside, you are going to need to carry the gun with you if you. Also, there have been occasions (though rare) where somebody starts shooting up a restaurant or other business establishment - when some psycho starts firing randomly at people at the Taco Bell, wouldn’t you want one of your fellow customers to be able to take him out before he hurts someone?

I DO know that I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to or behind you!

I don’t have a problem with folks carrying a weapon but personally, I don’t care for the concept of a concealed weapon. If you want to deter potential crime, carry it in the open.

Congratulations! Here is a good website with lots of CCW info, plus scenarios to ponder. Be safe.

[Moderator Underoos On]Please keep on topic, people. If you wish to have a “pro-handgun/anti-handgun” discussion, take it to Great Debates or the BBQ Pit.[/Moderator Underoos On]

Thanks for the website BF. I’ve been going through the scenarios and plan on checking out the rest of the info over the next few days. As far as safety goes even though I’ve been around guns all my life and served in the military I plan on getting advanced training and shooting on a regular basis.

jcmckaig - I’ve started paying close attention to where I’m going and watching for the “proper” signs, in my area it’s the 30.06. I have also started to carry a small knife on my strong side hip just to get used to the idea that something is there.

As for the other posts I agree with Badtz Maru, and have no problem talking about it in another forum as Czarcasm has rightly informed us.

Another note on safety/training. I had no intention of anything other than getting my license and starting to carry. During the CHL class I came to my own conclusion that of the 15 people in my class not one of us IMO was fully prepared to carry had they given us the license that day. I plan on using the 60 days or so to get further training and gather all the information I can to be better prepared when the time comes.

Thanks, czarcasm.
I didn’t find it too strange, other than perhaps having a greater awareness of my surroundings (a good thing in any case). I got used to it quickly, because I’d been open carrying at the range and in the woods, and I knew several of my friends carried. Also I live in a very pro-gun area, and “printing” (accidentally letting your gun show) isn’t illegal here. Its not a good idea since some idiot who sees it could still make a scene, but that’s not so likely here. I’ve never been “made” that I know of.

Wear the gun around the house and at the range until you are comfortable with it. Practice drawing it (unloaded at home). You may want to carry it unchambered at first, until you are sure the safety won’t get knocked off or anything. Wear a good sturdy belt. Get a good holster and don’t hesitate to try another one if you don’t really like the first. Consider how you will carry when driving, too.

Remember to be careful when reaching up for something, and squat rather than bending over to pick something up, so the gun doesn’t show. Try not to change your posture otherwise. At first I tended to keep my strong arm stationary by my side while moving my other arm normally and I had to consciously get over that.

Know all the applicable laws in your area, including city laws. I don’t know how you’re supposed to know the laws of every little town you pass through, but at least know the ones that apply where you live and work. State laws can generally be found through http://www.state.xx.us, where xx is your state abbreviation. Know whether you are required to inform a cop that you are armed if you get pulled over.

If you live near a state line, make sure you know exactly where the border is. Sometimes its not where you’d expect, for instance there’s a mall near me that straddles the line.

Carry a cell phone. If, god forbid, you have to use the gun, you need to be the first person to call the cops, and you don’t want to leave the scene to do it.

Read http://www.thefiringline.com

Gives one a sense of security, awareness, and self- responsibility. IF you have a job where you need one, get one (I had to deposit large amounts of cash at nite- thus, it was a good idea). Just to have- well, unless your neighborhood is really bad- don’t. Ladies may want one in any case. BUT- IF you carry one- be absolutely sure you know how & WHEN to use it.

Do not pull it out expecting evildoers to cringe in fear- sometimes they just jump you instead. Pull it out if & only if you are willing to pull the trigger. Otherwise, don’t carry one.

I am going to say the minimum here, to try to avoid getting Czarcasm mad at me. The most comprehensive study done on the subject, by Prof. John Lott as detailed in his book “More Guns, Less Crime”, indicates that concealed weapons are a better deterrant to crime than unconcealed ones. I invite you to do a search for the topic in the Great Debates forum.

This is a concern for me because I’m looking at the Glock. I’m a little worried about something snagging the trigger.
Every safety is something to contend with during a stressful situation. Every lack of safety is something to contend with during routine movement. Carrying unchambered adds an additional movement & response time. Carrying with a round chambered dramatically raises the possibility of shooting myself. It looks like I have more than a few things to consider. Thanks for the advice and websites.

A good holster should cover the trigger guard, and fit tight enough that the gun won’t slip out even if you fall.
Probably the best are the ones that are molded to fit a specific model.

I don’t care for Glocks myself. I carry a single/double action Beretta. I practice swiping the safety off as I draw it, but if I didn’t it’d still fire. The uncocked trigger pull is really heavy.

Normally you’d want to carry it chambered, I just meant until you got used to it.

ooops, no it wouldn’t fire with the safety on. I meant if the safety was off, it’d still be pretty safe because of the heavy double action trigger pull.

Concealed weapon law? Oh, that’s right, you live in one of those weird states where you have to obtain a license to carry a gun. Sheesh, of all the nerve. If I want to go to my local mall with a .45 magnum, then by all means I will. I don’t have that feeling now, but what if I have it tomorrow? I don’t want to wait for a permit! I’m just gonna go!
(God bless the second amendment)

(Hey, you want the King of England coming over here, pushing you around? I didn’t think so.)

What would you do if you were stopped by the police (for say, speeding)? Common sense dictates (to me anyways) that you would tell the officer right away that you have a license and that you do have a concealed weapon on you. Is this the SOP or do you not have to volunteer that info unless you are asked specifically if you have any weapons in the car?

I searched the links above but couldn’t find what I was looking for…

It depends on what state you’re in. Some states require you to hand the officer your carry permit along with your license. Mine doesn’t, so I don’t.

If the state doesn’t require it, there’s no need to say anything unless the officer asks you to get out of the vehicle and you have the gun on you, or if he wants to search the vehicle and the gun is there. You certainly don’t want him to find it himself, or to lie if he asks you, but otherwise it makes no difference.

There is some difference of opinion on this subject though, and there are recurring threads about it on varios message boards like the one I mentioned.

In my state you have to show the officer your drivers license as well as your CHL when asked for “identification”.
If you are not armed at the time it isn’t required but hghly recommendeded.

When the officer pulls up your driver’s license information it will inform him that you are also licensed to carry a gun. (The DPS issues both licenses) If you didn’t inform them beforehand it may look like you’re trying to hide something.

"You never know when you are going to need to shoot someone. "

That would make an awesome sig :smiley:

If you have chosen to carry, whatever your reasons, consider these few very important issues:

Comfort: Is your chosen weapon so large that you will be uncomfortable sitting on a bus or subway seat? Not that this is a good idea anyway…

Concealability: Same deal, is this weapon so large that it cannot be concealed easily? Nothing like the flash of the butt of a gun to cause civilians to panic.Most shoulder holsters are immediately visible if you open your coat.

Practicality: I’m large enough that I could conceal a beretta .25 auto in my front pocket, nobody would ever know it. But as a defense weapon, the .25 is practically useless.

When I carry, which is extremely rare, I have a Colt 380 ACP which I carry in a small fitted Snick holster in the back of my waistband. To me, it’s comfortable and easily accessable.

I have a friend who carries his Glock in what looks like one of those fanny packs. It’s perfectly innocent looking,(in fact it makes him look like an innocuous old fart) until you grab the “pack” part and pull it away from your body, which reveals a fitted area for the weapon. It’s a good way to carry a large weapon without attracting attention.

And be careful above everything else.