Have you thought about taking your personal security into your own hands with a concealed firearm? All 50 states allow some form of concealed carry, and more than 16.3 million adults have permits to carry a concealed gun. It’s a lifestyle that requires you to take charge of your weapon, your surroundings, and yourself. The following tips for concealed carry can help you get started.

Train First

The point of concealed carry is just that—to conceal the fact that you have a firearm from prying (or criminal) eyes. However, incorporating a handgun and holster into your daily routine, and getting comfortable with their presence under your clothing doesn’t happen overnight.

In Illinois, a concealed carry class is a requirement for getting a permit. Once you’ve completed your training, you can practice wearing your firearm. Try multiple holsters to find one that fits perfectly and offers total trigger coverage when the gun is holstered. Wear the holster and unloaded gun around your house. Sit down. Stand up. Move quickly. Move slowly. Get used to your new setup before you wear a concealed firearm in public.

Know (and Follow) the Rules

Concealed or open carry, the rules of safe gun operation are always the same. Know them by heart.

  • Assume all guns are loaded.
  • Never point your firearm at anything you aren’t willing to shoot.
  • Keep your finger high and dry (off the trigger) until you’re ready to fire.
  • Know your target — and know what’s behind it.

Pick the Right Gun

The right gun makes all the difference. Bigger guns mean bigger changes to your routine, and complex or tech-heavy firearms could cause problems in the heat of the moment. It’s a good idea to start with something simple and easily available, such as a 9mm, and opt for a gun that’s easy to load, maintain and clean. For example, Glocks now use very little metal in their stock and body, making them resistant to rust and corrosion while still easy to handle and fire.

Practice, Practice, Practice

If you’re carrying a concealed weapon, know how to use it. This means regularly visiting the shooting range to practice with your gun. Put simply, firearms skills are “perishable” — if you don’t put in the work, your ability suffers.

Clean Is Safe

A clean gun is a safe gun. Period. Even if you’re not shooting every week (and you should be), take your gun apart and clean it regularly. Make sure it comes out of the holster every night and is wiped down, then stored in a cool, dry, secure location. Ideally, you should fully disassemble, clean and re-assemble your firearm each week. This ensures it’s always ready, if needed, and helps hone your gun-handling skills.

Be Prepared

Your biggest asset when carrying a concealed weapon is situational awareness, the ability to evaluate what’s happening around you and respond appropriately. Don’t reveal that you have a weapon, but always be ready to use it if the situation demands it. Remember, concealed carry is a lifestyle; the gun is just the beginning.

Ready to enhance your security with concealed carry? Start with AGB’s certified conceal carry training program and get the skills you need to enhance your personal security.