How You Dress Matters

One of the first rules of concealed carry is dressing appropriately. This means selecting clothes that conceal your handgun, but it also means selecting clothes that don’t draw attention to you.

Dark colors, patterns, and heavier fabrics tend to better conceal any printing of the handgun. Obviously heavy, dark colors don’t work well in the heat of the Florida summer so you have to do the best you can in picking out both your manner of carry and wardrobe.

Personally, I prefer an IWB (Inside the Waistband Holster) where the grip of the pistol is just slightly above my belt line and worn at about 3 o’clock. A fishing type shirt made of lightweight polyester worn untucked provides complete concealment.

Whatever your choice is, practice drawing from concealment with an unloaded gun. Better yet, take training classes where this little practiced skill is taught! The NRA’s Personal Protection Outside The Home (PPOTH) is one such class and we regularly teach it.

In this day of people reacting violently to messages they don’t like, I’d suggest avoiding wearing clothing with a political message—especially if you are going to be somewhere that the message could incite such morons to attack you. Yes, it is your 1st Amendment Right to wear almost anything that you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s a prudent choice.

Most importantly, dressing appropriately means not wearing anything that an overzealous, anti-gun prosecutor—or the media—might use to paint you as a cold blooded killer looking for any opportunity to take someone’s life. Wearing a t-shirt with a saying like “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out”, “I don’t call 911”, or “.45 Because Shooting Twice Is Silly” when you’re involved in a self defense situation is going to cause you serious problems. Likewise, having pictures of you wearing those t-shirts on the Internet (Facebook, etc.) is going to cause problems even if you are dressed very conservatively when you’re involved in an incident.

For many people, their perception (or what is injected into their heads by the media) is their reality. Those may be the people that are jurors if you are involved in a self-defense shooting.

Don’t Lose Sight Of The Most Likely Threats

While mass murders capture the headlines, you have a significantly greater risk of being targeted by one or more “conventional” criminals. It doesn’t mean that we should ignore the terrorist threat, just that we should keep it in perspective as we train and live our lives.

Likewise, while raging gun battles do occur, they are a rare exception. Almost all self defense shootings involve a very limited number of bullets being fired—as is true for the majority of police officer involved shootings.

It is difficult to determine the percentage of times where the criminal retreated when they became aware that their intended victim was armed without any shots being fired. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is far more often the case than situations where the defender had to fire their gun. Of course this doesn’t mean that simply having a concealed handgun without the knowledge, skills, and ability to use it will keep you safe.

The take away from all of this is that you should focus your training, especially if it is only occasional, on being proficient at drawing your handgun from concealment and accurately delivering up to about a half dozen rounds as quickly as possible on one or two targets from one to seven yards. Hardcore “tactical” classes can be fun if you have lots of training time available; most people should use their scarce time to concentrate on the skills that they are far more likely to need.