This is stuff I didn't know before I started to conceal carry every day. A heads-up to anyone on the fence: do not take this decision lightly. It'll change you. For the better, yes, but it'll change you.
1. You're painfully aware when you're not carrying.
It's true, and it's weird. No one else can tell, but boy does it bug me when I'm not carrying. Normally I carry, of course, but there's been a couple times I've had to be on school property for one reason or another, and so the gun didn't come with me. Talk about feeling like a target in sneakers! I gotta say though, there's nothing like putting my gun back on after not having it on me for a few hours.
Feelings aside, though. I'll give you fair warning, if you've not carried on a regular basis, and are considering taking the plunge, prepare yourself to not ever go back. Sure, there are plenty of people who keep their concealed carry permits on display in their closets and forget guns even exist. But people who have gotten into the habit of carrying every day, no matter if they're cutting their grass or hitting up Milwaukee; for them, carrying is like a drug. After a while, you need to do it.
Because, if you've carried for any length of time (and, assuming you don't live under a rock), you've come to the realization that the world is a dangerous place. And, you may not realize this, but monsters are real. They come in the form of human beings. Once you've come to this realization, and especially if you're a female, the thought of someone getting the drop on you while you're without your firearm is TERRIFYING. Yeah, sure; you've always realized the possibility of getting kidnapped was there, but once you don't have that one equalizer, you can feel it's absence. It feels like your stomach is lodged in your throat, actually.
My point boils down to this: if you like being naive, and are content in believing that you're immune to evil happening, conceal carrying might not be for you.
2. You become hyper-observant of everything around you.
I don't even think hyper-observant is a word, but here we are. You start paying attention to everyone, and this is actually a good thing. You don't know what is going to happen 5 minutes from now. Did you know that most carjackings take only 15-20 seconds to complete? People are beaten, sometimes murdered, after being yanked out of their own vehicles. Carjackers are usually armed with either a gun or a knife. Most of the time, it doesn't even matter how cooperative you're being! Fumbling too long, or forgetting how to open your door may be two seconds too long for someone. Imagine if you had kids in the backseat!
On a side note, I look over my shoulder a lot less when I'm carrying. That's a good thing; God didn't call us to live in fear, and carrying helps me stay focused on my surroundings, and with the knowledge and training I've committed to learning and practicing, there's no need to continuously look over my shoulder. If someone decided to try something, they'll let you know; if you're paying attention. Obviously, this only works if you actually have the capacity to defend yourself: both the firearm and the training to make it effective.
Now, I'm not going to lie and say I never slip up! Sometimes I do get too distracted at Kwik Trip while being indecisive on what flavor tea I want. It happens. It's only with identifying what caused your attention to slip in the first place that you get better at staying attentive in general
3. It's obvious I'm carrying...right?
Soooo not true. Unless maybe if they're cop or a fellow conceal carrier, but even then!
Trust me, the one recurring comment is something along the lines of, “Wow, I didn't even know you were carrying!” or the loud queries of “ARE YOU CARRYING TODAY?!” Free tip: if you do the last thing... STOP!
Anyways, no. If you've covered the essentials (gun belt, holster that works for you, etc.) and have a gun that is in your capacity to conceal realistically, then no. If you're doing it right, then no one is noticing your gun. (Unless you keep touching it. Look, if you're afraid the gun is going to somehow fall out, get a different holster!)
As you probably noticed, I carry a Glock 19. Depending on what I'm wearing, sometimes it's easier to grab my Ruger LCP2 or LC9s, but trust me I prefer concealing my Glock. It's bigger, holds more rounds, and I train most often with it. It's got a fantastic grip. If I was ever in trouble, I would want my Glock 19, no contest.
Granted, sometimes people can tell you're carrying. Maybe you only have an outside the waistband holster, and you wanted to conceal at the grocery store. So, to avoid stares while checking out the firmness of tomatoes, you pull your shirt over it, and now it looks weird. Once again, get a holster that works for you! And if you can afford to do so, buy one to conceal with and one to open carry with, if those are the two ways you plan on carrying
4. Clothes shopping will change forever.
In my case it didn't change too drastically, since I didn't (and still don't) wear crop tops. But seriously, buying clothes will always be a little different, at least in the shirt department. Things needed to be a little longer than they used to; I like dark colors and patterns that will make any printing disappear. You learn early on which type of fabrics will want to cling to you, and which ones won't. It's frustrating sometimes! Especially since I have broad shoulders, so anything too over sized makes them look a thousand times wider.
Check out the thousands of ideas on Pinterest, and the hundreds of blogs on how to dress for conceal carry. Depending on where on the body you intend to carry, only minor adjustments in your wardrobe may be necessary. For example, my husband buys his pants one size bigger around to account for his gun and spare magazine. I don't, because my jeans all have more flex than his. (And because I don't carry a spare magazine on me.)
And, I will never recommend this, but there is always the option of purse carry, though I cannot say how much I DO NOT recommend this method.
The reason is simple; if the gun is on your person, you are in control of it. Ever heard of purse-snatchers? Having your firearm carried on a separate entity than yourself means you have less say in what happens to it. Your kids could find it if you forget to take it out of your purse. You could forget your purse (and therefore gun) and not have it when you need it.
Again, purses are easy to grab! Imagine some guy grabbing your bag and pulling you towards his vehicle. You have two options: let go and allow a criminal have your firearm, or go along with it, even though you can't access your gun because he has the bag! And unless it's a conceal carry purse, with a separate pouch for your firearm, there's no way you're going to get it out in time.
There is way too many things that can go wrong with this carry method; I would consider it a last resort. If there was absolutely no other way to carry, and I was going somewhere by myself, I would. But there is almost always a better way: flashbang, thigh holster, corset, ankle holster... The list goes on and on. The options are many, especially for women. Find something that works, and stick to it. Train drawing from that particular holster and carry position.
5. If you ever think about giving it up, the news will change your mind.
In continuation on my first point, yes, the news will most assuredly keep that gun on you or near you at all times. The sad part is, you could do everything right, and still be a victim starring in a headline. The point of training and carrying your firearm is to tip those odds in your favor.
Take the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jayme Closs, for example. She didn't do anything that would draw attention to herself, she was just waiting at the bus stop. The wrong person drove by, and, for whatever demonic reason, chose her. It's a tragic story that I recommend reading and taking to heart. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. It's part of living on earth.
Human trafficking is something not talked about enough in the United States. Although it is vastly under reported, the numbers we have are shockingly high. Polaris is a nonprofit, non-government organization that fights and tries to prevent human trafficking. Founded in 2002, Polaris runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and has worked on over 40,000 cases.
In 2018 alone, Polaris worked on 10,949 cases of human trafficking reported on their human trafficking hotline. These cases involved over 23,000 individual survivors. These numbers, while shocking, are likely only a fraction of the actual amount of victims.
Locations of likely human trafficking cases in the United States in 2018.
Learn 11 facts about human trafficking at www.dosomething.org.
I want your main takeaway to be this: be informed about what's going on around you. Take actions to keep this evil far from you and your loved ones. Human trafficking is not an easy thing to discuss, but you need to. It is globally estimated that 71% of trafficked individuals are women and girls. That's your wife, your sister, your daughter, your girlfriend.
Or you. Don't be a victim.
Trust me, I don't live in fear of violence from another human being. If it's God's plan for me to die tomorrow, carrying my Glock 19 isn't going to change that. But by making small, deliberate changes in how you go about from day to day, you can make a huge impact on your safety. And the safety of those around you.