What piqued your interest in getting your permit to concealed carry?
Are you freaking out about riots springing up and want to have a fighting chance to defend yourself?
Or are you traveling for work and want to protect yourself no matter where you are?
For me, I like to camp and backpack. Some of the areas I camp are prone to bears and other big things that might try to eat me.
My motivation to get my concealed carry permit was to carry my Glock 27 when I wanted to enjoy nature without becoming an intimate part of the local food chain.
That changed when I actually took the course and had the permission of the great state of Wisconsin to concealed carry.
Below are some situations you might not have thought of that you should definitely keep in mind if you are thinking about getting your concealed carry permit.
Table of Contents
Things I Wish I knew Before I Carried Concealed
1. Feeling Like Everyone is Looking at You
When you legally carry your for the first time, you’re going to feel like everyone is looking at you.
Remember that big zit you had in high school and everyone was looking at you? Yeah, it’s not that bad, but it’s the same sort of feeling.
You’ll realize almost everyone doesn’t know. However, you will have to modify some of the ways you do things depending on where your holster is.
For example, if you carry your gun at the 4 or 5 O’Clock position (behind your right hip), your gun may print (how the outline or imprint of your weapon) when you bend over to get something off the bottom shelf at the grocery store.
To remedy this, you can either stop buying the cheap cereal in the bags on the bottom shelf and get real Fruit Loops, or you can squat with your back straighter to minimize the bulge.
Or check out our Best Holsters Any Way You Carry article to get the least printing one possible.
2. The Responsibility
This may seem like a given, but now situations require you to have a zen-like calm about you.
Think about those times you’ve been cut off when driving and your blood pressure skyrockets. If you get into an argument and someone sees you have a gun, they could feel threatened.
You can’t flash your gun to win an argument.
If you remove your gun from your holster, you need to genuinely fear for your life. It needs to be a scenario where it’s a you or them outcome.
If it’s not, there are other consequences you may face like assault with a deadly weapon, or at a minimum, brandishing a firearm.
Neither of these are things you don’t want to deal with, ever.
One way to get SOME piece of mind is with CCW insurance. It’s one of those things you’ll really wish you had if you ever have to use your weapon…even if it was a righteous shoot you’re still going to need help.
3. All of the Places You Can’t Go When You are Carrying
When you aren’t carrying a weapon, you can pretty much go anywhere you want. When carrying, you need to be a little more cautious. Those no gun signs are your Kryptonite.
You will learn pretty quickly there are a lot of places with a no gun policy.
It all depends on your local laws, so make sure to check those out — you can start with our guide to CCW Laws For Every State.
Depending on where you live, a religious building like a church, any state or federal building, pretty much any place that has anything that has to do with children, movie theaters, a lot of stores, bars, and event venues are all no-go places when you legally have a gun on your person.
Some states have laws like, if a business makes more than 50% of their business from alcohol on any given day, then it is illegal to carry inside the building.
Situations like that are tricky and you’ll need to use your best judgment. It’s not like you’re going peek your head in the door to ask the owner to see his books for the last year so you know whether you can bring your gun inside.
You need to err on the side of caution; avoid the business or don’t carry inside.
4. What Do I Do With My Gun When I Can’t Take Inside a Store With Me?
This happens a lot. You’re out running errands, and you come to a store with a no guns allowed sign on the door.
What do you do?
You have a few options.
First, you can choose another establishment. As you can tell by watching the news, spineless bad guys love to target gun-free zones.
Going inside leaves you unable to protect yourself.
The second option is to lock your gun in the car. This is the go-to option most of the time because, unless someone who wants to steal your gun knows you have it in the car, it should be secure.
Making sure your weapon is secure in your vehicle isn’t as easy.
Sure you can put it in your glove compartment or center console. But more and more, car manufacturers are removing the locks.
The third choice is not to bring your weapon with you if you know you can’t have it on your person.
If you’re taking your kids to the waterpark, it’s a pretty good bet you can’t carry it with you. Situations like these put you in a predicament where you need to decide whether to take it with you when you leave the house or not.
One thing I did look into before I took my CCW class was where my Wisconsin permit would be valid.
What I found out was, if I go to Minnesota, they do not accept my state’s permit, and therefore I can’t carry there.
In this situation, you have a couple of choices. If you frequent a state, you can get get a permit for that state.
Some states offer non-resident CCW permits. The other option is to take the class for a Utah non-resident permit. Utah, if you didn’t know has one of the most widely accepted concealed carry permits.
If you decide to go the route of a Utah non-resident permit, keep an eye on which states accept it.
There are many easy to use reciprocity maps to help you check which states accept your state’s permit.
6. How Much of a Pain It Is to Travel
Traveling while carrying, at least initially, adds some inconvenience to your trip. Most states allow you to keep your weapon on you while you drive as long as you stay in the vehicle.
Others require you to have it locked up and unloaded.
Make sure you know the transportation rules of the State’s you are driving through. It will help you avoid incident if you have an unexpected meeting with law enforcement.
You won’t have to rely on the “I didn’t know that wasn’t legal here, it is in my State.” plea.
These days, flying is the worst. Take an inconvenient situation and make it more time consuming… no thank you. The TSA has been a little better with things like guns on a plane. Follow some simple TSA rules for flying with a gun.
No matter how you travel, when you don’t have your gun on you, make sure it is in a hard sided case with a lock that only you have the key to (No TSA locks!).
Check out our Best Gun Cases for all our suggestions for both hard and soft cases.
You don’t want someone to be able to pry the case open and slide your gun out.
That sort of defeats the purpose, right?
7. Training and Practice
While these are not mandatory, the thing is, if you aren’t an accurate shot or freeze when the time comes to defend your life, there is no real reason to carry a weapon.
A lot of sites talk about going to the range and practicing. The thing is, they have access to a really cool range with all sorts of equipment and targets.
Most people can’t train this way.
Most cities have an area where you can shoot. You may need to drive 30 minutes to get there, but you should be able to find one.
What you are trying to do is create good muscle memory. You want to be able to draw your gun from your holster and bring it to the exact same shooting position every time.
You need to do this over and over and over again. You can practice at home with Safe and Effective Dry-Fire Training.
Going to the range regularly will let you get a feel for your trigger, the recoil, reacquiring your target after you fire a round, and more. There is no real substitution for live-fire training.
You might be one hell of a shot in video games, but it’s very different squeezing a real trigger.
Be A Responsible Gun Owner
Overall, your life will change when you decide it’s time to exercise your right to bear arms and carry every day.
But if you do find yourself in a defensive gun use…do you have the right CCW Insurance? I walk through why I chose USCCA to protect my family and me.
You will also find yourself being more observant and aware of your surroundings. You will also find yourself avoiding more potential drama than you did before you carried.
What were some things you found out after you started concealed carrying regularly? Check out even more CCW info in our Concealed Carry Guide page.