Once I found the right concealed carry gun for me, which naturally took some time, research, and trials, there were 5 steps I found myself following to get to the place where I could confidently and successfully carry my gun every day and everywhere. This is my personal path, yours may be different, that is ok! You may have more confidence than I did as I began this journey or it may take you longer to get through different steps. Remember, it is your journey and only you can decide when you are ready to move on.
Below are my steps. I have linked them to more in-depth content I have written on these subjects also for further reading. I hope this helps you on your journey!
Where and How Will I Carry My Gun
First, I needed to decide where on my body was the best location and to find the best holster. Based on my lifestyle, body shape, and clothing style, I settled on an in the waistband holster carried in the appendix location. I wanted one that had as little bulky material as possible, held my gun very close to my body, and clipped securely to my pants. Sadly, this holster didn’t exist back then, I struggled with a bulky man-sized holster. This frustration caused me to design one that would fit my body and lifestyle. Over the years, I have made some improvements and found manufacturers that have my high standards. Here is the current and best version that I love! The Well Armed Woman Slim Carry Holster
Getting My Gun Out Of The Holster?
I practiced drawing from my holster. If I was going to be carrying a gun, I wanted to make sure I was comfortable getting it out of the holster. Please note that this MUST be done unloaded and in a safe area. I practiced over and over and over again. Every day, in different clothing, while doing different things. Sitting, standing, walking etc. It is critical that you can access, grasp, draw and get your gun on target safely and quickly! Otherwise, what’s the point right? I have a great article on the steps to draw your holster in the article How To Draw From A Holster.
Are you a more visual learner? I created an in-depth online course that takes you through all areas of concealed carrying. This is a great starting point that goes into great detail for those who are new to concealed carrying. Learn more here: Concealed Carry for Women: An Online Course
Carrying My Gun Around The House
For a week or two, I carried an empty gun (no ammo). I just wasn’t confident enough yet I wanted to get used to the feeling of the gun there and how it would move with different movements I made around the house. I needed to know that it wasn’t “printing” and showing and that it wouldn’t fall out. That it would be fine doing everyday tasks like picking up the laundry basket, leaning over the counter, going to the bathroom, I did all of the things I do every day.
Each day, I tried to remove all of my concerns that would cause my mind to worry. I wanted to focus on one skill at a time. Then, I repeated this but with a loaded gun. This was a key step. I came to understand that my gun and I could live life safely together.
Doing it this way also lets you try different outfits and clothes combinations. I’ve created a great resource to give outfit inspiration, check out How To Dress For Concealed Carry – Photos and Tips.
Carrying My Gun In Public
Ok now here was a big step. I stepped out of my house with my unloaded concealed gun! I know this may sound silly to some, but at this point, I had to overcome the battle in my mind. The battle between the voices in my head telling me everyone could see it and that I wasn’t ready and the voice of confidence telling me I was ready, competent, and safe. At first, I checked my gun and my clothing every other second worried it could be seen. But, I pressed through these early moments of doubt and decided that I trusted my training, I trusted my holster and I trusted myself. Carrying my loaded gun now came naturally.
Here is a great article with tips on how to best avoid printing: Printing…What Can You Do?
Another article worth the read and that can help you understand the thoughts that could be keeping you from beginning to carry: I Am Afraid To Start Concealed Carrying
Round In The Chamber and Never Looked Back!
At this point, it was well over a month that I was taking steps to conquer each fear. I wanted to be comfortable with my abilities, the holster, and my gun. I needed to build the confidence I personally needed to be able to conceal carry in public every day. With my new level of confidence, carrying with a chambered round was the final step in my journey. As my confidence grew, so did my awareness and understanding of just how important it was to be ready. I mean really ready. Naturally, as I was progressing through these steps I was also digging into research, study, and training. There was no denying that every fraction of a second mattered in my ability to save my life.
This step is one I was only able to take because I came to the place that I had the confidence to do so. The timeline for you attaining this confidence may be and likely will be different, but it’s a step I highly recommend you pursue. I don’t think it’s a “requirement” to successfully concealed carry, but as I said, every fraction of a second counts, and the time it takes to clear your clothing, grasp your gun, draw it and get it on target is likely doubled if you have to add the steps required to chamber a round in your gun.
My journey and the steps I took are simply that, my journey. They are what I needed to walk through to gain the confidence I needed to confidently and safely live my life as a concealed carrier. Your steps and your timeline may be different, but I encourage you to view your journey as a process. A process made up of steps and skills that must be learned and mastered before moving to the next step. I believe this provides you with a solid and skilled foundation for your life as a self-protector.