Carrying a firearm concealed is a BIG decision, and a lot of women feel afraid at first. Not only is it about taking responsibility for your self-protection and of those you love, (which is a huge personal decision) it is also taking on the weighty responsibility of being safe, knowing the laws and training to know how to draw and use your gun in a self-defense situation. Yes, this is a very big decision!
With such an important and significant decision it is natural to be worried by these huge responsibilities you are assuming. Being concerned and even afraid of all that it entails is normal. In fact, it’s healthy and demonstrates the seriousness with which you are taking on this responsibility. Making the gear choices and starting your life as a concealed carrying American citizen is a significant change in your lifestyle. One that requires thoughtfulness and the full awareness of what exactly these changes mean for you and for your life. Let’s discuss some of the common fears you may be experiencing.
Concealed carry is downright SCARY when you are new to it. Let me point something out about fear.
Fear is caused by the BELIEF that something is dangerous.
Having knowledge and understanding will bring you the confidence to help you in overcoming your fears of concealed carrying.
So, what are some common fears and how do you conquer them?
I am afraid I won’t be able to use it. Could I really pull the trigger on another person if I had to?
This is a deep and significant question. One that you must be able to answer with “yes” if you plan to carry concealed. I believe answering these questions carefully should be done before you purchase a gun. In my article Could You Use It, I ask some important questions for you to consider and if you can answer yes to ALL of them, you are ready to begin learning and practicing for your armed self-defense.
- Do you believe there are circumstances that make it acceptable to kill another human?
- Would you be able to live with the emotional scars that follow the use of your gun in self-defense?
- Are you prepared to deal with the social and legal ramifications?
- Can you spiritually reconcile this question with your faith?
- Would you be able to shoot in self-defense if it were a female attacker? Or a teenaged attacker?
- If it is your life or the attacker, can you, would you use your gun to survive?
I am afraid of what my friends will think.
There is no secret, guns are not a light subject and the conversation around them can be very divisive. It seems like people are either against owning guns or they are for owning them. You likely have friends on both sides of the spectrum. Because this is a very emotional topic for some, being concerned about what they will think or how they will treat you are very real concerns.
Sadly, we see friendships severed over the topic of gun ownership. When we make an important decision such as how we personally choose to protect our life from violence or even death, it is just that, a very personal decision. Significant decisions surrounding our life and death aren’t made lightly and are made very soberly. This truly is about as personal as you can get!
A decision like this isn’t made based on what others think, or believe or what they think is cool or not cool. It is made because we, (you) feel it is the best way for you to save your life.
It is OK to keep this decision and your practice of concealed carry private. I think sometimes I find myself compelled to tell my friends everything. It almost feels natural to do so. In fact, I find this phenomenon common among women. But the truth is, this is not a requirement of friendship. Telling all to your friends and co-workers isn’t necessary. The reality is, concealed carry is just that, concealed!
Want more on this topic? Here is another great article Keeping Concealed Carry Private
Would I be able to get it out fast enough to use it?
This is why we train. The more you train with your holsters and your gun, the more second nature this becomes. Just like anything else in this world, the more comfortable you become with your task, the more proficient you will be and will become less and less afraid. Training must also be incorporated into your new “self-protector” lifestyle. A mind (and body) that is hungry and eager to learn and hone skills is a healthy and growing mind (and body). It also is the mark of a responsible concealed carrier. If you ever get to the place where you think you know it all and have mastered it all – you have now lost the most necessary ingredient in your armed self-defense, a responsible concealed carry mindset. Seek out qualified instruction and courses that train you in all areas of your self-defense with a gun.
I am afraid my gun will go off while I am carrying it.
Your gun holstered in a good holster, with the safety on (if it has one) or safety features engaged and the trigger untouched cannot fire.
When you hear of a story where a gun fired it is because someone did something. This is called a negligent discharge with the keyword here: negligent. Guns do not “just go off” by themselves. The safe and responsible way to carry your gun is in a quality, properly used concealed carry holster. You must never casually handle it or allow your finger (or anything) onto the trigger. There are key features that you must look for in a holster to ensure your trigger is properly protected to prevent any negligent discharges.
If you educate yourself on safe concealed carry, you will eliminate this reason to be afraid. To learn more about safe concealed carry holsters, read my article About Concealed Carry Holsters For Women.
It is equally important to not touch, adjust, or unholster your gun any time it is not absolutely necessary. In addition, any time you do touch, adjust, or handle your gun you must always do so strictly following and living out the gun safety rules. (Review the rules here: Firearm Safety Rules)
It is going to be uncomfortable!
I have a great quote I always think about when I hear this fear
“Carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it’s supposed to be a comfort”
~Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch
Clint’s quote above is very revealing and it is important to understand that concealed carry for a woman comes with some changes and some concessions. There may be times that it is an inconvenience or a little uncomfortable but this just comes with the territory.
The carrying of a gun is so that we will have the best tool within reach should we ever need it. The gun is the tool we choose because it can effectively stop an attacker. Yes, it is a lethal tool, one that carries with it a huge responsibility to be safe. This is what Clint meant when he said the above. We must be aware at all times of the huge responsibility we have when we carry our guns. So I believe it is important for us to “feel” it and know that it is there. With time, you will feel naked without your gun on you and if you are ever required to use it to save your life, believe me, it will all be worth it.
No, carrying a gun is not comfortable it is a comfort. Are there ways to make it feel better? Of course! We have many options of concealed carry holsters that make carrying as comfortable as it can be!
I am afraid people will be able to see my gun while I am carrying it!
In the concealed carry world, this is known as printing. This is when the shape or the outline of your gun can be seen pressed up against your clothing. There are 5C’s I like to refer to help tackle this fear. These are the areas you can learn to adjust when concealed carrying to avoid printing.
- Carry Position
There are ways to avoid printing by altering different aspects of your concealed carry system and how you dress. There are some simple “tricks” you can do to eliminate or minimize the “print” of your gun. When dressing and holstering your gun, take the time to do a visual check in the mirror. But honestly, one of the biggest adjustments is in your mind. When you are confident in carrying (which will take time, but you will get there) your fear of printing will go away. We look in the mirror or down at our waistband and all we see is a huge bulge! The truth is, the average non-carrying person is not looking for a gun on your body like you are. In most cases, the only people to pick out a hidden gun, are those who carry themselves!
You Can and Will Conquer Your Concealed Carry Fears!
There are many of reasons you may be afraid of concealed carrying, but I am here to tell you that, yes you can do it! It simply takes practice and experience.
Practice at home first. Wear your holster and gun while walking around your house to help build your confidence. That is what I did! I was just too nervous in the beginning. After a week or so of wearing my holstered gun around the house, doing chores, etc., I learned that yes, I could do it. As it began to feel more normal and my confidence grew, I was ready to venture out! I remember feeling so self-conscious that first time I carried my gun concealed in public. But, with each day, it became easier and easier. I could carry safely and confidently and so can you.
After facing the fears that are holding you back and gaining the knowledge to calm them – you will realize that you have the ability to carry your gun with no one knowing it and be responsible for your safety everwhere you go!
Do you have any tips or stories that helped you gain your carrying confidence? Please share it below!
Do you still have questions? Still, need help? We have exactly what you need!
Concealed Carry for Women online course covers everything concealed carry! You can learn about mindset, drawing, holsters and so much more, all from the comfort of your home!
16 thoughts on “I Am Afraid to Start Concealed Carrying”
Great article. I just got my CCW a month ago and haven’t carried concealed yet. I keep thinking what if I need to go somewhere where it says I can’t CC there. What do I do? I decided to have a small gun safe installed in my trunk so I can safely leave my gun there if I encounter such a place. I worked hard for my permit and I want the benefit of having it with me.
I carry a Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact. I use an inside the waistband holster at the 3:00 position (on my right side). I purchased some new shirts which I don’t need to tuck in. Whenever I wear one of those shirts, my gun is completely concealed. However, cold weather is coming, and while I can wear a jacket and conceal my gun with the jacket, I won’t always have my jacket on; so I wondered what I could do to conceal my gun. I tried pocket carry, but my gun is just barely too big to conceal in my pocket. What to do?
It then hit me: Why don’t I make my pockets bigger? I plan on getting some good material and making my right front pocket big enough to conceal my gun! And I will put thick material on the part facing outward, so that my gun won’t print.
I REALLY like my gun; it is the perfect gun for me. I have looked at getting a smaller gun, but no gun is as perfect for me as my Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact. So I will simply make my pockets bigger and thicker, in order to be able to carry my gun in my pocket, with a pocket holster.
This article is great and very timely for me. I recently started carrying again and am still researching clothing and on body location for carrying. I really liked your idea to “wear it around the house”. I took it a step further and just wore my holster choice without a weapon, around the house and out in public, to see how I liked it and if I thought it would work for me. I was more relaxed in test runs without worrying about the weapon.
Thanks again for sharing this article.
What do you say to someone who is afraid the BG will wrest the firearm away from them (because they saw it on fake news one time and now they’re terrified they’ll be shot with their own gun)? I wish my wife would carry because I can’t be with her all the time, but she is hung up on that possibility…
Excellent article. Thank you so much for posting it.
Carrie – This was spot on and one of the best articles I have read. It gives women who don’t yet carry some very significant things to think about and it supports women who have already made the commitment to carry concealed. Kudos to you and your staff.
Everyone is nervous the first few times you carry. But you’ll get used to it, you trust yourself and your gun. Now it’s no big deal for me and I started carrying in April 2022. I changed how I dress for the days I carry, wear more patterned shirts, alittle bigger too.
Once you holster the gun, leave it alone. If you do have an issue go somewhere private and adjust the gun, but remember to be very careful, methodical when you handle the gun. You should have no problems. Have fun!
Recently you posted a link to a video that showed a woman demonstrating her use of a holster on her thigh. Watching her put in on, smooth her dress, and then pull her weapon was so helpful to me. I would love to see more videos of real women in real clothes going through those motions.
I would love to see this too! Also the one you mentioned! That would be quite helpful, as well as videos with big belly women who conceal carry! I’d like to see that, as that would be helpful to me!
This article expressed exactly what my thoughts are about carrying. I will start by carrying around the house that is a great idea!
This is an excellent, well-thought out and well presented article that touches on all the critical points one must consider when deciding whether or not concealed carry is right for you. It is a personal decision that should not be judged.
I had wrestled with this decision for a very long time; it was the training and confidence I acquired through TWAW that led me to shed my fears and join the concealed carry world.
Thank you, Carrie and thank you TWAW!
I very much needed this post right now – thank you!
This is something that I am concerned about. If you are carrying and you have to use the rest room how do you navigate your conceal carry?
We have some great tips here: https://thewellarmedwoman.com/concealed-carry/when-youve-got-to-go-youve-got-to-go/
Thank you Mike! Your opinion means so much to me! Thank YOU for all you do!