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The 10 Commandments Of Concealed Carry

Following the second time in my life I have had cause to draw my concealed weapon in “anger”, I feel compelled to post the “commandments” I follow when I carry.  So listen up and if you don’t carry, consider doing so. When a person carries a concealed weapon responsibly, everyone around them is safer for it. Remember that those intent on committing violent crimes really don’t care whether they are breaking the law when they have a gun. That kind of the problem. So.. BEHOLD:

The 10 Commandments of Concealed Carry:

1. If you carry, always carry.

You do no one any good, including yourself, if you only take your gun with you when you feel like you might need it. Violent crimes are really quite rare, not so rare that you don’t need to worry about it, but rare enough that they are unpredictable. The issue is not that there are violant people behind every corner, it’s that you have no idea what corner the one in 10,000 is behind. So carry, and carry often.

2. Don’t Carry If You Aren’t Prepared To Use It

It’s the truth. You need to sit down by yourself and do some soul searching. Are you prepared to take another persons life? If not, than you need to lock that gun up and start tucking in your shirt again. It will do you no good if you end up in a situation demanding deadly force and you just stand there with the power to intervene and none of the will to use that power. If at the end of your soul searching you find that, yes, if need be you think you are prepared, than lock and load, America needs you.

3. Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless

You need to temper your attitude if you have one. I’m not saying you need to take everything on the chin, but you are not superman and you damn well better not go looking for a fight. When they first produced body armor that could be concealed/be worn every day for police, the inventor was worried that equipping officers with it would lead to them having a false sense of confidence or worse make them reckless. He was right, it happened. Don’t fall into the same trap. By carrying a concealed weapon you need to just accept the fact that you have to back down sometimes. Having the ability to stop violence, means you also need to avoid it.

4. Get The License!

Yes. I know. It’s foolish that you need a license to carry concealed in most states, the fact is that at this point you need it. Don’t make yourself a felon by doing everything but getting the permit. In many states its cheap, its easy and its a good idea.

5. Know What You’re Doing

Know how to clean it. Know how to carry it. Know how to shoot it. Know how to do reload it. I don’t expect everyone is smarter than their equipment, but try and at least be as smart as it is. Practice a nice Weaver Stance, practice drawing from wherever you are going to carry the weapon. Don’t fall victim to the IPhone mentality of “just throw it in your pocket and go!” It’s not an Ipod, its a gun. It’s the power of life and death and that is nothing to fuck around with.

6. Concealed Means Concealed

Damn right it does. Concealed carry needs to be just what it says. Flaunting the fact that you have a gun under your shirt is a bad idea, that makes you a target. There are also laws against the threatening use of a firearm. Getting in a heated argument while having a gun poking out of your pants is a really bad idea. Back to the fact of you making yourself a target, think about it for a second, if you are hellbent on mayhem, who do you shoot first? The gentleman with the pistol sticking out of his pants, or the bank teller you are going to rob? I know that many of our finest criminals are not rocket surgeons, but I bet they can answer that question correctly. Come on guys. There is also the fact that some people get uncomfortable.

One minor amendment here, sometimes letting someone know you are armed is a good idea. I always let police officers know that I am armed if I end up talking with one or get pulled over. It keeps them safe and it keeps me safe. In other circumstances people may derive comfort if they are uneasy. Such a thing happened a few months ago at a dark gas station, a woman asked me if I was getting gas and I said yes. She was concerned about a group of rowdy looking people nearby and she being old and alone. I told her i was armed and not to worry about it. She couldn’t have been happier, you need to make good choices, that’s all.

7. Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity

Shoot it and shoot it often. Use the same ammo, dress the same way you typically do. Wear the same shoes. Take it apart. Put it back together, Know your firearm intimately.

8. Understand The Fine Points

Of the law. In Maine, I can carry a weapon into bars if I like, as long as I am not drinking and the establishment is not posted that firearms are not allowed. This is a fine point. Also Maine law actually says “while under the influence” and uses the same definition as it does for driving, .08% BAC. That mean that technically I can drink and carry. I don’t generally recommend it, but I don’t worry about having a beer with lunch while I am carrying once in a while.

9. Carry An Adequate Firearm

Under the law a single shot pistol packing one .22 long rifle bullet is considered a deadly weapon. If you shoot me with it I am just going to be very mad, I highly doubt I’ll be dead or even seriously injured. (.22 mag, that’s scary shit, but that’s another story.) If you are going to carry try to get something that will have some punch. I carry a Ruger LC9, I have 7 shots in the magazine and one in the chamber and I usually have another magazine handy, for a total of 15 rounds. I can loose those (reasonable accuracy) in around 25 seconds with a mag change. At 9mm and 115 grains a round, its not at the top of the stopping power chart, but it’s a bad day for anyone. Caliber doesn’t matter much, but be reasonable. 9mm packs a good punch with not too much recoil, .40 is probably the best though. Don’t go crazy but get something with balls.

10. Use Common Sense

A gun affords you the power of life and death. You have, when you carry, the ability to end anyone’s life around you, that is an awesome amount of power and trust that society has granted you. You are not billy bad ass. You are not terminator. You are not in an action movie. If ever there comes a time when you need to draw that weapon, you will know when that is. In my recent encounter a young man pointed a gun at me and I responded with my own gun and demanded he drop it. No one died, no one got hurt, only he went to jail. It turned out to be a squirt gun painted black.

Did I use common sense? I like to think so. He wasn’t shooting, he wasn’t threatening, he was just pointing what looked like a gun around (a threat itself I know, but work with me). When I drew down on him I had my finger on the trigger and the safety off. I was only going to ask once. Had he been shooting my response would have been different, partly because he might just have shot me! While civilians do not have the same use of force requirements that the police and sometimes the military has, its ALWAYS best to solve things at the lowest level.

I can’t remember where I stole these from, I had a photo copy of these ten stuck in a book, but they aren’t mine. This is how I carry, and I think its a good system. I might have just one more commandment…

11. Two in the chest, one in the head.

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