More good people than ever in living memory are now legally carrying loaded, concealed handguns in the U.S. When people who are new to it all first strap on the gun, they ask themselves practical questions: How will I carry this weight? Will it bulge? Will it, God forbid, fall out in public? I remember asking myself those questions in the year 1960, when I began to carry concealed. I was the son of a man who had survived a gunfight, leaving one of his attackers dead and another soon to die, and the grandson of a man who had shot an armed robber when my dad was very young. Needless to say, I grew up in an armed family. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. I’ve carried concealed for going on 53 years now, as a plainclothes or off-duty cop, or as an ordinary, armed citizen. They say that even a blind pig finds an occasional truffle, and if you do anything for more than a half-century, you learn a few things about it. Know what you can do, know what you can’t, and determine strongly that, if the moment comes when you need that gun, you’ll do the right thing. You have to assess these things beforehand because, in the moment of need, things will be happening so fast that there’s no time to be figuring these things out in your mind, they need to have already been set in stone. I’ve spent a career writing about these things and teaching them as well.

Get Used To It
Some have recommended that you start with just carrying the holstered gun, unloaded, inside your home. You know, over the years, I’ve come to support that theory. It accustoms you to the weight and the bulk. You find out what’s comfortable and what’s not. You check yourself in the mirror constantly and realize, yes, the darn thing is concealed and you’re not going to create a panic with it when you go outside. About that mirror thing, by the way, use two mirrors and see what you look like from behind. I’m constantly amazed at how many people put a gun in their hip pocket, face the mirror and say to themselves, “Yup, I can’t see it. Therefore no one else can.” Meanwhile, everyone behind them sees that gun-shaped bulge above their buttocks. Or the folks who carry in the middle of the back and don’t realize they’re the only people in a 100-yard radius who can’t see that their concealing garment rode up in the back after they bent over and their handgun is completely exposed…

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