Why do you carry? In my opinion, “for personal protection” isn’t an adequate answer. I don’t carry for me. I carry to guard others—those who don’t have the means, intuition or wherewithal to protect themselves. There are a lot of sheep in this world. It is up to the sheep dogs to protect the flock whether the sheeple want it or not. They may say that they don’t want to be protected, but it’s not up to them. Sheep don’t think that they need a sentinel. Do it anyway.

Now let’s talk about some more concealed-carry considerations, such as everyday carry mindset. I’ll lead with some important questions that you should ask yourself.

What do you carry?

Does your sidearm flow with your garb? Are you proficient in its use? Is it safely and securely attached to your body? Put this to the test at some point. Sprint, climb and grapple with your everyday carry items to verify whether or not you they are secure, and that you aren’t leaving a yard sale behind you. You should select a firearm that has proven reliability, and one that you can deploy and employ effectively. Don’t bargain shop for a sidearm. It must be considered “life support.” Do your research and don’t rely solely on the advice from the guy behind the counter at the gun shop.

What’s your gun’s status?

Is it loaded or not? You must know this. You see, in a gunfight, the gun that you are carrying isn’t always there just for you. It is there to protect someone else or to cover someone’s “six.” There are those who are tentative about carrying a loaded gun. It does you no good to be unloaded. My rule: On my body, the gun is loaded; off my body, it’s unloaded.

Appendix, 4 o’clock or open carry?

If your answer is “open carry,” please reconsider. The way I see it, that is for amateurs begging for attention. Get the proper training, take the proper classes and wear the right gear. Spend the additional dollars to invest in a holster that rides comfortably without broadcasting your gun. I typically carry in the appendix position, but there are times and situations where I opt to carry a full-sized gun concealed in the 4 o’clock position instead.

Do you train with your carry ammunition?

If your carry ammo is different than your training ammo (for instance, using +P rounds for carry), then you need to train with it periodically. There is a significant difference in recoil and muzzle flip between a 115-grain 9mm FMJ and a 127-grain +P 9mm.

Regardless of the ammo you carry, it is not going to work unless you hit what you are aiming at. There is no magic bullet that can fix recoil anticipation or poor sight alignment. And don’t even think for a second that I am going to touch the caliber debate.

Got spare ammo?

Speaking of ammunition, is the one magazine that you are carrying in your gun enough? Maybe, maybe not. I always carry a spare magazine in my back pocket with a NeoMag holder. This keeps the magazine oriented the way I prefer it in case
I need to reload quickly.

Can you get to your gun when layered down?

There are few who practice dry drawing and dry firing during the winter months when layered down in winter clothing. Your firearm can be pretty tough to deploy and employ when you’re wearing gloves as well as several layers of clothing. Make sure you practice drawing your concealed weapon for every possible situation.

Can you see your target?

Sight selection is one of the most important modifications you can make on a pistol. There are lots of gadgets and gizmos out there. I prefer fiber optics for range use due to my failing eyes but carry nothing but tritium front and rear sights. Good tritium sights will shine like stars and are battlefield multipliers during periods of limited visibility. The latest craze is red-dot sights. These are also undoubtedly battlefield multipliers, but there are some limitations. For example, in rain and severe weather, the lens might fog up when you get out of your air-
conditioned car into heavy humidity.

What kind of flashlight do you carry?

Weapon-mounted or standalone light? This is always a hot-button topic in the gun world. If you carry a weapon-mounted light, you need to have a standalone light as well. When I walk my wife to her car that’s parked in dark shadows, I’m not going to pull my weapon-mounted light out because it is attached to a weapon that is probably not going to be used. There will come a time when you will need to search with your light without having your gun flagging bystanders. Practice drawing your light the same way you would practice drawing your gun.

Fighting blade or folder?

Another often-debated topic is whether to carry a fighting blade or a simple folding knife. I personally prefer a folder. For starters, I can use it like a knife because that’s what it is. As far as fighting blades go, I struggle with the ethical dilemma of spilling someone’s guts in a lethal confrontation when I can simply kill them. A blade will not kill an adversary. It will spill blood and mutilate long before deaths set in. Plus, it is messy and difficult to defend its use in a court of law. I know that in a confrontation I can either knock someone out very quickly or, if lethal results are required, I can draw my gun and neutralize or kill the threat whose intentions are unsavory.

Are you in good shape?

This one is often overlooked, but how well can you move? You see, fighting is fighting. There is going to be movement whether you are fighting with a gun, just your hands, closing or egressing. You should be able to move your combat chassis with a purpose. Not all of us can move like a jungle cat, but you need to be able to move your body over a certain distance with haste. Your life or someone else’s may depend on it. This ties into how you dress as well. Please relegate your flip flops to the beach.

Final Thoughts on Your Everyday Carry Mindset

We have to be our own first responders. Just because you are carrying a gun does not mean that you are armed. Remember, your everyday carry mindset is your greatest weapon. Everything else is supplemental.

This article is from the September/October 2018 issue of Combat Handguns Magazine. Grab your copy at

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