I Have My Conceal Carry License – Now What?
Many of you went out and “bit the bullet” so to speak, and got your CHL. So now what? I know, I will carry everywhere I go and when it is needed I will use it. Well, I have news for you. Without maintaining your firearm and using it on a regular basis at the range in shooting scenarios it may not do you as good as you think it will.
First things first. You need to use the weapon you purchased. You need to get used to how it feels, how to draw it from your holster, how to do reloads (mostly high stress situation reloads), and how to keep it serviceable. Let’s take a look at each of these.
- Learn how it feels: Get used to holding your weapon. If you are used to shooting a .45, but you just bought a Glock 26 for a conceal carry weapon you are going to have to get used to the way it handles and feels. It will be different drawing that weapon than it was drawing your .45. Most of these weapons have the capability of adding a dovetail, etc to make it fit your hand better. You can also purchase different grips to help with stability. This may seem like something very rudimentary and to be passed over, but it is a building block to being proficient with your weapon, and that along with solid shooting skills will give you an advantage.
- Holster draw: There are many different types of holsters on the market today for concealed carry, so we won’t go into every single one of them. Whatever you decide to get you need to practice drills with it. This should include just the basic draw from the concealed location (under the shirt, from the waistband, purse, etc) because this will help to build muscle memory. That is what you want to have, because in a gunfight or a scenario where you are being attacked you want to be able to go directly to where your weapon is with no hesitation. Fumbling around trying to find it or get it unholstered could be the difference between life and death. You need to find out where the best place to carry for you is, and that’s where you always need to carry and work from during training. Practice your holster draw in many different situations such as inclimate weather, drawing while on the ground (prone, side, and back positions), while doing a fast retreat from a bad situation, etc.
- Reloads: Reloading at the range is WAY different than reloading in a life or death situation. This brings up several points. Know how many rounds your magazines will hold! When you are in a firefight the first thing on your mind is not how many bullets you have put into your attackers, but it should be. One of the last things you want to have happen is that you run out of ammo and have to reload at an inconvenient time. You always want to reload behind cover, so try to find cover every chance you get! Try to find a way to have some sort of idea as to how many rounds you have fired. Next thing, always practice reloads in a stressful environment if you can. Practice doing it after you have run for a while and you heart rate is very high. Same as with the holster draw, practice reloads from the prone, side, and back positions. Another thing to think about is how many extra mags are you going to carry along with your weapon? You should consider carrying at least two extra mags on your person. They make concealed carriers for your mags as well. Typically mags need to be on the opposite side of your shooting hand. NEVER take your dominate shooting hand off the weapon! You always want to be ready to go!
- Serviceability: Knowing how your weapon works, what parts are what, and how to field strip and clean it are paramount. If your weapon is broken, missing parts, or is just so filthy that it will not operate correctly, then you are setting yourself up for disaster. Period. If you have parts on your weapon that are broken or missing, then replace them before you injure yourself or someone else unintentionally. There is nothing worse than an irresponsible gun owner. Make sure that your gun is CLEAN and lubricated properly, you are after all depending on this to defend the lives of you and your family, so keep it in working order. Learning to field strip your gun, clean it and lube it is the best thing you can do. You will see just how it works and it will get easier each time you do it. Please keep in mind, EVERY GUN IS ASSUMED TO BE LOADED UNTIL YOU PROVE IT IS NOT. NEVER CLEAN A WEAPON UNTIL YOU HAVE CLEARED IT AND REMOVED THE MAGAZINE AND ENSURED THAT THE CHAMBER IS EMPTY. MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED FROM CARELESS MISTAKES.
I hope that this short article will help point you in the right direction when it comes to preparing yourself for being a CHL holder. As always, stay frosty out there! – Tango out!