When someone entertains the idea of carrying for the first time they will inevitably be inundated with one slapstick cliche after another. The main objective for any new concealed carry holder is to wade their way through these tongue and cheek comments to find the best pistol, holster and carrying situation for themselves. To not be bludgeoned with eye-rolling cliches is like trying to fall out of the top of a tree and not hit a branch on the way down… nearly impossible.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
“Ammo capacity trumps everything.”
“I only need 5 rounds because I don’t miss!”
If you hang out at enough gun shops and ranges you probably have heard some permutation of those phrases and a boat load of other ones. Most of the time sentiments like these do not answer a question. They simply are a divisive statement inviting a debate you did not sign up for. Albeit, you can have a lot of fun debating your favorite caliber or gun brand against somebody else. Most of the time though you want to cut through the malarkey to make decisions for yourself. So if you are new to carrying a sidearm, it does not always help to ponder the meaning of life when you hear a cliche gun phrase.
After completely badgering gun cliches and discrediting their value, I want to offer up my two favorite that I actually take to heart after having carried for the last 10 years. Having the correct mentality when it comes to concealed carry is very important. This may come across like a broken record, but it is a tremendous responsibility to carry a firearm. So with that in mind, give these two cliches some extra thought whether you are a veteran to concealed carry or are in the infant stages of learning what it takes.
cliches – “It’s better to have and not need… than need and not have.”
This cliche is a gem and is applicable across a wide swath of our everyday life. Airbag in your car? It’s better to have. Fire extinguisher in your house? It’s better to have. Snickers in your fanny pack? It’s better to have. Secondary magazine in your pocket? It’s better to have.
When you first begin carrying a pistol, you often have internal arguments with yourself. Whether some situations demand that you carry while others may not. You think that it only takes 30 seconds to grab coffee at that gas station… or that I am picking up dry cleaning, who would rob a place like that? Well, the funny thing is you do not get to decide when or if you will ever need your sidearm for defense. Hopefully the answer is never, but the reason why we carry is to protect ourselves and our loved ones around us. The world sadly is not unicorns and rainbows. It is more like one huge dive bar. You know its grungy, but you try to overlook that while you enjoy yourself.
So if you are properly trained on using a pistol, have a reliable holster and feel safe attempting to carry then you absolutely should. It’s better to have and not need… than need and not have. It would be much better to go your whole life carrying a firearm and wearing out dozens of holsters without ever using your sidearm than to be defenseless when someone threatens your life. Once again going back to the cliche, it’s better to have your pistol and not need it.
I am still a spring chicken at the ripe age of 31 years old, but ever since I could legally carry, I have. Thankfully, I have never used my pistol in defense, but I can recall several unfortunate situations late at night leaving work or being in parking lots where I felt thankful I had a firearm with me. This leads into my next concealed carry cliche.
cliches – “Carrying a pistol should be comforting, but it may not always be comfortable.”
A lot of people are in search of the “perfect” concealed carry holster, but like scientists in search of Bigfoot, you are never going to find it. I assure you that you will never find Bigfoot either, by the way. If he existed, us Minnesotans would have lured him out with a hot dish by now.
There is a reason why all of your friends have several desk drawers, shoe boxes or closets filled up with mountains of holsters. For one, there is no such thing as a perfect holster. Secondly, every situation can demand a different style of carry. So if you have the ability to try a bunch of holsters in a brick ‘n mortar store, do not get discouraged if it does not feel like you are slipping on a comfy pair of sweatpants. Holsters should provide retention, be accessible for the part of the body you are drawing from, safe and the fourth most important criteria is comfort.
That is why carrying a pistol should be comforting to you. Comforting in the regard that in the one-in-a-million chance you need your firearm you are confident enough, adequately proficient and able to protect yourself.
If you are hesitant to try a new holster, but it is affordable, give it a shot anyways! Some of my favorite holsters from my treasure trove collection are the el’ cheapos I hesitated to buy in the first place. Over the years I have carried Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) appendix, IWB hip, exterior hip, IWB Small-of-the-Back and have tried shoulder rigs. All served a valuable purpose for me at one time or another yet none were perfect. While none of them felt luxurious to carry, most of them were somewhat close to being comfortable. And that is OK because carrying a pistol should be comforting, but it may not always be comfortable.
concealed carry corner conclusion
If you feel the need to carry in your everyday life, then by all means you should. You do not need to have perfect gear, expensive gear or the “ultimate carry rig and matching pistol.” We all have budgets. We all love guns. Simultaneously, we must live within our means. Carry what you can… be safe… learn… and modify your gear and behavior as necessary.
“It’s better to have and not need… than need and not have.”
“Carrying a pistol should be comforting, but it may not always be comfortable.”
Thanks for checking in and reading today’s Concealed Carry Corner! Let us know what you think in the Comments below, and drop us your favorite cringe-worthy cliches or your best nuggets of knowledge.