When we think about concealed carrying, it’s always fun to look at different gear and guns to see what works best. Picking your loadout and trying new options is one of the most fun things that people love to do when conceal carrying every day. I often get a good amount of questions about training for concealed carry whether it’s mental work or actually putting the time in at the range.
Changing Your Perspective
Over time, I’ve come to realize that conceal carrying changes your habits and you gradually start to watch people differently. It’s always better to have situational awareness when carrying a concealed handgun in public. Being able to look at someone’s demeanor and evaluate your situation is really important. In the beginning, it can be hard to start training your brain to think differently when you’re out in public but with practice, you can slowly make changes to your perception.
One way to start building good habits when you’re out in public is to start focusing on one trait at a time. For your first time, it’s always a good idea to start with something simple like watching how people move. After a week or two of watching that you can move into watching hands or trying to spot things out off place in your surroundings. With some practice, it’s possible to start seeing what belongs in a given area and what does not. Your brain will start to raise red flags when you try to find things out of place around you.
Making It Fun
One of the problems with trying to change the way you think in public can be stressful or even overwhelming at times. It’s important to try and make things fun so you don’t burn yourself out after awhile. One way to keep it light-hearted while looking for traits would be people watching with your spouse or friends. Watching people in a crowded shopping mall or city center is a great way to look for out of the ordinary behaviors without bringing attention to yourself. With some practice, your mind will automatically start picking up on odd behaviors it might not otherwise have picked up.
Thinking About Situations Ahead of Time
Probably one of the more important aspects of training for situations is to walk through situations in your head. Occasionally, I will do certain IDPA drills at the range where there’s a specific scenario I have to work out. Whether that’s shooting around a vehicle or engaging multiple targets, it’s always good to be dynamic and try to think about what to do in certain situations. This doesn’t always have to be at the gun range to work effectively. Simple things like keeping your right hand clear while at the mall or out in public is something simple but not always easy. I try to keep my right hand clear as often as possible since that’s my dominant hand and can draw easier than if it’s full.
Another popular practice is being observant when sitting down in various places. What many concealed carriers do when they go out to their favorite restaurants or public areas is locate exits or areas to watch. Certain people are very particular about where they sit inside a restaurant and will memorize the layout of a given space just by taking mental notes of the building. I talked about doing this with a friend and he says most of the time he plans on going for the kitchen exit that’s always in a restaurant. Making generalized plans for a given area like a restaurant is not a bad idea to know where to go if something goes wrong.
Changing the way you think when walking around in public is not an easy task. Changing your perception and daily practice takes time and lots of practice to have it happen naturally. Everything I mentioned above is a suggestion to keep in mind when conceal carrying daily in public. Even if you incorporate one thing into your life over time it will make you more situationally aware. If I could give any piece of advice it would be not to overwhelm yourself with trying to incorporate every aspect all at once.
If you try to work everything in at once, it won’t come naturally and you’ll probably just end up stressing yourself out. It’s never fun to think about what could happen and at a certain point, it can drive you crazy. Even though it can be overwhelming it’s important to think about what you would do or how you would react in a given situation before you’re thrown into that situation. Let me know what you guys do to train yourself mentally to conceal carry in the comments below. I’m curious if you guys do other things than what I have talked about above. If you have questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!