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I Am At Square One With Women’s Concealed Carry. What Should I Do?

woman wearing iwb holster on back

Want To Get Into Women's Concealed Carry But Don't Know Where To Start?

Everyone has to start somewhere, and more and more women are getting into women’s concealed carry at the absolute beginning. They’re new to guns, new to shooting, and the volume of information about guns, shooting and concealed carry is intimidating. 

We all have to start somewhere. But where do you start? What should I know before you get started? 

Obviously, there’s too much to cram into just one single page on a website, or into a few pages in a magazine. It would fill a book to just get a good overview, nevermind any of the specifics. 

But where do you start?

Women's Concealed Carry Starts With Safety

biometric gun safe

If you’re going to get a gun, keep it loaded, and carry it with you, that means learning how to safely handle, shoot and carry a gun. This is where you start. 

How are you supposed to keep yourself or others safe if you can’t safely carry, handle or operate a gun? People who don’t carry, store, shoot or handle guns safely put themselves and anyone around them at risk, which defeats the purpose to begin with. 

The idea is to have a gun in case you need to confront danger, not to BE the danger. 

So the starting point for anyone is to learn about gun safety in handling and shooting guns, keeping them in the home and when carrying them. The good news is there are plenty of entry-level training courses that go over the basics of gun safety, and they’re everywhere. 

You Need To Learn The Letter And Spirit Of The Law

Being armed is just one component of defending yourself. The other is having a good idea of the law concerning self-defense. 

You need to be familiar with what the law in your state is concerning armed self-defense and use of force in defense of yourself or others. Not only do you need to know what the law SAYS, but you need to understand the meaning behind it. 

The idea behind owning a gun is to be able to defend yourself from criminals, not to become one. 

Make Sure To Get Your Concealed Carry Permit

Purse with gun inside

While more states join the ranks of the constitutional carry states every year – meaning no permit is required – more states require a permit than don’t. So make sure you get your concealed carry permit. 

Not only is it required in most of the United States, you’re also required to sit through some mandatory training, which – for the total newbie – is definitely something you’re going to want to get. 

With that said, this much is completely up to you. However, going through the permit process gets you into some training and the license gets you reciprocity in other states. 

You might not have to, depending on where you live. Even if you don’t have to, the benefits generally outweigh the costs. 

Rent A Bunch Of Guns And Shoot Them

Woman practicing at firing range

After you’ve gotten a bit of training under your belt, you should try a bunch of guns BEFORE you buy one. Go to a rental range – many gun shops also have an indoor range and offer rental guns – and try a few out. 

What you want to find is a gun you can control, that you feel confident with. You don’t want to get a handgun – or any type of gun – that you don’t feel comfortable with having. 

A lot of ink and pixels have been created about what makes a good handgun, but ultimately it all comes down to the user. You can either use one competently or you can’t, and a skilled shooter will be able to use any gun well. 

But for the complete and utter newbie, you want to start with something you’re confident in using. Get thee to a rental range, and find out what guns suit you well. While the craftsman matters more than the tool, start with a tool that you can use. 

Get Some Concealed Carry Training

Eye protection for the range

You should definitely take a course or two specifically devoted to concealed carry and practical marksmanship. 

Concealed carry/defensive shooting training is different from basic marksmanship, as more is involved than just hitting a target. Training of this type will also include things like drawing from a holster, transitioning between targets, reloading and much more. 

Some are entirely focused on practical shooting skills, and some are a hybrid course with classroom instruction, which are typically geared toward satisfying state requirements for getting a concealed carry permit. 

Both are good, and it’s a good idea to take at least one practical and/or defensive shooting course per year to work on those fundamentals of practical shooting.

Get A Good Women's Concealed Carry Holster

concealed gun belly band holster
Tactica Defense Fashion's Belly Band Holster

If you’re going to carry every day, you’re going to need to find a decent women’s concealed carry holster. 

Make no mistake; a holster is a critical piece of safety gear. It’s how a handgun is kept secured while you’re out and about. Not having the gun secured is taking incredible chances with your safety as well as that of others. 

Putting it in a purse or pocket unprotected is a recipe for disaster, which leads to injuries and deaths every year. 

Find out what kind of holster is going to work best for you and your lifestyle, then get the best example of it. Or get a few different kinds, to better incorporate carrying into your daily routine. 

While you can use one, a concealed carry purse should be thought of as more of an occasional carry method rather than your default one. While you can use a concealed carry purse in a safe, effective manner, use of an actual holster that’s attached to you will always be better. 

Make sure you get a holster that’s made for your make and model gun, that covers the trigger guard, that doesn’t allow anything to enter the trigger guard while the pistol is holstered, and is comfortable enough to wear for extended periods. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Women at the shooting range

We all have to start at Square One at some point, but what’s going to give you more confidence as well as the muscle memory required to perform well under stress is the practice time. 

We are, as the saying goes, what we repeatedly do. If you want to be safe and competent with your concealed carry gun, you have to put in the practice time. 

Think about people who have to carry a gun for a living. Police officers and soldiers and so on. They all have to take training, and maintain their proficiency by putting in shooting practice. 

If you want to be able to use a gun effectively in defense of yourself or others, you have to as well. After you get some training under your belt, and are equipped to carry safely, it’s time to start practicing with your carry gun…and keep it up. 

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