License to Carry a Firearm: Rookie Mistakes
As we start down the path of carrying a firearm concealed on our person daily, we have all made some mistakes. Here’s a short list of the most common mistakes of someone new to everyday carry of a firearm.
- Assuming your LTC class is enough to be competent and confident to use your firearm for defensive purposes. It’s not. Think of it like learning to read. Your LTC class is like learning the letters A, B and C. There’s the entire rest of the alphabet left to learn. Then, you get to learn Words. Then sentences. Etc. With firearms training, even the best TRAINERS are constantly learning and upgrading their skills. In the Texas License to Carry a Firearm class required by The Texas Department of Safety, many important lessons are learned by students and its a great start- but it’s like learning he first 3 letters of the alphabet! In that state mandated class, students are not even required to learn how to safely draw their firearm from concealment and quickly bring it up onto target. Students will not know their maximum effective distance of engagement against a deadly force threat either. SOLUTION: Look into ongoing training to build your skill sets, something like our Safeguard Training Memberships. If a student were to only practice once a month, they would easily be Top 1% in America for their defensive skills with a handgun.
- Not completing the Texas Department of Safety paperwork to obtain the License to Carry a Firearm after completing our class.-Some students never even send in their paperwork to finish the process after taking our class. Huh? Why? This still baffles us. Why would a student go through the time investment and expense to attend our classes but then not actually complete their paperwork with the state?!? SOLUTION: Immediately complete your paperwork online the same weekend you attend class. Now, everything can be done electronically with the Texas Department of Safety. Get your documents turned in to show you passed our class, pay your state fee, provide the information they need, and then wait. You will get an email from a company called IdentoGo at the time of writing this article. Check your spam folder for it- it sometimes will go there.
- Not actually carrying a firearm. Ever. We just spoke about the above students who never complete their paperwork, then there’s this crowd. These students get their License to Carry but then *never actually carry a firearm on them. Even for me way back when I was 21 and started carrying daily- I was hesitant and a bit uncomfortable with the notion of having this gun on me each day. This is natural for many new LTC holders. SOLUTION: If need be, take baby steps in the right direction. For me, it started with secure off body carry in a bag– no round in the chamber. I would even sometimes just leave it in vehicle, locked and concealed. Then I moved to carrying on my person with an empty chamber. Then finally carrying on me daily with a loaded chamber. From there, my daily experiences took me to trying different holsters and carry positions to see what worked best for me.
- Not having the RIGHT holster– Imagine wearing your nicest clothing for a fancy event, but then wearing super cheap shoes from Walmart. That’s kind of like carrying a firearm for personal protection of the last resort, but then buying the cheapest holster possible for it- not good. SOLUTION: You holster should cost AT LEAST $45, everything more affordable is generally very low quality. You want a holster that does THREE key things: A) Rigid Holster body that does NOT deform under pressure. B) Provides for full coverage of trigger guard. C) Properly retains your firearm in a way that keeps it secure from everyone except you, keeps it secure from falling out, and keeps it simple for you to retrieve your firearm from it when needed. Check out holsters HERE
- Not taking the time to consider YOUR needs for a carry position- Carrying a firearm daily isn’t always as simple as buying a cheap holster and carrying it at the traditional 3 o’clock position like a police officer. You don’t want to force a carry position on certain clothing, body shapes or lifestyles. SOLUTION: Take the time to try a number of holsters and carry positions on your body (or off body) to find a habitual carry position that works for you. Think about your daily clothing choices and how they can incorporate certain methods of carry. The running joke in our industry is that everyone who does this right always ends up with a drawer full of holsters as we literally “feel out” the best holster choices for ourselves. NOTE: A holstered gun will generally never feel *comfortable. Essentially, this means you will (and should) always know when you are carrying and wear the firearm is on your person. Wearing a gun in a holster WILL make you FEEL comforted in knowing that you are best prepared to Protect Everyday.
- Not practicing drawing from concealment– When you start carrying a firearm, you will eventually establish a routine with how you carry everyday. Once you are there, its CRITICAL you practice drawing from concealment to walk through any kinks that may affect you efficiently getting on target. SOLUTION: Each day when you get fully dressed and go to put on your firearm; go ahead and safely unload it. After unloading the firearm, place it in your holster and put it on. Practice safely drawing it from your holster 10 times and coming up into your high-ready position. Do this each day in a safe manner and you will quickly establish the most efficient way to do this. Maybe you learn that certain types of shirts get caught on your sights of your firearm when you do this. Maybe the holster comes lose on the draw! These are all great things to know about and remedy before your life is potentially on the line!
- Not knowing much about your defensive ammo– There is a big difference between the way your defensive ammo shoots works in your handgun versus your training ammo. Training ammo is cheap, reliable and generally a simple round nose bullet. Defensive ammo is about 5x more expensive, generally jacketed hollow point and higher velocity. Some people even make the critical mistake of only carrying training ammo to defend themselves because it is cheaper and easier. SOLUTION: To generally evaluate the reliability of your handgun to work with your defensive ammo, you need to bite the bullet and make the investment of shooting 100 rounds of the expensive stuff through your firearm. This will allow you to verify that it works in your gun. It’s unwise to simply carry the expensive ammo and NOT every test fire it. It’s a life and death thing. Also replace your carry ammo every 3 months or so. Just go ahead and shoot it through your firearm on the next range visit, then replenish.
- Not cleaning your carry gun -General filth builds up in your gun daily as you carry it. Sweat, lint and even rust can build up quickly in your handgun- especially when you don’t use your carry gun. SOLUTION: Clean it on a consistent schedule. It’s not a bad idea to do a quick field strip and cleaning once a month. Here’s some great items to help you keep your firearm working in top condition.
Stay Safe out there.