Picking out the perfect edc pistol is the first step towards becoming more prepared and taking responsibility for you and your families safety. Which is why last week we provided a list of the perfect concealed carry guns, as we see them. And let's just be honest - Guns when handled responsibly are a lot of fun. Raise your hand if you loved sitting alongside your parent or grandparent while shooting tin cans. I know I sure did....In fact, I still love doing so with my dad and i'm almost to the point where my kids are old enough to start shooting with me as well.
You've got your gun - Now what?
But let's set the fun aspect aside for a minute and chat about something a little more serious. Let's talk about why it's important to practice with your concealed carry gun. Let's talk about some things you can do to become a better and more responsible shooter/concealed carrier, once you leave the gun shop from purchasing that perfect pistol.
A lot of new shooters, or people who are new to lawful concealed carry will likely purchase their pistol and begin carrying it right away. But, I would caution anyone with a "new-to-you" pistol to practice with it first. This statement goes for people who have never carried a gun a day in their life, or they've carried one for years. It is extremely important to learn the weapon that you're trusting your life with, and to see how you personally shoot it.
Practicing allows you to Learn Your Gun:
Guns are like people, they have personalities all their own. I've shot guns before that were the exact same brand/model and both shot night and day from each other. One was reliable and the other was not. One shot high/low and the other hit right at point of aim. While most quality firearms are going to be solid performers out of the box, you need to practice with your particular firearm to know how it's going to shoot.
Practicing and ensuring you know your firearms sights, reliability and overall operation is the first step in ensuring that you are carrying responsibly.
Testing your magazines, accessories and carry ammo:
We as EDC and gun guys and gals are all the same - We love tricking our guns out and making them our own. Whether we've put a new light on them, we've put new night sights or simply bought a new magazine for them. We need to test how these add-ons/customizations effect our guns performance.
For instance, a weapon mounted tactical light:
Some guns like the H&K VP9 were created to handle the weapon lights extra weight, without impacting reliability of the slide. However, some pistol manufacturers put pic rails on their guns and may not have thoroughly tested a light being mounted to it. Which makes it your responsibility to test your gun + accessory combo for reliability.
Or, let's talk new magazines for your pistol:
Range time is very important for testing new magazines. 9 times out of 10 if your semi automatic pistols fails on you, it is because of the magazine. And since this is a common and frequently purchased accessory, we need to ensure we're testing them before we base our lives on them.
Ammo Selection and Testing:
There are other things you need to be testing while at the range, to ensure your concealed carry setup is on-point. But let's wrap this section up with the carry ammo you've selected. I would hope that you have chosen a good personal protection round to carry in your pistol, and not regular range ammo. Personal protection rounds are designed to properly stop a threat and stop inside of it, not blaze through and potentially hurt an innocent bystander.
While personal protection rounds are almost always great. Some can be finicky in certain guns. There are a billion and one options out there these days for this type of ammo. And it would be impossible for firearms manufacturers to test them all. So it's important for you to choose the perfect carry round and buy an extra box of it to test in your weapon while you're at the range. This will allow you to ensure your carry ammo performs like a boss in your concealed carry pistol.
Range time and practicing makes you a better shooter:
The more time you spend behind your concealed carry pistol, the more it will become an extension of you. I know that sounds cheesy, but i'm serious. I personally carry my M&P 9 Full Size or VP9 a lot - And I run a lot of personal defense drills with these 2 pistols. At this point I can unholster my weapon, point it and it's like an extension of my own body. I know where it's going to aim and hit. Which leads to a lot of responsibly gained confidence (not cockiness) when i'm using it.
But, range time is expensive....What can I do about that:
Well, I can't argue with the fact that spending time shooting your pistol is expensive. There are some things you can do to make your range time more productive though:
- Don't just stand in front a piece of paper poking holes. Run some shooting drills - Utilizing 3 rounds at a time. Practice unholstering, shooting in a simulated self-defense scenario and re-holster. This is not only fun, but it's a productive/real-world training exercise that will sharpen your skills and confidence. While saving you a lot of ammo in the process. You'll be surprised how far you can stretch 50-100 rounds when running short drills like this.
- While nothing substitutes for real live-fire training, you can purchase snap caps or as I call them dummy-rounds. This is an excellent way to train in the comfort of your own home. It allows you to learn your trigger, practice reloads, clear simulated malfunctions and a lot more. I am a huge advocate of snap caps. I've seen a huge change in my shooting ability after training with them.
Seen above is our Chief Backpack being used as a range bag
Range time reminds you of the responsibility of carrying a gun:
This is a biggie to me that is worth mentioning. It's easy to get a little relaxed with our firearms if we're not careful. Really think about that before you shake your head in disagreement....We handle and carry a weapon every single day, and it doesn't go off once. It's easy to see it as another object that we carry, rather than something that is capable of taking life.
Range time reminds us of the responsibility we carry in a holster every day. When you're shooting your weapon you are reminded of it's power. You feel the recoil, smell the gun powder and see the devastation it can cause to a target down range. Seeing the effects of this tool we carry is an important part of our concealed carry lifestyle. It reminds us of the severity of what getting too relaxed or negligent could cause. Which should make us all more responsible and careful.
As we've already established in the beginning, firearms are a lot of fun. But they are a huge responsibility as well. It is your responsibility to become well-trained with your specific carry gun and to remain responsible with it throughout it's concealed carrying life.
I hope that this was informative for new and old shooters alike. If you have some things that you find are important about range time and practicing with your concealed carry weapon, please drop us a comment below - We always love hearing from you all!
* As always - Observe all local, state and federal laws concerning concealed carry. Be safe and responsible at all times.