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Walk into any gun shop and you’ll be amazed at the wide variety of prices and options for the different styles of handguns. There are cheap guns you can own today and ones that can cost as much as a vacation to Europe. Caliber options and gun designs abound and it can become confusing to narrow down your options.

s&w 9mm

The question many people will find themselves asking is “Will buying the most expensive gun e the best choice?”

After all, you’re relying on this weapon to protect your life and safety. Can you put a price tag on that?

You can’t, but there are other things to consider in a gun purchase aside from the price. Getting what you pay for applies to most things you buy, but this does not infer that spending less means acquiring an inferior firearm.

A lower price tag could mean that the finish isn’t as fine or the gun was made by a lesser-known manufacturer.

Author George Hill weighs in on the question of expensive guns in his article “Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special 9mm” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“But to those who think that such guns are fully unobtainable, to them I say this: Nuts! Those guns are expensive. They deserve to be, and they are worthy of their prices, but they are not unobtainable.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Expensive firearms are not a waste of money, but they are not always the best use of your hard-earned dollars either. The experience and needs of the buyer are what should be used to make the final decision.

Generally speaking, if you’re new to the world of concealed carry, spending large amounts of money at the onset may not be the best choice. You don’t want your new purchase to cause any stress in financial terms or to take money away from something else important. As a new shooter, you don’t have enough experience to really know what you want in a gun. This will come in good time.

It is important to like the gun you buy and to actually be happy to carry it. When it’s sitting on the table, you should enjoy the sight of it. You shouldn’t be unhappy with the style or any feature.

Aesthetics mean something different to everyone. If you like wood, buy wood grips. If you prefer the tactical blacked out look, then get that instead.

Owning a specific make and caliber of handgun is also a socially rewarding experience. You’ll share a common bond with other people who have the same gun. You’ll be able to talk about what you like about your guns and trade tips about how to improve your experience, be it accuracy or better ways to clean the weapon.

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There are some locations where alternate styles of concealed carry are needed in order to blend in effectively.

briefcase carry

One location is in the downtown area of any city.

Whether it’s the financial district, the headquarters of a large company, a news agency, or a bank, chances are there are business professionals milling around.

They’re probably wearing a variety of suits and are hurrying from one place to another, usually talking on cell phones.

A person who chooses to wear baggy cargo pants or carry a backpack in the interest of concealing a handgun will stick out like a sore thumb among all those suits and shiny leather briefcases.

In this situation, the briefcases themselves are the key to success. When it comes to a business-oriented setting, a briefcase is standard issue. Nobody will blink or think twice about you having one; especially if you’re professionally dressed.

Often the professional wardrobe can preclude traditional carry with a body holster. The weapon tends to print through the fabric, so where else could the weapon go other than inside the briefcase?

Of course, having a loose handgun inside a briefcase isn’t optimal. Fortunately, there are a variety of custom designed briefcases that have a special hidden pocket inside to house your weapon and keep it out of sight until it’s needed.

This means you can use the briefcase for double duty, both for concealing your weapon and for storing other articles of importance, such as documents and purchases.

There are often concerns regarding the quality or appearance of specially designed cases and author Tony Walker puts those concerns to rest in his article “Briefcase Carry” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“I opened it to find a black leather attaché case fitted with a shoulder strap, as well as a detachable carrying handle. There are two separate compartments, each fitted with pockets to carry spare disks or accessories inside. The case is a handsome piece, extremely well made, and would not look out of place in the office or the boardroom of any company.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

There are many benefits of this style of carry. A business person carrying a briefcase is a ubiquitous sight in many areas and doesn’t look threatening or tactical in any way. Utilizing an article you have in your hand every day is an excellent way to retain the ability to defend yourself without looking out of place.

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It is commonly accepted and agreed upon that people must have licenses to drive vehicles on public highways. There are very few people who disagree with the process of training, testing, and licensing drivers who have proven their competence.

marshal badgeThis system of licensing based on training and testing is all around you every day.

Those who wish to fly airplanes have many different levels of licensing.

Skilled trades like welding have different certifications depending on the work being performed.

And of course, you have firearms and the permit processes associated with concealed carry. Again, you see the training and testing process in action.

It’s important to note that in many cases, no special license or permit is required to have firearms in your home.

However, if you wish to carry a handgun in public, you are required to go through a process that includes a background check and training.

And then you have professionals like the police who carry weapons and are authorized to possess firearms in places where they’re forbidden for the vast majority of people.

Unfortunately, what you see from time to time is a buildup of resentment between the police and citizens who legally carry firearms. The police may see CCW permits as dangerous and unnecessary. CCW permit holders on the other hand, may be miffed that the police can have guns in certain public places while they themselves cannot.

In reality, what you are seeing are different levels of authorization or security clearances. Most law-abiding citizens could go through the training, become police officers, and enjoy all the firearms possession privileges that the job entails. There is nothing stopping most of us from going down that path.

However, civilians carrying firearms simply do not have the training or legal backing to actively go after criminals like the police do, nor are they coordinated with the police force. Purposely injecting yourself into a situation just because you have a concealed carry weapon is dangerous!

The JPFO Liberty Crew addresses this in the article “The Magic Badge” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Yes, we should accord peace officers special legal authority to go places armed. The special authority goes with the job of detecting and capturing aggressors of all sorts. We all should appreciate and thank peace officers who do their difficult work with courage and honor to protect our free society.” (Read more about firearms and permissions at USConcealedCarry.com)

No system for licensing or giving clearance is perfect and there will always be something that is unfair or left out, but generally these programs work as intended.

If obtaining a CCW permit required you to act in a police capacity, it would change your thinking on the entire process dramatically. You would probably see far fewer people interested in getting their concealed carry permit.

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Rehearsal is a well-accepted method of learning and fine-tuning any skill. From movie sets to marching bands, various types of rehearsal practices are used to ensure the most accurate and effective actions possible. The same can apply to carrying concealed.

mask and other equipment

No two gunfights are ever the same, but they will always share some similarities that can be identified and used as anchor points to train around.

At the most basic level, it can be assumed that you’ll be confronted with one or more attackers whom you should assume are armed.

You’ll probably be facing one another. Where and how you stand is a thing to consider and rehearse. Standing sideways to the threat reduces your profile by more than half, giving the attackers a smaller surface area to aim and fire at.

If the threatening party happens to be in a vehicle and you are on foot, simply backing up a few steps towards the rear of the car window will force them to bend and twist to even get a view of you, much less a good shot. This is why police officers approach stopped vehicles from the rear and almost never pass in front of the windows.

If you’ve ever been pulled over, you’ll probably remember having to crane your neck sideways just to see the officer. This is by design.

Personal defense rehearsal can be executed in many different ways. You can use plastic army men to lay out situations on a tabletop in front of you. It’s easy to position the figures in different poses and assess what will work the best.

If you like to draw using a pencil and paper, you can lay out a possible confrontation and make notes about what is happening and what can go wrong. It is also possible to draw one figure with a gun pointed in multiple directions as an exercise in determining the most dangerous line to be standing in.

And of course, nothing beats real world practice with other people. Author Jack Rumbaugh talks about using Airsoft guns for practice and training in his article “The Force-on-Force Notebook” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“You should purchase what you carry. I carry Glocks, so I use Airsoft Glocks. Best of all, they fit into my existing holsters. You want to carry the Airsoft just like you carry your normal load gear. If you carry a spare magazine, its position on your belt and the position of your pistol should be the same.” (Read more about gun practice training at USConcealedCarry.com)

Going back to your position relative to the threat, there is no such thing as honor or “planting your feet” in a gunfight. Entertaining ideas like these will get you killed.

Sometimes the best use of the few precious seconds you have is to move. That may mean getting behind something or going inside a building. Don’t be afraid to add “tactical relocation” to your bag of tricks.

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Invariably, some self-defense situations will involve other innocent people, who may be held hostage, trapped in a room or vehicle with an attacker, or simply drawn into the conflict against their will.guy on the ground

They may even unintentionally find themselves behind the bad guy you happen to be aiming your weapon at. The presence of other people in the vicinity of a potential target adds another complicated dimension to the process of deciding when and how to take a shot.

You’ve seen hostage situations in movies where the hostage is saved by the shooter who uses a headshot to kill the bad guy. In real life, this isn’t an option for a civilian carrying a handgun.

Too many things can go wrong for you to justify the risk. If the attacker is holding a gun to the head of the hostage, they may reflexively pull the trigger when they are shot. There is also the chance your bullet will miss and hit the hostage or another innocent bystander.

What separates these types of situation from “normal” self-defense is the proximity of innocent unarmed people to the bad guys. Something has happened to prevent you from getting your family behind you. You are unable to place yourself and your weapon in between the threat and them.

The situation could be something like a bank robbery where the robber was closer to your husband or wife when they pulled their gun. It could even be a home invasion where the trespasser has broken into your child’s bedroom.

As a part of your training, it is important to consider these possibilities and learn about the specialized decisions that you would have to make.

When it comes to training, there are classes and courses that can teach skills designed to handle dangerous types of encounters.

Author Gary Hoff describes the teaching of one such “what if” encounter in his article “TDI’s F.I.S.T. Full of Challenge” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“…you were with your wife and stopped at a store. She walked a few steps toward the store and was attacked by two ugly bad guys that had her down on the ground, kicking and stomping her in the lower back and the head. I exited the vehicle to a position of cover and ordered the bad guys, ‘Stop; drop your weapon!’ After several commands, I shot both of them. I gathered my wife and gained distance to call the Police.” (Read more about Hoff’s encounter at USConcealedCarry.com)

Tactical training courses are usually taught by people with law enforcement experience, who have seen situations like these play out first hand. They have a good grasp of what needs to be done and what should be avoided.

No two encounters are alike and some can be diffused by giving criminals what they want, be it money, food, or your car keys. Resisting at the wrong times can get you killed.

On the other hand, if someone is on the ground and is being kicked or stomped on, time is of the essence to prevent life-threatening injuries or death.

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