Concealed Carry: A Permit, a Carry Gun, and Marksmanship are Not Enough
Dr. John Woods 07.28.15
I hope I never have to draw a firearm on another person in self-defense, but I also hope I am ready to do so if need be. I have passed the first step toward this process by successfully passing my state permit for the Enhanced Carry Permit.
This allows me to carry a concealed weapon in many more public areas than a simple carry permit. The tough part was not only having to take the course and pass the written test, but I had to go to the shooting range to fire a prescribed round of 80 shots to qualify. Though I was clearly the oldest person in the class, I finished first with a score of 98. Hooray for me.
Now, after that experience, what was my post-course assessment? First of all, I used my favorite handgun, a Beretta 92 9mm, for which I already had shot plenty. I also already had several back up magazines for the gun and ammo in stock. Nonetheless, it was in practice the wrong choice of handgun. Why?
The Beretta 92 is not exactly a concealment type pistol. It is too big for that job and way too obvious to anybody else around unless I carried it with my shirt out and over an OWB (outside the waist band) holster. What I needed was a real concealment pistol, which I’m still working on selecting.
But just selecting the right gun for concealed carry isn’t enough. Notice above that I said that in passing the state’s tests I’ve passed “the first step.” The next step is that I also need to learn when and how to use my carry gun and how to carry it correctly and appropriately
Concealed weapons are all the rage now. Scan the magazine racks at a book store and every other publication is a “complete” treatise on every new pistol in this exploding classification. The biggest problem though is that very few of these articles tell the novice readers how to handle, carry, and shoot them, emphasis especially on the parameters of shooting them.
New shooters and many experienced ones who should know better need to realize that a concealment type weapon with a 2-4-inch barrel was never intended for long range shooting. By long range, I mean 10 yards. The rules of self-defense engagement are much shorter than this.
Data shows that most gun related self-defensive incidents occurred from 3-7 feet. So these are the ranges you need to practice with, and I highly recommend you pursue a professional training course of fire for orientation to some real self-defensive shooting practice.
In conclusion, with gun laws loosening up around the country (at last!), there are a lot of shooters who are new to concealed carry. A lot of folks like me who have been shooting full-sized handguns need to be made aware that a permit and proven marksmanship ability isn’t enough. You have to learn some new skills and habits. So don’t just get a permit and a carry pistol and call it a day. Get some training, and take the next step.