Ten Concealed Carry Mistakes

(Doesn’t look like a concealed carry mistake, but I couldn’t resist ;) )

The following list of ten concealed carry mistakes will hopefully get those of you who carry a handgun – thinking and doing something about it…

Feel free to add you own considerations to the list…


1. Not Practicing Drawing Your Handgun From Concealed

2. Not Carrying An Extra Magazine / Ammunition

3. Adjusting Your Pants (Drawing Attention That You Carry)

4. A Cheap Holster That Limits Safety, A Secure Gun, Draw Availability

5. Not Carrying Your Gun Or Not Carrying Every Day

6. Having “Just One Drink” While Carrying

7. Not Carrying At Home

8. Wearing The Wrong Clothes For Concealed Carry

9. Not Training With Your Concealed Carry Gun

10. A Poor Quality Belt

The list above is pretty much self explanatory and I should not need to embellish. The list is not in any particular order and is simply food for thought.

What do you think? Any of these have significance? Any further considerations?

Related: Self Defense Threat And The 21-Foot-Rule

Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States


  1. As far as Concealed Carry mistakes;

    Not having ‘one in the pipe’ or even the Mag in the firearm
    Not having easy access to the Holster, IE zipped up coat/jacket
    Wearing to tight of clothing, showing the firearm off with the bulge in your clothing
    Not having easy access if sitting in a chair or in the vehicle
    Not having coverage over the firearm if one removes the coat/jacket/etc.
    Not keeping up ‘Situational Awareness’ when carrying concealed.

    BIGGEST MISTAKE; Not letting a LEO know you have a CC License AND have a firearm in your possession if confronted. Let me tell ya, they have NO sense of humor if they suddenly realize you are armed and did not inform them.


  2. Good article with some great tips. I need to brush up on a few myself, thanks for the reminder Ken.

    I showed my wife the concealed holster set up in the pic. She likes the idea and may look into purchasing a set to try out. Btw if you Google Undertech Undercover you can find out more info. They also make t shirts the for concealed carry. They sell on Amazon as well.

    Adapt and Overcome.

    1. I have 4 or 5 of the shirts like the pic where the piece slides into the slot. it has a velcro latch. these are very bad as the velcro weakens and if you lean over your piece falls out. happened to me many times. i just stopped wearing this and went with a holster.

      1. Thanks for the intel holster. I liked the shirt idea but have not any research on it. Now I don’t have too. I’ll just stay with my regular holster.

        Adapt and Overcome

  3. Hi All
    I get a lot of criticism from my coworkers for not carrying a chambered round in my semi automatic and only 10 rounds in the mag. I am a firm believer in Murphy’s Law with a chambered round. There have only been a couple of times in my life I have felt the need to chamber a round and I have discreetly done so. Also I only carry 10 rounds, where I live is rural and the threat of gang violence is slim. A CCW is for self defense. How ever When I travel into the city I do carry two fully loaded magazines. I also carry 100% of the time. Several times I have been working and had to discourage a fox or other critter from eating my chickens.

  4. Wish i could get my girl to wear one of those,,,, she has the figure for it for sure,, but she wouldnt like how the gun makes her lumpy

    1. Lumpy? I was in Bass Pro last week and asked what the greatest trends in gun sales are now – the small, slim, single stack, … 380 or 9mm the most popular. Most are no more than 3/4 inch thick – not too lumpy.

  5. @ Left Coast and a LOT of others

    Good morning, I would like to, if at all possible, to point out a few things when carrying a firearm (open or concealed), and the ‘not one in the chamber’ people. This may be a little long winded, but I truly believe this is very important.

    1. I did a little experiment one time where as I set a completely empty gun on my reloading bench, with a box of correct size shells for this particular firearm. I left this gun there for an entire day, guess what? Nada happened, so being curious I inserted 13 rounds into the Magazine laid the Mag next to the gun for another day, and guess what?? Nada Happened. To push my luck, I inserted the Mag into the gun, another day, and you guessed it, NADA happened. So, the next step I Chambered a round and refilled the Mag, Another day…. NADA, to tell the truth, I’m getting a little disappointed in this POS firearm. NOW here is where it starts to get really crazy, I actually took off the Safety (my gun room is always secured), sat it there on that stinking Bench for another FULL day….. I believe I have the dumbest firearm in the world, ya know way? That stupid gun just sat there, it did not go rob a store, it did not shoot someone, and it did absolutely NOTHING. Well that was completely unacceptable to me, so I took this POS gun outside to the test shot area, and held it there pointed at the target for well over 5 minutes, NADA!!!!! And finally I pulled the trigger, BOOM it went, all 14 times each time I pulled the trigger…… Amazing. This POS firearm will do absolutely NOTHING without some sort of intervention….

    2. An unloaded firearm is nada but an expensive hammer, if it’s not loaded, sell it and buy a hammer for 1/50 the cost.

    3. A firearm without a round in the Chamber is again 50% worthless, here is why. In a panic, the brain usually slows wayyyyyyy down. Will you remember to chamber a round when needed? Or will you pull the trigger a few times, giving the ‘bad guy’ enough time to TAKE your firearm and use it against you?

    4. In a real ‘situation’ you will not have time to;

    A. recognize a imminent danger
    B. decide on correct choice of response
    C. Pull your firearm
    D. Chamber the round
    E. Remove the Safety
    F. Go boom boom.

    More than likely 95% of people will just stand there pulling the trigger on an empty chamber. NOT good.
    Your response will need to be ‘automatic’ once you decide on response.

    5. If you are concerned with Murphy you need to do several things, practice Practice PRACTICE. Get some/lots of professional training and know your weapon. Than PRACTICE some more. Also if your worried the gun will go off, find a different gun.

    6. You need to remember that your firearm WILL NOT go boom if you do not pull the trigger. It MUST 1. Be loaded, 2. Chambered, 3. Safety OFF, 4. Pulling the trigger.

    7. Firearms do NOT ‘go off by accident’ someone/something MUST fire it, period. I have been shooting for well over 50 years, never has a gun gone boom by-itself, EVER.

    Lastly, and I do NOT mean to lecture, BUT, violence is everywhere, not just in the Shitties, it’s creeping more and more into the rural areas…… fast.

    OK, done, and ready to be blasted for the picture I tried to post with my essay… hehehe


    1. Agreed. People need to familiarize themselves with the 21 feet/3 second rule if they think they are going to have time to draw, rack the slide and get on target in 3 seconds. 95% of the people out there carrying concealed could not even draw that fast much less rack the slide to put one in the pipe. Practice, practice, practice. IT MUST BECOME MUSCLE MEMORY. You must be able to do this without thinking because in that second that things go south, you need to be able to automatically react without thinking. You should really do this practice after running or doing something to get your heart rate up. When that adrenaline is flowing through your veins and that heart is pounding it’s much harder to hit what your aiming at as compared to a leisurely day at the range.

      NRP, as for your gun that won’t get up and shoot by itself, we both must have bought faulty weapons. Mine won’t do it by themselves either. I’ve even yelled and commanded them to do it but they won’t. I’ve been carrying with one in the pipe daily for half my life and have yet to have any problems.

      If I was a woman, I’d have my hand on the gun saying something like, I bet you’d like this wouldn’t you.

  6. Took delivery on my new shield 9mm yesterday. Now will be starting the long series of hoop jumps to get the CCP. Any suggestions on holsters for this pistol?

    1. @ me.

      That all depends on how/where you’re going to carry; I like a shoulder holster for my CC carry.
      I would suggest going to the local Gun Shop and try a few/lot of them out.


        1. @ homebody

          The shoulder holster is actually very comfortable, and no my sweat does not fill the barrel or rust the slide… HAHAHA

          I do carry 2 mags on the opposite side to help balance the weight, and the two straps on the bottom of the holster help hold up my pants/belt sort of like suspenders….

          I do wear a light jacket 95% of the time, even in summer, so 99% of people have no idea that I carry. Those that do know I carry anyways.

          I found that a belt holster was not comfortable at all, I carry a SA-45-ACP-XD so it’s fairly heavy for the belt holsters.


          PS; the firearm comes off when I pour a Gin in the evenings, NEVER drink and Drive/Carry

        2. NRP
          We have something in common “XD”, However mine dose not have a manual safety. I started with a shoulder holster until it fell out during some aggressive movement. I went back to my belt holster with a thumb brake, It’s not as comfortable as a shoulder rig but it is more secure. I am also in the process of switching to a 1911 for the manual safety. I am more comfortable with it cocked and locked.

        3. @ Left Coast

          The Springfield Armory XD is designed to not have a ‘hard safety’ as the 1911 and most other firearms have. Personally I like that feature a lot. I still go back and back again, ‘keep ya dang finger OFF the trigger until you want the gun to go BOOM’. I understand it’s a very difficult thing for some to understand (not saying you don’t, ok?), but you would be surprised watching people at the Range…… how they keep from shooting themselves is amazing.

          You really want to have fun, watch someone shot a ‘single action’ firearm…. HAHAHA

          I also know a LOT of others will not like the shoulder holster, but as someone said, find what works for you and keep with it, simple as that.


    2. I really like my crossbreed holsters. They make the most comfortable IWB holster I’ve ever had. I’ve got boxes of holsters I’ve tried, but the crossbreed is my daily concealed holster.

      Also like a good shoulder holster when concealed isn’t necessary. They distribute the weight good and don’t tug on your pants.

    3. Alien Gear Holsters. I have one for each of my carries. Cheap in price but good quality…

    1. @ Russ O

      Glock?????? I thought that was a SA-XD, I need to look closer… :-) :-)


  7. As retired military I find it very amusing/concerning folks think a CC pistol should have an empty chamber. If you have a cheap pistol that can go off by being bumped or??? You NEED a Better Pistol. Nobody seems worried my revolver has a full cylinder?

    Please read the 21 foot posting in the article and realize just how little time you have to decide to act, unholster your CC pistol and shoot. Adding chambering a round to this list will get you DEAD.

    The only reason the 12 gauge needs to be racked to shoot is so the other person can ID themselves. Once I had a window broken as the perp exited my house. Some blood to clean up but all I wanted was him/her gone.

    Just my humble opinion your mileage may vary.

    NH Michael

  8. Got myself a smith and wesson bodyguard 380 last year,with the laser.It’s O.K.,but I really don’t use the laser.I could have saved some money without it.Plus it only holds 7 rounds total,so you need an extra mag.I really do like shooting the 380 round though.It’s simply a 9mm short,and is quite accurate.I also have a Bersa 380,which is a slightly larger gun,and it shoots great.That’s a keeper.Shop carefully for your amo,and do your homework.There are some very effective rounds for that caliber.Bigger may be better,but there is no substitute for accuracy.

    1. BigBadCat

      I do not have a laser but always wondered if one might be good in the dark when not able to look down barrel? I also considered a gun light but I do not want to show my location that easily.

    2. I tend to agree with you on the 380 round. I have it in several weapons my favorite being the Walther ppks which is my CCW. Just recently picked up the M&P sheild in both​ .45 and 9mm so may be changing that but will always love that gun

      1. Love that PPKS. One of the guns I ALWAYS carry. Nice as a backup in an ankle holster or just slipped in a pocket.

  9. To NRP: The only times I wore a shoulder holster (aka: the Bra of Death) was when I was working in or tracking through a swampy area or a creek/river because you cannot draw from the hip when you are wearing waders. (when doing body recovery work in a river, the rookie has to go in the water)

    To me: If you cannot find a comfortable holster at a sporting goods shop, you may have better luck at a cop shop where LEO’s go to get their supplies. better selection on concealed carry rigs. I like Safariland but there are many other makers out there. Another venue to check out would be a larger gun show where you can meet people that can custom mold a kydex holster for you on site.

    One poster already brought up a point I also discovered about the photo holster: Eventually you are going to have to wash that thing and when you do, the Spandex will lose its memory and the velcro will not hold. Within 2 weeks, you will end up having to buy a new holster.

    The alternative is to live with the thing and smell like a gym sock/jock strap/old unwashed underwear with skid marks. no amount of deodorant will cover that up. (you will stink Dude!)

    I still carry either a small 5 shot revolver and/or a 9mm single stack with 1 in the pipe. Generally I carry it on a belt on my strong side. I try to pay more attention to where I am going and what I am doing to stay out of trouble. I do not count on a gun to get me out of trouble these days. I stay in my car, lock the doors and keep driving. Home is another matter entirely.

  10. Homebody:

    I don’t know if a laser would be good in the dark,but if you use a light,don’t have it attached to the handgun.Get one of those real bright flashlights and hold it in the other hand way out to your side.That way if the intruder uses it as a target,it won’t be in front of you,and you can still shoot.

  11. Lastly Ken: Thanks for bringing up the 1 drink rule about concealed carry.

    I know many a fine officer that lost their jobs because of an off duty incident with a blood alcohol level above 0.0.

    I offer hope in that there is life, hope and happiness after you retire from work as an LEO. Funny these days as I run into many other people that used to be cops (just like me)

  12. I carry a Taurus compact 45 in an Alien gear iwb holster all day, every day. When I go to sleep at night it is beside me on the table. It has 10 in the magazine and 1 in the tube all the time. I live in a small town so I usually don’t carry an extra mag, but when I go to a bigger city I do. I also have a Dan Wesson 357 in a shoulder rig that I sometimes carry in cold weather when I’m wearing a coat all the time. People ask me if I carry all the time and I tell them that I only carry when I’m wearing pants. So if you ever see me but naked I will still have a little “P” shooter.

  13. Topics like this one explains why the market place offers so many choices of handguns, calibers, and holsters.

    If there were, in fact, a “best gun”, “best holster”, “best caliber”, or “best way to carry”, everyone would gravitate to that “perfect” solution, and all others would fade away.

    The fact is, you need to strive for what fits you and your needs. Advice from others may be valuable, sometimes that free advice is not only useless, it can sometimes be dangerous.

    The overwhelming majority of folks reading this will never be a party to a true deadly force incident. That does not mean it’s not necessary to be prepared for that possibility.

    What does “being prepared” in this context mean? For me it means that weapon will always be on my person, unless I’m in the shower or in my bed. To accomplish this regimen requires that the size (and weight) of that weapon doesn’t dominate over all else. It requires complete comfort, to the point of not being noticed by me, or people I interact with. It requires that it always be in the same place on your body, or in my case two places. It requires being so familiar with that weapon and bringing it into play from its resting place requires no more thought processes than adjusting the glasses on your face.

    There are numerous handguns available that will allow you to do this. I have mine. It fits my needs for comfort, both mental and physical. I pocket carry, .380 LCP, cheap Safariland nylon pocket sleeve holster, loaded with Rugers new ARX ammo (well tested by me and shaves a full ounce of of loaded weight). The second carry location I mentioned earlier is in my breast pocket of my shirt (or overalls) when I’m in a vehicle.

    If you choose heavier, bulkier weapon, more power to you. You are more willing to have to work at being “better” armed than I am. As I said earlier, find your own comfort level.

  14. Ken, when I opened this post up I got excited. I have been looking for comfortable female cc clothing and was hoping you would have some suggestions and links. My DH keeps trying to get me to use what he does, but it just doesn’t work well for me. So may I suggest a future article on female cc items.

    I would also like to suggest a link that tells me how to buy that pictured body to go with my cc underwear.

    1. @ NW Mitten

      You are exactly correct, 80% of the time a holster that works well for a man, will not be as comfortable for a Lady, there are a lot of very good leather craft shops that can also custom make GREAT holsters. I had a set made for my 3 gun Cowboy Shooting Competition, they are perfect…. I would suggest you check some of them out.


    2. NW Mitten – Have you looked at the Flash-bang holsters? A couple of friends speak highly of them. Google them on youtube.
      – Papa

    3. NW Mitten

      I have not posted in a while and I know that this article is a few days old.

      I had the same problem with concealed carry for a long time. I had a lot of trouble with the IWB holster my DH used under my “business casual” clothing for work. They would only work for me when I was wearing my jeans and a belt.

      I have found that my personal favorite option is the Can Can Concealment belly band style holster. I tried a few other belly bands and they did not fit right (too wide of bands) and were not comfortable. I CC a 9mm shield and the medium sized can can works great for me. It is a bit more money than a lot of other holster options out there but I love it. I am able to wear it under skirts, shorts, all my business slacks and even under leggings when I am out running with the dogs. Even while I am running it does not move on my body. It is comfortable to wear out gardening and when I am running around cleaning the house.

      Anyway, to each their own and I hope you can find and practice with what works best for you!



      1. Thank you Belle, I will give it a try. It sounds like you wear and do a lot of what I wear and do.

  15. I try to carry the same way all the time, so I don’t automatically “reach” to my strong side like I did when I started out as a uniform on patrol in 1978. In our vehicles, I always have an “Uncle Mike” belt bag(zipper closure) in between the seat and the console, fits pretty nice in our vehicles, for the immediate grab me if needed contingencies.

    I really like the shoulder holster when seated or driving for a variety of purely selfish reasons. I try to practice my draws, daily so that my draw is automatic.

    I am personally not a fan of “pocket” carry, as my body and pants pockets big enough to fit even the small pocket rockets, look ridiculous on me. Yeah, I am sartorially concerned at this stage of my life, because it’s far too easy for me to look “homeless” most of the time anyway.

    I prefer the “concealed” part of EDC, for the surprise effect of having a final “get-off-me” tool if ever needed. Most of the time, I try to be “conflict adverse” or “Chicken”, especially when I am carrying concealed.

    Helps me stay grey.

  16. @ Homebody, ever tried TFO sights? You’ll still need to consider something with which to illuminate your target.

  17. To NW Mitten:

    Ladies are the fastest growing segment of gun owners within the U.S. Welcome to the fold. Advice for female carry, Talk to a veteran female LEO. Most of us dudes can not relate to this segment of expertise.

    As to firearms selection, My wife made her decision based upon her own trial and error. When she goes shopping, she makes the choice and I stand back in silence with the credit card. Makes sense considering she is the one that will be carrying it. I have noticed that many ladies like the Bersa Thunder in 380 ACP because it fit their hands.

    Ever since departments switched from revolvers to auto-pistols, I have noticed something outside the door to the police stations: The loading tube where officers chamber a round in their duty weapon or check status on the primary carry before they start their shift. It is usually a metal tube set at 45 degree angle with sandbags at the bottom to stop a bullet in event of accident or mechanical failure. I felt this was a good idea so i set up a big bucket of clay-based kitty litter by the front door of my apartment when living in a city to prevent an AD from going through my floor into apartment below.

    When you carry everyday, the weapon gets exposed to rain, sweat dust grit and things begin to corrode, rust or break starting with the springs. set up a loading tube in your home and have your weapons cleaned and checked on at least an annual basis.

    1. Thank you for the Female LEO suggestion. I will need to go in search of one. I have a Glock 43 that fits and is lighter in weight. Yes it has a kick, but I anticipate that and even though I don’t practice as much as I should, I’m not a bad shot with it.

  18. There is one country that trains its military to carry autoloading pistols with an empty chamber: the Isreali Self Defense Force. part of the draw includes racking the first round into the chamber. Nobody is accusing these people of being wussies.

    2 of 2 police academies have trained me to carry my side arm with a round in the chamber. You may be drawing your weapon after being attacked and injured first. (surviving the ambush)

  19. I carry my revolver in my purse in public. I know there are those that say I shouldn’t, but let’s keep to the subject and talk holsters. I have a belt holster for wearing on the farm, but it interferes with me swinging my arms while walking. SO I looked at shoulder holsters, and they all look like they would interfere with movement as well. My solution is just to push the holster back farther toward my back. Any other ideas?

    And the first thing I thought when I saw that photo was that the butt of my gun would jab me in the back if I wore that.

  20. To NW Mitten and other female CCW holders:

    My co workers in a police agency used to order a special holster from Safariland that canted their weapon away from the body. When on a Sam Browne Belt with cuffs, radio and CS spray, on an hourglass figure (a bit wider than model featured) it fit well and made sense. A workable solution for them. If you think finding a holster is difficult for these ladies, do not get them started on body armor for ladies with…curves.

    I used a Bianchi judge to carry my revolver on a Sam Browne belt decades ago. These days, there are many companies out there to include Alien, Crossbreed, Kramer leatherworks (pricey but very comfortable) and Desantis out of Florida. (in addition to the old stalwarts like Bianchi and Safariland)

    Purses and fannypacks are great as long as they are not forgotten and left behind in a public location. Holsters look good in catalogs until you think about having to use a public restroom or stake outs in a van or small room with poor air circulation. At that point, all the romance and adventure go out of the job.

  21. I didn’t get to this yesterday, so forgive my late post. As a sixty-somethin’ fat guy now, I can understand those comments made. Having read all the comments above, I felt I would like to put my own two cents worth in.

    I was in my early thirties when I was granted my federal CHL, and I had a local LEO tell me a few years ago that he apologized, but he had put my name in his computer out of curiosity. (He grew up with my wife, but didn’t know me). He asked me if I knew I came up as a former federal agent, with a CHL. {Yes} Anyway, not important.

    I won’t go into how I got the job and license, that would be an entire post in itself. Suffice it to say, I was one of the general’s gophers, dragging ‘funny’ paper and other stuff all over western Europe. I did occasionally ‘cross the puddle’ to the East Coast, occasionally flying in military aircraft, more usually civilian airliners. My CC was a 1911A1 in a shoulder holster, usually a tanker’s rig worn concealed. When I was given the CHL, my Major gave me two magazines, fourteen rounds and a 2-magazine carrier; with the comment that they were mine and I was responsible for them. I was expected to have them any time I had my weapon out of the arms room.

    The only time I was ever ‘made’, was my wife, warning me to take that thing off before I sat down, she didn’t want me scratching the issue kitchen chair we would have to turn in when we left. Old-style spur hammers do that. But I couldn’t carry normally at home, military bases being gun-free zones. No drinking while under arms, either.

    When I would draw my weapon from the arms room, if I was going somewhere I would draw a 5-round magazine, plus the weapon had an empty magazine that stayed in it while stored. At that time in my life the average G.I. fired maybe a hundred rounds through his weapon per year, whether it was an M-16, .45, or .38. Unless you had your ‘own’, as I did, if you drew ammo from the arms room, whichever weapon it was, you got five rounds. I would pull and leave the empty in my desk, put one in the chamber from the five-round mag, put the now four-round mag in the carrier (always at the back) with my other full mag, and put one of my full mags in the weapon. That gave me a total of 19 rounds with one half empty magazine, but if I had had to use it, it would have simplified my paperwork. Oh, and at that time I averaged 5000 rounds per year. Your tax dollars at work.

    I still have a couple of issue style shoulder holsters, and my other concealed/open-carry holster was intended for a S&W M/P .38. I have worn it crossdraw for years with my 4” Ruger Speed-Six .357 with the politically incorrect name. Yes, I usually have two speed loaders somewhere on my person. My wife has an LC9; it usually rides in a cheap Uncle Mike’s IWB holster she likes to carry in her purse. I can’t get her to carry an extra magazine. Anyway, that’s one old sergeant’s story/opinion.

    1. Oh, I carried Condition One if anyone is interested. One in the chamber, cocked, thumb safety off. Couldn’t disable the grip safety.

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