Image: Alfredo Rico
Taking the time to make certain your handgun is properly concealed on your person is only a part of the equation. Moving out into the real world, there is a ton of interaction with other places and people. Most of us drive, and that adds an entirely different issue.
Many times a holster that is really comfortable to carry is uncomfortable in your car. It depends on several things. The width of your seat makes a big difference, as well as where the seatbelt inserts. If the seatbelt goes over your firearm, preventing your gun from being accessed, it can be a real problem. Even if it does not cover the handgun, it may wrap your shirt or jacket around it so access is still a problem. You really need to sit in your car and work those things out. How much time you spend in the car will determine how much effort you put into this. If it is a long trip, many will use a holster better suited to the car, like a cross-draw, shoulder, or ankle holster.
There are also companies making devices to attach holsters to your car. These work fine. Just make sure they are accessible and concealed. I have a holster attached to the console in one of my trucks. Upon entering the vehicle, I move the pistol there, and when getting out, I simply slip it back into my IWB holster. If installing a holster in the car, you may want to skip the door panel. It seems fine until you open the door. Great access, but be prepared for some real excitement if stopped and an officer has you exit. The presence of mind to warn the officer will help, but failing to do so may be embarrassing and hard on the jeans. Some “door pockets” are a bit flimsy as well, meaning your handgun falls on the ground when you open the door—another bad thing. Either way, your car is really a whole other world, so make sure you spend some time in it with your pistol.
With an increase in random home invasions, having a handgun around the house is also a concern. Even if they just get the wrong house, you can be at risk these days. Entire articles can be dedicated to this, so I will only touch on it a bit. What you do is greatly dependent on whether children will ever have access to your house. If you have guns around, it is imperative that they are child-safe. Yet, you need to make them accessible to those who need them. On your person is clearly the best, but many prefer to take their guns off at home. Safes with combinations are fine—just make sure you can get to them under stress. If children are not an issue, it becomes less problematic, but have them secure yet accessible under stress.
This TT Gunleather (ttgunleather.com; 707-260-4858) holster allows for both clean access to the pistol and release of the seatbelt at the same time.
Your weapons need to be where you can get them before the intruder. Keeping them in the hall closet when you sleep on the second floor just arms the intruder. Make sure you have a phone with the gun—it is just as critical for a number of reasons. Calling 911 and having the entire incident taped only helps once it is over. Given that all phones activated or not can call 911, it is really easy to do. Just take your old phone and plug it in next to where you would access the weapon.
Once out in public, you need to negotiate bathrooms, hallways, and public areas. Clothing that conceals your handgun well standing may not do so sitting in the waiting room. You are going to have to pay attention to chairs with arms, soft couches that want to grab your pistol, and the rest of the world you need to wander around in. Just another part of the lifestyle you really need to think about ahead of time. Carrying a handgun for protection may indeed be a right in America, but very little of the outside world is designed to accommodate it. It is incumbent upon us as CCW holders to interact as peaceably as possible and that takes some effort.