Carrying a concealed firearm comes with essential responsibilities, including knowledge of your gun and what equipment it requires. Simply obtaining a permit is not enough. Safely and mindfully carrying your firearm in public spaces calls for the right training, firearm, and accessories. Being prepared will help ensure you’re ready for any situation. But if you’ve already purchased a firearm, you may be wondering what else you’ll need. In many states, the only absolute requirement is a license, but additional items can create a better experience. Let’s explore some accessories you may need.
Concealed Carry Permit
If you’re carrying your firearm, you need to carry your permit. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is a critical accessory you can’t forget. Leaving your permit at home could mean losing your right to conceal. You could even face jail time, and this is especially true if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use your gun. Forgetting this simple piece of paper could put you in a complicated position; avoid it by finding a special place for your permit and keeping it with you at all times.
A proper holster keeps your firearm easily accessible, comfortable, and safe without being visible under your clothing. Using a holster is critical. A waistband or simple belt not designed for your firearm makes for an easily dislodged firearm. If your gun clatters to the floor, that will not only be embarrassing but potentially very dangerous. Your holster should do three things: keep your firearm secure, accessible, and hidden. The gun should be in a designated place with the trigger secure, accessible when needed, and comfortably hidden under clothing.
Choosing the right concealed carry accessories is all about safety, and a weapon-mounted light is no exception. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to use your firearm in the dark, a readily available light can help in identifying a target versus an innocent bystander. It is important to note that this light is not for clearing an area. We’ll talk later about carrying an additional flashlight for that purpose. When a light is mounted on your firearm, whatever your light is aimed at, your gun is aimed at, and you should never aim your firearm at something you wouldn’t intend to shoot. This light is simply to provide clarity in identifying your target.
Extra Full Magazine
Running out of ammunition could create a worst-case scenario. It’s important to always carry at least one spare full magazine with your firearm. Ideally, you won’t be reaching for it, but you should always be prepared for a dire situation. You’re the person people will be counting on; a spare magazine can help in the case of a well-armed target or with multiple assailants.
Carrying Belt and Clothing
In addition to a proper holster, you may want to consider a carrying belt to contain your firearm. The proper belt will allow you to carry discreetly and avoid “printing,” or showing the outline of your firearm. A standard belt can do the job as long as it’s sturdy, but for something more comfortable and reliable, consider shopping for a belt designed for the job. You may want to have multiple belt options. Wearing a tactical belt with business attire will look out of place and draw attention to your firearm. To avoid this, wear a carrying belt that matches the look of your clothing. If you’re having trouble finding clothes that don’t print, there are companies addressing this problem. Specialty shirts are made with hidden pockets for extra clips. Others are made longer and more flexible in the waist to allow you to carry unnoticed. Whatever you choose to wear when you carry, it’s important to experiment and see what works well and is convenient for you.
Concealed Carry Bags
It’s always best to carry your firearm on your person, but that isn’t always possible. In certain cases, a bag may be the only option to carry safely. But what bags work well? How can you choose something that is not obvious but also secure? Special bags designed for concealed carry are available. Most feature extra pockets and even built-in holsters to keep your firearm from jostling around; many look like any other bag or purse. However, a specialized bag isn’t always necessary. A bag only needs to follow a few rules to be effective. First, it needs to be something you can keep on you at all times. This bag can never be left unattended; you won’t be in control of your firearm if the bag is sitting across a room. Second, your bag should be discreet. Just as you don’t want someone to know your gun is holstered to your belt, you don’t want them to know it’s in your bag. Choose a bag that blends in with the style of outfit you’re wearing. Much like not wearing a tactical belt with business attire, you wouldn’t want to carry a backpack while wearing a suit. Lastly, whatever bag you choose, your firearm still needs to be secure. It should always be stored in a holster with the trigger covered to avoid accidental firing.
Earlier, we learned about a weapon-mounted flashlight, but this type of lighting isn’t ideal in all situations. Be sure to carry a handheld flashlight in addition to the other light for searching areas where bystanders may be present. This will help you to avoid unholstering your gun before necessary.
Cell Phone and Medical Kit
It’s important to be prepared for all situations. A cell phone will allow you to call authorities in an emergent situation, document your surroundings with photos and video, have an emergency flashlight, and provide medical personnel with any emergency contacts and information you may need. You may also be the first responder on the medical scene. Keep a medical kit, road flares, water, towels, and other safety items in your vehicle. Get proper training on how to use these items to ensure you can assist well in these scenarios.
Before you choose to concealed carry, know what you need and how to get it. Local gun stores can often help with laws in your area or questions about your firearm and accessories; they may also have access to local trainers or training organizations to get you started. And check out our FAQ section and blog for advice on the right products for you. Be prepared for anything, and stay safe.