Over the past few months, I have joined several firearm discussion groups, and read a lot
about concealed carry and the various holsters, calibers, ammo, and firearms available.
Even though I have been involved with firearms for many years, I find that I am
beginning to get information overload.
It occured to me, that the average Joe, especially the ones who wish to get involved, but
have little or no experience, are largely being neglected and left to wallow in a sea of
information and opinions, resulting in confusion and lack of direction.
Unfortunately, most of these well intentioned tomes, are geared to those with previous
experience, and an interest in all things tactical. A large number of fledgling shooters,
just want clear direction, simple advice, and equipment that doesn’t require filing a
It goes without saying, you must make some basic decisions before you get involved with
concealed carry. I have watched many discussions regarding revolver vs. semi- auto, for
example. This was being thrashed about years ago. The caliber debate apparently is
alive and well, and shows no signs of fading anytime soon. The holster industry has
exploded, offering multitudes of types, materials, and configurations. So how does
someone know where to start?
First of all, you must decide what firearm is right for you. I started shooting years ago
with revolvers, and never felt undergunned. Lately, I found some semi-autos which
appeal to me for various reasons. In my opinion, a revolver is a good first handgun, due
to simplicity, reliability, and safety. A good quality revolver is also affordable. My advice
is to pick one that fits your hand and is easy for you to operate.
In any case, everyone has an opinion on what caliber to use. From personal experience,
a .38 special or .357 magnum (.38s can be fired in a .357), is a good choice due to
performance, price, and versatility. If you get into handloading, you can save some
money, and the load choices are numerous. Revolvers in this flavor, are pleasant to
shoot, and are usually quite accurate. By the same token, if you go the semi-auto route,
9 milimeter seems to be the most popular. Pick one that isn’t complicated.
The last thing that needs some extra consideration, is holster selection. I have always
loved leather holsters, however, once I tried kydex, I was sold. The most important
feature, besides comfort, is safety. You must have a holster that covers the trigger
guard, and holds the gun securely. Many of the cheaper, one size fits all, do not. You
will also find that one holster will most likely not cover all situations, so I would urge you
to have at least two. I would suggest the Clinger Comfort Cling, and the Stingray. Both
are inexpensive, and will take care of almost any situation.
Regardless of what you finally choose, I believe it is important to stick with one gun, until
it becomes second nature. Like any new experience, it will take some time to work it
into your daily routine and get some confidence. Once you get started, you will be
surprised at how quickly you become proficient.