Is Your Firearm Ready When You Need It?

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Beige sweater tank . white shorts . Classic_0378.jpg
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Why does the state of your firearm matter? I’m talking about your firearm’s state of readiness to fire while you’re carrying it. Is it ready to shoot immediately upon drawing (pulling out of the holster)? Or do you have to switch off the safety or chamber a bullet?

The two most important things to consider when choosing your gun’s state of readiness are:

  1. Can I respond to a threat quickly?

  2. Can I carry in this state every time I carry, no matter the outfit I’m wearing?

The ideal state of readiness

Many, if not most, seasoned carriers recommend carrying with a bullet in the chamber, no safety, and a hard trigger cover. This makes your task, in an adrenaline pumped state, as simple as possible; draw, aim, press the trigger. (For more, check out Why Should I carry A Bullet In The Chamber.)

Although ideal for conflict situations, not everyone (myself included) can make this work consistently, for a couple of reasons.

Mental barriers

The thought of having a bullet in the chamber without a safety can be unnerving, especially if you’re newer to concealed carry. It takes time and repetition with handling a firearm to build confidence and even then, some carriers are concerned about being a light trigger pull or malfunction away from serious injury.

Wardrobe barriers

To carry with one in the chamber, I like to have hard material protecting the trigger, such as a kydex holster. What happens when that doesn’t work with your outfit? I’ve found it helpful to have options and sometimes I opt for a “soft holster.” These are often made from something other than kydex, such as stiff elastic or fabric. They tend to press the firearm closer to my body and allow me to wear a wider range of styles. Such a holster could come in the form of concealed carry leggings, compression shorts, a bellyband, etc. While a hard trigger cover CAN be often be added to a soft holster, there are occasions when adding one leads to “printing,” or showing an outline of the gun through my clothing. In cases like these, I feel more comfortable using a manual safety.

Having holster options helps me conceal with a variety of outfits. However, the options don’t include carrying my firearm in different states of readiness. This is a recipe for confusion if you ever have-to-face a threat. (For more, click How to Choose A Holster For Your Outfit)

Ask yourself - what is the quickest state of readiness that I can use consistently?

How does this affect training?

For a quick draw under stress, you must develop muscle memory, which requires practicing the same way every time.

Personally, I’ve chosen to carry a bullet in the chamber and use a manual safety. Because of that, I need to switch the safety off as part of my presentation (removing gun from holster and pressing out towards the threat) every time.

Remember, in the heat of the moment, you won’t have time to think about the state of your gun. Practice smart and practice often. Consistency is key.

Relating this concept to style:

When styling concealed carry outfits, I have two mindsets. To ensure you can carry in your “ideal state”, you might choose to Style the outfit around the holster. To make sure you bring your gun with you regardless of what you’re wearing, you might prefer Choosing a holster for the outfit.

It’s been a journey getting to the point where I feel comfortable carrying one in the chamber. While the Ruger LCP pictured above does not have a manual safety, it does have a safety feature built into the gun.

It’s been a journey getting to the point where I feel comfortable carrying one in the chamber. While the Ruger LCP pictured above does not have a manual safety, it does have a safety feature built into the gun.

Concealed Carry

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What is your “ideal state?” Do you carry that way?

Do you carry your gun in the same state every time or switch it up occasionally?

Do you train in a way that sets you up for success in a real-life situation?

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