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How to Choose a Concealed Carry Handgun for Everyday Use

Flickr/David Yamane

Are you considering a concealed carry handgun for the first time, or just want to upgrade your current selection? Here's a definitive guide in how to choose a concealed carry weapon.

As a left-handed, 5'2" female, I certainly have my work cut out for me when choosing the best concealed carry handgun. If you're looking for advice on how to choose a concealed carry handgun, here are some hard-earned tips.

1. Ask the important questions

You're reading this, so that's a good start. Consider your situation. In what area of the country do you live - is it a crowded city or are town in the middle of nowhere? Many people don't realize that these two locations can vastly change what weapon you choose to carry on you with proper licensing. Have you shot a handgun before - if so, what did you dislike about it? How you handle recoil will be a huge factor in selecting your CCW as most smaller models, like Kahrs, offer kickback like no other.

Will your choice change with seasonality? As a woman, summer clothing versus winter clothing are two different things as summer clothing is tighter and lighter than bulky layers. What kind of holster situation are you most comfortable wearing every day?

If you can answer these questions easily, you're ready to expand out further - don't be afraid of forums like or Reddit's Firearms thread. Ask questions, but come prepared with basic knowledge. Read previous posts on CCW and learn what people are saying from mostly unbiased sources. Most will agree that Glocks are reliable CCW choices, but they are also bulkier than other models.

2. Clock in valuable range time


One of the most common mistakes in purchasing a CCW is buying the thing without test-driving it. Your CCW serves a very specific purpose: protection should you ever direly need it. Get your hands on different models, even those you hadn't considered, and learn what you like. Don't be intimidated by gun counter guys - this where your own research comes in. Some offer a standard, one-size-fits-all response when it comes to CCW recommendations. Challenge those.

Can you wield the gun from holster to ready position easily? How do your fingers function when it comes to the safety? Do you feel confident wearing that particular weapon - will it fit under your current wardrobe or are you willing to make CCW-apparel purchases for it? Are you comfortable firing it? How easy can you load a mag? How many rounds will you prefer to carry? Your eyes are open when you fire it, right?

3. Practice, practice, practice

Repetition should become your best friend. Dry fire practice is the easiest way to become acquainted with your choice because you can do it any time. Take all proper precautions and start learning that trigger pull. Create muscle memory around safety release and gun position. Practice your holster-to-ready stance. The more you practice, the more you will understand your CCW. Understanding it is the safest way to know you can confidently (hopefully never) use it one day.

A handgun that fits your hand that you can dexterously wield with ease will make all of the difference in the worst situations. Skill is learned through practice.

If you have any other tips for choosing a CCW, let us know!


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How to Choose a Concealed Carry Handgun for Everyday Use