The 10 Commandments
of Concealed Carry!

Commandment Author: Massad Ayoob

Comments/naritive by IPL

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.
  1. If you carry, always carry.   No tool does you any good if it is at home and you are not.  Since you can't predict when you will need to be armed, always carry.
  2. Don't carry if you are not prepared to use it.  Predators easily sense your willingness for defense, or your fear.  Studies have shown that the criminal facing a prepared and willing defender will often leave with no shots fired.  Ayoob notes the irony of the person who is prepared to shoot, if necessary, is far less likely to need to.  Bad guys read body language and can pick out the sheeple.
    Make sure you are prepared to be the sheepdog, or DO NOT CARRY!
  3. Don't let the gun make you reckless.  Contrary to what anti 2A people believe, the gun does not "just go off".   If anything it is a constant reminder that causes the CC person to be more careful.  There is a "higher standard" of conduct for CC people that demands you avoid situations and locations that may be likely to escalate into a confrontation.  More simply, don't go looking for trouble, you may find more than you wanted.
  4. Get the license.  About 48 of the fifty states in the U.S. have some form of permit system.  USE IT!   If your permit has reciprocity with other states, make sure you follow the laws in ALL states you visit.
  5. Know what you are doing.  In simplest terms, LEARN the laws in your state, and any you may visit, on the use of force. Not knowing those laws may be very uncomfortable.   Make sure YOU know how to shoot under pressure. That is most easily learned in friendly competition.   Learn, do and practice regularly.  That is your responsibility.
  6. Concealed means concealed.  Many that are new to CC have an urge to let others know they are armed. This is a VERY poor action, and depending on where you live, may be a crime to show/display your gun. Open-carry is allowed in many states, but is seldom a tactical advantage and can easily create a situation where you focus some unwanted attention on yourself from Law Enforcement. Sometimes because the officer does not fully understand the law (do you REALLY want to be part of their education?), and sometimes because some idiot "feels uncomfortable" with your open display of a gun.   Why create problems for yourself or lose a potential tactical advantage?
  7. Maximize your firearms familiarity.  Ayoob has stated "The more you work with the chosen firearm, the more reflexively skilled you become in it's emergency use and safe handling," and continues with "Use the same action type for practice and competition."
    Or, as Snoopy said "The time to learn to dance is not five minutes before the prom".   Since ammunition prices are a factor, think about a smaller caliber version of your self-defense gun.  Rim-fire conversions for your pistol, say a .22 version, will provide more inexpensive practice.
  8. Understand the fine points.  Know the details of carry laws in your state.  Let me repeat that . . . . KNOW THE DETAILS OF THE CARRY LAWS IN YOUR STATE!   For example, in many states a merchant may simply post a sign saying you are not allowed to carry on their property. In some states he may then only be able to ask you to leave; while in other states he can have you arrested.   This is a very simplistic example of why you really need to KNOW THE DETAILS OF THE CARRY LAWS IN YOUR STATE and any you may visit!
  9. Carry an adequate firearm.   Some experts recommend the 38 S&W Special as a minimum. Others say the 380 ACP is a starting point, others say the 9mm is a minimum and still others say a .40 S&W is where you need to start.  It is potentially YOUR life at risk, so make the decision for yourself.    Another recommendation is to carry spare ammunition, and yet others insist that a second, or "backup" gun is essential.    A saying attributed to Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch is "one is none, two is one" and Phil Engeldrum, a very experienced shooter said, "if you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two of them."   If your gun is taken as evidence after a self-defense shooting, you will need a second, similar firearm, so you can protect yourself until your gun is returned. This is also very helpful if you need to send one in for repair.
  10. Use common sense.  Understand the responsibilities you are accepting (even if you didn't know that, until now) when you carry a gun.   The moral and monetary obligations associated with the carry and use of a firearm can be immense!   The best gun fight is not only the one you were not involved in, but the one you were not even near. It is YOUR responsibility to avoid confrontations/conflicts! To do otherwise exposes you and your family to severe consequences. Consequences you may be able to avoid, with the use of "common sense", that is unfortunately not as common as one would hope.    In simplest terms, abide by the letter of the law, when/where ever possible and see how close you can come to the intent of that law.