Preparing to become one of the millions of responsibly armed Americans can be overwhelming. Carrying a firearm daily for self defense is a huge responsibility. When I first became interested in concealed carry, I remember tirelessly sifting through information, some of which was conflicting. I found it to be a bit frustrating. Being someone new to the industry, how was I to know where to go or who to trust for such important information?
I sought training from reputable instructors and learned to sort the good information from the mountains of junk on the internet. Now, after years of carrying and training, I’ve decided to compile my personal list of the best resources for people who are new to concealed carry.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially where firearms are concerned! With gun laws constantly changing, www.usacarry.com is my go-to site when I travel out of state. They compile concealed carry information by state, and have a convenient, easy to read concealed carry reciprocity map.
Since it’s creation in 2007, it has grown to be a leading concealed carry resource, with an active forum of over 50,000 members. The site features concealed carry articles, training, and news. It has a gun store, range, and instructor directory. They also have a Permit Reminder which reminds users when they need to renew their concealed weapons permits.
I’ve been a member of the Personal Defense Network since 2012. PDN is a great online resource for self defense and concealed carry. According to their website, their goal is “to be the leading destination of high-quality, personal defense video content online and a no-nonsense gathering place for those serious about arming themselves for defense in every aspect of their lives.”
They’ve partnered with Rob Pincus, a well respected leader in the personal defense industry and owner of I.C.E. Training, who instructs on their DVDs and acts as executive director for www.PersonalDefenseNetwork.com. Their contributors are some of the top instructors in the industry, representing all facets of personal defense. With names like Grant Cunningham, Mike Seeklander, and Barret Kendrick, you’re sure to get quality content.
Their comprehensive, easy-to-navigate website contains videos and articles on firearms training, self defense, home defense, defensive gear, product reviews, defensive fitness, unarmed defense, and similar topics. They sell training videos, books, and accessories.They also offer training opportunities for students and instructors across the country on their PDN Training Tour.
The USCCA’s motto is “Educate, Train, Insure.” I’m not here to sell you on their insurance, though I am one of their members (I’m the kind of person who has insurance for everything). They run Concealed Carry magazine, a monthly periodical dedicated to all things concealed carry, and Armed American Radio, a nationally syndicated radio program airing in 36 cities across the country.
They’re home to the informative vlog, “Into the Fray” with Kevin Michalowski, and one of my favorite blogs “Pacifiers & Peacemakers” with Beth Alcazar.
The USCCA has started an exciting new event; their annual Concealed Carry Expo! Firearms industry vendors from all over the country come together under one roof to showcase the latest products and services available to consumers. They offer training seminars, a concealed carry fashion show, a live fire shooting range, and speakers like Sheriff David Clark and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I hope to be in attendance this year!
Books to Help Develop Defensive Shooting Skills
It took me three years before I sought out professional pistol instruction, and by then I had developed improper shooting techniques which needed to be corrected, otherwise known as “training scars.” My instructor put these books in my hands and as I progressed through them, I noticed dramatic improvement in my shooting.
Together, these books help develop the shooting skills critical to concealed carry. Time and ammo isn’t cheap. These books will help shooters get the most training value out of their range time.
This contains Ben Stoeger’s live fire training methods. It outlines detailed drills and concepts, practice tips, advice on how to document your progress, and a section that helps you understand when you’re doing something wrong and how to improve it.
This is a training program written to help develop the skills needed to survive in a high stress encounter. All aspects of training for a fight are addressed including: mental preparation, physical preparation, firearm skill preparation, and alternative methods of training.
Books to Help Develop a Defensive Mindset
Anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of all aspects of concealed carry should read these books by the legendary Jeff Cooper, Massad Ayoob, Rob Pincus, and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.
- On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
- On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
- In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection, Massad Ayoob
- Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense, Massad Ayoob and Jeff Weiner
- Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, Massad Ayoob and Massad F. Ayoob
- Principles of Personal Defense, Jeff Cooper and Paul Kirchner
- Counter Ambush: The Science of Training for the Unexpected Defensive Shooting, Rob Pincus and Betty Shont
This list is a great starting point for learning the ins and outs of concealed carry, but don’t stop here! If you get the chance, participate in simulator training, and reality based and force on force training. Develop your open hand skills by taking Krav Maga or a martial art. Find a local, reputable firearms instructor who can help you develop your defensive shooting skills. If the time comes, you will fall back to your level of training, so work hard make it count.
As a a rape, domestic violence, and stabbing survivor Autumn promotes and advocates for self-defense training, concealed carry, firearm safety, and continued firearms training. She hopes that by sharing her experiences, she will help change the public’s perception of who a gun owner is, and why the Second Amendment is so important for all Americans, especially women.
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