Carrying a gun that can give you a keen sense of awareness, confidence, and personal safety. But being a responsible gun owner requires ongoing, intentional education and knowledge.

  1. Understand What “Concealed Carry” Means

“Concealed carry” means that there is no visible evidence that you are carrying a weapon. If the wind catches your shirt or your jacket is a little tight, no one should be able to tell you’re carrying. Wearing special clothing, such as a belly band holster, can help ensure your gun stays concealed and accessible.

  1. Know How To Tell an Officer You’re Carrying

If you get pulled over, it’s important to let the officer know you have a gun. Yelling, “I’ve got a gun,” as they approach the window is not the way to tell them. Plan what you will say in advance. Saying, “I have a concealed carry permit,” is a non-threatening option.

  1. Research Laws in Other States

If you plan to take your gun across state lines, you’ll want to verify reciprocity. Reciprocity means that other states will accept your permit and allow you to carry. If you don’t have a permit for a state and there is no reciprocity, obey the law and leave the gun at home.

  1. Practice in Real Life Simulations

The whole idea of carrying is to be able to use your gun if the need arises. Target practice is not enough. Invest in training that puts you in real-life scenarios and teaches you to use your gun under duress. Remember, if you need your gun, it’s unlikely to be a fun or calm situation.

There is a lot more to carrying a concealed weapon than getting a permit, buying a gun and tucking it in your purse. Taking the time to educate yourself beyond the basic concealed carry class, and to practice with your gun, will make you a more responsible gun-carrying citizen.