What is CCW?
CCW means carrying a concealed weapon on oneself in public. CCW is usually referred to carrying a concealed firearm of some sort, although it can also mean knives, and even pepper spray. On an interesting note Florida requires individuals carrying pepper spray more than a specified volume (2 0z.) to get a CCW permit.
There is no federal law on CCW but each state has their own individual laws. States have differing opinions on what follows the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, whether it is to require a concealed carry permit or not. To put my own two cents in, I think it’s incredibly important for each state to allow their people to determine if their laws are constitutionally sound or not.
Why Conceal Carry
Defend & Carry is HUGE on the importance of concealed carry and first and foremost lets review the 2nd Amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It’s imperative that the people of America are practicing their right to the Second Amendment, not only for the sake of the country as a whole but for the sake of the individuals safety as well. There are millions of counts of defensive gun use every year from those who carry concealed.
This is a hot topic but I am under the impression that CCW is the best way to carry. Open carry is important to do also, because a right not practiced is a right lost, and responsible open carriers show the public that they aren’t the “violent”, “trigger happy idiots” the media portray.
Yet I think concealed carry allows you the best advantage in any situation. If you were in public, for instance, carrying during a bank robbery, open carry would mean you would be the first targeted to either give up your weapon or worse. Yet if you were concealed carrying, you would bide your time until the moment was ready if you felt your life was threatened. It’s the same in any situation. There have been countless times where someone carrying concealed was mugged, felt threatened and pulled their gun, only to have their mugger take off. Carrying concealed saves lives and deters crime.
Concealed Carry Methods
There are many different ways to carry concealed, it all comes down to choosing what suits you best. In order to carry concealed, it’s absolutely crucial that your gun is secure no matter what you are doing (sitting, standing, running, crouching, jumping… etc…). Also, above all else, you need to carry in a way that is comfortable, because let’s be honest, you’ll want to take off your holster or gun and NOT wear it. We’re all familiar with Murphy’s law (If there’s the chance that something bad will happen, it probably will happen), so lets make sure you are carrying in the most comfortable and versatile way.
Here are some of the most common ways to carry.
disclaimer: we’re not endorsing any of these types of carry, we’re just listing the possible ways to carry.
- IWB (inside the waistband, usually with a holster)
- small of the back
- appendix carry
- tucked in the waistband without a holster
- OWB (outside the waistband, usually with a holster)
- in a back pocket or cargo pocket
- Shoulder holster
- Briefcase, purse
- belly or waist band
- ankle holster
- thigh holster
- bra holster
How to Get a Concealed Carry License
So every state has their own process for acquiring your CCW permit… BUT this fantastic site allows you to choose the state you live in, and walks you through the process of getting your CCW license. We’ll walk you through the process of getting your CCW permit in Montana so you can get a feel of what an average state requires.
Montana issues permits from the Montana Department of Justice, and you can get an application from your local county sheriff’s office. They have a “Shall Issue to Residents only” policy, and after you turn in your application the sheriff, you may be required to do fingerprinting (which sometimes comes with a 5$ fee).
If your background check from the sheriff goes through, which usually takes about 60 days, you pay 50$ for your permit, and after 4 years when it expires you pay 25$ to renew it.
Some Basic requirements for your permit are:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- A US citizen
- Have a Montana ID or drivers license (or any identification that has a picture and is issued by the state)
- Must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months
- Must have completed a firearms safety training course and have proof (usually a certificate), or any of the following:
- a CCW license from another state
- proof that you operated firearms in the military
- proof that you completed hunter education or even law enforcement firearms safety
Concealed Carry Laws
We want to emphasize how privileged we are to live in a free country with a 2nd Amendment. We also want to emphasize the importance of following the law, this is something that could cost you your life if you are not careful and responsible. Also we have a responsible to be law abiding, peaceful, stand-up citizens as those who carry. Those against the 2nd Amendment are constantly trying to paint those who disagree with them as violent, confrontational idiots who are looking to shoot anyone any chance they get.
So get familiar, very familiar with the laws in your state and the states you travel to. Here’s a link to a super helpful website that has a CCW map with information on each state’s concealed carry reciprocity laws. Also check out this
link to see the laws in your state or any state on concealed permits.
It’s so imperative that if you’re traveling you study the laws on concealed carry wherever you’re going. We’ve seen many instances in the news where people travel with their firearms and end up with hefty fines and even jail time because they traveled to a state that had different laws then their own. It could have been avoided with some research beforehand. Be responsible, know your laws!
Best Ways to Conceal Carry
Here’s where a lot of people get really opinionated, and we believe the best way to carry is truly relative. However, having said that, D&C’s opinion is that waistband carry is the best. It is easiest in any situation to have a quick (and hopefully well practiced) draw from the waist. We carry hoping for the best but expecting the worst, so the easiest, fastest, and most accessible way to carry concealed is on your waist. So we’re going to summarize the favorite positions and you can read through them and pick a position to try if you haven’t already. For those starting new at concealed carry, try drawing and holstering in all these positions and then pick the one that feels the most comfortable and effortless to you.
- hip or 3 O’Clock position
- Pro: You can carry openly or concealed in this position and it makes drawing very easy.
- Con: printing (when trying to conceal, this means your weapon can be seen through your clothing), uncomfortable
- appendix – carrying right where your “appendix” is
- Pro: tactical advantage because reaching for your gun doesn’t look typical, comfortable for skinnier folk
- Con: doesn’t work as well for chubbier people, doesn’t work as well for larger guns, requires impeccable gun safety because of where the gun points when it’s holstered
- Kidney carry – carrying where your kidneys are on your back (between the hip and middle of back)
- Pro: little to no printing, comfortable
- Con: compromised draw when sitting/driving, obvious when reaching for gun
Personally I carry kidney, it just works for me after trying the other types, it’s most comfortable and conceals my 9mm the best. However, we’d like to hear your unique waistband carry position in the comments below!
Also, I’d like to add that carrying concealed can be absolutely revolutionized with a great holster and gun belt. These items are a must if you plan on carrying often. Reasoning is that sagging when you carry IWB can ruin your draw, cause you to be picking at your holstered weapon frequently, and even cause you to drop your firearm. We recommend a beast of a gun belt at bigfootgunbelts.com, they are made with a spring-steel core that holds your waistband steady and can support multiple big guns. Also ours and many others top holster recommendation is the 3.0 Cloak Tuck at aliengearholsters.com. They are made with neoprene that’s very comfortable against your skin and they also have a spring-steel interior that keeps your holster from losing shape over time.
A lot of states, wisely enough, require a safety training course or concealed carry course for those acquiring their CCW.
D&C is 100% on board with this! While the constitution does say that our right to bear arms should not be infringed, we do believe in common sense. And for those who don’t have common sense, we believe it’s the state’s right to require a class that teaches common sense before a person is release with a gun to the public. Also, even for those who do have common sense and are familiar with guns, we recommend taking a CCW course!
What’s the worst that could happen, you brush up on your safety and even improve your accuracy at the range?
D&C has also gone through the process of finding some great CCW instructors in your state, check it out! Take a class if you haven’t already! Knowledge is power, range time will directly improve your life!
Classes are usually one to two days, a minimum of 8 hours, and they cover laws in your state, firearm safety, the basic principals of marksmanship, how to clean and care for your concealed weapon, and how to safely store your firearm at home. You will also be shown and you will demonstrate that you can load, fire, and unload your firearm.
You also will have to pass a test in which you have to shoot 20 rounds at a target within seven yards, and a minimum of 15 rounds have to hit within a portion of the target.
Of course this is a general concealed carry course, they vary based on where you live and the standards there.
Importance of Gun Safety
Gun safety is so important if you plan on carrying concealed often, and let’s be real, it’s important if you just own a gun. You need to respect your gun and never get to comfortable with it, because that’s where things get dangerous.
We want to point out this super handy blog post that covers everything about gun safety. We’re just going to cover the basic gun safety rules that everyone should know.
- Treat every gun as if it’s loaded
- Never aim at something you don’t want to shoot
- Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are fully intending on shooting
- Be sure of your target before shooting
Concealed Carry Tips and Suggestions
So we believe everyone should practice their right to carry concealed, but let’s be responsible, let’s do it right. Know your laws, do your research, and just like anything else in life- keep updating your knowledge, keep learning and growing with this.
We recommend practicing as much as you can, and if you have a local range and can afford the time and money, do it! Also if you live alone, practice as much as you can staying in the mindset of being on the defense, where is your gun and what are you going to do if a break-in were to happen?
If you live with others, have them be in the same mindset, have drills with your kids and spouse on the possibility of a home invasion. There have been many instances in the news where kids have been home during a home invasion but because of the drills they were taught they were not nervous, knew exactly what they were supposed to do and defended theirs and their siblings lives.
They say it all comes down to memory and practice when an emergency happens, so practice often to be ready. Get a good holster and gun belt like we mentioned above, know your state laws, and go through a concealed carry class if you haven’t already.
Also, we recommend joining an organization like the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. They focus on education and surviving the legal aftermath of self defense. For $85 a year, they act like insurance in the instance of a self defense situation and will pay the deposit to an attorney and even post up to a $25,000 bail. The biggest thing with them is they focus on education and boosting your knowledge if it ever came to using your firearm for self defense.
D&C also recommends surrounding yourself with like-minded people, if you can find friends at your local range to practice with, do it! Defend and Carry is on Facebook for not only entertainment but interesting blog posts, news and concealed carry related information. There are also other community groups on Facebook you can follow that have current and relative information that would be helpful for you.