Many people think that getting the permit is the end to the journey, but it is not even close. Once you have done the minimum to get your permit, the next steps are to become proficient in:
- Carrying – You have many decisions to make, here, and you have to get good at making sure you have the tool when you need it. The tool is important, but unless you actually have it with you, it doesn’t matter how good of a handgun you have in your safe at home.
- What handgun will you carry?
- What position will you use to carry?
- What holster will you use to carry?
- What ammo will you use?
- Will you carry an extra magazine?
- Will you modify your gun?
- What about a light, a knife, and a small first aid kit?
- Shooting – Training, training, and more training. The key is training how you will carry. That means, if you will carry inside the waistband, that you will train with your gun and holster in the same position. Your shooting should be at all distances and using ammo similar to what you will carry. Of course, you should test your gun with the ammo you will use to make sure it is reliable in your gun, and accurate. The hardest part of training is trying to make it realistic and to implement some pressure into your training. Of course, your typical range will not like it if you are moving, drawing, and shooting, and they will not be providing cover and concealment for you to maneuver as you shoot. This is where competitive shooting comes in and should be incorporated into your training.
- Understanding the Law – Do you understand when you are allowed to use your handgun in self defense? Hopefully, your training for your permit covered the laws of your state so you understand when using deadly force is appropriate and justified. For example, I own several books, and a subscription to Lexis Nexis so I can review the actual laws and some of the related cases.
- Understanding Legal Repercussions – The aftermath of using deadly force is also a key part of what you need to learn, and how to handle the aftermath. Do you understand that you will be arrested, in many cases, even if your shooting was justified? Do you understand how much defending yourself will cost and the risk of being incarcerated? Hopefully, you have purchase some good concealed carry insurance from a reputable company. There are many good insurance programs out there. I would recommend that you dig into each of them and keep away from those that only provide reimbursement for the majority of your costs after you are found not guilty or your charges are dismissed.
Summary – Please, oh please, understand that there is much more than just attending a class and getting a permit to carry your handgun. Shooting is a very perishable skill. You need to keep training to keep up your new skill, but you also need to do much more than just go out to your local range every few weeks.