What You Will Run Into With Concealed Carry
You may be new to guns, shooting, concealed carry and all things associated with self defense. There are a few things that you need to be aware of before you make your first trip to the range with your pistol instructor. If your instructor does not say anything about wearing hearing protection before you enter the range, or at any time you fire your pistol, then you need to get rid of him and get some one who has your safety at heart. Next he also needs to tell you not to wear a low-cut shirt to the range. If you do you may get a hot, spent cartridge down your cleavage which will make you take your shirt off quickly! We don't want that!
You may already have a pistol that you have fired outside with your trainer. Or you may not have picked out a gun yet and you are going to the range to evaluate some pistols so you can pick one. Just be ready. When you go into the range there are going to be pistols firing that sound like cannons going off. There is no way that you can help it, you are going to jump, even with ear plugs, almost out of your skin the first time! Everyone does it. If they tell you they don't, then they are lying! This physical reaction to the noise is something you may never be able to avoid. It's a natural reaction, don't worry about it.
Since you are entering a new area of experience you need to ask a lot of questions. This area is very dangerous, if you don't have full understanding about what is going on you need to ask. Every one who teaches concealed carry classes is different. They all have different teaching methods. Hopefully you get an instructor who is not so familiar with the subject that he does not give you the greatest detail. You need to know, understand and be able to use all the safety techniques that give you the ability to use your gun correctly. I say it again, if you don't know something, then ask! There are no stupid questions! Personal opinion now, I think the best concealed carry training instructor is usually the toughest one. He will get on your case if don't do something right. But I bet you remember it when he does!
Every pistol that you will consider for concealed carry has different quirks. The most noticeable is the amount of recoil that the pistol has when you fire it. Basically the bigger the ammunition that a gun fires, the more recoil it will have compared to some other guns. But the weight of a pistol can either make that recoil seem greater or lesser. If you have a very heavy pistol that fires small ammunition like .22 caliber, the recoil of the pistol will be very low. In fact you may not even notice the “kick” of the gun when it is fired. If you fire a pistol that has less weight and the ammunition is large like .45 ACP then you will have significant recoil of the pistol. If you are not ready for it, the gun may fly out of your hand when it is fired. You can work with your instructor to get a good balance between the weight of your pistol and the size of the ammunition to get the right size pistol for you.
One factor to consider in the selection of a pistol is the amount of “knock-down” power that the pistol has. This is not the power to knock you down when you fire it, but the power of the ammunition to knock down the attacker when you fire at him! You don't want to get a gun that has too little “knock-down” power or it will defeat the purpose of having a self defense pistol. With suggestions from your instructor, shoot a few guns to decide what is best for you.
One of the biggest things you will run into with concealed carry is a change of mindset. As mentioned before you have to be ready to shoot someone if the situation warrants. To be able to do that you have to change your mindset. Most of us don't already have the mindset that lets us go around shooting people. To be successful at concealed carry you have to be able to turn your “good” mindset on and off if the situation warrants. Being able to make that instant change is something you need to think about in advance. The best way to practice the change is think about what you would do if a bad guy was about to kill one of your family members. You would do what is necessary to thwart the action of the bad guy. Which means you would shoot him. What is your reaction time in order to thwart this bad guy? It needs to be very fast! You need to practice this thought pattern when you are at the range.
You and your instructor can scratch your heads all day, but you will never be able to dream up all the possible different scenarios that you could be in where you will have to draw your pistol for protection. You have to know that you will possibly have physical and mental reactions before and after a confrontation. Reactions come to different people in different ways. Some people get the “shakes”, others become nauseous, even others have vision problems. You may already have some feeling about the way that you have reacted to dangerous situations in the past. If you have had reactions before to dangerous happenings, you can be pretty sure that you will have them again if you have to use your pistol. The best way to counteract such reactions is to be so familiar with the use of your pistol that its use is second nature to you. You can use it from muscle memory!