Exercising your Second Amendment right is something we encourage many people to do, but with that right comes a huge responsibility. Many Americans choose to carry it concealed, but avoiding detection is key. Here are some common mistakes we see in classes and everyday.

Choosing the right gun

The biggest mistake we see is choosing the wrong pistol. While many people will feel comfortable with a mouse gun, the truth is ballistics performance and magazine capacity are serious issues to contend with and when looked at with realistic expectations most will avoid these choices. Yes, a gun is better than no gun, but now that you have taken your personal defense seriously, take your choice in firearms seriously as well. On the flip side, a major problem I see is trying to force a duty size weapon into an everyday carry package. A major objective for me is convincing more LE to carry on a regular basis off duty. Part of that battle is in having the department heads and headquarters giving a little slack on the off duty carry choice. While I do believe they should qualify for the make and model from concealed, opening the options up to include more compact and concealable platforms will give folks a better chance at truly concealing the firearm.

Choosing the right holster

The next mistake we see is in choosing a poor holster. Not all holsters are created equal, even holsters from the big names can turn out to be lemons. I have tried so many out that after a while you can make a choice simply by looking at the construction and design. The holster needs to retain the pistol under any condition. Most holster makers assume that all draw strokes will happen from your feet. No doubt a large majority will, but you may have to draw from positions other than being on your feet. That is where you typically separate a lot of the holsters out, how well they do on a truly “everyday” basis. Then you have those holsters that have some sort of passive or active retention added. If you are doing your job concealing, then your first level of retention is the fact you are concealed. Bad guys can’t grab what they don’t know is present.

Holster location thoughts

Another mistake we see is in the location of the holster on the body. Yes, you pretty much could conceal the pistol anywhere on your body. There is some holster designed to accommodate your every desire, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. For the most part if you are looking at an off-duty scenario I strongly suggest keep it consistent with your on duty rig. So, if that is strong side then find a good strong side concealment holster. The drawstroke is a series of movements that takes practice to master, add clearing your cover garment and it can really throw you for a loop. Keep it simple and take a moment to find the most versatile position for your needs. A good way to do that is one of my favorite body weight movements, burpee box jumps. If you don’t know what those are google is your friend. Do a few rounds of 3-5 repetitions of burpee box jumps with your drawstroke added at the end dry fired.

These are a few mistakes we see in our classes. A good majority come from lack of experience and or knowledge; which is our job to fix. Remember, you are your own first responder so train accordingly.

5 thoughts on “Common Carry Mistakes

  1. hunden007 says:

    From an earlier post you write: “Using both hands to clear your concealment garment is more than doable, the real question, is it optimal.”

    What are your thought re: training to clear the cover garment (t-shirt, sweater, hoodie) with two hands? To clarify: step 1) using both hands to clear the garment, step 2) the draw.

    Is it better to make a two-handed grab as the standard so that you have redundancy built in (ie. you miss-grab with the right, but the left pulls the garment up far enough to access the weapon; or your left is tied up with a kid or with the fight and the right clears the garment)?

    Thanks for any thoughts,


  2. Jason M says:


    Great blog entry on a widespread problem. I have found that getting officers to carry off is less of an equipment issue and more of a mind set issue. In my locale, other than caliber requirements, there is almost no restriction on the pistol carried. The officer only needs to qualify with which ever they choose. The overwhelming issue is attitude. Many officers chose not to carry for a variety of issues. Some real, some imagined. I could not convince some active duty officers with more than a few years on the job that LEOSA applied to them too. Most often, I’m saddened to say, it comes down to laziness and lack of responsibility. One actually said, “I have my kids with me! I’m not going to carry a gun”! OK, That guy will most likely never get it but what of the others? How can those officers be persuaded? I’m about out of fresh approaches. Have you found any epiphany provoking strategies than have worked on the resistant ones?


    • Jeff Gonzales says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for your patience. I hear your frustration, we see it ourselves. However, I am pretty damn happy to see how some folks are considering it more and more these days. Especially at the institutional level. I am going to be presenting at this year’s TTPOA conference in Dallas and they have asked me to run a Concealed Carry Tactics class. The process is a slow, but steady one. Keep up the good fight.

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