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Classic Rookie Mistakes When Carrying A Concealed Firearm


So you’ve gotten your concealed carry permit. That’s great. Welcome to the world of armed citizens ready and willing to protect those weaker than themselves. 

However, that single class you took for the sake of qualifying for your CCW isn’t enough to prepare you for a real-life gunfight. In fact, if you lean simply on that you might be doing more harm than good if you ever have to actually draw and use your weapon in a life-or-death situation. 

There are some serious mistakes that newbies to the world of concealed carry can make. We don’t want you to make them so we put this handy list together to help you be more prepared in the event that you have to use your weapon in the real world. 

Concealed Carry Mistake #1: Incomplete Or Nonexistent Training

The Christmas holiday season can quickly turn from a time of joy to a time of tragedy if you’re not following proper firearms safety regulations. When you have your friends and family over and you’re celebrating, it’s easy to forget the basics of firearms safety. However, it’s even more crucial to remember these rules when you have a house full of people. When there are firearms in homes where children or those lacking experience with firearms may be present, it requires heightened vigilance on your part. Let us help you to secure your home and keep all your visitors safe during the holidays with this guide to firearms safety. Some of this might be old news to you. Read it anyway. There’s no wrong time to brush up on the basics of firearms safety, but the holidays represent a particularly important time to remind yourself. It’s easy to get complacent and that can have deadly consequences over the holiday seasons. Secure Storage Safety with firearms starts with secure storage. If your firearms are securely stored there’s basically no way that you’re going to have any mishaps around the house, over the holidays or any other time. The best way to secure your weapons is with a high-quality gun safe or lockbox where you keep firearms secure when not in use. Safes are by far the most effective barrier against unauthorized access, as well as theft, and accidents. Consider locking your ammunition in a separate lockbox or safe, away from the firearms. This can add an additional layer of protection for your family. Finally, when you are storing firearms outside of a safe or similar lockbox, use gun cable locks. These basically make the gun inoperable unless the cable lock is removed. It is literally impossible to load or fire a weapon that has been locked with a cable lock. Remember that your locks are only as secure as your keys. Any keys you have should be in secure and known locations at all times. This allows you to keep them safe, but also to access your firearms quickly if you have to get at them in the case of an emergency. Education and Awareness Is Key When hosting family gatherings, you must ensure that your family and guests are aware of the presence of firearms in your home and the risks associated with firearms. Briefly discuss firearms safety, especially with the adults so they can communicate with their children in the way that they see fit. If there are children or people unfamiliar with firearms in your home, it’s especially important to be cautious. Keep the firearms out of sight and out of reach while also informing your guests of the importance of firearms safety. The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. Don’t let them become a time of tragedy. Firearms safety during this time is more important than ever, especially when you have visitors who might not be as aware of the power of firearms as you are. By following safe firearms storage practices, educating your family and guests, and remaining vigilant about the location and security of your firearms, you can celebrate the holidays without compromising safety. Who are you expecting for the holidays this year? How will you prepare to keep everyone safe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Many people who carry concealed tend to look at their gun as a sort of amulet that will automatically make bad guys disappear simply by taking it out of their holster. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Real-life firefights are extremely stressful. Things like fine motor skills and possibly even vision go completely out the window. In situations like this, you won’t “rise to the occasion,” you will fall to your level of training. If your level of training is hitting the range and shooting paper targets at seven yards every couple of months (maybe, if you remember and have time) your gun might not do you much good if you have to use it. 

You need real-life skills training for real-life firefights where your target is not an inert piece of paper, but an enraged criminal running for you and intent on taking your life. That means lots of dry fire training and regular range training, as well as force-on-force training with unloaded firearms.

Finally, you need to think about more than just hitting your target. There are serious emotional, financial, and legal consequences associated with using your firearm in a real-life self-defense situation. Any training worth its salt should prepare you for what happens after the bullets stop flying. 

Concealed Carry Mistake #2: Constantly Messing With Your Weapon

We get it. When you first start carrying all you can think about is your gun. It’s new, it might not be the most comfortable thing in the world and you’re constantly worried about printing. 

The problem with constantly messing around with your gun is that you’re drawing way more attention to yourself than you even would be if you accidentally managed to tuck your t-shirt into your holster after a quick trip to the bathroom. 

Do that and you’re just a gun with a gun – and there are tons of you around. Constantly mess around with your gun and you’re the guy who looks either way too into having a gun or way too uncomfortable carrying. Both of those are things the people around you will notice and not in a good way. 

Concealed Carry Mistake #3: Not Increasing Your Situational Awareness

Woman with Concealed Weapon

Carrying a gun isn’t just a bad idea if you’re not cultivating situational awareness, it can be downright stupid and potentially fatal.

Walking around through the local mall or Wal-Mart with your eyes glued to your phone the whole time isn’t the greatest practice in general. Forget about bumping into someone, you might be the last person to notice that an active shooter has opened fire – right before he lands his next shot right between your eyes.

So practice paying attention to your surroundings without distractions. It’s good practice whether you carry or not, but when you carry it becomes absolutely essential. People who carry and don’t pay attention to those around them are more likely to be targets of criminals. In a worst-case scenario, this can mean a criminal stripping you of your weapon. 

Concealed Carry Mistake #4: Not Performing Skill Drills

We spoke a bit about this above, but… you need to get off the range and do more training that isn’t straight down range at the same distance. You can set up an obstacle course with targets in your backyard no matter where you live and use it for dry fire training. There are also light and air pistols that create a greater degree of realism, as well as accessories you can add to your weapon allowing you to use an app for this kind of training. 

Don’t just practice different distances and multiple targets. Practice shooting from different positions if you want to be completely ready to defend yourself and your family from an attacker on the streets or in the dark of night. 

Concealed Carry Mistake #5: Not Knowing The Law

Can you shoot or can’t you?

This is a basic question you’re going to have to answer in a very short time frame if you ever find yourself in a real-life self-defense situation requiring deadly force. Unfortunately, there’s more myth out there than reality when the boys down at the range are talking about the law. 

Your trainer should have gone over this when you were getting your permit, but you should continually brush up on the law. It does change from time to time, after all. Mostly you want to know when force is justified and when it is not. Even if you’re 100 percent in the right in a defensive shooting, chances are very good that you’re going to have to defend your actions in a court of law. Don’t be fodder for a gun-grabbing DA’s re-election campaign – know the law. 

Remember that while it’s your right to carry concealed, this right comes with a number of moral, legal, and practical responsibilities. You want to be a good ambassador for the Second Amendment community. One of the best ways you can do that is to be a model citizen when it comes to concealed carry. super

What mistakes did we miss? What have you learned about carrying concealed that you wish you knew when you started? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California


On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement


Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California


As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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The AR-15: A Versatile Platform for Every Shooter


The AR pattern rifle, affectionately known as the “AR-15,” has become a staple in the firearms community, offering unparalleled versatility and customization options. From budget-friendly builds to high-end boutique rifles, there seems to be a configuration for every shooter’s preferences and needs. But with so many parts available, is there truly a rifle for everyone? And is there even a wrong answer to the AR question?

Diverse Builders, Diverse Builds

The AR-15 has evolved beyond just a firearm; it’s now a sport in itself, with enthusiasts eagerly assembling rifles tailored to their specific desires. Whether someone is aiming for the cheapest build, the most boutique setup, or a specialized rifle for a particular purpose like suppressor use, the AR platform offers endless possibilities. This diversity among builders reflects the platform’s adaptability and appeal to a wide range of shooters.

Navigating Budget Builds: A Personal Journey

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest in building affordable AR-style rifles, prompting many to explore budget-friendly options. One such endeavor involved sourcing parts directly from Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA), a company with a reputation for offering budget-friendly components. Despite initial reservations due to past controversies and quality concerns, the experience of assembling a rifle from BCA parts proved surprisingly positive.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon receiving the parts from BCA, there was a mix of anticipation and skepticism. However, upon inspection, there was a notable nod of approval for the quality of finish work, packaging, and overall presentation. While some parts lacked robust packaging, none arrived damaged, showcasing BCA’s attention to detail. Despite some vagueness regarding product specs, BCA’s use of 4150 CM-V and 416 Stainless barrels instilled confidence in the build.

Assembly Practices: Attention to Detail

Building the lower receiver proved relatively straightforward, but attention to detail was paramount. Proper torqueing of the castle nut, staking the end plate, and meticulous lubrication ensured adherence to factory specifications and optimal performance. The importance of using proper tools, lubricants, and assembly techniques cannot be overstated, particularly for critical components like the trigger and gas system.

Navigating Upper Receiver Assembly

While assembling the lower receiver was relatively straightforward, the upper receiver presented more complexity and significance. Attention to detail during barrel installation, gas system alignment, and muzzle device timing were crucial for ensuring accuracy, reliability, and safety. Thermal fitting techniques and proper torqueing procedures were employed to optimize barrel-to-receiver fit and gas system performance.

Range Testing and Final Thoughts

After meticulous assembly and function testing, the rifle was taken to the range for reliability and accuracy testing. Using a variety of ammunition types and optics configurations, the rifle performed admirably, showcasing respectable accuracy and reliability. While there were minor issues such as an over-gassed barrel, these were addressed with aftermarket solutions. Overall, Bear Creek Arsenal’s components proved to offer excellent value for budget-conscious builders, demonstrating that affordability doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

The AR-15 is a highly adaptable platform allowing builds for a wide array of preferences for all kinds of shooters. Whether building a budget-friendly rifle or investing in high-end components, the AR platform offers endless customization possibilities. While each builder may have their own priorities and preferences, the beauty of the AR-15 lies in its ability to accommodate them all, ensuring that there truly is a rifle for every shooter.

Do you own an AR-15? Have you ever built one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer


Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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