Top CCW Mistakes & How to Prevent Them

Karen Hunter, Contributor

Making the choice to carry a firearm is commendable. Making that choice also comes with responsibilities that should never be ignored. Each state has their own process individuals must go through to obtain a license to carry. A CCW training course and obtaining your conceal carry license is just breaking the tip of the iceberg. Many people stop with this training simply because they don’t realize what they don’t know. CCW classes offer basic training in gun handling skills and an overview of legalities that go with carrying a firearm. We need to go beyond competent and continue to train and educate ourselves to become highly skilled.

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As a firearms instructor in defensive handgun I get the privilege of working with a vast array of shooters, ranging from brand new to advanced. One common thread that runs through the majority would be mistakes or issues. There is a consistent number of shooters displaying very common, yet fixable, problems ranging from gun handling to concealment. These problematic areas when recognized, can be corrected, giving you a better skill level and more confidence.

The most common issue is lack of training. Training beyond your CCW is crucial, not only to be able to physically handle your gun but also to gain the proper mindset. Your firearm doesn’t come with a cape making you automatically qualified for any situation. Yes, you have a gun but if you find yourself in a threat situation it’s possible the threat may end up being far more proficient with their firearm than you, leaving you vulnerable and out gunned. Understanding proper technique, gaining confidence handling your gun and building speed and accuracy are a must.  Comprehending the importance of mindset is critical. This is how we can discern a true threat situation and know when and when not to pull our firearm. In addition, we must have a grasp on the legalities, repercussions and possible emotional issues that follow utilizing a firearm for self-defense. There are many training classes available for both physical training and mindset that break the subject down into further detail. Anyone who carries a firearm should make both types of training a priority.

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The second mistake I want to cover relates to drawing from concealment. No matter what gun or holster method you may be utilizing you need to both dryfire and live fire with it, incorporating each one into your training. Guns and holster options are not accessories to be casually chosen and worn. Carrying a gun will leave you defenseless if you’re unable to get to it. It is imperative to incorporate routine practice with each carry method you choose to gain the ability to quickly and effectively present your gun if need be. Adding this into your training will also help you to flush out your gear, whether it will work for you or not. What works for some will not always work for others.


The final issue I’ll cover is printing. Printing is when your clothing reveals that you have a firearm. Once this happens, you’re no longer concealing, you’ve lost your advantage and the element of surprise. This is where people become discouraged and feel they are now limited to essentially wearing clothes that are a size bigger or settling for a much smaller gun which isn’t necessary. There are things you can do to minimize printing without sacrificing your wardrobe. From tips and tricks to concealing to a plethora of products specifically designed for this, there are many options available and easily found by checking into the industry.


When it comes to printing, try not to become paranoid. You know you’re carrying a gun and exactly where it is. You know what you’re looking for so sometimes we feel we are printing when we aren’t. A tiny outline or small bump is something that most people won’t even notice. Having a relaxed yet confident demeanor makes a definite difference when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm.

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This is just a fraction of things to cover on this subject. I urge everyone to seek training beyond their CCW class. Training for technique, mindset and concealing. The resources are available, we just need to utilize them. Once we do we can become responsibly proficient, protected and above all safe.

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