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Have Gun, Will Shop

By Dana

Come, in! We're OpenAfter attending the Concealed Carry fashion show this past weekend I am all types of motivated. I’m motivated to learn more about personal safety, to go to the range more frequently, to train, and most importantly feel comfortable enough to carry.  

Yesterday I was headed up to the range and needed to stop at the store to pick up some targets so I decided to bring Walther with me just to see how it felt.  

Walther was “unloaded” and I was wearing my jeans, and a belt, with Walther tucked snuggly inside of his holster on the inside of my pants, with my shirt over it.  Basically I would have had to use Walther as a club if it came down to it.  If there were any problems I didn’t plan on brandishing it; I was going to act like I didn’t have him on me at all and be the good little sheep that I typically am. Baaaa Baaa….

Anyways, carrying Walther was more comfortable than I thought it would be and when I looked in the mirror you couldn’t see Walther at all and thought to myself that I was good to go!  Yes!!! This is great.  Step one, concealing Walther has been accomplished.  

conceal carry fashionAs I sat down in the car Walther poked me so I had to re-adjust him a little a bit until it was more comfy. It wasn’t quite as comfortable as standing up so there was no way that I would be forgetting that Walther was there.  At that point I was feeling pretty great, confident, happy and was jamming out to some tunes on the radio.  

I pull into the parking lot and know that I only need to be in the store for no more than 5 minutes.  In and out.  I thought I’d feel empowered, comforted, relaxed and content.  Yeah…not so much.  I wish that I could say that was how I felt but in reality I was nervous, worried, self-conscious, paranoid…basically mortified thinking that someone was going to see Walther.  

Time seemed to slow down completely.  I was frozen.  Couldn’t move.  Couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car.  I even considered driving back home to drop Walther off and go back up to the store, then back home to pick him up before I headed up to the range. I sure as heck wasn’t leaving Walther in the car!

I felt like I was doing something wrong, something bad, or something dirty.  I felt like I was doing something I was not supposed to do even though it was perfectly legal.  

I had all types of irrational thoughts running through my head.  

What if someone saw Walther?  I knew that wouldn’t be the case since I looked in the mirror at home no less than 50,ooo times before I left the house.  Couldn’t see Walther not even a print of him.  

What if I walk through the doors and the alarm goes off and they want to search me?  Hello, you dumb a$$ you just walked in why would they search me? Besides they are security alarms NOT metal detectors.  Now would be a good time for you to roll your eyes at me.  Go ahead I know you want to. 

What if Walther suddenly fell out of the holster and dropped on the ground?  Again, I was being ridiculous, absurd, irrational (insert any other word you’d like, here).  Walther was very secure where I had put him and would never have fallen out.  

conceal carry fashionI swear that I was just waiting for someone to scream, “Hey, that lady has a gun! Tackle her!”  

After taking a few minutes to compose myself while still in the car, it was time for me to go in.  I was still hyper-aware that Walther was with me, super conscience of everyone around me, and I felt that everyone was looking at me with xray vision.  

I bought what I had come for, and left. As you might imagine, no one saw Walther, there were no alarms, and no one had a clue. Still, I was so relieved to get back in the car and drive off!  Phew!  I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!!    

As soon as I was back in the car I immediately knew how ridiculous I had been.  It was just that I was so nervous.  Not nervous that Walther was going to go off, not nervous that something was going to happen, I was nervous that someone would see me carrying.

Honestly though I don’t think that anyone was even paying attention; they were in their own worlds oblivious to their surroundings but in that moment it sure felt like all eyes were on me.  

I was reluctant to talk about this little episode because I feel pretty embarrassed.  I felt like I was being absolutely ridiculous. Then I realized, these moments are the reason I’m blogging in the first place.  I want to share how I’m feeling so that if you feel this way, you’ll know that you are not alone.  

If there was one positive that came out of last night’s debacle is that it is very evident that carrying will make me more aware of my surroundings.  Even today I can still remember faces and what people were wearing, where they were standing, and even how the guy with the ponytail with the pink shirt was carrying 2 rulers, a pack of multi colored high lighters, a roll of plastic, and his girlfriend was wearing black sandals and had huge pinky toes. Huge. 

My point is that instead of being nonobservant and aloof, carrying Walther made me more aware of my surroundings.  EXTREMELY aware even.  More observant of everyone around me-read possible threats- which should in turn make it less likely that those threats would target me and if they did I would be more prepared.

Clearly I’m not ready to carry yet but now I know what it is going to feel like.  So what is my plan of action from here?  

I’m going to start wearing Walther around the house.  Just to start feeling comfortable that he is always going to be at my side.  I'll Continue going to the range as often as possible and get more training.

I’m still motivated, but for now, I'll do my shopping without Walther.  

©2012 ArmedCandy,LLC


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Offhandgear said...

Thanks for this!!! It is nice to know one isn't alone in their weird fears. Unfortunatly, I can not seam to find a way to conceal my gun  no matter how many times I look in the mirror and how many outfits I try on :(

Happily Carrying said...

I remember carrying my Kel-Tec P3AT the first time... into a Target store. I was mostly terrified that my young children would shout: MY MOMMA IS CARRYING HER GUN FOR THE FIRST TIME! They didn't and I've been happily carrying ever since (3 1/2 years!). I like to ankle carry in the winter and absolutely have fallen in love with my FlashBang bra holster this summer. 

Sandra said...

Thanks for sharing. I feel that way sometimes too. I also think about what would I do if something did happen to me and Mr. Smith was not with me. I would rather have Mr. Smith with me than be caught alone. Good luck :)

Sean said...

You did great. I thought I was the only one that felt that way at first. And yes carrying does make you more aware of things because you are responsible for the firearm you carrying.Train,train,train!!! And where different clothes around the house doing different things like cooking,gardening,jogging etc. You will get used to it and we will all be safer for it. A firearm in the hands of a good citizen is a threat to no one except of dirtbag. Well done!  

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness I am not alone! Thanks for the post. I am still working on the comfortable concealment of my Tomcat. Maybe more is in my mind than others. I even have a stupid saying to calm me down. He is my tomcat. He isn't a stray. I will, eventually, feel better when he's not away. Dumb? Sure but eventually I will be convinced what I am thinking is true. I am sure you will too.

sean said...

 If you look around on youtube there is a gal that does holster reviews for women and their clothing needs due to differences in our design. A length of draw from hip to hand is different and there are companies that are designed to help. Look a website called the Well Armed Woman .com   They sell holsters designed specifically for women. Best always

Jenny Coyne said...

Thanks for writing this. I am leary about carrying for the first time. I like the idea of trying it unloaded first!

Dana from Walther And Me said...

Weird fears indeed!  I had shoulder surgery last year so my reach isn't what it used to be so I'm limited in where I can carry it.  I'd like to try carrying a few different ways to see which is most comfortable.  Don't give up; keep trying to find the way to carry that is most comfortable for you!  

Nina Maddux said...

This is great!  I just got my firearm and intend to carry concealed.  I know I'm not ready, but I wasn't really sure how to get there.  Wearing it around the house is a great idea that should seem like common sense, but I admit I didn't think of it while considering my dilemma.  Congratulations on making it through your first attempt, and good luck on your next try!

Nina Maddux said...

What kind of gun do you own?

Dana from Walther and Me said...

I have taken everything very slowly in my journey into guns and I don’t feel bad about it at all!  Baby steps are what are making me feel comfortable.  Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.  The important thing is that we are taking steps in the right direction!    

Dana from Walther and Me said...

Thank you Sean for your kind words, advice, and encouragement. And you are right I need more training and then practice, practice, practice!  I love Sundays at the range.

Dana from Walther and Me said...

I’m thrilled that people can relate!!  It’s exactly why I started Walther and Me, to share my experiences and to talk to other people who are new to guns.  It’s been great to know that I’m not alone so I thank everyone for their responses!  If you'd like to hear more about my story stop by http://waltherandme.wordpress.com/.  

Dana from Walther and Me said...

Thanks Sandra!  Good point, that is why I need to focus on getting more training. 

Dana from Walther and Me said...

Thanks for sharing your story Happily Carrying.  We don’t have children yet so I’m glad you are preparing me for that moment in time! 

Terry Floyd said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!! I am having the exact same issues with carrying. I am comfortable with firearms and shoot several monthly competitions, but carrying is just not in my comfort zone....yet. I keep hoping for a miracle, that one day I will wake up and the insecurity will be gone, not so far.

Riverhawke1855 said...

completely relate! it's very weird the first couple times... I actually had my pistol fall out of a shoulder holster I was using onto the floor in the middle of a busy Saturday morning Waffle House. I scooped it up, left immediately, and went directly to purchase another holster!

fourinthewoods said...

Thanks for sharing. I've only been carrying for a week.I carry loaded but with the safety on. My goal is to get comfortable and have the safety off so I will be ready.  I have noticed being more aware and I have been practicing situational awareness for a year or so. I did wear around the house for awhile until i felt comfortable trying to imagine all the places I would go. Practicing going to the bathroom carrying as well was a big help. I knew I could do it and wouldn't be fumbling.

Donam315 said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It is so funny how we all think we are alone in these situations and so comforting to find out that we are not.

Sheilaebright said...

I have been concealled carrying for over a year now and feel totally comfortable with it. The first few times I felt like everyone knew and were going to say something too but noone did :)  Now I just need to get comfortable open carrying (maybe I will feel better after I get a new open carry holster. I live near a state border where I have to open carry in the other state.  My advise would be just to get comfortable yourself and then it won't seem like a big deal that you are carrying.

Gunnera4 said...

one thing about the "paranoia" carrying a gun for the first few times, as you get used to it, most people don't expect you to be carrying, and except for the ocassional off duty or plainclothes cop they won't be looking for your gun. you're right about the "situational awareness", try to never lose that. most people walk around half asleep, and meeting a bad guy comes as a complete shock, they never see it coming. be a "people watcher", looking for the ones who are paying too much attention to the people around them. a casual glance is no problem, us guys do look at pretty women, look and pass on, but the one who stares, and keeps popping up at the edge of your vision could be a problem. same for strangers asking for a light for a cigarette, small change or directions or other "harmless" seeming requests. ploys to distract you, and fix you in place for the strike. "kindness to strangers" can be a trap. as for carrying unloaded, try to move out of that stage as soon as possible, carry loaded around the house, but look for the day you walk out the door, forgetting you have the gun on, and find that the world did not come to a screeching stop, and nobody pointed fingers or even noticed you.

Tom Scabareti said...

Great blog, interetsing the effect it had on you to be more aware. Thanks so much for sharing.

JuanTwan said...

if your gun has a safety please continue to use it. It's certainly
there for a reason and with practice disengaging it will become second
nature and not add any time to your draw.

If you really don't want that extra step then you may want to consider a
firearm that has been designed to be safely carried without an external
manual safety.  Check out double action pistols that have no safety
such as a kel-tec PF-9 or a single action/double action with a decocker
like most of the Sig Sauers. Pistols such as XD, Glock or M&P have
safeties that are automatically disengaged when the trigger is pulled
and are extremely popular for good reason. I own or have owned all of
these types and none of them have "extra steps" when it's time to shoot,
and they may be a good choice for you.

I apologize if I have presumed too much, but I would hate to hear about a
negligent discharge of a firearm. As gun owners we have to hold
ourselves to a higher standard than the rest.

Nkinman said...

Dana - Just keep working on it. With time the fearfulness will go away but the awareness will remain. That's a good thing. If Concealed Carry is legal in your state, which it must be from your discussion, then you are not breaking the law by carrying concealed as long as you have the license to do so. Now think of this -- how much protection is available to you with an unloaded gun? Remain aware and considerate but strengthen your backbone and carry your gun loaded.

Amy said...

I am amazed to see that how people can hide their Guns.

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