Holiday Tips for Concealed Carriers
Once again, we are in the midst of the busiest time of the year for many people, especially burglars and robbers. With the hustle and bustle of shopping, carting kids, and holiday events, comes more robberies, smash and grabs, scams and front porch finders keepers. We wanted to share some basic holiday tips for personal safety and for those who carry concealed.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Pay attention to the details of your house and surroundings. Trimmed landscaping and good exterior lighting during the long winter nights will make your home less appealing to someone looking to break in. Do a quick check on your doors and windows and make sure that they are all locked and working properly. Make sure ladders and tools are not left outside accessible to others. Set your alarm, and if you don’t have one, get one. If you can’t get one, interior lights on timers, and having someone check your mail and paper may help if you are going to be away for the holidays.
If you carry concealed, one of the most common mistakes is carrying when you “think you might need it”. But, there is no predicting where or when something bad is going to happen, so always be prepared.
BE CONSISTENT WITH TYPE OF CARRY
If you carry on your hip, or at 4, or appendix, then be consistent with it. It’s ok to sometimes modify due to clothing or circumstances, but when you need it, you don’t want to make a mistake on going to draw and it not being there.
PRACTICE YOUR DRAW
Practice your draw, especially if you have a new holster, or change to a different kind or level of retention holster. Make sure that your gun is unloaded and practice often. Also, practice with winter clothing, and make sure you can get a good draw if wearing bulky sweaters and coats. You have to clear the layers of clothing that is concealing your firearm to get the draw.
KEEP YOUR GUN HAND FREE
Especially during this time of year, keep your gun hand free. You’re trying to make it to the car while carrying 4 sacks, 2 boxes, attempting to locate your keys, and answer the phone, all at the same time. Find your keys before you leave the store and make sure that you keep your gun hand free and eyes and ears attentive to your surroundings.
When you are stopping in traffic, pulling into a convenience store, pumping gas, walking into a grocery store, continually scan around you. Try to make it a habit to keep distance in between you and other cars while stopped in traffic and visually scan around you. While pulling into a parking lot, scan the parking lot for any potential problems or dangers, and park where you have easy access to leave if needed. The same thing applies when walking into a grocery or convenience store, or any place with lots of people. There’s not danger lurking around every corner, but doing a quick scan may keep you safe if there is something potentially dangerous there. Mobile Phones are a big distraction, so keep your heads up, not buried in a phone while shopping.
Take your situational awareness a step further. Visualization is a key component for police officers dealing with potentially dangerous calls daily. If you pull into a convenience store parking lot and think to scan the lot and assess the people and inside the store, take a quick second and visualize what you would do if there was a threat inside, or as you exited your car. When visualizing scenarios, always win. Your mind will try to make complex, sometimes no win situations. Rewind it and think it through.
SIT FACING THE DOOR
This is an easy one. When you go out to eat, always sit where you can see the front door. While you’re waiting on your food, you can perform a couple quick visualization/mental scenario techniques as well.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Try to make it a habit of naming your location while you are driving. At corners look at the street signs and try to know where you are at all times. If something serious does happen, you need to know where you are, and how to articulate it so you can get help on the way. Whether it is a car wreck, or a carjacking, trying to explain your location by landmarks can be tough.
KEEP UP TO DATE
If you are going to be traveling armed this holiday season, keep up to date with the laws wherever you are. One great app for that is Legal Heat. Legal Heat will check for the most up to date laws when checking states, and can keep you from spending your Christmas Eve in County lock up. Also, check out the apps available in your area to keep up to date with any news pertaining to your safety or the safety of your family. Another great app we recommend is the Crime and Place app. This app can give you the crime rates in various forms, including a map format, and you can even get notifications while driving on person and property crimes around you.