The Cornered Cat

What’s the 11th commandment? Don’t get caught.

Most permit holders already know that discreet concealed carry begins with a good holster, a sturdy belt, and an adequate cover garment long enough to do the job. Those three basics will prevent most mishaps.

A simple hug might be the most common way folks get made. To avoid the risk at church or at family gatherings, learn how to protect the gun on your belt line from huggers. As the person moves toward you, simply drop your gun-side arm to hug them low around the waist. The other person’s hand will naturally move toward your shoulder and far away from your holster.

Even an experienced hug-avoider can be caught by a hug in certain circumstances. One anonymous correspondent confesses, ‘I got caught by a girl back in college when a date went a little better than expected.’ That’s not an uncommon theme, though dealing with it can be sticky. At the very least, being made by your date could put a chill in an evening that was otherwise warming up nicely.

‘If it starts to heat up, I head for the head,’ reports another correspondent, ‘so I can wrap the gun in my jacket and stash it somewhere before she realizes it’s on me.’ Just be sure the gun ends up somewhere secure, because you really don’t want your date to trip over it later.

A hug isn’t the only risk. If it’s breezy, the wind might catch your cover garment and flip it open, revealing your pistol to the world. If you’re a parent, your child could come running up to give you a hug and accidentally bang her forehead on your sidearm. You might forget to cushion your firearm as you sit down on a hard bench (ker-THUNK), or some similar mishap. I once watched in amusement as a friend’s chair followed him when he stood up after eating in a caf’. His handgun had gotten tangled between the chair’s wooden slats.

Besides all these physical possibilities, people talk. Once you’ve been caught by one friend or one family member, you can take it as a given that the others will soon know your little secret.

Regardless of how your family and friends find out that you carry a concealed weapon, it’s probably a good idea to let each of them know, when the subject first comes up, that you prefer never to discuss your carry habits in public. ‘I was at the local post office,’ relates a permit holder in Georgia. ‘One of the locals recognized me and decided to make small talk, so in front of about 20-25 people in line, he asks, ‘So, packin’ heat today?’ I just gritted my teeth and said, ‘I … left … it … at … home … now … shut ‘ up.’ Got a lot of impolite stares from the staff…’

It’s safe to say that’s a situation best avoided.