Responsibly armed folks share our mistakes?

I just turned 50 some months back, and over the years theres been a lotta mistakes.

But for the purpose of helping those new to handgun shooting, and the concealed carry lifestyle, why dont some us share mistakes we’ve learned from when transitioning from not carrying to being responsibly armed?
Theres a sure gap between minimally legally armed and living a responsibly armed life.

For instance, I I initially struggled to locate a decent holster and belt. For a Bersa Thunder 380, in stores at the time, there were only those IWB nylon crappy deals. Nowadays, theres a ton of holster makers out there, Clinger Holsters is my choice, but I also own a few Mitch Rosens that are functional. My first CC holster for a 1911 came from my gun maker, Kimber. That one died after about a year when I discovered CrossBreed IWB…
The point? Those of us who now have a solid, responsible, EDC life had to learn at one time things like a proper firing grip, what indexing your trigger finger means, how to field strip and clean a pistol or revolver, and the difference between the two.

I would ask that we think back on our journeys and share the most poignant lessons we’ve learned in this thread, for new folks to learn from some of the crazy mistakes we may have made.

My biggest problem I recall during some training was learning to scan left and right after addressing a threat, and that scumbags tend to travel in packs…

Share yours here!


For myself, I think it’s been mostly user errors. I do mean by that some of what you are saying and then some.

I’m actually trying to think of one of the most embarrassing about myself and I’ll get back on this thread.


I’ll take any holster tips you have. I could swear that I’ve wasted more money on disappointing holsters than I have on pistols.


I have been through so many holsters in my lifetime it is ridiculous! I can’t even count how many. Today, I am down to 7 for my regular carry weapons. A shoulder rig that I do not love but it is adequate when I am trying to get the weight off of my waist. I have a bladetech OWB and an IWB for my G26 that are pretty minimal.
I also have a Galco King Tuk IWB, a Galco Silhouette High Ride OWB leather holster and a Blackhawk T series OWB that all accommodate both my G19 and G26.
Each holster has its positives and negatives. The Bladetechs are pretty minimalist and great for concealed carry but tend to move around a little and are not great when training drawing where because clothing tend to get in the way.
The King Tuk is great because it covers a wide area on your waist to distribute weight and help eliminate printing. The high ride is pretty and keeps the gun in close. It is my newest and i am still in the the process of breaking it in so it can be drawn and holstered smoothly. The Blackhawk is great to draw from and reholster but is relatively far off the hip making concealment significantly more difficult.


Thanks for the recommendations, @MikeBKY!

Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread and turn it into a discussion about holsters. I’m sure that I am mostly to blame for my own holster woes. Open carry holsters are easy because I know what I want and they’re less dependent on my own body frame, but conceal carry holsters continue to be a problem for me. I know that a good holster costs money (I get what I pay for), but it’s hard for me to fork over a large amount of money for something I can’t try or even see until it’s delivered. Only after my check has cleared do I find out if it fits my firearm and my body. I end up trying to save money on affordable holsters so I’m not out too much money if they’re disappointing, but buying on the cheap is probably why they disappoint so frequently.

I really wish the higher end holsters manufacturers could work with some of my local gun shops. I’d gladly spend more money to order the right holster if I could go try one out first and figure how which model and which configuration suits me best. It’d save me a lot of money in the long run, too.


Same as the other on holsters, it was a whole evolution to getting the right one. In conjunction with the holster was finding a good gun belt (I use Crossbreed for street belt and holster and Wilderness for range stuff).

The other big mistake that I learned when I went to some “practical” training was I was “freezing on the X” instead of moving off the X because I was focused on too much on the target. You’ve got to practice for real world scenarios.


My mistakes…

  1. Listening to others about firearm preferences…What works for others may not work for you.
  2. Do as much research, hands-on & otherwise, as you can before purchasing.
  3. Stay on your training, even if you have to train alone. I’ve wasted too much time waiting for family/friends to keep from going alone.

Good advice @DLVick38! I always encourage folks to touch and feel, and if at all possible, fire before you buy. Taking my recommendation tells what works for me, not for you.
But for the world shutting down, I’d be at the range a lot more than I have been for the last 30 days.


My worst mistake did not hurt anybody, but easily could have. I was at the range with a few others, early on in my firearms days, and we were standing around chatting. My gun was at low ready but my finger was on the trigger. It was pointed in a relatively safe position but when that pop happened, the dirt flipped up a few feet from my feet. Again, no one hurt, except my ego. Luckily, that is one of those mistakes that makes you never have one of those mistakes again.


It occurs to me when seeing the holster talk, that adjusting the waist size of my pants was needed - up a size. Also, depending on type of dress, holster needs change, and depending on gun+holster, type of dress may need to change or be tailored.

For me it’s easy since my “look” is soldier whether carrying or not. So tactical pants (usu. TruSpec) with a loose shirt of any sort, and boots, doesnt make me stand out as much as it would if I were, say, of my kids’ generation, and their hairstyle types. It simply doesnt matter what clothes I wear, I’m asked if I’m a soldier or LE. (I’m retired USAF).

If,however, I were 20 years younger and in the workforce, in an office job, wearing business casual almost daily, my current mode of dress would look just wrong.
Kind of like the youngsters who show up to the range going for a “tacti-cool” look, all geared up, look out of place.

All that said, the holster and clothing have to be adapted to individuals so sadly there can be no one best setup to recommend.
However, manufacturers often specify which of their CC holsters are made for which gun.
Read reviews!


My biggest mistake happened at the range and in my basement… I had taught a friend how to reload, and we worked together on some loads (DON"T DO THIS–LOAD individually).
When sighting in his rifle, he had a squib load. Had he fired another round, the results would have been catastrophic. Somewhere in the handoff from one to the other, a powder load got missed.
I would teach someone to reload, but never have one person drop the powder and another load the shell, or any other combination of working together on the load.


One thing that I did when I first started carrying concealed was occasionally adjust my clothing in public to make sure my firearm wouldn’t become exposed. That is always a big mistake because by doing that you will most likely make it known to others around you that you are carrying a gun. Don’t do it.

If you find yourself doing that it means either 1 of 2 things: either you aren’t wearing a big enough of a shirt to keep your gun properly concealed or you should be carrying a smaller gun if other concealment options won’t work for ya.

I normally wear a large size shirt but when I am conceal carrying I’ll wear an extra large size and leave my shirts untucked. T shirts can be appropriate if you wear either dark colors or prints to break up the outline of the gun. If you wear white or soft fabrics you are just asking for trouble because it will make your gun more likely to print.


Agree, used to do the same thing. It’s a clear “tell” to anyone paying attention.

I also adjusted shirt sizing for CC. Great point!


Here is two:

When I was 19-20…
I went into a polling place OPEN CARRYING !!! I was so blessed no one said anything and the police were not present.

Recently, I always locked gun in glove box going into post office until @MikeBKY informed me Federal Law on Gun Zones trumped Louisiana law regarding my car being an asset to my home…

I was so ashamed and felt, flat like a criminal…
But my ignorance on both mistakes, not to mention all times I went into the post office with in-car, COULD have cost me a felony.


Loading mag into firearm…on some personal training the other day…racked the slide and the mag fell out. I am human. I couldn’t believe the look I gave the mag laying on the ground. I did cuss at the gophers, and that made me feel better. LOL


I am William Smith and I live in the State of Florida. Major concern is that in FLORIDA you can not open carry here and I am disable with Lumbar S-1 to L 1-5 Fused. I have almost one year since surgeries and physical therapy. Sometimes I feel like a hardware store and other days I feel like dream come true. NO Narcotics !

In Florida, NO DUTY TO RETREAT, like your STATE. I am armed, I seek training all the time, and I have almost have four years of it. I do not have ability to run or do those moves that others can do. I know what seeking COVER, hide and seeking Concealment is. In any case you can not play a clean fight No such thing. Thank You for your email.


Forgive me, I do not have the source where I read it, may have been in CCM…BUT, I thought there was some noise in Congress to change the USPS location issue due to some folks in Co needing to have firearms in their vehicle to go check their PO Box.
Personally think the law is ridiculous as all other no carry zones. Way I figure, if I’m not being provided professional armed security in a building or on a property, I should be legal to provide my own…

Denver, Co…found the source Article


An ENORMOUS mistake once, hunting whitetail in Ky mountains using a Ruger Super Redhawk 44mag with a Nikon scope on it (not many red dots around in 1994)…

I was sitting on ground, back against a lean to at the base of the mountain, about 10 yards from a relative. Had the hammer on the 44 cocked, like a moron, accidentally discharged it by failing to use any trigger discipline or even one IQ point holding that gun cocked waiting for a deer to stroll up…
First result was my relative and I were shocked by the blast, then I had to check my hand for damage because the blast vibrated it so bad I thought I may have shot part of it off.

The icing on that sad cake was that i was a security forces augmented on a SAC base not even 5 years before and dang well knew better. Thought i was good enough to get away with it - one unsafe practice with a very powerful revolver. Dumb dumb dumb. Haven’t hunted with any handgun since and if i do itll be my 1911 in 45acp


Thank God, Louisiana is same in regard to stand your ground!

[Duty to retreat is mockery of our rights, sorry states that have that “Infringment” cough cough I mean L-A-W, what ever it is…cant get it out hahaha]

I seen a Florida friend who argue that during “Emergency Order” open carry becomes legal there. Don’t quote me on that. I just gave them concealed carry.laws/florida and hoped they took initiative.

Not.that I recommend open carry but when there remains no alternative…that needs to be appealed in your state. At least doctors can’t ask you about guns​:woman_shrugging::woman_shrugging::woman_shrugging:


You are right, sir! Does need to be appealed!