The First Time Carrying

Not long ago, I mentioned an event that solidified my decision to obtain my concealed handgun permit from Virginia. Shortly after that, I filed the paperwork and started the waiting game. About 20 days later, my permit arrived in the mail.

On one hand, the feeling was “Oh, cool…” and I somewhat shrugged it off. Perhaps it was the reality hitting me that I really didn’t have an excuse anymore. I’ve also been seriously looking into a dedicated carry weapon, but haven’t committed. I realized, however, that it was like most things in life: the journey starts with a basic step.

I’ve been eyeballing a CZ P-01, P-07, or Sig P320 Compact. So far, though, I haven’t bought anything. The entire time I’ve been having this debate, my FNS-9 has been sitting in my safe loaded with Hornady Critical Duty. I also happened to have a belt-mounted kydex holster for it (made by the now defunct Trojan Tactical).

“Well,” I thought, “I might as well give it a try.”

The family and I went for one of our walks out among the local trails. The FNS rode outside the waistband (OWB) on my belt, but inside my jacket.


A few things immediately became apparent to me after this walk. First, the standard FNS-9’s grip can print pretty badly off the side of a jacket. It’s just too long to be carried concealed this way. I found myself resting my elbow up against my side a bit more in order to hide the print. I now realize that this is the purpose of canting the holster. Second, I found the weight of the pistol to be somewhat comforting.

The TroTac holster does not have the ability to cant, so I needed to find a suitable replacement. I ended up selecting a Vedder Holsters Rapid Tuck. I received it earlier this week, and promptly took it out on the same walk. It was very comfortable. I even ran a few errands around town with it quite comfortably. The ability to cant the holster makes a huge difference in concealment.

I will continue experimenting with positions. For now, my preference seems to be strong side kidney. I will report back once I have a final spot. I also plan to talk a bit more about the holster itself. The FNS-9 may end up being a fine carry gun, though I would still like something a little shorter and narrower.

In all, I’m finding that the decision to carry is not some magical talisman that makes things better. I didn’t really expect otherwise, though. I wasn’t particularly “fearful” before, but I do find comfort in knowing that I have more options.


A Reason to Carry

As much as I enjoy the shooting sports, I’ve never held a concealed carry permit. When I lived in Montana, I was not technically a resident of the state, so I was not eligible to apply.

When I lived in California, well….California.

To be honest, I’ve never really been put in a situation where I thought it was necessary. Open carrying in Montana was no big deal when out hiking, and the small towns aren’t exactly hot beds of violent crime. California pretty much banned everything, so why bother?

Since moving to Virginia recently, I’ve been thinking about applying. Recent events may move that timetable up.

The Moment Chooses You

Most of us are affected by a form of normalcy bias. Because things have generally been okay, we assume that they will continue to be so. Until they are not. Those of us who have been “woke” to the facts of this keep our heads on swivels. We keep track of our surroundings and are on constant search for possible threats. That’s not to say we are paranoid or live in fear. We are just…aware.

Higher population density areas bring a greater probability of interacting with troubled people. While out on a family walk around the multipurpose trails today, an individual was approaching from behind us. With two adults, a dog, and a toddler in a stroller, we aren’t exactly low profile when walking around the trails. He didn’t appear threatening at all, so we acknowledged his presence and moved to let him pass.

He stared at me intently and asked, “Are you the devil?”

My presumption was that he was joking because I was having my wife do exercises on the walk (she was actually rucking for fitness), I was wearing a red shirt, and a multicam hat. I smirked and said, “Yep.”

Apparently, he wasn’t joking. As he passed me, he snarled, “I am the light!”

He must have sensed my confusion at the statement, and continued to become more aggressive. He muttered comments about his duty to destroy evil, and got louder and louder. At this point, the alarm bells in my head were tripped. My posture stiffened, I shifted weight to the balls of my feet, I began further evaluating him for a fight.

Six feet tall, overweight, probably a low level of fitness, but still outweighing me by at least fifty pounds. If he had crazy on his side, he would not likely hold back or be easily deterred. I made sure to stay between him and my family, and prepared myself for conflict.

Luckily, he kept walking down the path. He would periodically stop, turn around, shout more, and square up. But, overall, he kept walking away.

My wife and I decided to change directions and not continue the way we were heading (which is where he went). We circled back up the path and went home a different way.

While I’m glad that nothing ultimately happened, I find myself frustrated that I was left with so few options. Probability is on my side that I would have prevailed in a conflict given my higher level of fitness and moderate abilities in hand to hand fighting, there is no way to be sure.

Sometimes it takes a moment like this to remind us that the moment chooses us, and we really are responsible for our own safety when it does.