3 Concealed Carry Tips for “Experienced” Gun Owners

No one likes to be thought of as a “senior” these days. Maybe you use another word, such as “mature” or simply “experienced.” But whatever you call it, the fact is we all get older.

And just as we need to be practical in our approach to other things in life, we need to be equally practical in assessing our ability to carry and use a firearm in self defense as we age.

So here are 3 simple tips to consider if you’re an “Experienced American Gun Owner.”

Reconsider Your Caliber

Back in the day, you may have decided to use .45 ACP or .357 Magnum. These are proven calibers and you can’t go wrong with either. But if you’re finding it more difficult to handle the recoil or maintain a firm grip on your gun with this powerful ammo, or if it just hurts when you practice at the range, maybe it’s time to downsize a little.

With all the science and testing that goes into modern ammunition, smaller calibers are more effective than ever before. 9mm is a popular choice for all ages and can be easier to shoot even in smaller frame handguns. The venerable .38 Special is still a popular choice for revolvers, with the added benefit that revolvers, while offering a somewhat stiffer trigger pull, also offer more reliability in a self defense situation.

If you need something even lighter, .380 ACP and even .22 LR are perfectly acceptable choices. The recoil is easy to manage and, since they’re easy on your hand, you’re likely to practice more. Remember, shot placement is always more important than caliber. When your life is on the line, it’s better to get one or two hits with a .22 than 8 misses with a .45.

Try a Different Holster

Most of us were taught to carry with a hip holster on our strong side, either on the belt or inside the waistband. This is still the standard, however drawing requires you to reach around for the 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock position and draw upward. If you’re not quit as limber as you used to be, this could be a strain on your shoulder.

Many trainers are now suggesting “appendix” carry, which is carrying inside the waistband on your belly. It’s a natural, easy draw whether you’re sitting or standing. You’ll need a different holster for this and some practice, but the transition is not difficult.

Install Bigger Sights

Why are sights so small on some guns? The purpose is to allow you to get on-target rapidly and place shots accurately, and that is always easier when the sights are bigger, brighter, or otherwise more visible. So you don’t have to be “experienced” to benefit from more prominent sights.

It’s true that most self defense shootings are at “bad breath” distances. In many cases, you may end up “point shooting,” which is shooting without looking at your sights at all. However, at the very least,
a good set of high-visibility sights helps you practice better and form good habits so that you’ll be able to use your firearm accurately and responsibly when it becomes necessary.

There are plenty of vendors who sell aftermarket sights with larger dots, colored aiming systems (green, red, and orange are popular), alternate configurations such as a dot on the front sight and a vertical bar on the rear sight, and so on. Many gun owners use laser grips or reflex “red dots” in addition to, or in place of, ordinary sights. Shop around, try out different sights, and see what works best for you.

And if you wear glasses, don’t forget to keep your prescription up-to-date. Your vision should be clear enough to see everything out to about 21 feet.

Actually, these tips are wise for just about everyone who carries on a regular basis. So don’t think of this as “admitting your age.” Think of it as being smart enough to prevail in a self defense situation. As they say, luck favors the prepared.