Concealed Carry Survey Results

Earlier this month, we conducted an informal survey of our members and newsletter subscribers to learn about the concealed carry habits of average gun owners.

The results were interesting.

Do you have a concealed carry license?

  • Yes – 89.5%
  • No – 9.9%
  • No Responses – < 1%

Nothing unusual here. We expected that most people taking the survey would have a CCW permit.

How often do you carry a firearm?

  • Virtually 24 hours a day – 22.9%
  • Every time I leave the house – 31.0%
  • Occasionally when I leave the house – 32.4%
  • Never – 6.9%
  • Other – 6.1%
  • No Responses – < 1%

“Other” responses included:

  • When I go into a threat area.
  • When I leave town.
  • Only when going to the range.
  • On work days.

The answers here are surprising. Nearly a quarter of those who responded said they carry pretty much all the time, we assume even at home. And nearly 54% said they carry virtually all the time or at least every time they leave the house.

Those taking this survey are not a purely random sample, but the percentage with the discipline to carry all the time is impressive.

If you don’t carry all the time, why?

  • It’s uncomfortable – 5.2%
  • I only carry when I think I need to – 26.2%
  • Other – 32.0%
  • No Responses – 36.4%

“Other” responses included:

  • Our area is more secure than most.
  • Don’t need to.
  • Work restrictions.
  • Need more training for confidence.

We would have expected that more people would have said carrying a firearm is uncomfortable, since that’s a fairly common complaint.

What’s not surprising, but perhaps concerning, is the percentage of gun owners who decide ahead of time when they think they might need to defend themselves. Over 26% said they carry when they think they “need to,” while the “other” responses include references to not needing to carry at all times.

Carrying is a personal choice, and nearly everyone leaves their gun at home from time to time. But if news reports teach us anything, it’s that no one ever knows when or where they may have to defend themselves. There is no “safe” place where violence does not happen.

The biggest concern from the “other” responses are the restrictions on carry, at work or in public places. The fact is, many people don’t carry on a regular basis because complying with all the “victim zones” becomes a hassle.

What is your preferred method of carry?

  • Open carry – 1.3%
  • Concealed with a belt holster – 7.7%
  • Concealed with an inside the waist band holster – 12.0%
  • Ankle, fanny pack, belly band, or other type of holster – 3.3%
  • Other – 4.6%
  • No Responses – 1.2%

The “other” responses for this question were mostly “Pocket Carry.”

There appears to be a problem with the tabulation on this question or more people chose not to answer than the “no responses” line indicates. But we know from experience that nearly everyone conceals when they carry and that on the belt or inside the belt are the most popular modes of carry.

How often do you train drawing from your holster? (You should only do this with an unloaded firearm unless you are on a range that allows you to draw and shoot safely.)

  • Every day – 12.6%
  • Once a week – 23.8%
  • Once a month – 17.6%
  • Occasionally / I’m not sure – 31.1%
  • Never – 9.1%
  • Other – 4.8%
  • No Responses – < 1%

“Other” responses included:

  • 2-3 times a week.
  • Quarterly.
  • Whenever I go shooting.
  • Not often enough.

These are respectable results. 54% say they train at least once a month. Only about 9% say they never train.

Experienced firearm instructors and even law enforcement will tell you that real-world training has a big impact not only on surviving a life-or-death encounter, but also on the mindset of the gun owner. Those with more training tend to be less likely to be involved in shootings.

Why? It may be that awareness and avoidance tactics improve with training, though that’s just an educated guess. Regardless, more training is always a good thing. It builds skill and confidence.

How often do you practice with your firearm at a shooting range?

  • Every day – <1%
  • Once a week – 15.1%
  • Once a month- 40.8%
  • Occasionally / I’m not sure – 29.0%
  • Never – 3.3%
  • Other – 10.6%
  • No Responses – <1%

“Other” responses included:

  • No range in my area.
  • I shoot on my own property.
  • Not often. Ammo is too expensive.
  • I use an electronic trainer.

No surprises here. About 56% say they shoot at a range at least once a month. Very few, just over 3%, say they never shoot at a range.

What’s sad is that the price of ammo is cited frequently in “other” responses as a reason some people don’t train more often. This has been a real issue in recent years.

However, it’s odd that many gun owners can always find extra cash to buy another gun, but can’t find funds to purchase ammo for training. Keep in mind that alternate training methods, such as dry fire or electronic equipment, are always options.