Up until recently, when I and other law-abiding citizens of my state were finally able to join the ranks of millions of other concealed-carry holders nationwide, I traveled everywhere unarmed. I lamented my “less than” status under our state’s gun laws and dreamed of the day when I could add the ultimate tool to my personal-protection toolbox, which probably would have meant a move out of state if it weren’t for the SCOTUS decision in Bruen.
In the meantime, I practiced incredible situational awareness—at the grocery store, movie theater, while pumping gas, walking trails with my dog—and always had an escape plan in the event an active-shooter situation occurred, even though it wouldn’t (because it couldn’t) include protecting myself with a firearm. I’d long mastered my “command voice,” even though my natural voice is considered on the low to quiet range. I’ve been through Gunsite Academy’s shoot-house simulators using Simunitions to take down bad guys during “Shoot/Don’t Shoot” scenarios. Talk about surging adrenaline, even though I knew I would walk away unscathed from each mock scenario.
I’ve had my long-awaited CCW for several weeks now, so one might expect that I am diligently practicing what I’ve been preaching. But with some exceptions, that has not been the case, and I find myself leaving my firearm at home more often than not. It’s not that I don’t want to carry; far from it. I have admonished myself for not acting on my beliefs, and have even felt I am letting myself down. I mean, for crying out loud, I have even testified at our state house in support of CCW. What is wrong with me!?
Sure, I am still experimenting with the various methods of carry and what works best for my destinations and what clothing I will be wearing. That's part of it. But since we are well into sweatshirt and jacket season here in the mid-Atlantic, concealing is actually as easy as it’s going to get in terms of wardrobe compatibility. No, the real reason is even simpler than that: It just hasn’t been a habit that's been allowed to develop. I have lived most of my life not carrying a gun, so the habit of adding this extra step to my daily routine needs to be created. I need to learn to feel normal carrying a gun.
Some have suggested I set up an EDC (everyday carry) tray so that I have everything at my fingertips when I am getting dressed and ready to leave the house. I think that’s a good place to start, so I’ll be cleaning off my nightstand or adding a valet to the bedroom so I can at least have a visual on my gear to force my new habit.
But beyond such practical suggestions, I found that what I really am in need of is some moral support as I make this transition to a true concealed-carry practitioner. But I don't need to be coddled either. Once again, I didn't have to go far to find what I was looking for after discovering some wonderful and unique videos—Langdon Tactical's Discover Discussion Series—featuring series creator Aimee Langdon, Sarah Hauptman (PHLster Holsters) and Tessah (Armed & Styled).
These remarkable women have collaborated to share their CCW knowledge, delivered in the most relatable way. It’s like they are in my head. And actually, they probably are, since their path to concealed carry mirrors that of so many other American women who have made the choice to be responsible for their own personal protection. Through their passion to empower women, this second discussion, "Did You Carry Every Day When You First Started?", dissects their evolutions to EDC, and the frequency of carry, from the beginning of their individual journeys to present day. The video is exactly what every woman embarking on EDC needs to hear to feel like she's normal in her hesitancy, for whatever reason, and how to get beyond that barrier. It might even help her get "unstuck" from that place of insecurity.
We always imagine that those who seem to effortlessly conceal their firearms are just naturals—born to carry! Maybe that’s true for some—and no man will ever tell you different—but they for sure are the exceptions. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to eavesdrop on this completely unscripted conversation with some of my new concealed-carry mentors, and learn how they grew into everyday carry.
—Ann Y. Smith, Editor in Chief