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The Lifestyle of Carrying a Handgun

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

I started carrying while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 2011. I had just turned 21, recently got married and started buying firearms. As any young kid, I felt it necessary to share pictures of my purchases for the world to see on my Facebook.

One of my friends Wes back in Maryland, who was originally from N.C., messaged me to see if I had gotten into carrying yet. I had zero idea what he was talking about. I was relatively new to firearms and, being from Maryland, I didn't realize that average citizens carrying handguns around town was a legal option.

That started me down the path that I now am on where I help others in engaged in for themselves. I researched the laws down there, made some calls to local law enforcement and come to learn the process to obtain a concealed handgun permit and also learned I could open carry without a permit.

I attended a local gun show and bought the first holster that I found that fit my Glock 22, some one-size-fits-most leather holster sewn together by some local retired guy. Young. Dumb. Broke. Learn from my life lessons, don't repeat them.

I remember my first experience carrying, which was open because I hadn't yet gotten my concealed handgun permit. I carried my Glock 22 condition 3 (Magazine inserted, no round in chamber) because I didn't feel comfortable at that time carrying a round in the chamber with a firearm that had no safety (I have since grown past that mindset with a better understanding of how the firearm works coupled with first hand experience). I went to the Walmart off of Western Blvd and parked near the garden section. I parked my Pontiac and made one last call to the Onslow County Sheriffs Office and a Sgt Brown (I believe) answered my question verifying what I was nervously about to do (open carry with no permit) was perfectly legal.

The Lifestyle of Carrying a Handgun

I walked in via the garden section and as I was walking through the door, a man with his kid walked by me. He noticed my handgun and in a friendly manner he notified me that my handgun was exposed. I acknowledged his observation and stated I was legally open carrying because I didn't have a concealed permit yet. He stated confidently that I was confused and that what I was doing was illegal. Outwardly confident (but dying inside) I reaffirmed that what I was doing was legal, thanked him for trying to look out for me and continued to walk inside (very nervous that he was right but my ego didn't allow me to show it). I looped around to the front of the stored, exited to my vehicle where I placed another call to the local LE. This time a different officer, I believe a LT, reaffirmed that I was within my legal right. Note: Both officers were right but generally speaking I have since learned that some of the worst legal advice comes from those in law enforcement and convicted felons. Take that for what its worth.

Time moves on and I slowly try to carry more often. I remember my wife initially not being comfortable with it because her lack of understanding of the law and also being from Maryland where it wasn't the norm. I carried into stores, dinner, movies, and so on and so forth. Our church there hosted a concealed carry class, which I attended. I started watching YouTube videos on the subject. I went to the range more often. Attended another class hosted by my unit (a friend of the Gunner came in after hours). I enjoyed the idea that I could defend my family and I, not being dependent on other people to ensure our safety.

I took (and continue to take) the things that I was learning from others and implementing it as applicable to my every carrying. I try to do what's best aligned with my goal of defending and providing for my family. Sometimes that meant adapting my clothing, choosing a different holster, moving to a different handgun.

My journey started similarly to the journey of many of you all. My journey continues to this day. What I carry and how I carry has largely solidified at this point but I have left my mind open to change- if I see that it can benefit my goal or if my circumstances may shift a bit.

If you feel lost in the sauce, know that others you may seek advice from were once in your shoes. With on-going training and life experience, you will get there too. Come into this lifestyle with an open mind, willing to learn and adapt. I will be posting more follow up articles on experiences I have had and how it has lead me to the person I am today as it relates to everyday carrying, morals of carrying a gun and the immense responsibility that this choice comes with.

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