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Enhancing Your Situational Awareness

When you conceal and carry a firearm, you’ve got a lot to think about. You’re considering where your firearm is positioned, whether you’re carrying extra ammo, and if you can bring your firearm into certain buildings. These things, in addition to the litany of things that weigh on our minds throughout the day, can leave us distracted and disoriented.

But part of being a responsible firearm owner and carry a weapon concealed means pushing these distractions out of your head. In developing a concealed carry mindset, you have to improve your situational awareness. Not sure what that means? On Your 6 Designs has you covered.

Situational Awareness and Concealed Carry

Simply said, situational awareness is your observation and analysis of people, places, and things around you. In a sense, it’s like an early warning system for your brain. When something sticks out to you in an environment, you can take the steps necessary to get away from it or manage it.

Developing your situational awareness is one of the most vital parts of concealed carry. When properly trained, you can start to avoid conflicts before they even begin, ensuring your safety, and the safety of your friends and loved ones.

Take In Your Surroundings

This can be done anytime you enter a new space. The world is always shifting around you, and while you can’t keep track of all of it, you can look for key elements like:

  • Entries and exits
  • Distinct features and objects
  • What’s going on
  • Notable people

You’re already doing this subconsciously, but simply being more cognizant of it means you’re more situationally aware. Taking quick mental notes of these things can make a difference in an emergency.

Update and Observe

Taking a few mental notes of your surroundings doesn’t mean that you can say, “I am aware of the situation,” and then shut down. In fact, you have to constantly be observing the space and update your assessment of what’s going on.

Once you’re oriented to your surroundings, you can start to look for things or people that don’t seem to belong. For instance, take a look around you and look for people who don’t seem to fit. For example, you’re out at a farmers market and there’s a general atmosphere of relaxed fun. If someone seems to stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons, then they might have other motives for being there.

Regularly checking your surroundings ensures you’re aware of any changes that may threaten you.

Make an Assessment

After a few rounds of observations, it’s time to start actively assessing the situation. Your assessment will vary from location to location and your familiarity with that space. For instance, you’re more likely to feel safe at your own home than you are in a sketchy diner downtown. That’s because you know where all the entrances and exits are in your home, whereas in this sketchy diner, you’re not aware of all of your routes out of trouble, and the guys two tables down might be glaring at you. In this situation, you’re likely more alert and cautious.

Trust Yourself

We’ve all had that moment when we walk into a space and instantly feel like we don’t belong there. In these moments, it’s important to trust those instincts. Instincts and “gut feelings” are an integral part of situational awareness, as often your body is reacting to something you might not have observed yet. Don’t feel bad for acting on these feelings and leaving a situation you’re not comfortable in. You’ll find that you relax the moment you’re somewhere familiar again.

Just like carrying a firearm, situational awareness is something that has to be practiced every day. With time and patience, you’ll find yourself making faster and more complete assessments of environments and events. Simply being aware of what’s going on around you is an easy way to keep yourself and your friends and family out of potentially dangerous situations.

To eliminate distractions that might interrupt your situational awareness, consider how you’re carrying your firearm. On Your 6 Designs offers custom Kydex firearm holsters, handmade in the U.S. We offer both inside the waistband and outside the waistband options, all backed by a lifetime guarantee. Browse our holsters today.

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The Signs That Give Away That You’re Concealing A Weapon

When it comes to concealing a firearm, the name of the game is discretion. You don’t want to broadcast to everyone around that you have a firearm on your hip. Not only can that create an uncomfortable situation for you while you’re with friends or in a store, but it can also make you a target for criminals and those who might mean you harm.

Fortunately, these signs are pretty obvious, and that means you can quickly learn to address them in your own concealed carry habits. At On Your 6 Designs, we’re dedicated to helping our customers become more responsible firearm owners and providing them with the resources and materials they need to conceal and carry a firearm more effectively. Check out these signs that give away your concealed carry weapon.

Clothing Doesn’t Match

A common phrase within the concealed carry community is “dress to the gun, not for the look.” While there is a measure of truth in this saying, it’s not always true. You want your style of dress to look natural and neutral. You can start to run into these issues in a few different ways throughout the year and social situations.

For instance, if you’re rocking a base layer t-shirt, a button-down overshirt, plus long pants and a jacket, and it’s the middle of July in San Antonio, you might draw suspicion. Some might correctly identify your form of dress as “cover garments” for your weapon.

Similarly, you don’t want to dramatically change your style of dress the moment you start carrying a concealed firearm. So if you’ve always been a “shorts and t-shirt” kind of guy, if you roll up to the neighborhood BBQ in a fishing vest and a button-down, your more clued in friends might suspect more than just a change in fashion sense.

Lots of Minor Adjustments

When you’re first starting to carry a firearm concealed, you might feel compelled to check it throughout the day. These adjustments might be as simple as a quick tap on the hip or can be a far more involved shifting of the holster along the belt.

In either case, these minor adjustments throughout the day draw attention. Even if someone doesn’t suspect a firearm initially, they might after watching you pat your hip for the 10th time in as many minutes.

Wooden Movements

When your inconspicuous cover garment is placed “just so” over your concealed firearm, you might change how you move in order to avoid disturbing the gun or the cover. This leads to blocky, wooden movements.

It might be that your stride on the side that is concealing the weapon is shorter. It could be that you’re bracing the firearm with an elbow or wrist as you move quickly or up and down stairs. For some, their strong arm has a noticeably shorter swing than the other in order to guard the concealed gun.

These wooden movements are a result of fear about whether your pistol or revolver will stay in place as you move. Of course, an easy way to address this issue before it even becomes one is to use a holster that has an excellent level of retention.

Hiding the Strong Side

Many choose to carry their pistols on their strong side and become a little protective of how they allow people to view that side. As such, some might turn that side of their body away from someone that approaches them. Similarly, they might only give side hugs to people using their weak side, as it limits the chances for the other person to brush their hand across the gun.

Custom Kydex IWB Holsters For Your Pistol

By recognizing these signs in others, you can address them yourself. It may require some mental effort for the first few days, or even weeks, as you practice avoiding or addressing these signs, but in the end, you’ll be better at concealing your firearm for it.

At the end of the day, you want to feel comfortable while you conceal a firearm. That comfort translates to your demeanor and presence. The more relaxed and natural you look, the less likely it is that other people will even notice you, let alone scrutinize your appearance looking for a concealed firearm.

For high-quality holster options that resolve some of the issues outlined above, get a custom-made pistol holster from On Your 6 Designs.

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Considerations For Concealed Carry In Your Car

If there’s another tool that you make use of more than your daily concealed carry piece, it’s probably your vehicle. Whether you drive a truck, SUV, or a hybrid, you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, commuting to and from work, running errands, or even just taking a long Sunday drive.

While our vehicles are endlessly useful for a wide variety of applications, they do offer some unique challenges to those who conceal carry. Of course, part of being a responsible firearm owner and a capable concealed carrier means learning to adjust your skills and mindset to respond to new situations. To help you stay ready for anything, we’ve put together some considerations you should keep in mind while carrying in your car.

How a Car Changes Your Carry Strategies

On foot, you likely have your concealed carry setup dialed in. You might use a Kydex IWB or OWB holster on your strong-side hip, with a few extra magazines on the other. You likely have a few shirts you use to adequately cover your firearm while you’re moving. And you’ve probably even practiced drawing your firearm from a variety of different positions.

But all of those things change when you’re in a vehicle. That’s because your “workspace” is far more limited, and you might not have sufficient access to the pistol on your hip when your sitting in your car with a seat belt on. So here are some workarounds for this issue.

Vehicle-Mounted Holsters

Rather than trying to contort your body around your seat belt to get to your firearm, consider changing where you store your firearm while in your vehicle. You can mount a Kydex holster in your vehicle for easy storage and even easier access.

Consider mounting this Kydex holster to places like underneath your steering wheel. You can also mount it to the side of your center console. Either of these spots is far easier to access while in a car than drawing from a concealed carry holster on your hip while seated.

Storing a Weapon in Your Car

Vehicle-mounted holsters are ideal for when you’re moving from point A to point B and can re-holster your weapon in your hip holster when you’re done driving. But what if point B is a place that won’t allow you to bring your firearm inside? This could be a federal institution like the post office, some banks, schools, and churches. In these cases, you don’t want to leave your firearm at home, but you don’t want to leave it locked in your glove box either.

Several manufacturers now make small gun safes or vaults that are designed to be installed in your car. They can fit within or near the center console or beneath your seat. These vaults can be locked securely, ensuring that no one can get to your firearm but you. Also, they do a great job of hiding the firearm from passersby, ensuring that there are no tempting targets for would-be car thieves.

Adjust How You Carry

If you’re not interested in specialty options like vehicle-mounted holsters or safes, a simple option is to adjust where you’re carrying. Keeping your firearm on your hip while in the car can prevent easy access. Things like the center console or the door can limit your hand’s ability to grasp the weapon and a seat belt can hinder your draw.

But by shifting your holster, you may be able to appendix carry your firearm with some measure of success. Keeping it closer to the front of your body makes it more accessible. However, you’ll still need to keep the seat belt clear from the holster and weapon. Just be aware of the size of your firearm, as appendix carrying a larger firearm while seated may be uncomfortable.

Custom-Made Kydex Holsters For Your Firearm

However you choose to carry your firearm in your vehicle, make sure that it is compliant with your local laws. It’s your duty as a responsible firearm owner to care for, travel with, and store your weapon appropriately.

And whatever you choose to carry, On Your 6 Designs has the perfect holster. We make all of our holsters by hand to perfectly fit your brand and model of firearm. Whether you carry IWB or OWB, we’ve got the solution for you. Browse our complete line up of brands here and order yours today.

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Keeping Your Concealed Carry Gun Clean

With time and use, even the most durable of objects begin to wear down. It’s true for trucks, houses, our bodies, and even our firearms. Of course, we can stall this steady process of entropy by taking care of our objects, including our firearms.

Regular maintenance is part of owning a firearm and an important one at that. Keeping a firearm in clean, working order ensures that you don’t experience any jams or other issues. While you should do your best to keep your regular range firearms clean, you should never skip cleaning your concealed carry piece.

Setting a Cleaning Schedule

You might subconsciously already have a cleaning schedule for your weapons. After every trip to the range, you like break down the weapon into its major components and wipe them down with solvents and oils to clean it of any powders, dirt, and debris. Maybe once a year or so, you might tear down your range firearms into its detailed parts and give everything a complete once over. And that’s enough. You never have any hang-ups at the range, or if you do, you just put that weapon away and bring out another one.

But when it comes to your concealed carry piece, you can’t follow that same schedule and you don’t have that same kind of luxury.

That’s because your concealed carry firearm stays with you all day every day. It’s your near-constant companion, and as such, it is subjected to a much higher degree of wear and tear than your range guns. That means that you need to clean your concealed carry pistol or revolver more often. But why?

Your concealed firearm accumulates dust, pocket lint, dirt, and sweat much faster than the firearms in your gun safe at home. While this may not cause issues at first, it can if left unaddressed.

So, just how often should you clean your concealed carry gun? The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Your environment may impact your need to clean, as will your frequency of use, where and how you carry, and what kind of holster you carry. All of these things can dictate just how much debris accumulates on and in your firearm.

But, if you’re looking for a general rule of thumb or just our opinion, keep this in mind:

  • After every range trip, your concealed carry piece should be carefully cleaned without exception.
  • Every one-to-two weeks, your concealed carry piece should field stripped, wiped down, and oiled.

Remember, your carry gun needs to work no matter what, and keeping your firearm clean and maintained eliminates the chances for errors and mistakes.

Storing Your Concealed Carry Gun

When your firearm isn’t in its concealed holster on your hip, it’s likely being stored somewhere. For some, that means the firearm is returned to a gun safe at the end of each day. For others, that means it goes to a dedicated location that keeps it available and near at hand.

Storing your concealed carry piece is part of its cleaning schedule. While in a gun safe, the pistol or revolver is fairly safe from the elements and will stay dry and dust free. But left on a nightstand leaves it exposed to the elements. Consider keeping your concealed firearm in a small, easy-to-access safe in a drawer instead of out on the counter. It’s safer for you and your family and keeps your firearm cleaner longer.

Don’t Forget Your Ammo

Finally, consider your carry ammo. If the finish of your slide can corrode in reaction to the salts and sweat of your body, so too can your ammo. While you may not ever need to discharge your weapon in a self-defense situation, you’ll still want to know your ammo will do its part when needed.

Most suggest shooting the ammo you keep in your carry magazines every two months or so and replacing it with new ammo. This ensures that your magazines are being stored for a long period of time with dust and grime packed in them alongside the rounds. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to hit the range and sharpen your skills.

On Your 6 Designs offers custom Kydex gun holsters that are tailor-made for your particular model and make of firearm. Durable, lightweight, and easy to clean, our Kydex holsters are easy to carry and are backed by a lifetime warranty. Browse our collection of firearm holsters and magazine holsters today.