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Carrying for the First Time

09 October 2017

Firstly, congratulations on persevering enough to navigate your way this far through the bureaucratic maze; 

You bought your gun, did your proficiencies, applied for competency, bought a safe and bolted it to something that has little chance of moving, wrote your motivation, presumably had a good Designated Firearms Officer (DFO) that didn’t invent obstacles, applied for your license, and got approved first time. You also probably had to convince your spouse, cats, dogs, and pet budgie that you weren’t “four times more likely to have your gun used against you."

Chuffed with yourself, you rush to the GunSite page on Facebook to brag about your new acquisition, and show how proud you are to be a member of the SA gun community. You then promptly get ripped a new one because you bought a Taurus, or a Star, or a Beretta in .22 calibre, or a Flintlock pistol, or a Nambu Type 94. Unless of course you did do some more research and chose something like a CZ or a Glock that offers the reliability, practicality, and spares availability that you need, in which case you’ll probably still get a new hole, albeit a smaller one.  

With all the formalities now out of the way, we can get to the real stuff, like how you’re going to carry the thing. Is that a ‘sticky holster’? Okay, go back to GunSite. Your hole clearly wasn’t big enough. Kydex? You may have had to auction off the budgie for it, but it’s a solid choice. Decent retention, comfort, and durability. No, you can’t legally carry your gun attached to your person without a holster. Yes, the gangsters in the Cape Flats are in contravention of the FCA (shocker!) for carrying their guns simply tucked into their belts. Now, choose a carry method (appendix, three-o’clock, etc.) Sorted.

After choosing a position to carry in, you realise that you’ll be carrying a firearm in public for the first time. Don’t panic. You need to appear relaxed, and not draw attention to yourself unnecessarily. If you are carrying appendix as I do, maintaining good posture will help in preventing your gut sticking out and advertising the print lines. Don’t worry endlessly about printing though. Be confident. And don’t fidget with it. Printing isn’t illegal (although it’s unwise). Also, don’t walk around with your gaze transfixed on your crotch area. That draws attention, and you will sooner walk into a telephone pole than notice the guy coming at you with a knife.

You may also find that you are exhibiting hyper-vigilance, constantly scanning the crowd for threats, while also playing ‘I spy with my little eye...another gun owner’. Don’t stare for extended periods of time at someone’s appendix area – it looks like you’re crotch gazing. And that could give you REALLY unwanted attention. On a windy day, be prepared to expect more printing. Keeping a jacket on hand might help with further concealment if required.

When it comes to driving, you may consider one of those ‘dash mounted’ holsters. Pick up the nearest phone and immediately dial ‘double-oh-don’t-do-it’. That gun is no use to you if you leave the car in a hurry, or a hijacker spots it through the window. Personally, I find appendix the best position to carry for driving. I run my seat belt over my gun belt and flop my shirt and jacket over the gun, allowing easy access. My chances of surviving a car accident and hijacking remain reasonable with this method.

By this point you’ve also had to think about the condition you carry the firearm in. Round chambered (‘one-up’) or not. This can be a contentious issue, but shouldn’t be. Keep your booger hooker off the bang switch (including during holstering and un-holstering) and all will go well if you carry one-up. How do you ensure that? Practice, practice, practice! And for goodness’ sake, only practice within the confines of proper firearm safety rules and a suitable environment. Once you’ve drilled the basics enough, you’ll realise that carrying with an empty chamber is stupid – unless it’s a Star in 9mmK. But you’re a smart person; you didn’t buy one of those, right? Or a gun without a drop safety, like the SIG Sauer P320 (sorry SIG, I love your guns, but you’ve earned a place of infamy now worldwide).

There will be many more issues to confront along the way, but if you’ve tackled these ones successfully, you’re off to a very good start. Happy carrying!

By: Jonathan Wright


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