Maybe you’ve heard the term “concealed carry” already, or maybe it’s a new one to you. You might have even seen a man or woman with what you suspect to be a gun under their clothing while out and about and wondered, “is that something I can do?” or “where would I even begin?” Concealed carry means carrying a firearm out of view on your body or in a bag when you are in public.
You might already be a gun owner and have wondered if concealed carrying of a gun is something that would benefit you and fit in with your lifestyle. Maybe you’ve even started exploring the topic through Google searches or online forums. Here, we are going to break down some of the basics of what you need to know to carry concealed safely and legally in the state of New Mexico. It is important to note that there is no federal law regarding the concealed carrying of firearms and that the laws for doing so vary from state to state. The following should not be interpreted as legal advice but as a simple guide to help you begin exploring your options related to legal concealed carry of a firearm.
First, it must be said that gun education and training is always a great idea and valuable for everyone’s safety. Whether you plan on actually carrying a gun, it is beneficial to take a concealed carry class. In one of these classes, you will learn about safe storage of your gun, cleaning and maintenance, some of the gear and different types of ammo that are involved and many other valuable lessons that are better learned from a certified instructor than through “Bobby Joe’s Tactical” channel on YouTube.
Carrying a concealed gun is a big responsibility and becomes a lifestyle change for most people who carry a gun regularly. There are a few different things to consider as you explore carrying a firearm for self-defense purposes. It begins with some personal reflection about whether you feel you are capable of using deadly force against another person in a situation where you may be in danger of death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. It may require changing the way you dress and the clothing you wear to accommodate a concealed firearm. It will definitely require consistent practice and training with your chosen firearm, to become skilled in the use of such a powerful tool.
Because there is no federal law for concealed carry, each state varies on the requirements necessary to be able to carry a concealed gun. Some states don’t require any special license or permit to carry concealed. These states are known as “constitutional carry” states, meaning the 2nd Amendment is all the authorization you need to carry a gun, as long as you are legally qualified to do so. Many states require some type of credential though. This is where a concealed carry permit comes in.
Your concealed carry permit is your license, authorizing you to legally carry a concealed firearm. The concealed carry permit does not automatically allow you to carry concealed in another state. You will need to check an individual state’s laws to know if they will recognize your state’s permit. To obtain one of these permits in New Mexico, you will need to take a class from a state certified firearms instructor. Classes and requirements vary by state. New Mexico requires 15 hours of training, which can be broken up into multiple classes, depending on how your chosen instructor arranges the curriculum. There is also a target shooting portion of the process, to ensure that you possess basic shooting and aiming abilities with your chosen caliber of firearm.
This brings us to the type of handgun you might choose to carry. You may have already read talk of “stopping power,” which is a popular topic of discussion in the gun community, so you may have decided that carrying a larger caliber pistol or handgun is the right choice for you. Even so, you will most likely have to sacrifice round capacity to conceal something like a .45 ACP caliber 1911 pistol. This type of steel-framed handgun will also be relatively heavy and bulky compared to other, more compact, types of pistols.
If you fall into the other category and believe that several well-placed shots from a smaller caliber, yet higher capacity handgun with less recoil is a more effective defensive strategy, you may consider something like the Smith & Wesson EZ Shield. This is a compact, polymer-framed pistol, capable of holding 8 rounds of 380 ACP. This round is smaller compared to the .45 ACP caliber but much lighter with almost no felt recoil, compared to the significant kick of the 1911.
There are many options that fall in between these two extremes. For example, there is the middle ground of the extremely popular 9mm round that you will find many of the most popular EDC (everyday carry) firearms are chambered in, including the Glock 43 and 43X. These are just a couple of your choices out there, and that’s without getting into the category of revolvers, known for their simplicity, reliability and concealability.
We could keep covering gun specs for many more paragraphs, and there are many articles written about the almost endless types of firearms that are available, most of which are more than acceptable for concealed carry purposes. But what it boils down to is that your best option is to handle a firearm in person to get an idea of whether it will actually fit your hand and body. Everyone is different when it comes to hand size, finger and palm length, body shape for concealing a weapon, and so on. The best way to find the right self-defense gun for you that is comfortable and fits well is to visit a gun retailer in person.
You might read glowing reviews of a particular pistol or revolver online, go to one of the many websites that sell guns and order that specific firearm, only to realize upon holding it that it’s not the right fit or dimensions for you. This can be a costly lesson that can easily be avoided. When you visit Los Ranchos Gun Shop, our experts will discuss the finer points of concealed carry and have you handle several different types of handguns to find what you are most comfortable with. We can also help familiarize you with some of the different carry options, including IWB (inside the waistband) as well as OWB (outside the waistband) options, and refer you to some of the best concealed carry instructors in the state of New Mexico.
If you’d like to learn more about concealed carry permits or the services we provide at Los Ranchos Gun Shop, call our Los Ranchos location at 505-345-4276. We’re always eager to help our community learn more in order to stay safe.