What Does The Concealed Carry ‘Lifestyle’ Really Mean?

Man displays firearm in a concealed carry location on his hip

I’ve Finally Come To Terms With the Phrase ‘Concealed Carry Lifestyle’

When I first become a gun owner, it was purely for self-defense. I did not consider it a lifestyle change. I was simply purchasing a tool for protection that I previously did not own. I did not understand the term, Concealed Carry Lifestyle, often used by the USCCA.

To me, it was more like buying a chainsaw. In fact, like a firearm, I did not purchase a chainsaw until much later in life. The process was somewhat the same, in that I had need of a dangerous tool. My intent was to study the tool, purchase said tool, and carefully learn to operate that tool, then put it away until needed.

USCCA and Concealed Carry

During this learning process, I often heard the word “lifestyle” tacked on to the phrase concealed carry. Now understand, that I had lived the VW “lifestyle”, driving a restored 1969 Beetle 50 miles a day. To me, the word lifestyle spoke of a hobby, an interest, or a fad.

I did not consider gun ownership any of those things, and my initial reaction was that this important organization, the USCCA, was trivializing the seriousness of gun ownership. It didn’t take long to realize how wrong I was on both counts.

USCCA stands for United States Concealed Carry Association. As I began to study to receive a permit for the right to carry a handgun, I really didn’t consider that I might actually choose to carry a gun at all times, I simply wanted to be able to, if needed, and I wanted the training that went along with the learning. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know, and I joined USCCA to learn even more, and take advantage of the training and protection they offered.

Understanding the Lifestyle

It wasn’t until many hours of study and video did I finally begin to put the pieces together. As I received my CCW/LTC, I realized that I wanted to carry a concealed weapon at all times. This meant a change in my behavior, my planning, and my wardrobe…yes, my lifestyle. I began to realize the context of the the term Concealed Carry Lifestyle. It isn’t a fad or a hobby, but it is a change in the way you live. It’s a fundamental change in your lifestyle.

If I equate that back to my previous example, I realize my VW “lifestyle” had its own sacrifices and nuance to adhere to, in order to perpetuate that lifestyle. Driving a VW Beetle in the summer meant planning for hot weather, packing an extra shirt, making time for frequent oil changes, and a lot of hands-on maintenance. Today, we might hop in a car 20 times and not think about fuel, oil changes, clutch cable tension, and valve adjustments. During my VW days, I thought of those things every time I got behind the wheel!

The Change in Lifestyle

How did my lifestyle change for Concealed Carry? From a wardrobe standpoint, I now find myself wearing more shirts…undershirts and over shirts, to ensure carrying the firearm is comfortable, and hidden from view. It’s very rare that I throw something on casually and run out the door. Is it inconvenient, yes…sometimes, but those times where I don’t carry for some reason, I feel ill-prepared and vulnerable.

From a situational awareness standpoint, I’m miles ahead of where I was before, constantly paying attention and remaining at condition ‘yellow’. I’m also more aware of the media and political coverage as it pertains to 2nd Amendment laws.

As a USCCA member I have access to lawyers, should I find myself in a defensive shooting situation, though of course I hope to never need them. I’m not a gun nut by any means. I shoot every 6-8 weeks to retain the rudimentary skills needed for self defense. I don’t have a “range gun”….I shoot the gun I carry to be proficient at it. At the end of the day, a firearm is still just a tool to me, and I continue to make sure I know how to properly use that tool.


A particular lifestyle is usually a choice. I would define it as; a conscious choice to live out your desires and interests in a particular way. If painting is your hobby, at what point does it become a lifestyle? Is your Christianity a lifestyle? If you live the concealed carry lifestyle, are you a responsible American, or a gun nut? How would you define the word lifestyle?

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