How To Tell Your Date That You Have a Gun

I wasn’t sure what to call this article, or even if I should write it. I’m not even sure if it will be very useful to a large portion of my audience, many of whom seem to be married, in long-term relationships, etc. However, I think it is a topic that some people will be interested in.

It’s been almost five years since my divorce, and in that time I’ve had several “longer-term” relationships, as well as plenty of first dates, second dates, and relationships that lasted a few weeks to a few months. Some of my dates came from conservative families and grew up shooting; some of them were on the left side of the political spectrum and had never held a firearm in their lives. With only one or two possible exceptions, they have all been aware that I work in the firearm industry and/or carry a firearm at all times – and yet, none of them were alarmed by the fact that I carried. In this article, I’ll explain the nuts and bolts of carrying and dating, as well as my opinions on when to broach the subject.

When to Carry

I have heard several people suggest that on first dates, one should not carry concealed, in order to find out whether or not she (or, perhaps, he) is afraid of guns. The logic behind this mystifies me. I am who I am, and on a first date that is who I present. Part of who I am involves my very practical attitude towards life, and part of that involves carrying a firearm for self-defense. Therefore,  I carry on the first date, and every date or outing after that. I might not tell them I am carrying on the first date, but there have been times where I have done so, and gone on to have further dates with those women. I have never had the fact that I carry a firearm affect the outcome of a date or a relationship.

I have found that most people who think that they are afraid of guns are actually afraid of people they don’t know with guns. If you present yourself as a rational, intelligent, polite, clean cut human being, even the most anti-gun date will at the very least be intrigued as to why someone like you – someone that they would normally enjoy being around – would choose to carry a firearm. They are unlikely to suddenly decide that, after spending hours or days with you finding out that you are not an obvious psycho, the simple fact that you carry a gun changes who you are.

Try to understand how you are perceived by others, rather than how you see yourself – do you think that a member of the general public, neither anti-gun nor pro-gun, would be comfortable knowing that you are carrying a firearm?

How to Carry

You need to be confident in the way that you carry. I would not recommend carrying on a date if you have just started carrying concealed. The longer you carry, the better you will become at sitting, standing, bending over, and moving in a manner that does not highlight the fact that you are carrying.

Also, you need to be confident in the equipment that you use to carry. A quality belt and a quality holster go a long way toward securing your firearm on your person – and if you’re confident that your firearm is secure, you’re not likely to fidget and constantly reach to make sure that it is still in place. Doing so only draws attention to yourself and that location on your body.

As always, the method in which you choose to carry is highly dependent on what you plan to do. If I’m going out to a club or bar and might end up dancing, I carry a small revolver on my ankle – I have found that it is rare for that location to interfere with dancing, whereas my waist is constantly being touched by a hand, or another part of a woman’s body. In addition, making it through a crowded dance floor with a firearm on your waist is not an easy feat. I have “tapped ankles” with people before, but this is pretty rare, and it has not caused any problems. Needless to say, appendix carry (front of waist, generally at or below the belt) and dancing do not mix well.

On dates where dancing is not likely, I often carry strong side, either inside or outside the waistband. Of course, physical contact is always a possibility, but casual brushes are not likely to arouse suspicion. Even long hugs won’t generally elicit comments. Women probably have a million and one things going on in their heads at any given time, especially when they’re hugging a date, and “Is he carrying a gun?” is most likely not one of them.

If you’re carrying on the waist and plan on sitting next to your date, you might consider positioning yourself so that they are not on your “weapon side.” Pocket carry of a small revolver or semi auto is an option here. If it is felt, it will come across as a cell phone in your pocket, not a gun.

How Not to Carry

Dating and alcohol often mix well. Guns and alcohol do not. I almost always have drunk friends to look after when I go out on a Friday or Saturday night, so I avoid drinking because I’m probably going to be driving them home. Most people accept this explanation at face value even if my friends are not next to me at the time, and do not press me to have a drink (My friends know that I am carrying and will end up driving them home, but they still ask me to drink).

The same reason generally passes muster on a date as well. Most women do not relish the thought of getting into a car with a drunk driver. On the other hand, it is socially acceptable to have a glass of wine with a nice dinner. Only you can make the right decision for yourself here.

It is important to note that I live in Arizona, where it is legal to carry in an establishment that serves alcohol, as long as you do not consume any alcohol, and as long as the establishment does not prohibit carry. You should understand the laws in your area and decide whether or not you want to break them.

When to Whip It Out

Telling your date that you are carrying a firearm can be tricky. I can’t impart good judgment through a written article, but you need to be attuned to the signals that she is sending you. I don’t always suggest shooting as a possible future date, because I see it as being one or two steps behind telling them that I am carrying. When I do, though, I watch for reactions – did she brighten up and smile at the prospect, or is she unsure? If it’s the latter, you might want to let the subject go for a while. As a side note, most women thoroughly enjoy going shooting for the first time – if you conduct yourself in a safe and responsible manner, and treat them with respect.

I am at somewhat of an advantage compared to other people when it comes to bringing up the subject of guns. If asked what I do for work, I generally respond with “photographer” or “writer.” If pressed further, I’ll explain that I work in the firearm industry. Surprisingly – or, perhaps, not surprisingly – I rarely get a negative reaction to this.

You might be able to bring up the subject if asked about your hobbies. If it doesn’t seem that she is going to ask what you like to do, you might ask about what she likes to do – and you’ll probably score a few points for being the first to ask that question anyway. See how she reacts to learning that you enjoy shooting – it’s better to start there, with a simple description, then it is to launch into any further explanation. Again, carefully watch her reactions.

I generally try to bring this subject up when the date – and the conversation – is going well. Filling an awkward silence in an already strained conversation with “I have a gun” is probably not going to turn out well.

I have made some missteps in this area. A long time ago, I went on several dates with one particular woman, and could not think of any good way to bring up the subject. Finally, during a lull in the conversation, I said “I have something to tell you…” and then proceeded to pause dramatically for several seconds as I thought about how to phrase what I was about to say. After what probably seemed like an eternity to her, I then said “I carry a gun.” She immediately blurted out “That’s it?!”

Apparently, she thought I was about to inform her that I had AIDS, children from several different baby mamas, or was a felon. Finding out that I carry a gun was somewhat less frightening than those other options. The only thing on my mind was carrying, so at the time, I didn’t understand how she would see that long pause from her side. It’s important that you take this into consideration when you choose how to let your date know that you have a gun.

After You’ve Whipped it Out

Once I have informed my date that I am carrying, I generally ask if this bothers them. Although I suppose it is possible that all of them answered out of fear, I have yet to encounter a response that was anything less than a comfortable “No, that doesn’t bother me.” If you have presented the right impression up to this point, you are not likely to encounter a different answer.

Although this question might be taken as a willingness on my part to not carry a gun if it bothers them, it is not. I am genuinely interested in their mental well-being – and I’m equally committed to not surrendering my principles.

Expect further questions on why you carry, if not right away, then at some point in the near future. I normally explain my feelings on personal responsibility and self-reliance, although this depends on the situation.

Even though she now knows that you’re carrying, don’t take this as a license to suddenly carry in a manner that’s going to make her uncomfortable. I don’t relish the thought of having a gun rubbed on me, and I don’t imagine anyone else does, either.

Keeping It in Your Pants

Sometimes, things move too fast. You might not be able to bring up the subject at the perfect time, especially if you have already reached a point where clothes are flying and hands are exploring. This is where ankle carry becomes a great option. I have yet to meet a woman with a foot fetish, and it’s fairly easy to slip off an ankle holster along with, for example, a shoe.

As I mentioned above, you need to have confidence in your equipment – and the firearm should be secured in the holster even if the holster is no longer attached to your body. You don’t want a Glock sliding across the hardwood floor of her living room towards her cat. Beyond that, though, you don’t want to be spending time making sure that the pistol is still in the holster. She won’t appreciate any distractions at this point, especially if she suddenly notices that you are holding a gun while fumbling with her bra strap. That would send the wrong message.

Final Thoughts

While I don’t suggest that you overdo it, being attentive to what she has to say, as opposed to only half listening to what might seem like an unending monologue, has many benefits. Not only will you find out when – and possibly how – to tell her that you’re carrying, you’ll also find out other things that might be beneficial for a future relationship. After all, you’re carrying a gun to preserve your life, her life, and the possibility of that exact relationship. Don’t let nervousness about letting her know that you carry get in the way of that.

48 comments

  • This is going to become a classic, is my guess.

    Two things: you summed it all up in the first paragraph very–ultimately you are who you and if your date can’t handle then you’ve gathered valuable info and saved yourself time. Secondly, for the article entitle Advanced Ways To Tell Your Date That You Are Carrying you need to embed yourself and date in Portland, Or.

    Naw, I’m just kidding. In fact all those methods work just as well in blue states and cities.

    • Heh, I go to Portland State and somehow have yet to meet someone who’s been put off by the fact that I carry or like to shoot.

  • Andrew – EPIC win with the headings there (when to whip it out, etc)! Another great article.

  • Loving each and every article you’ve been putting out this week sir. Very thought provoking and well stated. Keep it up!

  • One of the most fun blog posts I have ever read! Even though I am long long time married, I have actually thought of how I would handle this if I ever found myself single/widowed. Nicely thought out. Ha! Funny too!

  • I check this blog everyday, always good, sometimes great, this week…..off the scale!!

  • Fantastic. Your article just gave me an idea – I suspect there’s money to be had in opening a singles site that’s pro gun focused! LoL

  • Great post. It reminds me not of dating but of the agony I went through in college when I tried to teach guys in the college shooting club how to interact with the majority of the student population who didn’t even realize that firearms were legal.

    Your suggestions on etiquette and easing into the subject extend beyond dating and apply to general social interaction. You would be surprised(or maybe not…) how many “gun guys” I met in school thought it was a good idea to start a conversation with a complete stranger about zombies(not the pop-culture kind…), black helicopters, the ATF, or some other polarizing and stereotypical subject.

  • Andrew, I have a Smith and Wesson 637 airweight.. what kind of ankle holster would you recommend for it? I bought a bunch of crappy holsters before finally upping the ante and getting a great holster for waist carry… I don’t want to make the same mistakes and waste a bunch of money on an ankle holster. What’s the best? Btw, great article as usual.

    • I have a DeSantis Apache. It is not perfect, but I have carried with it for almost 3 years, and it works well. It is not too expensive, either, so if you hate it, you won’t lose too much money.

  • This is my weapon…this is my gun! Love the ambiguous lead-in headlines. Great article, something probably more relevant than 9 vs. 45 for most of us young men who are dating…or trying to.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated that women are not usually afraid of guns…just the idea of ‘those people who carry guns’ Probably a more common mindset in liberal minded younger women in the cities.

    On a date, I think one of the better ways to bring up the subject that you carry a gun/are actually carrying, is with the different, ‘so what do you like to do’ back and forths, you say. “well, recently I’ve started going to the pistol range quite a bit’ or something like that. It works better than blurting out…’I have an obsession with powerful, aesthetically pleasing dangerous tools’…in my experience.

    Again…great article. BTW I’ve also noticed that more girls put ‘shooting range/guns’ as ‘interests’ on match.com and other dating sites. Its become more trendy, and kind of a common 1st date activity. Thats good!

  • Good article as usual. Luckily I dont have to date anymore, but this is all good advice for those that do.

  • One of my coworkers started a new relationship recently and he and his girlfriend had a conversation about strange situations on first dates. One of the things she told him was the strangest she’d ever encountered was that one of her dates “actually carried a gun on him on our first date, into the restaurant!” She wasn’t necessarily scared by it but she did think the guy was a “weirdo” for carrying a gun.

  • LOL, now how would you feel finding out your date was carrying? As a female, I’ve wondered what to tell people myself.

    • I would be thrilled. Honestly.

    • Dan from THE INTERNET

      Well, Lisa, here’s a little story. ONE time, back in college, I accidentally placed myself between the door and a rather small girl who was questioning my intentions and thinking about leaving my room. Knowing that she really was helpless obviously spooked her and she left pretty quick with no resistance from me, because I’m not an idiot and I felt bad about the faux pas. I’ve been very careful to never do it again since that night. But I sure as hell wouldn’t do it to a girl that I knew was carrying a gun – not even on accident.

      Happy ending: we wound up dating for 6 or 7 months after that with no hard feelings about the eventual breakup. College…

  • Great post. My last girlfriend was a gun advocate. That was great. Easy to take to the range, and easy to have one in the night stand drawer for her when I was traveling on business, etc. Good advice going forward.

  • My suggestion would be to keep the firearm concealed until the clothes come off. Then, when you draw the firearm to set it aside, just like you would your belt or shoes, if she reacts, the correct response will be something very nonchalant and unneedy.
    “Oh my god, a gun.”
    “Yes? And?”

    This will probably help your date more than it hurts it. Women are more interested in solid, strong men, than their political opinions.

  • Reminds me of an old story.

    A couple marries, and are to be taken to their honeymoon destination by horse and carriage. The horse shies at taking the bit. The groom says, under his breath, “One.” When leaving the grounds of the Church the horse balks at crossing the threshold. “Two,’ the groom says, quietly. As they are driving down Fifth Avenue the horse is frightened by an automobile, and rears. “Three,” says the groom. He jumps out of the carriage, draws a pistol from his vest, puts it to the horse’s head, and shoots the horse dead.

    “Oh My God,” wails the bride. “What kind of monster have I married?” The groom says, “One.”

    Tell her about it when she has to know, and not before. It’s not really going to be her business until she has to know. So it all works out well.

  • This article was just hyper-linked over at Instapundit.com. Winning.

  • Concealed is concealed. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Worse thing to reveal that you are carrying to someone who doesn’t understand SELF-DEFENSE rules of engagement. My B-I-L knows I carry and I’m now scared the idiot will call out in a “situation” ‘Shoot him, shoot him!” if we are confronted blowing any tactical advantage.

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  • I don’t understand why you would ever tell someone you’re carrying. That defeats the entire purpose of concealed carry. The only reasons I can think of is that it is more of a conversation topic than a tool and/or you carry to boost your ego. If you carry to boost your ego, you have a problem. If someone is feeble minded enough to be afraid of an inanimate object, why would you want to see them again?
    Respectfully, Robin

    • You have essentially made my point for me, Robin. If you would like to know why I carry, see the article below this one titled “I Am Not a Sheepdog.”

  • Jack wrote…….

    December 16th, 2011 – 13:11
    Great post. My last girlfriend was a gun advocate. That was great. Easy to take to the range, and easy to have one in the night stand drawer for her when I was traveling on business, etc. Good advice going forward.

    Jack I was speed reading your comment and to my brain it came out “easy to have a one night stand for her”
    so naturally it caught my eye.

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  • With all the double entendres, I’m surprised no one has made the obvious Mae West joke: “Don’t think I’m not glad to see you, but yes, that is a gun in my pocket”.

  • Is it any harder than telling her you have herpes?

    And think of it – if she asks, you can truthfully say, “Yes, that is a pistol on my pocket”.

  • I don’t mind if a guy is carrying-as long as he knows how to use it.

    • I met my husband in a six-day tactical pistol class. While dating he told me how revealing the fact that he carried was usually a major deal breaker with women. Personally, I was very impressed that he carried all the time. It made me feel good to know I was with a strong independent man who was responsible. I am very glad we are out of the dating scene and the ridiculous games, especially having to deal with anti-gun dates. We are both always armed and have a very high mutual respect for the other because of it.
      I agree with you, always be yourself. If your date can’t handle that then move on…

  • He: “Both”
    She: “Both??”
    He: “I am happy to see you, AND I have a gun in my pocket”

  • “Filling an awkward silence in an already strained conversation with “I have a gun” is probably not going to turn out well.” Good line.

    I’m in the “don’t ask don’t tell” camp, especially with someone you don’t know well. After she knows (and hopefully trusts) you a little, she’s much more likely to respond favorably to the fact that you’re carrying. Most of us have dated a few people who turned out to be nuts, and on a first date she’s probably trying to figure out if you fit in that category. Just make small talk, chew with your mouth closed and save the gun talk for later.

  • WHEN TO CARRY – Simple : ALL THE TIME, even at home in my house.

    On a date, you talk about hobbies and I always include target shooting. If this rings positive (or at least NOT negative), I ask if she would like to try it some time. When we get finally around to the subject of being armed, I ask my date if she has insurance on her CAR. She always answers YES. I then ask if she has insurance on her home. Again, YES. So I ask her if she REALLY LOOKS FORWARD TO HAVING TO USE HER INSURANCE. At that point she usually says NO, she HOPES she never has to use it.
    Then I tell her that this, as I point to my gun, is MY INSURANCE, and like you, I hope I NEVER have to use it, either.
    With that explanation, she then understands.
    I have passed this line of thinking on to many of the shooters I rub shoulders with, and many of them seem to like it and have told me that they will steal the thought from me and use it too. Of course, I welcome them to it, as we need to advance our line of thinking on to as many people as we can.

  • First of all, I want to say that this article is extremely well written (compared to a lot of gun pieces I read where the writers can barely spell their own name), and your use of innuendo with gun jargon is sheer genius. That being said, I’m a new CCH permittee, and previously had been a moderate, but now understand the value of 2nd amendment rights. I do, however, think, if guns did not exist at all, but instead I was broaching the subject of whether I needed to tell my date that I was carrying something else (example: a cellphone), then ‘no’ I would never even bring it up. She would see it when I used it and that would be just co-incidental. Not disagreeing with the author, I think that I would probably let her find out about my gun naturally. It would never be one of the primary things on my mind to talk about because I want my gun to be a natural part of my life. If, one day, I can save our lives through its use by whipping it out against some felons, then so be it. I believe she will think I’m a hero, when in reality I’m just doing what I think ought to be done. On the other hand, if she enjoys guns as well, so much the better. Well done Vurrwapen.

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  • This article was simply great, I wish I had read it about a week ago before my date but hey now I know. And I don’t know what your talking about Andy, I totally relish the thought of having guns rubbed on me. Thanks again and keep these very unique and informative articles coming.

  • I open carried one time on a date(only way for me to carry) and at some point I mentioned something about the fact I was carrying a gun and she said “Wait you sometimes carry a gun?” I was like “Um I’m carrying now.” and she looked down and was rather shocked that she hadn’t noticed.

    SN:Didn’t affect anything, we still go out from time to time just not sure I want a relationship with her, we’ll see. And this girl was from New York City not really sure if you could find a place that is more anti gun.

  • Love the article. It reminds me of my sister, who carries in her purse and, because of her personality, could use an article on “How not to horrify your fellow women” because her only trick is to say, “What’s in my purse is not your business.” (Yes, she’s lovely, if lovely is Clint Eastwood in a woman). And, if I may digress, I was impressed when we attended a class together on identifying domestic violence in the home and the instructor asked her how she would react if she had gotten dressed to go out and her husband told her, “You look like a slut,” and she said, “Depends on where we’re going.”

  • You are a moron of the greatest magnitude. If you took me on a date ‘carrying’ without telling me I would have you arrested and do everything I could to put you in jail. This kind of behavior is beyond inconsiderate and reprehensible not knowing how the other party feels about guns. Have fun continuing to lie to yourself and the rest of the world by suggesting that such behavior is even remotely ok.

    • Have me arrested…for what?

      If you can have me arrested for something that isn’t illegal, then I can have you arrested for gross stupidity and ignorance of the law. I could have you arrested for wearing white after Labor Day! I could have you arrested for existing!

      And since I don’t date stupid people, you won’t have to worry about it.

    • So Evelyn, let me get this straight. If I’m a woman going out on a date with a “seems like a nice” guy, I am suppose to leave my gun at home (even though it’s perfectly legal for me conceal & carry) or “see if it’s ok with him,” so I don’t offend him or be deemed inconsiderate?

      WHAT IF I tell him I am carrying? WHAT IF this seemingly nice guy (he was obviously “nice enough” to agree to a date with) then casually asks where I carry it? WHAT IF he turns out to be a rapist and/or killer and I am his next intended victim? I have then lost the element of surprise with my most effective weapon of self defense that I can possibly have against a bigger, stronger, violent man who fully knows his own evil plan/intentions.

      Evelyn, WHAT IF this woman was YOU?

      “Have fun continuing to lie to yourself and the rest of the world” that it can’t or won’t ever happen to you. The fact is, most rapes are committed by someone they have already met or somewhat know; it’s not the stereotypical boogie man in a ski mask in a dark alley. If I had to “check with my date” to be sure it was ok and he said no, there would be no date, and I would be better off in all aspects… and alive. Seriously, what kind of man would not want his girl friend or “girlfriend” to have the means to protect herself?

      Even if I was a lesbian, I wouldn’t date you either. Ignorance is not bliss.

  • You have one thing right. You wouldn’t have to worry about it because any person who is as grossly inconsiderate to carry not knowing how the other would feel is the height of inconsiderate and would never be able to enjoy the company of the likes of me. This is just basic human respect and if you can’t understand that then you have a major problem weather you want to admit it or not. Goodbye.

    • “Weather” you want to admit it or not, your thought process is entirely irrational.

      By your logic, no one should ever date anyone for fear of being inconsiderate about any one of a trillion things.

      Again, I am really broken up about not “enjoying the company of the likes of (you).”

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