It seems as though every time I turn on the news, I hear about concealed carry permits, and it’s caused me to wonder how popular concealed carry has become. I can remember taking my permit class and only having a few choices in holsters and firearms, mainly due to the old school mentality in my city.  A little research revealed that conceal carry has become one of the hottest things in the firearms industry.  In just a little over eight years, the industry has exploded with new “slim line guns,” “pocket pistols,” and a whole new variety of holsters, from ones that are designed to fit onto the steering wheel column to the Flash Bang bra holster.  Further research revealed that Florida first allowed concealed carry in 1987, and according to the Florida Department of Agriculture, over 1 million permits are currently active.  Also according to the Florida Department of Agriculture, permit applications have been like a flash flood, and that due to an increase in applications, they are unable to keep up with them, making turn-around take months. So, what is it about the concept of concealed carry permit that makes it hotter than the new iPhone? I hit the local ranges and talked to the managers about the new craze, and what I found was quite interesting.

CITIZENS ARE TIRED OF LIVING IN FEAR.

One gun store manager told me that almost everyone who comes to the carry permit classes is there to learn about self-defense laws, and to better protect themselves in what they referred to as “unsure times.” I was able to talk to a couple people who were attending a concealed carry permit class and was told that one was robbed at the ATM and didn’t want to take a chance anymore. The other attendee stated, “I am tired of turning on the news and seeing all of these robberies, break-ins, and random shootings. I’m here to learn the law, and to protect my family at all times.” Almost all of the students agreed with one another: They’re tired of the fear, and they want to be able to protect themselves.

CLASSES ARE OVERFLOWING: THE STATE IS BACKED UP.

I remember taking my CC class in 2009, just a few days before I turned 21.  I was like many of the other students: I wanted protection. I had seen the bad in my city, the senseless random crimes, and wanted to even the field, and to be able to defend myself if the stuff hit the fan. People still want those things, but the number of citizens reaching those conclusions have risen exponentially. Classes today are overflowing with students.  Many places in my area hold four classes a day and still turn people away. During my time working at a local gun shop, I would sign up an average 200 people a week for the one class we had each Saturday. Classes across the country are the same way. On the other end of the equation, some states are so backlogged, it could take months after mailing in your application to receive your permit.

NEWER, SMALLER GUNS AND MORE HOLSTER CHOICES HAVE HIT THE MARKET.

Concealed carry: Lessons learned

Read Next: Concealed carry: Lessons learned

I remember choosing my first handgun to carry—a Smith & Wesson Sigma—and my first holster: an Uncle Mike’s fabric holster. There wasn’t much to choose from just a few years ago, but now, each day a new, conceal-friendly mouse gun hits the market, such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, the Springfield XD-S, the S&W Bodyguard 380, or the even smaller North American Arms revolvers. And holster companies have fired back with holsters to fit all of these guns, from a Galco King Tuck holster to the North American Arms belt-buckle holster.  The options are seemingly endless.  In my opinion, concealed carry is here to stay.  I feel the same as many others who are now permit holders; I don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and not be able to defend myself.

So, is having a concealed carry permit the new craze? Or are people finally doing what the Boy Scouts do best: being prepared?  I’ll let you decide.

Feature photo courtesy of donikadeneva.girlshopes.com