As usual, SIGforum members come through with solid advice and tips...so I'll try not to duplicate them.
Outstanding decision by you to get your state's carry license, but, even more so, to get training. Getting quality training now, early in your shooting experience, will pay dividends that will last a lifetime. It is far easier to learn how to do something right early on, rather than to have to "unlearn" mistakes that you have practiced to the point of habit and comfort with them. Quality firearms training will teach you how to maximize your training time, both at home and during live-fire range time, and quality training will also show you how to self-assess your own shooting so that even when an instructor isn't standing beside you, you can still determine what is happening with your shots and technique.
Far too many gun owners get wrapped up in the guns and gear, and I do understand that is the sexy fun part...but quality training helps to make you a better and safer shooter, no matter what gun or accessories you decide on. It can also help you to better evaluate which guns and accessories better meet your individual needs.
My advice would be to reserve a portion of your shooting budget for additional quality training and classes, throughout your shooting career.
The previous advice of reading books on the use of guns and defensive force is excellent. Although dated by today's gun tech standards, Ayoob's In the Gravest Extreme is still worth a read, as well as many other books on the subject.
I would also advise going slowly on modifying or accessorizing your gun(s) and gear. Get to know the OEM gun and holster first. Sometimes adding an accessory or customization can interfere with another piece of gear, requiring yet more gear or modifications. Sometimes modifying or customization will yield benefits, but you won't know that until you have had a chance to test the gun and holster first.
I'm reluctant to suggest any individual mfr. or model... especially for new shooters. There are far too many individual needs and purposes and environments to suggest that platform X will work for you just because it works for me. Focus on what works for your individual requirements.
If you haven't done so already, I'd strongly suggest you learn about the various action types, their strengths, their weaknesses, and both their mechanical and functional design characteristics. It may not make much difference to you now, but understanding action types and their characteristics will help you to decide which guns or platforms make the most sense for your individual requirements.
I'm generally reluctant to suggest striker-fired guns to new gun owners. Perhaps, in your case, as you have already taken some training, it may be alright, but as a general rule, it is best reserved for those who have ingrained gun safety into their handling skills as reflexively as breathing.
Consider reading this thread:
Single Action Only vs. Striker-fired
Bill, welcome to the forum!
Update, completed CCDW training. Carried first time today (I bought a M&P Shield for this, couldn’t afford the P365 and my 320 is a little bigger than I want to drag around). It was not as weird as I thought it might be, kind of like carrying a knife, which I do always. Anyway, seems good, I do feel sense of responsibility. Another lesson with instructor next week.
Thanks, I appreciate your thoughtful advice. I am actively pursuing training and shoot weekly.
Your words re modifications really ring true. I teach high performance driving on race tracks for several organizations. Often students show up with highly modified cars and no skills. My advice is always the same: invest in seat time, not horsepower. My car is not a HP monster but I pass higher powered cars pretty regularly.
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In addition to all the other very good advice so far — good quality gun belt, good quality holster, and training — I would suggest that once you’re “strapped” and out in public, leave the holstered gun alone! New carriers tend to check it a lot, which can draw attention to it, or at least to you. If you’re carrying a firearm attention is the last thing you want. That’s where a good gun belt and good holster come into play — you shouldn’t have to worry about the gun staying put, normally. (There will be times when you want to check it, just don’t overdo it.)
As was also pointed out already, most non-gun folk are oblivious anyway. I once had my M11-A1 holstered in an IWB clip holster get caught on a chair at Village Inn, dislodging it unbeknownst to me. As I stood up, the now dislodged gun tumbled to the floor. The other diners in the nearby booths didn’t seem to notice at all. I later corrected that by changing out the clips with straps with one-way snaps. Not all clips are susceptible, but the ones on this particular holster didn’t grab the belt too well, plus I was wearing a very slippery 100% polyester polo tucked in.
Also, know that there are no silly questions here - carrying a gun is serious business, and we all want to help each other do it safely and confidently.
Welcome to the fold, fellow armed citizen!
Regards From Sunny Tucson,
"Faith isn't believing that God can; it's knowing that He will." (From a sign on a church in Nicholasville, Kentucky)
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