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The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry, and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense Paperback – September 1, 2004

124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Chris Bird goes beyond the usual hardware and into the critical software: the ethics, the morality, the emotional and psychological elements of preparation, survival, and aftermath in a way that gives his book the third dimension of depth. I would recommend The Concealed Handgun Manual for the library of anyone who goes armed in public.”  —Massad Ayoob, director, Lethal Force Institute, and author, The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry

“A really good book for someone who is not sure if they want to carry. It definitely fills a need.”  —Former Senator Jerry Patterson

“Chris Bird’s text on this important subject is thorough and expert. Highly recommended!”  —John Farnam, president, Defense Training International

“The book explores all aspects and ramifications of carrying a concealed firearm. In addition to shooting instruction and guidance as to when it would be necessary to fire a gun in self-defense, the book also recounts many real-life events. This is an extremely useful guide for those who want to learn more about the world of concealed carry.”  —Michael O. Humphries, American Rifleman

“Through Chris Bird's significant journalistic talents, the reader meets numerous gun owners, and learns why they carry a defensive firearm. A good number of Bird's anecdotes concern women and how they came to carry a gun. Expect stories about female stalking survivors, women who used cunning and courage to emerge unscathed from home burglaries, survivors of infamous shoot-outs and more.”  —Gila Hayes, Women & Guns

“A must for those looking to carry a concealed handgun.”  —The Second Amendment Foundation Reporter

“These are all things you need to know to cope with the emotions that overwhelm you in such a situation. He also shows what can go wrong and how the consequences may not be what you expect. If you wear a gun, this is a book you can't afford not to read.”  —Bill Clede, American Guardian Magazine

“Although intended to show readers how to choose, carry, and shoot a gun in self-defense, it does much more. The final chapter gives an excellent overview for each state's concealed carry laws. I use it in my CWP class to help with questions about laws in other states.”  —H. Richard Daniel, president, Gun Owners of South Carolina

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Chris Bird has carried a handgun for more than 40 years. He is a former police reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, a certified concealed handgun instructor, and a director of the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor Association. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 459 pages
  • Publisher: Privateer Publications; 4th edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965678415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965678414
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,820,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

250 of 252 people found the following review helpful By Joe D on July 19, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Concealed Handgun Manual caught me by surprise. Most books purporting to be a guide to acquiring a gun for defense, or training for handgun defense become either an exercise where the author promotes his personal choice for a handgun, or a defense technique book for someone who has been in police or other law enforcement service for 20 years. This book is a valuable exception. What The Concealed Handgun Manual has to offer is knowledge, knowledge that would suit anyone considering a defensive handgun purchase, as well as 90% of the people who have already purchased a gun for self defense and have had a difficult time initiating proper training.
There is an early section dealing with the types of situations where a defensive handgun was, or could have been helpful. I don't think the author was selling, I think this was intended to be affirmation of the notion that guns can, in a very practical setting, save lives. This is followed by a large section addressing the question, "Why carry a gun?". Then immediately after this section is the best chapter possible for this type of work, a chapter covering how to stay out of trouble and the use of nonviolent resolution.
There is very complete and balanced coverage of pistols and revolvers; pro's and con's, application, caliber and relative value. No pushes or shoves, just some very objective information the reader can pick and choose from, more than "This is the best of what each has to offer", rather than "This is the type you should pick". There is a good section on holsters, holster types and manufacturers, as well as other vehicles for concealed carry.
Shooting methods and alternatives under various situations are covered extensively; basic and advanced techniques are both covered.
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Joseph H Pierre on June 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the most complete book for new, or even experienced, handgun owners I have seen. Former crime reporter Chris Bird covers the subject of firearms, their efficacy in reducing crime, techniques for concealing them, when to use them and not to use them, and the ethics, responsibilities and legalities involved in their use for self-defense.
The book is replete with dozens of anecdotes of people who have had experiences where the use of a handgun saved them or their friends or family from serious injury or death, the massive effects of adrenalin and ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone secreted by the pituitary gland) usually present in life or death situations like gunfights, and instances like the one at Luby's Cafeteria, where a single armed person could have saved many lives.
Bird covers the operation and nomenclature of both revolvers and semi-automatics, and discusses the pros and cons of the desirability of one over the other for self protection. He also discusses at minimal length the requirements of the various states with "shall issue" concealed weapons laws, and tells you where and how to get more information directly from the state involved.
Gun-control arguments, pro and con, are discussed, although clearly the author is dismissive of the arguments in favor of more gun control laws, and ascribes the effort to disarm the public to people who know nothing about firearms or their use and are afraid of them as a result of their ignorance. Their arguments are usually emotional, anecdotal, resort to ad hominem attacks, and are dismissive of the facts and statistics. I agree with him in that evaluation.
Altogether, this is one of the most informative, valuable books on how to choose, carry, and shoot a gun in self-defense around.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By J Cabaniss on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just finished the second edition (year 2000 printing) of Chris Bird's "The Concealed Handgun Manual." The book is VERY well written, providing real life examples for Bird's major points. I'm not providing a glowing review just because the author and I live in the same city, but I am aware of most of the examples that were San Antonio events and his telling of the events conforms to my recall.
The section that had the greatest impact on me is his discussion of the results of actually USING deadly force. I'm not talking about the emotional impact, but the legal and financial consequences.
The first two reviewers took Bird to task on several issues to which I want to respond. No, the book is not racist in any way. I suspect his writing is probably influenced by his reporter skills. Greater details improve the accounting of any factual event.
I don't recall Bird writing that the woman was correct to enter her home while burglars were in action. Bird was just telling the reader what happened...the book is not fiction, he just reported the events.
I feel certain that Bird would not recommend any one use his book exclusively to select a weapon and strap it to his hip. Much can be discovered by renting various handguns for an hour at the range. Further more, I doubt if he would think it proper to decide to carry concealed without ever having spent time practicing at the range and taking some lessons. Also, if a person practices, he will quickly learn about cleaning a firearm.
If you are don't own a handgun, but are thinking about it, or even if you already own a weapon and have a concealed carry permit, this book is beneficial.
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