Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: A Concealed Carry Reading List

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

There are plenty of books out there on plenty of subjects. For the person who carries and/or owns guns for the purposes of protection, there are a few that should be on your bookshelf.

Granted, there are a lot of books on the topic out there and by a whole lot of people. Just like informative works on any topic you can imagine – car repair, cooking, history, whatever – some are good, some are bad. Some have stood the test of time, and others are outdated to the point of becoming just plain wrong. Then you have newer works that are a better assessment of something in the modern day.

So, let’s run down a few concealed carry books that you should read at some point. This list isn’t exhaustive; feel free to sound off in the comments if there’s one that you feel is better. It’s more that each one of these works has a singular value to the armed man, woman or person who identifies otherwise.

One of the most obvious is “The Law of Self-Defense” by Andrew Branca. Andrew Branca is an attorney, and specializes in the area of lawful self-defense by a citizen. This book goes in detail, and in understandable terms, explaining what the law requires in order for a person to make a successful claim of self-defense. The bar – pardon the pun – is higher than many people realize.

We carry and bear to protect ourselves with deadly force if it becomes necessary. This book covers the legal use of force, including deadly force, in the defense of one’s self or others. It is incumbent upon you to know and act in accordance with the laws. Ignorance of them is not an excuse.

A good companion book which covers much of the same ground is “Deadly Force” by Massad Ayoob. Massad Ayoob published “In The Gravest Extreme,” one of the first works exploring how the citizen may defend themselves with deadly force more than 30 years ago, but this is an updated version.

However, it extends beyond just the legal aspects, as he also covers the psychological aftermath of having to defend yourself with a gun. With decades of experience and knowledge, he also lays bare the skills you need to hone in order to defend yourself successfully, threat detection and how to avoid putting yourself in situations where you might have to defend yourself. While it covers self-defense law as well, it is a more comprehensive overview of the subject.

Sometimes, however, the classics still have some value. Without doubt, one of the better works to have in your library is “No Second Place Winner” by Bill Jordan. Jordan was a US Marine and a career peace officer, serving for more than 30 years in the US Border Patrol and is still one of their most decorated agents. He was also blisteringly fast and shockingly accurate with almost any firearm, being able to draw, fire and hit a target in less than one-third of a second.

While this book is sorely out of date in some regards and was written more for police officers, it still has a lot of value for the armed citizen. Jordan was an expert handgunner, and his tips on trigger technique, combat sighting techniques (point shooting up close, quick sight pictures at medium distances and aimed fire at long-range) and practical defense training are still valid. His views on semi-autos less so, of course, but it’s remained in print for more than 60 years for good reason.

For nostalgists or anyone that’s into old gunwriters and so on, the pictures include snapshots of other legendary shooters including Elmer Keith, Charles Askins and Delf “Jelly” Bryce.

Another classic tome worth mentioning is “Principles of Personal Defense” by Col. Jeff Cooper. Obviously, Cooper’s influence is still felt today. The subject of this book is the defensive mindset, written by one of the masters of defensive pistol shooting. That makes it well-worth the trouble running a copy down, as Paladin Press – the publisher – unfortunately went belly-up last year.

Some other good reading from the pages of recent history would be your choice between “Guns, Bullets And Gunfights” or “Tales Of The Stakeout Squad,” both written by Jim Cirillo. The latter, also formerly published by Paladin, is harder to find but the former is easy. (There’s even a Kindle edition.) Cirillo was a veteran officer of the NYPD, serving on the infamous Stakeout Squad and surviving a number of shootouts with armed suspects. Cirillo covers training, equipment, and details what he did to survive in an armed encounter.

If you want to read what it’s like to be in a gunfight, and what it takes to emerge victorious from someone who actually did it, Cirillo did exactly that, which makes them worth the read.

Have any other suggestions? Feel free to drop them in the comments.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit