Should you get a Concealed Carry Badge?

by Dave Chesson

December 12, 2018



A fairly common question we get asked is…

“Should I get a concealed carry badge?”

Well, that’s tough for us to answer for you. Our first instinct is to respond with, “No! You should not get a concealed carry badge.”

However, there’s at least one reason we’ve heard that a little bit of merit (barely).

Let’s explore the pros and cons of a concealed carry badge and you can make your mind up for yourself.

Concealed Carry Badges

Concealed carry badges can be purchased online with no proof of even having a CCW.

In most cases. someone who has a CCW badge carries it hidden within a wallet or a badge holder and only intends to take the concealed carry badge out to show it to someone to prove that they have a concealed carry permit.

As we’ll discuss below, there’s one justification we’ve heard for carrying one like this.

We love the idea of concealed carry and we strongly recommend getting a concealed carry permit in your state if one is available/issued.

We even recommend getting additional CCWs from other states to help when you are traveling. There’s even an option to get a CCW online that allows you to carry in over half the country.

It’s also popular to subscribe to a self defense legal protection plan, typically referred to as “CCW Insurance” (even though it’s not tenchincally insurance).

However, some concealed handgun permit holders decide to wear their badge on their belt or around their neck. We think this is the WORST option if you are going to have a badge for your concealed carry permit.

This often makes the badge-wearer seem as if they are trying to look like a law enforcement officer – not a good idea.

These badges can sometimes be customized with a specific state or even a badge number to make them appear more authentic.

It is important to note: concealed carry badges are not official and they give no authority to the possessor.

So, should you get a concealed carry badge?

Reasons Not to Get a Concealed Carry Badge

The fact that we’re covering the arguments against getting a CCW badge first should make it clear where we stand on the issue.

Our first concern is questioning the motives of someone getting one. We’re not sure, but it seems as if people get concealed carry badges because they are trying to seem “official” at best or appear to be law enforcement at worst.

Having one of these badges may make the holder tempted to show it in certain situations to get out of trouble or impersonate a cop. Both are bad ideas!

Also, much of the gun community (our circle of friends, at least) look down upon these badges as a fake attempt to look important. Again, we’ll discuss below why that may not be the case, but we think that you should be aware of how others (pro and anti gun folks alike) perceive you and your attitude around firearms.

The second issue is what happens if you don’t intentionally show it but it is seen by a real cop during a traffic stop? Is the cop going to think that you’re trying to get out of trouble? Are they going to think that you’re going to try and impersonate being a cop?

We know of a federal agency (we’ll keep it a secret) that had “emblems” on an ID holder that looked fairly close to a badge. One of the non law-enforcement employees “flashed” it during a traffic stop to try to get out of trouble. It caused such a storm that everyone in the entire department (hundreds) had to turn in their “emblems.”

Even someone in a store might see it and later explain to a cop that you were trying to flash it to impress people or that they thought you were a cop. You never know who will see it and misunderstand it.

Yes, the concealed carry badges we’ve seen clearly say “concealed carry badge” instead of “police officer,” but they CLEARLY are designed to look just like a real cop’s badge. That isn’t a coincidence.

Third, what happens if you do have to use your firearm in self defense and this is brought up in court against you? Can you imagine how easily it could be spun that you were a vigilante trying to be a cop and therefore weren’t really acting in self defense?

We think a great defense is to have a valid concealed carry permit – more than one is even better because you show that you’ve bene vetted by more than one state. It also helps to cover you in case you travel to another state!

If you’ve already got your home state’s CCW, great! If not, or if you’d like to get coverage in more states, please check out getting a Virginia Non-Resident (or resident) CCW. You can qualify for it online (yes, really) and apply for it and get it no matter which state is your home state.

And, do not make the mistake of thinking that you’re protected legally after a shooting because of a badge – this is NOT legal protection. If you’re interested in that, check out our Best Concealed Carry Insurance article.

We digress – let’s look at the best argument we’ve heard for getting one. If this doesn’t apply to you/you don’t agree with it, then that’s our fourth argument against concealed carry badges – there’s no good reason to get one.

Benefit of a Concealed Carry Badge

The best argument we’ve heard for getting a CCW badge is for identification after a justified use of force with a concealed handgun.

The scenario we hear is generally: you just used your firearm to defend yourself and a police officer shows up on the scene and sees you with your gun. If you pull out a concealed carry badge the cop might see that you’re a “good guy” and not mistake you for the bad-guy.

This might have some merits, but not for us.

It is not clear whether most cops will think you’re a good guy. After all, we already explained that ANYONE can get a concealed carry badge. This includes the bad guys. Therefore, if the cop knows it’s a CCW badge, it doesn’t prove anything.

The only time it could work is if the cop thinks it’s a real badge. Well, we already covered the problems with that above.

So, if you like the idea of trying to identify yourself as a good guy after a justified shooting, who are we to argue? It could definitely work.

However, please be careful with it and don’t let it be seen by anyone until you’re absolutely sure that you want them to.

So, What Should You Do?

We recommend spending your time and money on training and getting a quality firearm, holster, and ammunition.

If you’re interested in the online CCW we referenced above, you should check out


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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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  1. Thanks for mentioning that a CCW gives you the right to justified use of force with a firearm. I’ve always been a little fearful of walking alone, and I think that a CCW badge would be helpful for me. I’ll have to talk to a licensing service to see what this would take.

    1. NO! A CCW does NOT give you the right to justified use of force with a a firearm. A CCW gives you the ability to legally carry a concealed firearm.

    2. I would check with your state Investigative Service before swinging a badge around, regardless of being a concealed weapons badge. 25 years as an Investigator and I’ve seen them all. Each state is different as to identifying you carry a valid CPL license. Here in Michigan regardless of the stop before the officer even begins to question you, you must advise him under SS 22425F Part 3, that you have a valid CPL and that you have a weapon in such a such place in your car. There is nothing that says you cant have a CPL badge. Shiny badges cause confusion especially to a rookie or an Academy cops. Their lack of training makes them dangerous to the public as they do not know the law as all State Troopers and or State Investigators, as they are better trained and can keep the situation in their control. Its either legal in your state or not. As for CPL’s rights, it simply gives you the right to carry a firearm not to use force. Their other reasons to carry, self defense, etc. Remember when that bullet leaves the barrel you are solely responsible for where it goes and who it hits. So I would say the hell with a badge and put your money in to more training. The NRA has several classes as well as privately licensed organization that teach more in depth training, even tactical training in case the country turns in to a clusterF*$k!

  2. Well, you bring up some good and bad on both sides. But i do have to agree, that in a shoot-out. The badge might give you a few seconds before a cop or a by stander opens up on you. Can a bad guy use a badge too, sure, he can also use a gun he is NOT suppose to have too. So to me it is a toss up. If you are stupid enough to act like you are a cop with this badge, you should not even have the gun either.

    1. I have never known of a criminal showing or wear ccw badge committing crimes. Lol do you think they really even think of such a thing? Police do have common sense to question when they see a badge then when only seeing a gun. This is 2023 now things are even more crazy then ever before. All I can say is a good ccw citizen will need to do what can be done to stay alive when defending yourself or others when need be.

      1. I’ve never seen criminals fake that they’re the police for home invasions. But, yes, they do think of and do that even though I’ve never seen it.

  3. I see it a lot differently as a African American/ Native American. Right now, having something that even resembles a possible brother in arms is worth having on you. It could be a matter of life and death. Not the idiot flashing the badge, impersonating an officer, or trying to look official. I’m talking a man of color carrying his weapon going into a store, and the cashier clerk thinking she is about to get robbed. From our perspective, using it strategically, in the case of accidental exposure would be prudent for the sake of safety. Plus, who knows a little awareness that not every man of color carrying a gun is armed and dangerous. I don’t expect that to make sense to most unless you’ve walked and lived in my skin color. Respectfully spoken.

  4. It seems to me that nobody is stating the obvious. Why do we get a CCW instead of open carry (if it’s legal in your state)? To keep it concealed!! We don’t want anyone to know that we’re carrying and having a badge that draws attention to the idea that you are carrying a gun is just stupid. You may actually lose your advantage in a situation that calls for no one to know you have a weapon. I can’t see any good reason to have a badge other than the fact that they look cool. Look cool doing something else. This can be a life or death decision, and it may not be your life I’m talking about. Come-on people. Keep it on the down-low. The way it was intended.

    1. A badge is a visual aid till your able to identify verbally and physically pull your permit out. That’s all it’s good for if people think other then that it’s on them. I’d rather be judged by jury of 12 then carried by loved ones of 6.

  5. I don’t know if any police officer who says, “Well, I DID see the shield but I figured it was fake, so I shot the guy anyways..” should actually BE a police officer..

    In the heat of the moment during a crowd based mass shootings, LEOs rely on their judgment.. If I am responding to a mass shooting and I see someone with a shield on, I would rather take a bullet from a shooter with a fake badge than have to live with myself for shooting a brother officer..

    In that regard alone, I see the merits of a concealed weapons badge…

  6. For legal carry permit holders, I’m thinking it would make a lot of sense to keep your carry permit inside the badge holder/wallet with the badge for the times when you need to present your legal carry permit to law enforcement. It keeps it all easily accessible for you as well as law enforcement. I don’t see any other reason to even own and certainly don’t see any reason to flash one around.

  7. If one is pulled over for a traffic violation, when the officer approaches the driver, should the driver then tell the officer he has a concealed carry permit with a gun in his possession? In other words how do you handle the situation? Richard

    1. In some states, it is required to tell an officer that you are carrying a concealed firearm. In all cases, I think it is a wise idea so that the officer knows about it and isn’t surprised later. In my experience, it also goes a long way to show that you’re a “good guy.”

  8. When I was in law enforcement in Miami our training scenarios often had a guy with a gun in his hand holding a badge in a wallet out so you knew not to shoot him. All law enforcement officers recognize there are both undercover officers out there and off duty like themselves when they are not working. I carry a CCW badge which is outside the wallet recessed. if I ever have to draw my firearm, asap I will draw the wallet badge so I don’t get shot by an officer, security guard or even another CCW holder.

  9. I carried as an armed private investigator and the primary utility of having a shield is to keep trigger happy cops from shooting you right away.

    Otherwise, they’ll pry your CCW permit from your cold, dead fingers AFTER they’ve done their customary “bang! bang! Freeze! Police!”

    The secondary utility, which follows closely on the first, are to assuage the panic of gun-banning Sheeple who are completely unfamiliar with the Second Amendment, and skyrocket into bug-eyed panic at the sight of an armed citizen, should the wind expose your carry weapon, or the weapon print through whatever you are wearing to conceal it.

    The carriage of said badge would be immediately adjacent to the gun holster, preferably, any inadvertent exposure should reveal the badge first, but in any instance, at least with the weapon.

    Never waved as if you are an LEO if you are not an LEO.

    1. A person who allows their concealed carry gun to be exposed is too careless to carry a concealed weapon.

      1. Dude stop your total BS.this is the 2nd time I’ve read your response accidents do happen stop with your mightier then thou mess.

  10. Five years ago when I got my CCW I thought the same about the badge. Stupid people wanting to think they are cops. Today a cop will shoot anyone they see with a gun, and without a question. it is to kill not disarm. I would think a shiny metal thing hanging from your neck would give you a few more seconds before they open fire. Keep it concealed at all times just like your firearm. There are just too many stories of the good guy getting shot by police. Yes They will know it is a fake, but it will give you time to put down your gun. Instead of your life.

  11. I do carry a firearm and a badge right next to it. This keeps freaked out people who always see a gun and start dialing for police when they see this. But I was given a CCW badge BY a friend who is in Law Enforcement and stated t keep it near my firearm and to have my permit copy folded between the badge and badge holder. This has kept stupid people from yelling “GUN!” at the top of their lungs and bringing attention to me because then people see a badge and police will also see this, I show them my CCW either the folded copy or the plastic one I have in my wallet. This has served me when a police officer was pinned down with a traffic stop and couldn’t get to his radio because the suspect blew his radio to pieces off his belt. I carry a Sig Sauer P228 and identified myself and asked if he needed assistance. YES!! Please cover me, I need to get my shotgun! I covered him with fire and by the time he got his shotgun, one of the bullets I threw it its mark just under the suspects right ear. If I had not been there, the suspect would have kept firing with the AR-15 he was armed with and just shot the officer quickly. I was fortunate enough that the suspect didn’t see me as a threat and I was able to get shots on target by the time he was moving toward the officer. The whole time I was in contact with 911 with my phone earpiece telling them what was happening and by the time officers came, I was bent by the officer who was bleeding and had pressure on his wound. He was yelling at them, She’s a CCW!! Don’t hurt her! She just saved my bacon!! So, to me wearing one doesn’t give you the privilege to act as a law enforcement officer, to me its to keep my ass from being shot too soon and having the ability to SHOW my permit once officers have holstered their weapon. I think this would have helped a great deal in the case and murder by police in the Erik Scott case in Las Vegas.

      1. What do you say to the person who did everything right but still had there firearm print when they sat down to eat at longstar steak house? Is that negligence or criminal. And how about a special issued small badge from the sheriff’s department that is distinctly identified by law enforcement as being CCW. And if you are caught wearing one without having a CCW permit is punishable by a fine or 2 months in prison. Just a start. Also take a one day 1 hour class. Cost 10 or 20 bucks.

    1. If a person with a concealed carry permit allows his or her concealed firearm to be seen by others, he or she is too reckless to have a concealed carry permit.

  12. You are in a mall and someone starts shooting, you can’t get close enough to get a bead on the bad guy and your pinned down with your weapon drawn. Police show up and start amiming at you thinking you are the bad guy, you pulled your badge out from under your shirt now you can be identified as a good guy and not get shot by police by accident. Although it is sort of tacky if it could save your life its worth it to me. You can’t pull a card from your wallet fast enough to identify yourself in situations like that. I’d rather explain it later then die from friendly fire.

    1. Very true and agreeable. It’s 2023 now and things have changed dramatically from 2019. I myself was against badges but now see it can possibly be a life saver with all the random shootings. I’m a ccw holder and plan to get one for the reason of a visual Identification till I can talk or show my permit so the officer has that split second thought of asking before firing. A retired police officer told me years back to get one for that reason.

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