Military life is difficult, demanding, and even dangerous, but transitioning to civilian life also poses challenges for men and women who have served in the armed forces. This is partly due to the military's unique culture, not to mention physical and emotional traumas relating to their time served, lack of resources for former soldiers, and the fact that the regular world doesn't seem to understand the needs of these unique individuals.
There are so many things to consider when transitioning out of the military. For instance, will you be getting a civilian job? Or do you want to go to school? How will you prepare to pay for services while waiting for benefits, and do you even know how to get into the Veterans Affairs (VA) system? What about transitioning from active duty to veteran concealed carry? Do you need a concealed carry holster? There's so much more to learn about the military transition to civilian life. All of this might seem overwhelming, especially if you want to have all the information, cover all the bases of social-work life, and make the best call for your future. Stick around as we go through how to successfully transition out of the military.
Is It Hard to Transition from Military to Civilian?
The simple answer is yes; it can be difficult. Military life vs civilian life are two very different ways of life. The biggest challenge for soldiers transitioning to civilian life is becoming institutionalized and almost dependent on this very organized system and way of life. Therefore, making the transition from soldier to civilian necessitates adapting and learning new skills.
Reconnecting with family
Transitioning out of the military with a family is hard. Deployments often strain marriages, and even after the veteran leaves the service to rejoin their family, it's no easy task. Families may have created new routines and new roles during absences, and both the family and the veteran will need time to adjust to changes and re-establish everyone's role in the family.
Entering the workforce
A veteran may have never looked for, applied, or even interviewed for a civilian job. In applying for a job, you'll need to think about how to translate your military skills and duties into civilian terms. For instance, military veterans are known for individual accountability, impeccable execution, precise communication, handling stressful situations well, ingenuity, and natural leadership. All these skills are in high demand regardless of the job or position. The best part is that several employers appreciate the qualities ex-soldiers bring to a civilian job. In fact, some like Home Depot, Proctor and Gamble, and General Electric actively recruit former military officers.
While these two are the biggest areas that veterans transitioning to civilian life struggle with the most, they also have to:
Adjust to providing necessities
The difference between military life and civilian life is that basic things like food, clothing, and housing are provided in the former. Not only that, but there's often little choice. For instance, you eat at determined times and the duty station determines your dress. The vast array of choices in the civilian world can seem overwhelming, not to mention having to plan for these things yourself.
Additionally, a veteran will have to learn to get a doctor, insurance, etc., as the military previously provided these services. They will also need to navigate the processes and paperwork necessary for obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The military has a structure and a clear chain of command which doesn't exist in the civilian world. A soldier turned civilian will have to create their own structure and adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity. Needless to say, adjusting to civilian life after the military can seem daunting.
Transitioning from Active Duty to Veteran Concealed Carry
One of the biggest transitions for veterans that don't get talked about much, yet very important, is the issue of owning, carrying, and using firearms. There's a huge difference between using firearms in the military and concealed carrying as a veteran. First of all, people in the armed forces rarely use a handgun on a day-to-day basis. Sidearms are considered secondary weapons when the service rifle, which is the primary weapon, malfunctions or is out of ammunition. Pistol marksmanship training is an afterthought at best. For soldiers transitioning to civilian life and opting to carry a handgun every day for personal protection, there are a few things you need to know:
Civilians are usually required to have concealed carry training, but military training does fit those requirements, making it easy to get veterans concealed carry permits. However, carrying a gun is different in the civilian world. While the goal is to carry a firearm for your protection, concealment is the name of the game. Some civilians are very nervous around guns; plus, staying concealed can avoid unpleasant interactions. You also don't want to make yourself a target, which is something open carrying does.
There's so much more to know about carrying a gun in the line of duty vs. concealed carrying as a civilian veteran. Here are a few FAQs about this issue, so you're more informed:
Can you conceal carry if you're in the military?
Yes, most states permit military personnel to carry concealed handguns even if their state does not have a concealed-carry law. However, this doesn't allow them to carry handguns on military installations or any federal facility unless official duties require that.
Do veterans have to take CCW class?
The rules for carrying and using a firearm vary between military and civilian life, so we recommend that veterans get additional training before carrying a handgun as the primary defensive tool in a public space.
Does VA allow concealed carry?
VA doesn't allow open or concealed carry of firearms on their property, except for official purposes.
Can the retired military carry a concealed weapon?
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) affords qualified active and retired law enforcement officers the privilege to carry a concealed firearm in all states. They must, however, take a few training courses on their firearms to avoid violating state or federal laws.
Finding the Right Concealed Carry Holster for Your Gun
You'll need the best concealed carry holster for your gun as you make the difficult transition from military to civilian life. Comfort Tac has you covered with a diversified product lineup that offers concealed and carry holsters to fit almost any sensibility and style of carrying. There's something for everyone, from the traditional inside the waistband (IWB) concealed carry holsters to the versatile belly band holster. In fact, if you need an alternative form of conceal and carry holster, we also have the Ultimate Ankle Holster for deep concealment or for carrying a backup gun, all in a comfortable and versatile package.
If you're wondering how to get out of the military and be successful, the above key points are the ones to follow. Most importantly, prepare for transitioning from the military well in advance and leverage your skills, as well as your resources.