Concealed Carry Tips: Toss the Decoy Wallet



Here’s a way you may be able to avoid having to use your handgun in self-defense, thanks to a simple trick that costs less than $30.

If you carry a legally concealed handgun for protection an old trick might become a last-chance tactical option. That trick is the decoy wallet.

Back in the ‘70s, in crime ravaged cities where executives and street hoods worked cheek by jowl, some executives who couldn’t carry guns for protection carried a second wallet for deception.

When confronted by a mugger they simply reached into their off-side hip pocket, tossed what appeared to be their wallet and ran like hell in the other direction (undercover cops used the same trick if they got bounced on a stakeout and didn’t want to get made.

It’s an option for the concealed carry permit holder smart enough to know that throwing thirty bucks worth of fake wallet at a street thug may be a lot cheaper than throwing a hundred grand at a good defense lawyer.

I know … I know … I’m going to get lots of colorful invective like, “This is cowardice!” or “We need to take back our streets!” and “If somebody threatens to hurt me they should get shot!”

Really? Do you understand that even if you are in the right you may still be criminally charged? Are you aware that if you are not criminally charged and you own property, you may be subject to civil action by the dead thug’s grieving widow and children (who will get polished up by their lawyer and placed in the front row of the court room just opposite the jury box).

And if you must use lethal force and start out behind the action curve, (you are already at the mercy of his weapon) tossing a decoy wallet, or even your real one at the feet of the armed assailant may take his eyes off your gun hand just long enough to even the odds.

No “trick” is ever foolproof nor should be depended upon to overcome lack of situational awareness or training in the fundamentals. But the decoy wallet has worked in the past — and might just give you that crazy little edge that saves the day.

Editor’s Note: Got a question for Joseph Terry about concealed carry not covered here? Log in and post your question in the comments below.

Recommended resources for concealed carry:

Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd EditionThe Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery

Armed: The Essential Guide to Concealed Carry

Find more resources at


9 thoughts on “Concealed Carry Tips: Toss the Decoy Wallet

  1. CharlieOframe

    Okay, you, or I, run away while the bad guy checks out the contents of the decoy wallet.
    And we’re safely away.
    What about the next guy, or girl, the bad guy confronts?
    And the next?
    You, or I, call the police, report what happened, give a description, if, that is, if you got a look at his face.
    Maybe, hopefully, the bad guy doesn’t shoot, slash, or slit the throat of the next guy. Or the next.
    Maybe the bad guy doesn’t rape the next girl. Or maybe he does.
    How do you know he didn’t, whether he gets caught or not?

    I don’t want to hurt anyone, much less use deadly force.
    But how does a person deal with something like getting mugged?

    I don’t know the answer.
    Maybe throwing down, or handing over, the decoy wallet, is the best choice.
    But then you have to be prepared to think about who else the bad guy may hurt.
    I’m open for suggestions.

    1. Joseph TerryJoseph Terry Post author

      That’s a very good question and on the minds of some other CCW holders I’m sure. A fine line can exist between self-defense and societal defense. My opinion is that it is best to leave societal defense to law enforcement and concentrate on self-defense if you are a civilian. The criminal underclass in this country is emboldened by a culture of passivity. If you carry concealed you have made a very important personal (and political) statement of resistance. Mugging victims describe it as a horrible experience and if you can deflect or deter the experience using any available tool or technique good for you. A good physical description of the assailant to the cops helps tremendously with the societal defense part.
      Thanks for the comment. Joe

      1. CharlieOframe

        Thanks for your reply, Joe. I think if I do put together a decoy wallet, I might include an old closed out credit card with my name and half the numbers cut out, along with the signature on the back replaced with something smart a$$ like Barak Pelosy Obomba.
        And I’d like to get a few of those fake $100 bills with the gospel message printed inside the folds
        of what appears to be real dollars.
        (“Disappointed? What if I told you about …?” etc.)
        I’d use an old worn out wallet, something nice and soft and thin, or else I probably wouldn’t bother carrying it.
        And carrying it would have to be made into a habit, just as faithfully done as carrying my gun.

        As for the decision whether or not to fight back (i.e. shoot), I suppose would have to be made on the spot, considering the circumstances, like how close to the possibility of death or grave bodily harm, I believed I was.

        And before that, comes the question of carrying and using (instead of deadly force) pepper spray,
        or whatever. But that’s a different subject for discussion.

      2. CurtisAnthoney34

        As a CCW holder you should know they have insurances for instances like this. I also know the laws where I live. If someone has the ability, opportunity and I’m in jeopardy of my life I have right to deadly force. If someone is mugging me I’m sure they ain’t doing it with just their words. As much time as it takes to pull out a fake wallet is the same time I have to draw. I also think throwing a wallet might not be smart if someone is holding a gun at you. I also open carry any time I can if I can then I conceal carry. If I can’t carry at all I will not take my business there. I know the retarded arguments of open carry and everyone is BS! It does not make you a target in fact from studies with violent inmates 87% say they wouldn’t target someone or a place they know is carrying a gun. They want a easy target not a gun fight. I’m also way more aware of my surroundings when I open carry. I’ve also never had to deal with cops cause I open carry. In fact just last week walked into McDonald’s. While I was walking in 2 cops walked out they opened the door for me and asked what I was carrying in interest. I’m also way more polite when I open carry I notice ppl unease when I open carry I try to show them just cause I have a gun on my I’m not a bad guy and I’m just like anyone else. I’m not for or against either open or conceal carry. I do believe ppl who solely conceal doesn’t help our society. How can ppl feel more comfortable around ppl with guns if ppl with guns feel like they have to hide their gun like they are bad? I know I’m off subject just know ppl are gonna have something to say cause I open carry. Besides the point you should know when and if you can kill. Do you really have it in you to protect yourself. Do I want to take any ones life? Absolutely not but if it comes a situation in which its mine/someone else’s or theirs that has to be taken. I’d rather it be the bad guys then mine or a law abiding citizens. Again throwing a a wallet or something at someone with a gun not too bright. Maybe hand it to them and let them run. Also you can’t trust someone to just take the wallet and still not kill you.

  2. Woodsman

    This is excellent and I am being my usual critical self… When you write about how a person can avoid an armed conflict you introduce reality to the person’s thinking. Violence, no matter how justified will not advance what we all consider good, but it does allow those who would do good to survive. If a person can flee evil, they will still survive and therefore it is a better end to the challenge.
    The average person who arms themselves is not likely to understand violence. They often glamorize the horrible or even think of violence as desirable out of a sense of righteousness. Your article opens a window to the reality an armed person must understand. Keeping one’s self, family and friends safe is the goal, not delivering vengeance to the villains amongst us.

    Great job…Again.

  3. Roadrage

    Thank you for another fine read. When I was a kid, my father (Who was from New York City) told me the same thing. He said it saved him a few times both in NY and when he was in the Navy. I have never had the opportunity to use it, but I have carried one (a throw down wallet AND a gun) ever since.
    Keep up the good work,


  4. gnsmithandy

    I’ve used this for years. I also keep a couple of old, cancelled credit cards in there. A $5.00 wallet and a $20.00 bill is cheap. (I know, it allowed me to escape a mugging.)