Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tips and Tricks for Concealed Carry

Tips and Tricks for Concealed Carry

You can go all old school with tactical pants and a jungle adventure vest for a cover garment, however to me this just screams to bad guys "shoot this guy first".  The concept of this article is to deliver tips and tricks to make carrying a concealed carry firearm more effectively and more comfortably. Some of these tricks I learned along my way and others have been shared with me by some of the top leading expert friends and acquaintances.
CLOTHING CONSIDERATIONS
The first thing to realize is that carrying a concealed firearm is not only a legal and personal decision but also a lifestyle and clothing decision. In order to properly carry a firearm on the person and conceal it well it is usually necessary to make accommodations and compromises in clothing. Obviously it would be nearly impossible to conceal a firearm in full spandex... well you can conceal it, however the gun would print like crazy though the spandex and let on to anyone what you are packing. So we need to look at some other clothing options once someone does decide to start carrying concealed. Some of those considerations include comfort, placement, access, the size of the firearm, method of concealment, whether, female or male shooter, and physical anatomy and abilities of the shooter. A fundamental reprogramming is also required of our movements to assure we are not inadvertently flashing our firearm or clearly printing the outline of the firearm when we reach for something on the top shelf in a store.

If you carry a concealed firearm inside the waistband, most people do jump up a pant size to makes things comfortable, however some of the more stretchy materials these days still deliver comfortable carry. Unless the firearm you are carrying is ultralight, I strongly recommend a sturdy thick and wide belt and one preferably with a curved ergonomic cut. For nearly everyone the belt has to traverse an elliptical arch which peaks at the back of the pants. Using a belt with a curved cut such as those from 5.11 delivers more comfort, less chafing, and better weapon retention. A wider thicker belt will also help with a much more comfortable carry and more support for the pistol weight. Although there are people who carry a firearm without a belt, I certainly do not recommend it unless the need is specific to a sports activity.
Unless you find a good shirt "tuckable" holster such as Crossbreed Super Tuck holsters, I have found that I am usually carrying with a shirt untucked or with some type of sweater, jacket, or cover garment. If you are suffering from flashing your gun or butt crack every time you move your hands above shoulder height, then you may want to consider purchasing your same shirt size, but in a "Tall" version. This has worked great for me from t-shirts, to sweaters, to jackets, delivers great coverage during all ranges of motion, and does not make me look sloppy like a one size up garment would. Another great option are shirts and garments from Duluth Trading Company. Their "anti-buttcrack" Longtail clothing is top notch quality, reasonably priced, and delivers a tall cover length in standard sizes and extra tall sizes in the regular "tall" sizes.
Cold weather also adds complexity to concealed carry and firearm access. If it is freezing cold and you are never really taking your jacket off, you may want to consider an OWB (On The Waistband) holster and just use the winter jacket as your cover garment.
COLD WEATHER GLOVES
My biggest issue has not been weapon access even when the gun is buried deeply under layers of coats, polarfleece, and shirts, but gloves and firearm manipulation. Once you start shooting with thick cold weather gloves, you will never again own a defensive pistol with a safety on it. I have found that some gloves doe not even permit functional use of a firearm, some will not allow full access inside the trigger guard, and worse I have actually had some of the more bulky gloves block or jam the slides. Choose and test gloves and hand coverings wisely at the range with the gun and likely cover garments, otherwise you may find that you may not be able to grasp or reliably operate the gun with gloves on. My favorite cold weather shooting gloves are Mechanix Wear gloves.
HOLSTER TYPES
I wish there was one great solution for everyone however that is not the case. The world's best holster placed in a position the shooter cannot reach or horribly chafes the user is not a good solution. Talk to your wife about sizing up clothes to allow for a CCW carry holster and you would have thought you just called her fat & ugly. In most cases Mrs Pandemic is purse carrying a Glock 19 or has a Glock G42 concealed on her person.
Crossbreed Super Tuck Deluxe with Glcok 19
You need to find the right solution for you.  Everyone is different. Many other variables impact how the user carries a firearm which inevitably leads to variety of firearms being purchased from micro to small to mid-sized to large and generally a whole host of holsters to carry each firearm. Many, many people just give up and slip a tiny .380 into a pocket or purse which should is still not a bad option with the current defensive rounds available.
Where possible, I would rather carry my full sized Salient G17 or H&K P30L which offers me the best accuracy control and capacity. Dependant on clothing choice and holster/wardrobe interaction I can make some decisions on pistol size. I may instead go with my Glock 19 which is smaller framed, my Glock 26 even smaller, my Walther PPK or PPS which are thinner and carried with just a Universal Clip Draw, or for really tough clothing limiting concealment situations I may go with Clip Draw equipped Kahr CM9, Ruger LCR .357 or the 9mm version or even a Derringer from Bond Arms. Personally, when all other carry methods fail, I know I can slip my Kahr CM9 or Ruger LCR into my front jeans pocket or breast pocket on my coat.  Different clothing situations require different carry options and potentially different sized firearms.
CanCanConcealment
Typical carry options are inside the waistband and outside the waistband holsters, however there are now many other options available carry a firearm. One of the older firearm holster ideas with a modern twist are the elastic, magnetic Garter, Hip Hugger, and Sport Belt holsters from She Bang CanCanConcealment.com holsters which delivers a viable concealment option for woman and men who are challanged with the fit or comfort of typical holsters. I am told thier hip concealment belts are great for females.
Flashbang bra holders provide women another option to carry small micro firearms for females. The concept may seem gadgetry and silly however for women who have average or above average endowment up top can carry a surprisingly large firearm nested underneath her bra.  It can be a very for a fast and effective carry method which I'm told is also extremely comfortable. So I've been told one of the most biggest advantages this carry method is it offers females a lot of fashion choices without having to worry about printing at the waistband with more fashionably tight clothing options these days.
WOMAN’S PURSE CARRY
For woman, please consider carry options besides a purse. The target of the most robberies are females purses so it makes little sense to me to have a gun in the thing most likely stolen, however many females argue with me on this point.  There is no doubt that women have different concealed carry needs, however I cannot stress enough that it is strategically critical that your firearm be on your person. The She Bang and Flashbang holster are unique options for female shooters which may or may not address your personal needs. The most important aspect for me of these holsters is that they get the gun out of a purse on the person so that during encounter it is easily accessible. I have to constantly remind my wife that there are plenty of times that she does not have her purse.

If you choose to carry your firearm is a purse or pack, make sure the firearm resides in its own compartment and is easily accessible without opening the purse or pack. One of the biggest challenges with carrying concealed firearm in the first is that it is usually not easily accessible or fall to the bottom of the purse. Dedicated concealed carry holster purses hold firearms in such a manner where can be easily accessible via / pocket visit for a snap. You can be extraordinarily fast drawing an offer female a secure and easy carry option.
A purpose designed purse is not required though. Mrs Pandemic has a beautiful Dooney & Bourke purse which has an outside pocket perfect for a firearm. In my mind this is not ideal, however it works for her when all other carry solutions clash with her sense of style.
BATHROOM
Hey its a biological fact that we need to go sit down for a moment or two, but flashing the firearm hanging off your down’ed pants is a no-no legally in most states. Some people will place the firearm inside their down’ed pants, in a pocket, point it at the door, or hang it on the back of the door. I usually hold the gun in my support hand by the barrel which allows use of my other hand for other needs, keeps the gun warm so that I don’t get the big chill when I slip it back into my pants, and allows near instant transition to my strong hand should I actually need the firearm.
ALTERNATIVE CARRY OPTION
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Clipdraw for a lightweight no-bulk IWB carry option. If you want to carry a gun a lot and have a challenging dress style that permits any cover garment then you owe it to yourself to  buy either a ClipDraw Universal for semi auto pistols or the revolver version depending on your firearm.  After a lot of experience with the ClipDraw, my personal preference is to not use the Glock version for Glocks and instead use the Universal model. Its simple easy and works perfectly for many applications. If you do carry with a round in the chamber, then you may want to opt for also using some type of trigger guard holster.
Trigger Guard holsters are really gaining popularity. The gist of the idea is that a small piece of Kydex covers the trigger guard and carry is permitted via a lanyard which can be attached via many methods to purses, packs or even belts for IWB carry. Its a great minimalist concealed carry holster idea many people love which I am excited to test. Some people are using this tiny little trigger guard holster as convenient carry options for around the home carry.
Pocket carry is also another great carry option, however using a wallet holster or slipping a piece of cardboard in front of your gun breaks up the outline of the gun in the pocket.
MOVEMENT
If you are carrying a firearm concealed on the strong side, start training yourself to reach with your weak side hand. If you are right handed that means start reaching for things with your left hand. A significant amount of shirt and cover movement will naturally occur on the reaching hand side which can usually lead to flashing part of your concealed firearm.
If you have a proper cover garment, have faith that it will provide coverage and avoid continually tugging on your cloths. Continual OCD coverage tugging is broadcasting to everyone that you are carrying concealed… stop it. Another tell tale move CCW folks do is the constant weapons check “is my gun still there?” Stop it! Its still there.
SOURCES
Can Can Concealment - http://www.cancanconcealment.com
She Bang Holster - http://www.cancanconcealment.com
Crossbreed Holsters - http://www.crossbreedholsters.com
ClipDraw - http://clipdraw.com
511 Tactical - http://www.511tactical.com
Mechanix Wear - http://www.mechanix.co
Duluth Trading Company - http://www.duluthtrading.com

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