The first in a two-part blog series about getting started with concealed carry.
The featured photo shows an individual wearing a Blade-Tech Leather Ultimate Carry Belt and carrying a Sig Sauer P320c in a Blade-Tech Ultimate Klipt Holster.)
Carrying concealed can be a simple endeavor if you’re lucky. However for most of us, it takes some patience and small adjustments. You’ll quickly find out that your belt isn’t stiff enough, your pants are too tight, your shirts are too short, or your holster rubs you the wrong way. These are all common issues that can turn someone away from concealed carry.
With some trial and error these issues can be remedied rather quickly. In this multipart blog we’ll talk about the pros and cons of different styles of carry and what you’ll need to carry comfortably.
What to Look for in any Concealed Carry Holster
Retention is easily one of the most important parts of any holster regardless of its style. Most holsters on the market retain the firearm via the trigger guard. When you insert the gun you should feel a bit of tension, then an audible click when the firearm is fully inserted. The easiest way to ensure that you’re getting a holster with proper retention is to buy a holster that is designed for your specific firearm.
Why is this so important? Imagine you’re playing with your kid on the playground and your firearm comes flying out of your waistband. That’s a dangerous situation for those around you as well as yourself.
There is a second piece to this puzzle and that is how your holster interfaces with your belt. The clips that keep your holster attached to your belt are incredibly important. Without proper clips to hook onto your belt your holster won’t stay put. Inevitably you’ll end up with discomfort as your holster shifts when you sit down or stand up.
Inside the Waistband (IWB)
Inside the Waistband holsters are one of the most common ways to carry a concealed firearm. Carrying a firearm IWB can seem like a daunting task at first, however with the right tools it can become a part of your daily routine.
When deciding which IWB holster to go with, consider what position you’re interested in carrying your firearm. Amongst concealed carriers there are three positions that are most common. Strong side, strong side hip, and appendix. Each of these positions have their advantages as well as weaknesses.
Strong Side Carry
Strong side carry is a very popular option for concealed carry and it offers a rather intuitive draw. While carrying on your strong side, you’re putting your firearm in a very reachable spot for your dominant hand to reach for. If you train outside the waistband, you’ll already be ready to draw from the strongside IWB carry. Also, you’re not putting a lot of pressure on that area when bending over or sitting down.
Strong Side Carry – Individual is wearing an Ultimate Carry Belt and carrying a GLOCK 48 in a Klipt Holster.
Concealment takes a bit more effort with a strong side carry. Your shirt will ride forward when you bend over or sit down, often revealing your firearm. Printing becomes an issue with larger firearms, which can be negated with additional layers of clothing or smaller firearms.
Strong Side Hip Carry
Alternatively many people find carrying behind their hip on their strong side to be rather comfortable. With the firearm laying flat against your back, this option opens the door for larger firearms without printing. Although you can carry a larger firearm without printing, you’ll be faced with your shirt riding up while sitting down or bending over. Your wardrobe will be a priority when carrying this way.
Strong Side Hip Carry – Individual is wearing an Ultimate Carry Belt and carrying a GLOCK 48 in a Klipt Holster.
You’re also left with the prospect of drawing. You’ll be reaching around to your back to draw your firearm. At first this can certainly feel awkward and will require some diligent practice.
That leaves us with appendix carry. Appendix isn’t a new carry style, however it has grown in popularity over the last few years. When carrying appendix, the firearm is positioned in front of the pelvis or if you’re right handed it’s quite literally over your appendix. This style of carry has some people a bit jaded as it offers some serious advantages as well as some serious disadvantages.
Appendix Carry – Individual is wearing an Ultimate Carry Belt and carrying a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard in a Klipt Holster.
Carrying appendix offers fantastic concealment. With a long enough shirt, there are very few ways to accidentally expose your firearm. Bending over and sitting down don’t compromise your concealment because your shirt doesn’t ride up. Often times because the grip of your pistol is laying flat against your stomach, the issue of printing tends to be lessened when carrying appendix. A good appendix holster like the Ultimate Klipt has a built in claw that pushes against your belt, thus pushing the firearms grip into your body.
Conversely, carrying appendix has some drawbacks. Sitting down and bending over will take some getting used to. The holster and gun will often jab into your pelvic area or your stomach. For some this is too much to overcome, others don’t mind it. Carrying this way has another potential drawback. Your gun will be pointed at your femoral artery, which provides blood flow to our legs. These risks are minimized with a quality holster and proper firearm safety. Remember, there is no such thing as an accidental discharge. There are only negligent discharges.
The Wrap Up
Inside the Waistband carry is a great place to start for any concealed carrier. You’ll easily be able to find a holster for your firearm that is capable of being carried IWB. Once you get your holster, try walking around your house while carrying in different positions. Practice your draw with your firearm unloaded, then finally take it to the range. Practice and building muscle memory are important when gearing up to become a proficient and responsible concealed carrier.