Beginner’s Guide To Concealed Carry: Choosing Your Holster
Contributed by a retired Naval Ballistics Engineer:
Despite what you read in the news, there is no better time in the history of our country to buy and carry a firearm.
While anti-gun legislation continues to make news, many states — and even public schools — are passing laws to ensure their residents’ and students’ Second Amendment rights are protected.
That said, once you make the decision to carry a concealed weapon, you should make sure that how you choose to conceal your weapon is both safe and comfortable for you.
This means looking at a variety of different types of concealed weapons holsters and making a decision on what type best suits your style and your weapon of choice.
First, here are some basics to consider when carrying a concealed firearm:
What To Consider Before Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Do Your Research
If you are a true beginner, then you may feel overwhelmed by all the choices in concealed holsters.
The best way to combat this is to research each type of holster a few at a time, then expand your research to a variety within each category that includes shoulder, waist, ankle, leg, pocket, and pouch holsters.
This includes knowing which holsters are best for which types of firearms. If you are unsure, always consult an expert either online or at a local gun shop for advice.
Your goal is to find a gun and holster system that best fits your physicality and needs.
Take your New Holster for a Trial Run
Once you’ve made the choice in a holster, the worst thing you can do is immediately strap it on and go out in a crowd or other social environment without really knowing how it will feel over a period of time.
You want to get a feel for the holster on your body and how it moves with you with the firearm intact. The best way to do this is to wear the system around the house a few times while sitting, standing, and generally walking around with it on.
You can then adjust it accordingly, keeping in mind that all holsters have a tight fit initially before they are worn over a period of times.
Drawing Attention is a Deal breaker
The whole purpose of concealing a firearm is so that no one has an idea you are carrying a weapon.
If your gun and holster system is uncomfortable, then you will naturally pull at it, adjust it, and generally draw attention to it.
If this occurs, go someplace private and make adjustments and then return to a public area. This includes generally acting as natural as possible while you have it on.
Remove the Bells and Whistles
Sometimes a new item is like a new toy; we want all the add-ons that go along with it and we want to use them all at once.
This is not a good idea with a concealed weapon. The more stock you keep your concealed weapon the more natural it will look. The only extra should possibly be sights.
Practice, Practice, Practice
There is nothing more dangerous to you and to others than to have a gun and holster system concealed on your person and not be able to skillfully remove the weapon if you need to use it.
This could lead to an errant discharge of the firearm that could harm you or someone else. The only remedy for this is to practice firing the weapon at the range with the holster on.
This also means wearing different styles of clothing including overcoats and zipped jackets. Practice drawing the weapon directly from the concealed holster for as long as it takes you to become sufficiently skilled to do it safely and with relative ease of motion.
Leave Social Media Out of the Equation
You may be proud of your new gun and holster, but letting the whole word know on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media sites defeats the purpose of a concealed weapon.
Because so many strangers have access to our social media through other friends’ threads and phones, it is never a good idea to brag on social media about how you carry a concealed weapon or the type of weapon that you carry.
Keep this information only between a few close friends privately.
Here are several types of holsters to consider in a variety of styles from IWB, belt pouch/pocket, shoulder and ankle holsters that are available:
Different Types of Holsters, and Where To Find THem
IWB (Inside the waistband) Holster
Most leather holsters are quite comfortable, and have the benefit of an “austere” feeling.
IWB holsters have a design which lets shooters conceal the weapon inside their shirt, or inside their waist and over the weapon itself.
Most IWB holsters have leather belt loops which are part of the design are integral to the concealment of the firearm. In my experience, it is very easy to draw from inside the waistband, especially for beginners, and it can be carried on your back as well.
A popular leg holster is the Tactical Drop Leg Holster With Extra Magazine Pouch, owing to its comfort, durability and space for extra mags.
This concealed holster for the leg is manufactured with durable plastic that has a fabric liner.
Its best feature is a thumb break that can be either removed or adjusted to custom fit each user. There are two straps for the leg, and each has an anti-slipping exterior so that there is no need to overtighten the straps.
These straps also include elastic components that will expand when you sit. It also comes with an additional magazine pouch and both right and left-handed designs.
While not quite as popular today as they were in the 80’s, ankle holsters are still one of the most comfortable ways to carry (if you have the right holster). Most ankle holsters come with calf straps so that the holster doesn’t slip down, no matter what pistol it holds. Newer models also have padding, and so your skin doesn’t chafe.
If you do go the ankle route, I suggest getting an ankle holster made of all elastic. They are best used with smaller revolvers and pistols and comes with a small pocket for carrying papers or small documents. Probably the only time I still ankle carry is when carrying my little Glock 43, one of my favorite pistols for CCW.
Shoulder carry isn’t just for police officers and active duty servicemen and women. It’s a highly effective carry method in urban environments, due to the fact that the gun fits nicely under a jacket or sportcoat.
When looking for a shoulder holster, I suggest getting one with a thumb break made of reinforced steel, which acts as an added measure of security.
Though commonly used by police and the military, there’s no reason the average civilian can’t wear shoulder holsters as well. I often carry my Glock 26 in a shoulder holster, which makes for a super fast draw.
Following the prescribed considerations for carrying concealed weapon as well as taking the time to look at the suggested models should give you a secure and skilled start at being a concealed weapons carrier.