Things to consider for CCW beginners.


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clipse
November 18, 2004, 03:15 PM
First off, this is my sad attempt at an informational thread. :D

I'm not going to discuss the kind of gun used. There are way too many opinions to spark up that kind of discussion. What I do want to talk about is the mode of concealing you weapon. There are many different ways to conceal a handgun and several different reasons why one should choose a certain way of carrying concealed. First lets talk about things to think about while deciding your preferred mode of carry.

There are four main things to think of when considering your mode of CCW: Comfort, Security, Speed, and Concealability. Each one of this works again another and you will have to give up some of one to gain more of another.

Comfort: You don't want carrying a handgun to be uncomfortable. You may find that wearing your handgun on your belt is the most comfortable but it may not be the most concealable. Comfort is still something that should be heavily considered because of that fact that if something you wear is uncomfortable then eventually you will not want to wear it, which defeats the purpose of CCW. What good is you gun going to do you when the stuff hits the fan if its in your sock drawer? Also consider what is more comforting that comfortable. I know a two shot .22 derringer would be very comfortable but I would feel alot better about have something a bit more substantial if the stuff really hits the fan.

Security: Obviously you don't want your handgun to fall on the floor while your eating at a fancy restaurant. You also don't need for someone else(badguy) to have immediate access to it in a scuffle. Security, though works against speed. You can have your handgun secured so well on your body that you can't get to in the heat of the moment. Security can also work against comfort.

Speed: You definitely need to be able to bring you handgun into play as quickly as you possibly can. Remember that the time that it takes you to draw your handgun may be your last moment. So make it as quickly as possible. Scary thought, I know, but you have to consider that as a factor. Any situation in which you will have to use a handgun in defense is a VERY VERY scary thought.

Concealabitly: Obviously CCW(Concealed Carry Weapon) was designed for the weapon to be concealed. I don't think even printing is acceptable. All its going to do is draw unwanted attention and scare people. As much as I hate it, some people are afraid of firearms. Why frighten people if you don't need to?


Now onto the different ways you can carry concealed.

IWB: (Inside the Waist Band) Generally when carrying like this it will be in a holster that has loops the over the top of the waistband and around the belt holding it in place. When using an IWB I would suggest a reinforced opening so when you draw the pistol, you holster doesn't collapse. I won't lie, some people don't use a holster and just shove the handgun own their pants and call it good. While it may work for them, I don't recommend this as it looks like the trigger could catch on something on the way in and discharge. This is called 'Mexican Carry'. I don't know why, it just is,

OWB: (Outside the Waist Band) This is generally how you see cops/detectives carrying on TV. There are several different holster for OWB.(pancake, slide, paddle, etc.) I have a pancake holster that has three belt loops for different cants. I like this way of carrying during the winter as it is hard(almost impossible) to conceal an OWB holstered handgun in just a t-shirt.

SOB: (Small of Back) This requires a holster that holds the gun almost horizontal and it is to be worn right int he small of you back. This is argued at times whether or not it is very smart to carry like this. If you get in a fight and get knocked flat on your back it is not ideal for you to have a chunk of steel right up against your spine. Also if you drive much this is not recommended. Getting rearended is a common occurance and a firearm in the small of your back is no ideal in a rearend collision. Still, it works for many folks.

Shoulder Holster: (Bond, James Bond) This is pretty self explanatory. If you have ever seen any James Bond movie you know where his gun is. This does require a jacket of some sort to be worn constantly. Unless you get one of the types that goes under a shirt. I don't really like the ones that go under a shirt because not only do you have to go across you body to get to the handgun but also lifting up you shirt. It takes to long for me. But, many people find themselves in situations that call for 'deep concealment'. These kinds of holster work great for that.

Ankle Holster: This one is also pretty self explanatory. Alot of companies make holsters that go around you ankle an hold a very compact handgun. These look awkward to get too. Conversely this would work really well while driving a car where most holster wouldn't.

Pocket Carry: Many holster makers make holster that fit into a pocket and hold the gun upright for easier draw and to keep things for getting to the trigger until you want them to. Pocket Carry should not be done without a holster. There are also holsters for spare magazines that fit into pockets as well. Pocket holster have up swept points that grab on the pocket while drawing you gun an keeps the holster in the pocket. If you have big enough pockets I think pocket carry can be great for smaller handguns. Another thing that I will consider 'Pocket Carry' is secret compartments in some vests and jackets. Places like Royal Robbins and the like make vests that have a specail pocket with velcro to hold a holster. I would think the jacket versions of these would be better than vests because, like fanny packs, vests generally 'scream' gun.

Smart Carry: Smart carry is probably the most interesting carry method. It is a holster that from the front looks like underwear. In fact the other company that makes the smart carry type rig calls it 'Thunderwear'. I get a really big kick out of this one. It doesn't work for me but really does for alot of people. Basically is is a band that you wrap around your waist that has two pocket in the front to accommodate a handgun and mag or speed loader. It amazes me but it does really work for alot of people.

Belly Band: The belly band is just that. It is a band that goes around your belly and has a holster area that holds the gun. This works really well for certain types of people. It may not but the quickest to get to but it does conceal very very well.

Fanny pack holster: Many companies have quick access fanny pack holsters that look alot like regular fanny packs. This would by far be a very comfortable way to carry. Some will argue that a fanny pack 'screams' gun. I have to disagree to a point. While to you and I it may 'scream' gun, I highly doubt the average citizen even realizes that this is a possible or even popular method of concealed carry. We are not worried about the average citizen as much as we are badguys, though. Remember bad guys are always as dumb as we think and they will look for tell tell signs of people packing. Fanny packs are one of those signs.

Off body carry: This would include purses, briefcases, fake day-planners, etc. This is a convenient way to carry, but I feel like someone who carries this way is more likely to leave the gun unattended. It is much more difficult for me to leave my gun somewhere if it were IWB. Also if you have kids this would not be the best idea. Think about this, you drive your kids to preschool. They are in the backseat. Where do you put your purse? Most women that I have seen put it between the two front seats. And kid could very easily access it without your knowledge. Besides that, how many times have your kids gotten into your stuff be it purse, briefcase, gym bag, or otherwise.



A couple of other things to consider

Wardrobe: You will need to be prepared to possibly change some of your wardrobe. For IWB holsters, pants will need to be and inch or two bigger than you usually wear. Also the type of shirt you wear is a consideration. I generally wear a short sleeved button up plaid shirt untucked and unbuttoned. I have since I was in High School so no big change for me. This though is a great setup to conceal a handgun. Some wish to wear a photographers/safari/fishermans vest to cover a handgun. While this does work to conceal it, it is like the fanny pack. It is one of those things that gun people and badguys alike may(most likely will) associate with carrying a concealed weapon.

Your daily life: Think about the things you do on an average day. Do you spend alot of time in a car/truck/semi or do you bend over much in public? If so then a SOB holster may not be best for you. If you spend alot of time a car/truck/semi then a shoulder or cross draw holster would be great or like I mentioned above an ankle holster seems ideal for this as well.


I had alot of questions when I started looking at how I was going to carry my handgun for defense. I hope this helps some of the people like me that had a hard time finding answers.

For a list of holster makers follow the link. http://www.missouricarry.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3270


[I got the comfort, security, speed, concealability part from and article written by Clint Smith. Its not word for word. I just took the four parts and put my own words with it as I don't have the article on hand]

A special thanks also to Raytacer, 54JNoll, Greg_Sackett, TomZ, and John Ross for helping me get more ideas to add.

If you enjoyed reading about "Things to consider for CCW beginners." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Dave R
November 18, 2004, 06:32 PM
Very good summary. The only think I'll add is...

IF you carry OWB, IWB, or SOB, give some thought and practice to how you will handle your weapon/holster when you use a public restroom. Better practice at home.

Bobarino
November 18, 2004, 06:39 PM
for newbies: stop fidgeting with your weapon! nobody can see it. you're just self conscious (which is good) but diddling your weapon constantly and "adjusting" it is a dead give away. but don't worry, it'll pass. and if you must "adjust" do it somewhere where nobody can see you. a stall in the restroom works well, as do fitting rooms and your car. it took me about two months of carrying to leave it the heck alone.

Bobby

Standing Wolf
November 18, 2004, 08:14 PM
So far, so good. I believe I'll add this: guns in gun safes don't save lives.

Jesse308
November 18, 2004, 08:28 PM
First off, this is my sad attempt at an informational thread

I thought it was well written, good job. :D

Eskimo Jim
November 18, 2004, 08:33 PM
Clipse,
I thought that you wrote a good piece!! Short, consise and a great place to start.

How about adding links to various websites that you found helpful? I found ww.packing.org pretty helpful and someone there named spwenger or something like that had a detailed site that enumerated your points in good detail.

Also, a magazine holder/speed loader carrier etc might be worth mentioning. I'd also suggest that you mention carrying a decent flashlight so that any potential threat could be identified etc. Perhaps non lethal self defense tool could be mentioned too.

good luck.

-Jim

Baba Louie
November 18, 2004, 08:41 PM
Should one elect to carry a safe action pistol, seriously consider the risks of a thumb snap holster during the act of reholstering said safe action handgun, making quite certain that nothing enters the triggerguard during the act of replacing firearm in holster.

Also, consider carrying your attornies business card or having his/her number programmed into your cell phone or your own memory bank... hoping, of course, that you never actually need to make that call.

Good post clipse.

Zackmeister
November 18, 2004, 10:05 PM
I like this way of carrying during the winter as it is hard(almost impossible) to conceal an OWB holstered handgun in just a t-shirt.

Is this true in everyone's experience? I was thinking of an OWB holster because I dont really want to have to buy lots of new pants.

clipse
November 19, 2004, 10:01 AM
Is this true in everyone's experience? I was thinking of an OWB holster because I dont really want to have to buy lots of new pants.


Maybe if it is a really big heavy t-shirt it would work. Otherwise if you want an OWB holster I would suggest also wearing a Hawian type shirt unbuttoned and untucked. I wear these types of shirts only they are plaid and they work great.

Everyone else,

thanks for the advice I will add it is short time.


clipse

UnknownSailor
November 19, 2004, 10:44 AM
I would add that "comfort" is a relative thing. I am carrying concealed because I realize the I alone am responsible for my own safety. No, I don't want to be poked in the side constantly, but I am not looking for so much comfort that I forget that the firearm is there.

TarpleyG
November 19, 2004, 10:59 AM
Is this true in everyone's experience? I was thinking of an OWB holster because I dont really want to have to buy lots of new pants.
I wouldn't worry too much. If you wear your pants even marginally loose (which is the style now anyway), you'be okay. Especially if you are carrying a 1911 or BHP or Kahr--something thin.

Greg

Skunkabilly
November 19, 2004, 11:38 AM
I think the importance of a good belt has to be underscored.

clipse
November 19, 2004, 11:43 AM
I think the importance of a good belt has to be underscored.


I can't believe I forgot that. That is an excellant point.

clipse

Greg L
November 19, 2004, 12:00 PM
For new to CCW people, go reread what Bobarino said 6 times. Go out & go shopping then come home & read it another 6 times :D .

It takes a while but eventually you will realize that nobody cares or is even looking at you. ;)

Andrew Rothman
November 19, 2004, 01:17 PM
Attitude is everything. When I get into the car, I slide my OWB holster from 5:00 to 3:00. When I get out, I slide it back again (this is under a cover garment -- an unbuttoned, untucked flannel shirt).

Treat it as matter-of-fact and no one will even notice. Look about furtively, act like you're doing something secret, and people will be curious.

People wear all sorts of stuff on their belts: Leatherman tools, cel phones, walkie-talkies and pagers, to name a few. No one is scanning belts for a weapon.

Keep it covered, and act normally. You'll be ignored.

P.S. -- I use a SmartCarry every day at the University. No one is the wiser, and I'm carrying a Ruger P95 and a spare magazine under jeans and a t-shirt. These things are awesome.

Monkeyleg
November 19, 2004, 06:01 PM
Although almost nobody will know you're carrying, if you're doing it right, it's possible to have someone bump into you and quickly raise their eyebrows. In crowded checkout lines or crowded rooms, it's sometimes a good idea to keep your arm or a package over your gun. It can be as simple as putting your hand in your pants pocket.

Then there's the "hugging" issue. Sooner or later some relative/overly friendly member of the opposite sex will begin to reach out to hug you. If you don't want them to know you're carrying, reach first and hug low.

Dave R
November 19, 2004, 06:06 PM
I think the importance of a good belt has to be underscored.

Well, you can tell who actually carries a lot...

Have to agree, that's more important than anything.

Regarding tight pants--I don't think that's a worry. I carry a BHP, and have been able to use all the pants I had before I started carrying. I do back the belt off one notch, but that's the only change I had to make.

Ryder
November 19, 2004, 06:16 PM
"I was thinking of an OWB holster because I dont really want to have to buy lots of new pants."

OWB using a paddle style holster with the belt over the holster insted of under it can hold the rig tight enough to your body to allow wearing an untucked T-shirt. I say "can" because it depends on the size of the gun, brand of holster, shape of your body, and the positioning.

Dave Williams
November 19, 2004, 06:28 PM
I agree with Dave R re the public bathroom issue. I discuss this issue with every CCW class I teach. Most people haven't even considered what to do.

Dave Williams

neoncowboy
November 20, 2004, 05:42 PM
What about body type/build and concealment? I read in some places reference to body type (usually that a prticular holster or gun will or will not work, depending on the users body type and build) but have never seen any specific guidelines.

I want to carry concealed and am tall and thin...I have virtually no body fat. Will I have problems concealing a gun? I would think it might actually be easier for me, as my clothes (shirts) tend to fit a little looser.

Great post/thread. Very informative and encouraging to us beginners.

Topgun
November 20, 2004, 07:00 PM
And if, while getting out of the car in front of the gun shop, the gun happens to have worked its way loose and drops on the sidewalk in front of a guy, you be polite when you grin sheepishly and pick it up.

A year ago. Memory VERY fresh still.

:banghead:

Ryder
November 20, 2004, 07:58 PM
What about body type/build and concealment?

That's a hard question for a person to answer since every body is different and each of us as individuals only have experience with one body type (our own). Depends on the style of clothes too. This question comes up regularly on packing.org. You can find recommendations there, start a whole new thread asking for skinny people help, or just experiment till you figure it out.

I used to be skinny but back in those days I carried off-body or openly. I think what you'll find is that even a small bulge appears more obvious on a skinny person that it does on somebody nicknamed "Lumpy". :D

PaleRyder
November 21, 2004, 07:53 AM
I've struggled with comfortable CCW for almost a year, ever since I got my license. I've owned and tried several guns, from small Glocks up to Berettas, couldn't find anything that was either small and comfortable enough to carry, or that fit my smaller hand.
Then, I discovered the soft holster. www.softholsters.com

The end result, I now regularly carry a full sized 1911 all the time.

Zach S
November 21, 2004, 08:49 AM
I thought it was well written, good job.
I agree.

Is this true in everyone's experience? I was thinking of an OWB holster because I dont really want to have to buy lots of new pants.
No, but I wear mine a little loose anyway, have for years since 29x32 jeans are a PITA to find.

I want to carry concealed and am tall and thin...I have virtually no body fat. Will I have problems concealing a gun? I would think it might actually be easier for me, as my clothes (shirts) tend to fit a little looser.
I'm 6 ft tall and weight about 150 lbs, I carry a 4" Kimber in a Milt Sparks SS-II at four o'clock and all is well.

mcmoyer
November 21, 2004, 09:25 AM
First off, this is my sad attempt at an informational thread.

I think you did a great job...thanks! :D My wife & I took our CHL classes last month & have yet to receive the licenses.

middy
November 21, 2004, 10:52 AM
Good Post!

Instead of buying all new pants for a IWB, try my method.

Lose 20 pounds!

:)

farscott
November 21, 2004, 11:14 AM
My little contribution: The type of holster you choose can dictate what type of pistol you carry. If OWB is desired, long slides or barrels are harder to conceal. IWB allows longer barrels and slides.

Another tidbit: Gun thickness can be more important than length. For example, I can easily conceal a full-size 1911; however, I cannot easily conceal any of the double-stack polymer pistols, even the little Glock 26/27. The thicker grip frame of the Glock prints while the slim 1911 grip frame does not.

One more: Make sure your carry gun(s) has no sharp edges. If it does, your flesh and cover garments will pay.

My last tidbit: An S&W J-frame makes one heck of an "always" gun. Not too expensive, good calibers, and easy to carry. If I could only have one, a Centennial is my choice.

YammyMonkey
November 22, 2004, 01:23 AM
Things I've noticed:

Sharp checkering on a frontstrap can sometimes snag your cover garment and make it hang un-naturally, just be aware of it as a possibility. Usually happens to me when getting into the car so I just adjust in the car and no problems.

If it's windy out, hands in the pants pockets can keep your cover garment from flying up over your head.

If you're just starting out, make sure your wife/GF/whatever knows that you're carrying and knows the consequences of exposing your gun. My wife was trying to show some friends of ours something on my back, or something to do with my pants, don't really remember what, and lifted up my shirt exposing my gun in a parking lot. Fortuantely nobody else noticed, the wife got a good scolding. All I heard about it from my friend was "So, I see your permit showed up."

Wear your rig around the house a lot and try lots of different positions. I started off thinking appendix carry would be the best, but ended up carrying at about 9:30 (shoot lefty) once I tried everything out for a while.

The leather squeaking will go away eventually, and no, nobody really notices.

For using a public toilet, when seated, keep your waistband just above your knees on your thighs, keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and spread out your knees to keep tension on everything. If you must you can buckle the belt around your knees, but I've been able to keep everything in-line with just a little knee pressure. Right handers would be more likely to need to buckle unless they run the belt through the pants the "girl's" direction with the tail of the belt pointing to the right instead of left when all buckled up.

victory
November 22, 2004, 01:28 AM
Should one elect to carry a safe action pistol, seriously consider the risks of a thumb snap holster during the act of reholstering said safe action handgun, making quite certain that nothing enters the triggerguard during the act of replacing firearm in holster.

That's why you buy safariland.

And for my addition, splurge $400 on 1000rds of ammo and a defensive handgun course. Mindset and tactics come first, gear comes last.

jojosdad
November 22, 2004, 02:52 AM
When I'm using a public toilet and carrying IWB, I remove my gun and place it on my pants, which are held under slight tension by my knees. This prevents it from falling out on the tiles and also puts it in a much more tactically useful place.

neoncowboy
November 22, 2004, 01:47 PM
So what about holster selection?

I see holsters that some people love, nice, high quality holsters with a good reputation...that just don't work for other people.

I don't have a shop here, but moving to Georgia (near Atlanta) in a few weeks...can I expect a shop to carry a selection of these nice, handmade, leather holsters? Do I get to wear them as part of the shopping process? If after a few days it isn't working, can I return it? That seems like a lot to ask of a retailer.

Surely there's a better way than to just keep buying $60-$100 holsters until I find one that fits.

I hear about the 'drawer full of holsters' that results from trying different styles and always think it'd be great to try out some of the holsters in that 'drawer' and buy the one that fits me best from whoever it didn't work for. Hmmm, how would that work as a website....?

psyopspec
November 22, 2004, 02:52 PM
I don't have a shop here, but moving to Georgia (near Atlanta) in a few weeks...can I expect a shop to carry a selection of these nice, handmade, leather holsters? Do I get to wear them as part of the shopping process? If after a few days it isn't working, can I return it? That seems like a lot to ask of a retailer.

Maybe, probably, and probably not. Of course it depends on the shop and what's available in your locale, but the best I was able to find for high-quality holsters in my area was Galco at a sporting goods store. Of course, it's a good idea to try a few different merchants and see what brands are available.

The one time that I did buy a leather holster from that same store, I took it out of the resealable package and tried it on. With leather this doesn't mean much, because there's a world of difference from a new holster and one that's been broken in to the point of fitting the firearm like a glove.

Because of the break-in involved, odds are you won't be able to return it, but by all means ask at the time of purchase. If possible, find a good gun shop, get to the know the guys at the counter. They're more likely to do you the favor than Acme Sporting Goods.

Old Dog
November 22, 2004, 05:38 PM
Wardrobe: Also the type of shirt you wear is a consideration. I generally wear a short sleeved button up plaid shirt untucked and unbuttoned. I have since I was in High School so no big change for me. This though is a great setup to conceal a handgun.

Sometimes, though, what we wore in high school is not always appropriate for many of us. Untucked and unbuttoned shirts are fine for working in the yard or running out to Wal-Mart, but at some point, some of us need to start dressing like grown-ups. Wearing sport coats, long cardigan style sweaters, or nice vests (especially a qood quality leather vest such as those available from Coronado Leather) is very effective in covering most IWB and OWB rigs (even with a full-size 1911). Weighting down the strong-side pocket with keys, one's small flashlight or a roll of dimes helps keep the covering garment from riding up. Of course, if you're living in Arizona or Florida ... more creativity is called for.

As far as detection ... It's possible that in many places, dressing "up" a little rather than dressing "down" also aids in keeping folks from suspecting you're packing ... dressing like a gangbanger, effective as those baggy garments are in hiding your gun, is not always the ticket to avoiding scrutiny. If you're wearing a sport coat and inadvertently flash your rig (e.g., while getting something out of a pants pocket -- although one should practice to avoid having this happen), most folks would probably just assume you're a cop or an otherwise respectable person (of course, if you dress too nicely, you may get mistaken for an attorney).

Kind of like the difference between driving a six-year-old white Buick (like the one Grandma used to drive) or a brandnew black Escalade with heavily-tinted windows and big shiny "ghetto spinner" wheels ... which is gonna help you avoid scrutiny? A large part of successful CCW is playing to the perception of others.

marklbucla
November 22, 2004, 06:16 PM
Weighting down the strong-side pocket with keys, one's small flashlight or a roll of dimes helps keep the covering garment from riding up.

The CCW instructor also suggested using a spare mag as a weight for your jacket. That's one less thing on your belt.

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