Concerns about holster choice


April 19, 2010, 01:11 AM

So I'm getting my concealed carry permit (should have it a week from tomorrow) and I'm wondering about holster options.

I currently own one pistol in a caliber suitable for self-defense: full size CZ-75B in 9mm. I would really love a Kahr K9, but don't currently have the cash for that (or any other gun). So I'll be carrying the CZ for at least a while.

My question: what is the best way to carry? I really like the idea of IWB/SOB carry, and when I get it, that's where the K9 is going. However, I'm concerned about the weight of the CZ... it's nearly 3 pounds. I've heard that carrying weight around the belt area can cause back problems. Would some sort of shoulder-supported rig be more appropriate for a gun like that?


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April 19, 2010, 01:49 AM
I dunno about the CZ, but my carry piece is a Kimber Stainless TLE II....that's a full size 5" 1911. It's kinda hefty, but never caused me any issues IWB. That's how I prefer to carry it.

April 19, 2010, 02:40 AM
I've carried a full size 1911 IWB for about 2 years now and haven't had any problems. One of the most important things when considering IWB carry is using a quality belt. I can't stress it enough that the belt is of equal importance to the holster with IWB carry. It spreads the weight of the gun along with keeping it secure. I carried IWB with a cheap dress belt for a while, but once I got a belt designed for carry (beltman) it was a night and day difference.

April 19, 2010, 04:22 AM
IWB is a good idea, but SOB is not a good idea.

It's a bad spot if you should fall or get knocked down.

Better place is 4:00 o'clock if right handed or 8:00 o'clock if left handed.

April 19, 2010, 08:20 AM
As mentioned, SOB is not the best place to carry. First off, if you ever fall on your back (a possibility in any assault) it's like hitting the base of your spine on a large rock when you land on your gun. Second, you have to torque your arm in such a way that it is already in an arm lock if someone grabs your elbow while you draw.

3:30-4:00 o'clock is a better idea.

Vern Humphrey
April 19, 2010, 08:24 AM
I second all the above. Carry in the 4:00 position, not SOB and get a good belt. If you can't afford a special belt, Tandy ( is having a sale on belt blanks -- good, stiff belts (I use them myself). For around $7.00 you can get a good belt and use the buckle from your present belt to complete it.

April 19, 2010, 10:43 AM
Personally I prefer OWB in the 3 O'clock position. Works standing, or sitting, even while driving.

April 19, 2010, 10:57 AM
what is the best way to carry? I really like the idea of IWB/SOB carry, and when I get it, that's where the K9 is going. However, I'm concerned about the weight of the CZ... it's nearly 3 pounds. I've heard that carrying weight around the belt area can cause back problems. Would some sort of shoulder-supported rig be more appropriate for a gun like that?

I've carried full size handguns (1911, steel frame 9mms, 4" revolvers, etc) IWB/OWB for about 35 years and don't have any back problems caused by my carry method. SOB may look cool but really doesn't offer any extra concealbaility and can turn a minor spill (slip on ice, etc) into a serious injury as others have said. A good gun belt distributes weight better and once you try one you'll wonder how you carried without one.

Shoulder holsters work well but still put most of the weight on the side you're carrying the gun. They also require a cover garment and in warm weather get uncomfortable (they cut down on air circulation).

Mikhail Weiss
April 19, 2010, 12:57 PM
Q: My question: what is the best way to carry?
A: On your person, in a manner that is safe, secure, and that allows immediate access.

A.1: This usually means having a proper gun belt and a good holster, and choosing them because they are right for you and your comfort level, not anyone else's.

I carried a pistol nearly the weight of your CZ for years, sometimes with a crummy cheap-o belt, sometimes with a proper high-quality gun belt, sometimes with no belt at all. I used three different kinds of holsters, and even tucked IWB, sans holster or belt, on occasion.

I most commonly carried SOB, fell down four times – twice on a slippery floor, once tripping over an electrical plug, and once tipping over backwards while squatting down to move some boxes. None of these spills caused me to land on the pistol and paralyze myself, though the low-altitude tip-over did spur me to twist sideways, just in case.

The most comfortable setup was OWB, pistol worn about 3:30 to 4:00. The best compromise for comfort and concealment in the work environment was IWB, approximately SOB.

The problems with using a cheap belt seemed to be threefold. One, the holsters always migrated, and they always migrated to SOB. Two, I felt all of the weight on my hips after about three or four hours. Three, you'll end up wanting to tighten the belt to make up for its droopiness, which will quickly become uncomfortable in new ways. In other words, it wasn't my back that hurt from carrying that chunk of metal around, but the bruised skin over my hips. Chalk that up to a cheap belt.

A good belt greatly reduces perceived weight tugging at all the places the belt holds on, and a good holster on a good belt migrates far less, if at all.

Wearing the pistol anywhere short of SOB reduces reach distance and draw time, and unless you're planning on using a holster designed for SOB carry, SOB carry positions the grip at a place and angle some find difficult to reach or draw from. It seemed to present no problem for me, though, and that was with an FBI cant.

If you spend much time sitting, though, SOB carry means you'll likely be leaning against your CZ, and that can get to be uncomfortable. It's also more difficult to monitor what's going on behind you than beside you, so when in crowds and close company, carrying SOB rather than on or nearer your hip presents its own worries.

So, can you carry IWB SOB? Sure. Will doing so hurt your back? Probably not, as long as you use a good belt. Should you carry this way? That's up to you, and it may depend as much upon the environment in which you operate as the level of comfort and accessibility afforded.

April 19, 2010, 01:12 PM
For ME, pocket carry is the way to go. Easy, convenient. $300 for a ruger LCP and $15 for a pocket holster. Done.

Your opinions and needs will vary. But the little LCP is so easy to carry you never have an excuse to not be armed. If I'm dressed, I'm carrying. :)

April 19, 2010, 01:30 PM
Best three ways....strongside in a quallity leather pancake type holster on a good supportive belt. Pocketcarry w/ a small light pistol...that is actually small/light enough for pocket carry. IWB...I used to say if you are a skinny guy may work....but I've been wearing a crossbreed supertuck for 3 days now with a XD4" and am NOT a skinny guy....and the dang thing is comfortable as all get out!

But deffinately strongside and deffinately on the person! SOB is dangerous....even if you where lucky enought not get hurt...even in an auto accident!

Vern Humphrey
April 19, 2010, 01:50 PM
I'll go out on a limb and say most people who carry full-size or near full-size guns carry strong-side, 3:30 to 4:30. And the longer they have carried, and the more consistently they carry, the more likely they are to carry that way.

April 19, 2010, 02:09 PM
^ What he said. I have a bad back and that or shoulder holster works best for me. Over 30 years I have tried them all, and a good belt and good holster, "leather", like a Mitch Rosen, or Galco, will save you a lot of pain later on. Those "smart carry", I tried but just can't get used to having a gun in my nuts.

April 19, 2010, 04:03 PM
Go ahead and get a good holster and belt. I ue a comp tac belt, my brother uses a beltman. They are both good. For IWB carry, an MTAC from comp tac or crossbreed supertuck are very comfortable. You can try a shoulder holster, I did. I spent more on it than I would have for 2 of the above. I have worn it maybe 10 times in 6 years, just not for me. YMMV.
Whatever you decide, wear it as much as you can. After awhile, you will feel uncomfortable leaving home without it.

April 19, 2010, 04:07 PM
The good holster and belt are increasingly important for heavy guns.

April 19, 2010, 08:35 PM
I carry a 9mm Hi Power OWB @ 4 o'clock. If placed between the belt loop, you can slide it to 3 o'clock when driving.

April 19, 2010, 09:23 PM

There is NO one best way to carry, that is totally subjective to the end user

For me its a DeSantis Speed Scabbard carried at 2:30-3, you will have to play around and find what works best for you!

April 20, 2010, 12:29 AM
Alright, so weight of a gun should not be a problem. Also, IWB at 3 o'clock seems to be preffered to SOB. (The reason I suggested SOB was because I have carried knives for years in that position. Slanted, they are nearly impossible to detect, quick to draw and don't get in the way as much as knives IWB in ot her positions.)

Another question: would a good work belt work as well as a specialized "gun belt"? What's special about a gun belt?

April 20, 2010, 07:31 AM
It depends on the work belt.

Most work belts just don't carry weight as well as a gun belt. I have a pretty solid 1.5" heavy leather belt from Cabelas, but it is not even close to the strength of my 1.5" Wilderness Tactical 5 stitch Instructor belt (around $40).

On the other hand, I've heard very good things about the Filson double bridle leather belt which is not marketed as a gun belt. Of course, at about $70, you may just want to buy a purpose built gun belt.

April 20, 2010, 10:58 AM
A good gun belt wil help to distribute the weight over a greater area and help eliminate hot spots. My hip on the opposite side was hurting all the time until someone recommended a good belt. I was having to tighten it all the time and did not realize it.
Second the Wilderness belt, it will be my next one.

April 20, 2010, 11:41 AM
The best belt for the money isnt one called a Gun Belt, that means its gonna be 70 bucks or more because it says 'gun belt' in the title

Hit up some Law Enforcement Supply shops, or websites and get a leather belt w/ a buckle thats designed to support a duty belt, its called either a 'trouser belt' or a 'garrison belt' depending

They will be 1.75" wide, some are 1.5' and they normally run about 30 bucks whereas a gun belt will be 70

April 20, 2010, 04:58 PM
You've been given some good suggestions. Pick one and try it. I've carried about every way short of "smartcarry" that can be carried until I found one that worked for me. I have a drawer full of holsters and can almost guarantee that anyone who carries regularly has that same drawer. Try it. If you don't like it, try something else until you find a system that works for you. You will find more success if you meet your holster half way. Change your clothing a bit to wear it helps, even if all you can do is changing from flat fronted slacks to pleats.

April 22, 2010, 01:01 PM
Massad Ayoob's book "The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry" has alot of good info and explains the positives and negatives of the various kinds of holsters.
A good belt is a must


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