I just picked up a 642 that I intend on pocket carrying but I am running into some issue. I am about 6'2", 220 and wear Wrangler Retro's and Wrangler George Straights religiously. I mean I haven't owned another pair of jeans since probably the 90's. Now if you have ever worn either of these, the GSs especially, pocket room is somewhat more of a theoretical quality in these pants than an actual concrete thing. I knew this going into the situation of pocket carrying and I have a possible solution in mind.
As a disclaimer, I am in no way an expert leather worker or seamstress so this may take a few tries to complete. So in my research as to how I might carry this gun, I came to a few conclusions.
First, carrying front pocket in these jeans is impossible. It's hard to retrieve a pen from the front pocket in time to sign a receipt more or less a gun to save your life. So that leaves the back pockets. I know, I know, "MD, why not just use an IWB holster and call it good?" Well because this is going to be my "always on me" gun and I may have another weapon in the IWB position back there from time to time dropping this to BUG status and two guns can't occupy the same real estate. That and I enjoy a challenge :D
Second, when the gun sits in the back pocket of my jeans, the grip shows about 3/4 of an inch so a normal pocket holster just won't do. Sure a Tshirt will hang low enough to cover it 95% of the time but that one time I bend over or raise my arms will be the absolute WRONG time with my luck. Which brings up my third issue.
Third, the gun needs to stay all concealed, all the time. I attend the University of Kentucky and whether or not you know, they prohibit students from carrying weapons on campus. It's my understanding that they can't get you in legal trouble if you are legally carrying but they will fine the sh*t out of you if you are a student. Now I likely wouldn't always carry to class but when I am out, I occasionally walk through campus and the campus is rather sprawling if you have ever been to Lexington.
So what does this leave? I had a revelation one evening when browsing the interwebs. I saw this:
and thought man would that be cool to have for my 642! But alas, they don't make one. However, I used to mess around with leather forming when I was a bit younger and wondered if I could make one myself. Or at least something similar. Something that goes right with George Straight Wranglers and Kentucky are these:
So I was thinking that maybe I could make something that was a cross between these two things. The extra height would serve to look like a checkbook style wallet and also completely conceal the grip of the revolver. In a pinch, the the fake top could be flipped out of the way giving access to the revolver. Just a project I may start next week. Let me know what you think.
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March 4, 2013, 10:12 AM
I say it's one of those that you won't know what you have until you try it...I've been through several ideas before I came up with my ideal carry solution. I tried pocket carry and that lasted about 10 minutes.
I believe your idea may be pretty bulky, and some grip may still be exposed above the pocket line, but again, you won't know for sure til you give it a whirl.
March 4, 2013, 11:06 AM
I use pocket carry in a Nemesis pocket holster. In cargo shorts in my front pocket, it disappears - the roundness of the gun blends well with the natural curves of a human body
March 4, 2013, 01:32 PM
I don't know... maybe... buy some new pants? :D Dockers aren't bad, have deep pockets. Other styles of jeans can work, too.
I pocket carry a 642 in my right front pocket almost every day. I always take it and both of the holsters I use with it with me when I go pants shopping - I'm not just trying pants on for how they fit me, but for how they fit me and the 642 and its leather. Can't tell you how many times I've thrown back a pair of jeans or slacks that I really wanted to buy, but they wouldn't ever work with my gun.
Your wallet idea has some merit. I'd like to see what you come up with.
March 4, 2013, 02:42 PM
Thank's for the replies guys. Buying new pants is definitely an option I suppose but I think I'll more likely make this work or decide on a different carry method, I've just been a Wrangler man for too long :D.
I have a good friend who trades bulk western wear and tack and he usually has a box of these wallets lying around. I think I might just be able to use the front off an existing wallet, wet form the leather that would hold the gun, and then attach some sort of flap for the top that can easily be flipped out of the way. This weekend I'll give it a shot and post some pics.
Another question that I meant to bring up originally was what are the chances of someone trying to pick my pocket and ending up with a J frame in their hand? I know a lot of people who carry a wallet like this all the time and never had anyone try to swipe it. But that was back in the bluffs and meadows of the southern tip of Illinois. There's a wee bit more people here in Lexington. Any input on this?
March 4, 2013, 03:57 PM
I suspect anything made where you can "flip" the top to access your 642 may tend to flip when you sit down. I know it's not what you want to hear but you might want to pick a smaller gun or buy some pants with bigger pockets.;)
March 4, 2013, 04:01 PM
Duluth trading jeans have pockets deep enough to pocket carry any Jframe type handgun. They aren't the least expensive but they are high quality.
March 4, 2013, 05:47 PM
Oh royal barnes, don't go killing my hopes and dreams! Just kidding, you may have a point there but as someone said earlier, I'll never really know until I try. I may have to go another route and put a snap on the top or something similar. But the further I go down that road, the longer it is going to take to deploy the gun. I am going to experiment with a few different things and who knows, it may be a flop but man would it be nice if it worked!
March 4, 2013, 05:52 PM
308win, I am really trying to get by without buying a whole new wardrobe of jeans but if nothing else works out, I'll keep those in mind. Thanks for the suggestion!
March 4, 2013, 06:04 PM
This is right up my alley it seems. I just graduated from the University of Kentucky this past semester in engineering. There are more firearms on campus than most would guess. I carried most days, however it was in a shoulder holster like this...
or in an Crossbreed IWB holster.
It was fine for what I did with it, access was somewhat slower but fine for being on campus.
Now, I was the president of UK's student chapter for concealed carry for a time and learned a few things while in that position. One, you can have a firearm in your vehicle on UK's property now as long as you have a valid CCDW. Two, the penalty for getting caught with a firearm on campus is a meeting with the dean of students, NOT A FINE. This meeting would likely result in your expulsion just an FYI. This is something to consider. Now to the good news, UK now has a pistol team. We shoot out at BGSL at the pistol matches there and are sponsered by Glock and M&P. If you would like to shoot with us sometime you are more than welcome.Just shoot me a PM.
March 4, 2013, 06:09 PM
Also be aware, firearms are not allowed in dorms...which from the pictures you posted seem to be from one of them. ;) Let me guess, one of the low rises? The wood and paint seem to match... haha anyway PM me for any information you need.
March 4, 2013, 06:14 PM
Thank you very much Datsun40146! My info on firearm policy was just heresay from other people so thank you for clearly defining it. It makes me feel a little better knowing I am not the only one who considers carrying on campus. I and friends have had some close calls walking around at night so I think it's time to start carrying anytime after dark, regardless of chance for expulsion. My college career isn't worth getting cut up by some thug in K lot. You might well be getting a PM about that offer as well ;)
March 4, 2013, 08:08 PM
Wear looser pants and that 642 will just disappear into that front pocket. You'll be more comfortable, too.
March 4, 2013, 09:09 PM
Used to be a Wrangler guy and nothing else. Tried a pair of Carhartt's about a year ago and now will not wear anything but Carhartt's. I carry a 642 or a LCP daily in a front pocket holster and have plenty of room in the pockets. May be worth a look.
March 4, 2013, 10:10 PM
So I see the general consensus says to change pants... the problem with that is it's an expensive process. I have about 10 pairs of jeans at on average $50 a piece to replace. That's $500 guys! I could buy and try a lot of different carry options with that cash or even a new gun!
I am going to try my idea with the wallet and see how that goes. If it doesn't work out then I'll probably go to a 5.11 holster shirt or maybe even an ankle rig. I really don't want to do those but changing pants just isn't very likely for me right now. I do appreciate the suggestions though.
I promise I'm not trying to be hard headed and I understand that switching pants would be ideal for pocket carry it's just not something I want to do. Check back with this thread sometime next week and hopefully I'll have a prototype to show off!
March 4, 2013, 10:22 PM
Opinions are worth about what you pay for them. What works for you or me may not fit the next guy. Hope your holster/wallet project solves your carry problem and will be checking for pics. Sounds like a great idea.
March 5, 2013, 12:43 AM
Thanks EddieG45, I hope I didn't come off condescending in that last post, that wasn't my intention at all. I greatly appreciate everyone's input.
March 5, 2013, 02:27 PM
Interesting project, please let us know what you come up with.
March 5, 2013, 05:09 PM
You may be forced to go to a different style jean. I routinely carry my 442 in warm weather in the right-front pocket of my rather ample, generously cut, jeans. I house the critter in a Galco PH158 horsehide pocket holster and it is well-nigh undetectable.
When these holsters are new they are very stiff and make an embarrassingly and ungainly bulge, so I recommend wearing it in the dorm or in places where it won't matter, until the rig is broken in. When I wear my shirttail out, which is 95% of the time, I just use a Galco SM158 and let my baggy shirt do all the work.
Wearing tight and stylish clothing makes gun toting much more difficult, as you have found out.
March 13, 2013, 03:43 PM
So after what seemed like a very long wait and lots of research and planning, I will be starting my project today! Here is the leather I will be working with:
I don't know much about it, just know I got it from a friend for free. It will do for a prototype/proof of concept I imagine. I thought about ordering some really nice leather online but decided against it in case the whole thing doesn't work out. I figure if it does, I can always make a nicer one later.
So the plan is this: I will be following loosely the instruction from about three different online guides. I will first wet the leather in warm water to get all the dyes and chemicals out. One site said this is a must so I figure it couldn't hurt. Then in another bath, I'll wet it again this time for longer.
My high tech leather working station complete with piece of tongue and groove lumber and rusty butcher knife.
After all that I'll be forming. Now to save some time and effort, I'll be forming directly on the gun. I'm going to cover it with saran wrap and even if water leaks through, it's made of stainless steel and aluminum so what's the worst that can happen right?
After hacking off what looked to be the right size piece of leather and leaving a generous amount of underestimation insurance, I plunged it into it's first bath of water. The website I was reading said leather likes to soak at around 170 degrees. Using my patented large leather soaking pot (sauce pan) I submerged it completely in water. I ended up filling it all the way up with the idea that I would heat it to 180 degrees and after it's 15 minute soak time, it wouldn't cool off so fast that it drops below 160 between my checking.
Also, I'm going at this with the anyone can do it idea so I don't plan on buying any fancy tools or anything. Everything I will be using I will have either fabricated or had at the house. I'll post back in a with updates as I have them.
March 13, 2013, 05:33 PM
Now for some serious progress!!! Well sort of.
After spending some time at the spa, the leather should be ready to be formed around the pistol.
Here you can see where I had to cut a little jut into the leather where it was bunching up due to stretching. I saw this on one of the leather sites and it is supposed to help keep it from wrinkling? I think? I dunno, we'll see i guess.
And then the top side. The sight has me worried. I can't leave enough material without losing my tight form to allow for a sight ridge in the holster. We will just have to see what happens when I go pulling this one out and putting it back in.
Now we skip ahead and the nailing is done. Here you get to see some of my top notch engineering. I used some rubber bands and pens to help keep the shape around the cylinder. Pay no attention to the ugly fold at the end, I took this before moving the rubber bands back to push down the leather in front of the cylinder. More than likely the leather at the end will be pinched and sewn together then cut off a little longer than the muzzle.
And that is it so far. Way too early in the game for you guys to really see the picture I have in my head come together but with time I'm sure you will. It is supposed to set for 24 hours unless I throw it in the oven to harden some which I am considering doing tomorrow. Questions? Comments?
March 14, 2013, 12:00 PM
Comment...cool, I dance the dance of waiting with delicious anticipation your next transmission.
March 14, 2013, 04:24 PM
Don't throw it in the oven! Let it air dry naturally. Too much heat will cause excess shrinkage and will take the natural oils out of the leather. Be patient, grasshopper.;)
March 15, 2013, 05:16 AM
I am glad to see there are a few people interested in seeing what I come up with and I am even more glad to finally have something to show! I have quite a few pictures here and I will try to walk through the where I was in the construction with each one. For the record, I did take royal barnes' advice and let my form air dry as opposed to putting it in the oven. I think that was a good call and am happy with how it turned out so I must say thank you for the advice.
So last you all heard from me I was waiting on my ugly rubber banded contraption to dry. Now we skip ahead to the leather being dry and me peeling it off the board. I forgot to take a picture of it nailed down and dry with the junk removed so I laid the form down on the board to illustrate what it looked like. I also trimmed slightly when it was still nailed down. Just a loose trim to make removal easier. I found using a carpet knife blade and some leather gloves gave me the best balance of precision and safety for trimming.
I used a thin screwdriver to pop the nails up. It was somewhat tedious because I didn't want to mess up my leather. I went along raising each one a tiny fraction of an inch all around until I had it free. I used pretty short nails though so that helped a bit. Actually, they were probably closer to tacks than nails...
So the next parts I forgot to snap photos of but I can explain in greater detail if someone wants me to. Basically, I used the existing holes in the leather to sew through but I had to widen them quite a bit with an ice pick to get my large needle and wax thread through. I used this same ice pick to punch the holes in the back piece of leather that I would be sewing the form to.
On a side note, anyone attempting the method of using an ice pick to punch your holes, use a soft piece of wood as backing. The tongue and groove piece I was using was just perfect. It was soft enough to let me push the ice pick a quarter inch or so into it but not so soft that it didn't stop the pick after that. This was extremely handy since I had to widen the holes quite a bit.
Here is what it looked like after I sewed the form down to the leather backing that would become the outside of my holster.
This picture illustrates what I was talking about when I said the sides of the flap. Ideally, this will keep people from just looking through the side of the holster and identifying your weapon. I found later that they also do a good job of making the holster more sturdy on the top end.
And now we jump ahead yet again. This time after some tweaking and the addition of the "retaining strap" as I am now calling it. Other additions include reinforcement of the sides where they meet the back of the flap and where they meet the top.
This is what I am calling the front of the holster as it is what faces out and is what people will see. Bear in mind the only part that people will see is the flap as it is all that will stick out of my pocket.
And that's all the pretty pictures I have for right now folks. If there is anything you would like to see in better detail, I would be more than happy to snap it and post it.
Now some closing thoughts and observations. Is it THE DEFINITIVE pocket carry solution? Ummmmmm not even close. It does have the potential to fill a niche for me at least but I can't even say that for sure as I haven't really tried it out. That's the short of it. I'll break down the long of it like this:
The goal was to create a holster that:
A. Made pocket carry possible in tighter jeans with shallower pockets
B. Concealed the weapon completely and securely
C. Would be mistaken for a wallet by the general public
D. Still allowed for reasonably timely access to the weapon
E. Didn't cost a fortune or require much skill to make
Well preliminary thoughts say that A. was achieved. I can carry the holster with the gun in both my retros and my george straights without discomfort. B. is also nailed down pretty well. Unless someone reached into your pocket, I feel it would be pretty hard to even suspect the leather pouch housed a gun. C. on the other hand falls a bit short. Does it look like a wallet? Well... not really. But it doesn't look at all like a gun and that's the big one. D. I can't say much about the draw yet except it seems to be faster than a 5.11 tactical shirt and I would imagine it's faster than an ankle which is what I was shooting for. And E. well, I have less than $20 invested in the holster and didn't have to buy any tools other than needles. As for skill, I'm definitely no saddle maker...
All in all, I like it. Do I love it? Not yet but maybe after I get the chance to carry it around the house and the farm a bit, I may start to dig it a little more. That being said, it definitely kicks the tar out of all the other carry options I tried to make fit goals A. B. and D. There are a few things I would do differently if I had to start over but no real design changes. Just a tweak here and a little extra material there. I hope someone gets something out of watching this project; I know I enjoyed it.
I have prepared myself now bring on the feedback. Good bad or otherwise :D:D:D
March 16, 2013, 07:19 PM
My immediate thoughts are that it doesn't look very comfortable...and presenting the gun will take a while.
But if it works for you.......
March 17, 2013, 10:54 PM
You know believe it or not, it is surprisingly comfortable for me and I think a lot of that is because I am used to having a thicker wallet in that pocket. Presentation is by no means western movie worthy but I feel like it's a little faster than some of the other ways I've tried so far. I think I might give it another go when I get some spare time to see if I can improve on a few things. We'll see what happens.
March 30, 2013, 11:49 AM
I love it when a plan comes together.
Can you see the pistol from the exposed sides of your case when your shirt is lifted? That would be a concern for me. I hate sitting on stuff (wallet, etc), but if it works for you, that's great. I appreciate the creativity.
March 30, 2013, 01:37 PM
I have seen too many deep cover IWB [ inside waist band ] holsters to understand why you went that route.
There is a holster maker on this forum that makes a version of the Cross Breed DEEP cover holster and that would be my way to go if in your shoes.
I go with 5:11's or Tru-Spec bdu style pants and they seem to work as not even my friends spot my pocket carry.
I pocket either a S&W 442,S&W 360 or a Ruger LCP.
April 1, 2013, 05:33 PM
KTXdm9 ~ Nope, the whole thing sits low enough that only the top is out of the pocket of my pants. I thought that might be an issue as well but it turned out nicely in that regard. I thought it would be neat to try but I am far from nailing down a carry method. I might give it another go and try for a smaller overall package. If I do, I'll definitely document and post again.
scaatylobo ~ I thought I was pretty clear on why those solutions wouldn't work for me earlier in the thread? The cost of switching out an entire wardrobe and throwing out a bunch of good pants doesn't fly with me. I have lot's of good suggestions should I start buying different pants from here on out and I appreciate your addition to the list but for right now I'm stuck wearing what I have. And for IWB, I have a holster and a gun that already find a home there. Putting another gun IWB would again, warrant an upsize in pants not to mention I don't think it would be very comfortable.
May 2, 2013, 10:29 PM
I don't even carry a wallet in my back pocket due to the fact sitting was causing me back pain. Taking the wallet and putting it ony front pocket helped to align my spine and no pain. That said have you considered smartcarry. I can draw from a tucked shirt faster than I can clear from 4 o clock with a untucked shirt. Just an idea
May 2, 2013, 10:42 PM
Docker jeans works great for pocket carry with any j-frame.
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