Holsters and Carry Methods: pros and cons


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RetiredUSNChief
January 27, 2014, 02:05 PM
Another thread (Worst Carry Rig Ever?) sparked this when I couldn't find a thread with coherent relevant information on the pros and cons of various holsters and carry techniques. Lots of links to questions about "what kind of holster should I get for my new (fill in the blank) pistol", but all in all not too helpful in general.

So this posting is meant for people to post holster types and various carry positions/techniques and to discuss relevant pros and cons of each. The goal is to discuss useful information to help people wisely pick and choose from the dozens (hundreds?) of holster/carry combinations available out there.

Items of import are matters of fit, safety, comfort, wear and tear, fashion, concealability, dress type, holster material, as well as dispelling myths and pointing out serious bad practices. And, of course, anything else I may have missed.


So, pick a holster and carry position/technique and make your case!

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hartcreek
January 27, 2014, 04:00 PM
I do not carry just one way. I build holsters and put them into my coats, carry IWB and also use shoulder holsters. You have to be adaptable in your carry for each individual day.

Example....My niece has a catering business. I sometimes am her security but just as not I also might wind up being her prep cook for eight hours and then have to do security or both at the same time. By keeping an extra holster option in my rig I can change out to what fits at that specific time instead of being ill equipped.

bikerdoc
January 27, 2014, 05:32 PM
Since I retired I have been using Kydex paddle holsters covered by a shirt or jacket. For my 380 I use a pocket holster.
I like the paddle as I can take it off, and put it on, without undoing my belt if I go a no weapon area.

SconnieGirl
January 27, 2014, 07:24 PM
Appendix for main carry method.

Lift cover garment with left. Draw with right. With 3 or 4 o'clock carry, I would need to lift and draw with the same hand and bring the pistol around - not at efficient as appendix.

When I cannot appendix carry, which is pretty much anytime I'm in a dress, which is often during the summer, the carry gun goes in a small purse which stays on me or secured somewhere.

I pocket carry a small, lightweight pistol during the winter when I'm wearing a long coat - no matter what I'm carrying underneath.

TRX
January 27, 2014, 08:24 PM
Waist or pocket carry isn't practical for me for various reasons, so I carry a small auto in an ankle holster all the time, and a larger revolver or auto in a shoulder holster when weather allows a jacket or heavy overshirt.

RetiredUSNChief
January 27, 2014, 09:46 PM
Appendix for main carry method.

Lift cover garment with left. Draw with right. With 3 or 4 o'clock carry, I would need to lift and draw with the same hand and bring the pistol around - not at efficient as appendix.

When I cannot appendix carry, which is pretty much anytime I'm in a dress, which is often during the summer, the carry gun goes in a small purse which stays on me or secured somewhere.

I pocket carry a small, lightweight pistol during the winter when I'm wearing a long coat - no matter what I'm carrying underneath.

Strange.

I carry at the 3-4 O'clock position the vast majority of time and I don't use my drawing hand to lift my shirt/jacket...my weak hand does that job.

RetiredUSNChief
January 27, 2014, 09:48 PM
OK, as an example for this string:

Shoulder holster was mentioned here (in conjunction with a variety of others to suit various needs). But what are the specific pros and cons associated with shoulder holsters? I know they're out there, because I've definitely read comments elsewhere about people who refuse to carry in a shoulder rig.

SconnieGirl
January 27, 2014, 10:47 PM
strange.

I carry at the 3-4 o'clock position the vast majority of time and i don't use my drawing hand to lift my shirt/jacket...my weak hand does that job.

So, you reach all the way across your body and lift your shirt or jacket with your weak hand?

I have long arms and it's a reach to get around to 4 o'clock to sweep up a cover shirt or coat...

SconnieGirl
January 27, 2014, 10:55 PM
Appendix pros and cons:

Pros: concealability, easier/faster draw. Can draw from seated in a car.

Cons: not for those with large waists, comfort with certain pants/fits/, muzzle pointed at femoral artery (if you're concerned about guns going off on their own or your ability to draw or holster safely)

Pocket carry:

Pros: fast - hand in firing grip in pocket

Cons: heavy, often lopsided weight, lint

Purse:

Pros: I have a gun with me, very discreetly concealed

Cons: Slow draw if not ready. Requires dedicated compartment or side pouch.

jeepnik
January 27, 2014, 10:55 PM
Mostly OWB cross draw. Loose fitting shirt untucked covers it quite nicely.

9mmepiphany
January 28, 2014, 01:01 AM
Mostly OWB cross draw. Loose fitting shirt untucked covers it quite nicely.
Cross draw has a wide range of locations on the belt. The Classic cross draw holster rides at the 9 o'clock position and I've even seen some which were leaning back around to the 8 o'clock position.

Perhaps folks can include where on the belt that carry their holsters when describing the carry method(s) they like to use.

OP - I'm surprised you didn't find a thread on this subject. I remember engaging in a rather long thread about carry positions on this forum...sometime before I became a moderator. I thought it discussed all the varied holster positions...but I could be mistaken.

Having said that, this is a good subject and it will be interesting to see how people's perceptions have changed

ATLDave
January 28, 2014, 11:27 AM
Strong side, 3-4 o'clock. Gun doesn't sweep anybody during carry or draw. Gun doesn't sweep me. Reasonably comfortable in all positions. Good for retention. Conceals easily, and doesn't require closed-front, untucked cover garment - a regular suit jacket will do. No heightened injury risk during a fall. I do some USPSA competition which requires this position, so it gets lots of practice. Can accommodate service-length pistols.

Kuyong_Chuin
January 28, 2014, 12:49 PM
Another thread (Worst Carry Rig Ever?) sparked this when I couldn't find a thread with coherent relevant information on the pros and cons of various holsters and carry techniques. Lots of links to questions about "what kind of holster should I get for my new (fill in the blank) pistol", but all in all not too helpful in general.

So this posting is meant for people to post holster types and various carry positions/techniques and to discuss relevant pros and cons of each. The goal is to discuss useful information to help people wisely pick and choose from the dozens (hundreds?) of holster/carry combinations available out there.

Items of import are matters of fit, safety, comfort, wear and tear, fashion, concealability, dress type, holster material, as well as dispelling myths and pointing out serious bad practices. And, of course, anything else I may have missed.


So, pick a holster and carry position/technique and make your case!
Do to the medical equipment I have to ware I am very limited on what I will be using as a CCW rig. I am ether going to have to use a CCW fanny pack or alter a $3500.00 piece of medical equipment and buy 4x shirts which is not going to happen.

Pros: It fits my needs and can hide a large frame pistol.
Cons: Too many to list but I kind of don't have many choices.

Vodoun da Vinci
January 28, 2014, 01:56 PM
Appendix pros and cons:

Pros: concealability, easier/faster draw. Can draw from seated in a car.

Cons: not for those with large waists, comfort with certain pants/fits/, muzzle pointed at femoral artery (if you're concerned about guns going off on their own or your ability to draw or holster safely)

Pocket carry:

Pros: fast - hand in firing grip in pocket

Cons: heavy, often lopsided weight, lint

Purse:

Pros: I have a gun with me, very discreetly concealed

Cons: Slow draw if not ready. Requires dedicated compartment or side pouch.

^^^^^^^^ Perfect and my opinions as well.

I'm primarily AIWB carry with Px4 Storm SC with pocket carry of a Ruger LCR and ankle carry of a G26. I'll pocket carry the G26 in large pants pockets sometimes especially if I'm wearing Dockers or semi dress pants.

VooDoo

Old Dog
January 28, 2014, 03:29 PM
What's "AIWB?"

I used to carry concealed exclusively IWB in the 3, 3:30 positions. Milt Sparks Summer Specials and VM-2s were my go-to holsters.

As I age into more comfortable clothing and grow less concerned about my public appearance, I've gotten in to almost exclusively OWB in a quality leather holster, typically at about 3 o'clock. I wear traditionally-styled pants with the waistband at my actual waist, so the 3 o'clock fits the draw that I've trained with most of my adult life.

I usually wear a cover garment such as a Columbia or Carharrt vest, unzipped, so I can easily access my grip with my strong hand from underneath or an easy sweep with my strong hand ...

Lately, I have found that since Safariland produces an excellent version of the ALS duty holster (Kydex) with a paddle, I'm using these a lot -- and the fit is close enough to the body (not quite what can be achieved with a good Kramer Belt Scabbard, for example) and high enough, that good concealment is provided.

Concealment with the Kydex paddle holsters - cons: looser-fitting cover garment required, probably better for folks with slimmer builds. Pros: awesomely fast draw, easy re-holstering, durability excellent retention characteristics.

JTQ
January 28, 2014, 03:32 PM
What's "AIWB?"
Appendix, Inside the Waistband. Usually in the 1:00 - 2:00 o'clock position.

Hometeached1
January 28, 2014, 04:32 PM
So, you reach all the way across your body and lift your shirt or jacket with your weak hand?

I have long arms and it's a reach to get around to 4 o'clock to sweep up a cover shirt or coat...

When carrying at 3-4 o'clock, using your weak hand to lift your closed cover garment to draw, grab at about 1 o'clock and lift to your shoulder. Reverse for lefties. :D

AK103K
January 28, 2014, 05:00 PM
But what are the specific pros and cons associated with shoulder holsters?
I think there are more cons than pros when it comes to shoulder holsters.

For one, they are about the easiest to spot, especially when someone isnt careful with their choice of clothing/cover garments. The straps often show at the collar, and across the back through the cover garment, especially when you reach forward and draw the garment tight.

If you dont keep things properly closed up front, the gun and/or accessories can often be seen, and even come out into the open. Ive seen a couple of guys lean forward reaching for something, and their gun came swinging out. Kind of embarrassing.

You normally cant take your cover garment off, unless you wear it under something else, that will also conceal it on its own.

Having worn them all day, on long days, they can become quite tiring, especially across the top of your shoulders. I also found them to be "fiddly", and even when fitted properly, I still felt the need to constantly adjust them in some manner.

Except for one specific holster of this type, a Galco Executive, Ive pretty much given up on them and dont bother. The Executive is a very minimal holster with just a single strap that attaches to your pants with a suspender clip. It holds the gun by tension, and there are no retaining straps. They are made for smaller, "back up" type guns, and dont tend to suffer the problem the bigger rigs do. They easily conceal under a light fleece/sweatshirt, and can even work well under a dark colored oxford type shirt, if your careful.


Something similar to the shoulder holsters carry wise, are the undershirt type holsters offered by a couple of companies. I have a Kramer Confidant, and a 5.11.

The Kramer is the better of the two, and allows you to wear any undershirt you want under it. Its comfortable for long day use, and can easily be worn under a tucked in, full cut oxford type shirt. The "holsters", there are two, can carry a full sized gun, and you can carry a double reload in a belt carrier, in the off side pocket. The pockets also have a velcro strap that is removable. I dont use one with the gun, but it works well to hold the reload in place.

While a full size gun will work, like a shoulder holster, it gets old weight wise, and a smaller gun or guns (2 P230s worked great for me) is a better set up.


The 5.11 I have "is" the undershirt, and I didnt find it worked as well, nor was it as comfortable. The pockets that hold the gun, dont hold the gun tight, and it tends to move around a lot. My shirt is white, and it is "WHITE", and it looks like you just came out of boot camp if youre wearing a shirt with an open collar.

I found I was pretty limited to size of gun with the 5.11, and a J frame or small auto works best.

With either, if you wear a tie, you leave the button in the center of your chest open under the tie, and you can access the gun quite quickly, otherwise, you need to unbutton a button, or rip them open, to gain access.

Hometeached1
January 28, 2014, 05:08 PM
I tend to carry main pistol IWB with a Sidearmor, kydex holster or OWB with a leather thumb break Bianchi model 5.
Strong side 3:30:
Pros: Easiest to draw from in close or while being attacked at contact distance. Can draw while on back, weak side, stomach or while sitting with practice.
Most can carry full sized handguns.

Cons: Can be hard to draw with weak hand (I can get a firing grasp reaching behind my back.)
Prints if you bend over to pick something off the ground (just squat, like you have a bad back.:D)
You can not stage your draw.

Tend to carry BUG in,
Weak side Pocket:
Pros: Can stage your draw and no one will notice.
can be a very fast draw if staged.
You can carry pretty easily, even without a cover garment.
You have a handgun in reach of both your hands.
Cons: very hard to reach with strong hand.
Can be slow to draw if hand is not staged.
Limited to smaller handguns (depends on your pocket size.)

Hope this helps.

aarondhgraham
January 28, 2014, 05:30 PM
What about off-body carry?

Let me start with the fact that I have been making holsters for over 30 years,,,
I'm not the guy to build you a simple carry holster though,,,
I make fancy BBQ holsters for the open carry crowd.

Now having said that,,,
Let me say how much I hate wearing a holster.

I hate wearing holsters.

So I love winter when I wear a heavy jacket with high front pockets,,,
My Pocket semi's or my S&W Model 36 is always in there.

But in the summer I don't have the jacket,,,
So I carry a soft briefcase with a built-in holster,,,
I got my "murse (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=murse)" from the Gun Toten' Mama's website (https://www.guntotenmamas.com/).

Click here please (https://www.guntotenmamas.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=GTM0155).

I was a university student for nearly seven years,,,
I got so used to carrying a book satchel,,,
This is now second nature to me,,,
Everywhere I go, the bag goes.

I wear the strap cross-body,,,
So I don't worry about a snatch-n-grab,,,
They would have to drag my 200 pound body as well.

The strap has a steel cable in it,,,
So I don't worry about getting it cut from me.

It carries a mouse gun very nicely,,,
Or a full size duty weapon like my CZ-75B,,,
More often than not it's concealing my Beretta Cheetah.

The way I carry the bag and position the zipper,,,
The gun is in about a 10:00 or 11:00 cross-draw position.

I like the fact I can have my hand directly on the pistol,,,
And no one can be aware that it is "at hand",,,
They may think or guess I have the gun,,,
But it's not visible until I draw it.

I find this particularly comforting,,,
When in a parking lot at night.

The only time I've thought I would need to draw my gun,,,
I was in a video rental store when I heard,,,
"You Mother%$^%^,,,
I'm gonna kill you!"

I backed into a corner and had my hand on my pistol,,,
When the cops arrived and arrested the person,,,
I simply removed my hand and zipped up.

The lady who was standing behind me for ten minutes,,,
Never knew that I was armed and poised.

There are some things that must be dealt with,,,
Like when going to the men's restroom,,,
I can never leave my murse behind.

And in many men's restrooms,,,
There's not always a place to hang it in the stall. :cuss:

I take a lot of good-natured teasing about this,,,
But I'm very secure in my manhood. ;)

So, all in all, it's a great way for me to carry my pistol,,,
It lets me obey the first rule of a gun fight,,,
Which is: "Have a gun".

Aarond

.

SconnieGirl
January 28, 2014, 05:41 PM
When carrying at 3-4 o'clock, using your weak hand to lift your closed cover garment to draw, grab at about 1 o'clock and lift to your shoulder. Reverse for lefties.

Why would I need and/or want to lift my cover garment that high?

Valuable time and effort lost, IMO.

aarondhgraham
January 28, 2014, 05:47 PM
When carrying at 3-4 o'clock, using your weak hand to lift your closed cover garment to draw, grab at about 1 o'clock and lift to your shoulder. Reverse for lefties.

Why would I need and/or want to lift my cover garment that high?

I think he meant to "lift towards your shoulder."

Aarond

.

Hometeached1
January 28, 2014, 05:52 PM
Why would I need and/or want to lift my cover garment that high?

Valuable time and effort lost, IMO.
To make sure that you clear your handgun of the garment. You draw with your strong hand at the same time so no time lost vs using your strong hand only.

Hometeached1
January 28, 2014, 05:54 PM
I think he meant to "lift towards your shoulder."

Aarond

.
Thanks that what I meant.

herrwalther
January 28, 2014, 06:40 PM
I carry one of three ways. All dependent on the firearm, clothing, and where I'm going. Primarily I carry an IWB holster between 3 and 4. I am 5'7 and 160 pounds that typically wears jeans with an un-tucked T-shirt. I can comfortably carry full sized 1911s with no printing issues.

Second way is pocket carry for small mouse guns. My current and only mouse gun is a NAA .22mag that is in a Desantis leather holster from NAA. I also have a belt holster but rarely use it for this small firearm.

Third is ankle carry, which I have not used recently since I have sold off all my ankle sized firearms.

BSA1
January 28, 2014, 09:39 PM
Mexican carry most of the time wherever is most comfortable. When I need more security (pants a little loose) I use a shoestring. Rubber bands around the grip helps sometimes also.

RetiredUSNChief
January 28, 2014, 10:25 PM
So, you reach all the way across your body and lift your shirt or jacket with your weak hand?

I have long arms and it's a reach to get around to 4 o'clock to sweep up a cover shirt or coat...

Yes. Raising one's shirt isn't some neat, prissy action...it's a rapid, no-frills, extreme lifting of the shirt far enough to completely clear any possibility of hampering the draw. You don't need to reach directly over the pistol to do so.

I yank my shirt up high and then yank it in tight against my body with my weak hand as I reach and draw with my strong hand. There is absolutely no need for me to do any kind of body contortion to do this.

Sam1911
January 28, 2014, 10:33 PM
I've written a few things on holsters before. I'll quote a few:

On Small-Of-Back rigs:
Maybe consider honestly the reasons you DO carry "SOB" style. Make sure you really have to. There are some very good reasons not to.

Perhaps the least important of them is that it is (maybe the) one position where other folks really CAN tell better than you that you're carrying (printing).

Others are the risks of sweeping one's side/hips/kidneys when drawing from back around there (worse with the inverted SOBs than the more standard style), the fact that most ranges and training facilities won't let you practice with them because of risk to yourself and others, the risks of spine and other damage from falling on that hard object held against your vulnerable back, the inevitable discomfort while sitting and/or driving, the lack of access when sitting and/or driving, and, of course, the constant printing and cover garment riding up when you bend/move/sit/stand/stretch, etc.

SOB carry has several big draw-backs.

1) Injury: You are placing a bulky metal object against your spine, or kidneys. A fall onto, or blow against, that gun almost certainly will cause more pain and injury than it otherwise would have. If the fall is hard enough, it could do permanent damage. A gun on your hip (3:30-4:00 position) doesn't cause that concern.

2) Discomfort: If you sit at a desk, or drive anywhere, that gun is going to be very painful to sit on for long.

3) Printing: If you always stand straight up, you may conceal your gun well this way. The moment you sit on a bench or other backless seat, squat, bend, twist, reach for something, etc. the small of your back stretches your clothing tight in that area. You WILL print, and print worse than any other location you might carry. If you carry under a jacket or un-tucked shirt, SOB carry causes the outer garment to hang up on the gun and many folks who've tried it found that their jacket would creep up and begin to tuck itself in behind the gun as they moved around -- eventually leaving the gun completely exposed with the cover garment bunched up on top of it or even behind it.

4) Draw: Drawing from an SOB holster invites a tremendous safety violation. It is difficult to execute a draw that does not encourage/require you to sweep your own waist/hips/kidneys/pelvic girdle with the muzzle as you move the gun around in front of you. There are two types of SOB holster -- one butt-forward, one butt-back like an exaggerated OWB holster. The butt-forward version is much worse for this as you're trying to rotate the gun as well as draw it forward. Many ranges and trainers do not allow SOBs just for this reason. When you're trying to grab your gun, disengage the safety, and get on target for a fast shot, no portion of that operation should put your own body in front of the muzzle!

(Of course, no operation EVER should put part of your body in front of your own loaded gun ... but especially grabbing for a defensive sidearm in a moment of panic.)

Sam1911
January 28, 2014, 10:41 PM
On shoulder holsters:

Here's a really detailed thread on shoulder holsters, pros and cons: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7901579&highlight=shoulder+holster#post7901579

Some other comments:

The two options I'd suggest for a delivery/taxi driver or anyone who spends more than 50% of their day in a car would be either a vertical shoulder holster or a cross-draw belt holster. Either of those options gives up a lot to a strong-side belt holster for "normal" use, in concealment, comfort, and security and speed of draw, but they do unquestionably beat the car-seat problem.

The two biggest downsides I can see are that it is very easy to have your draw blocked or pinned completely by an adversary who manages to grapple with you or back you against a wall -- and that it is very difficult to get the kind of regular practice in that is so vital to self-defense. Most ranges will prohibit that kind of a holster as you're inherently sweeping bystanders, the line, and even yourself on the draw (without some pretty gymnastic contortions). If you can find a range with 360 degree pits/berms so you can get the practice you need on a regular basis, go for it!

If you need to carry a very large gun, the shoulder holster is a bit easier to do that with than most belt holsters.

If you're sitting down and/or driving during most of the times when you might need to be able to get the gun in a hurry, the shoulder holster again can be more advantageous than other designs, depending on several factors.

As for disadvantages, they tend to "print" worse than most folks believe, especially the horizontal versions. They tend to trade weight at the belt for weight on the shoulders, which isn't always a good thing. They also are hard to practice with easily as few ranges and NO competition venues allow their use due to the near impossibility of drawing without committing a muzzle-direction violation and/or sweeping other shooters and sometimes yourself.

On the other hand, they're really good if you're going for a vintage '70s'-'80s cop show look. :)

A down-side that has not been mentioned in this thread (although it has been covered in all the other shoulder holster threads recently) is that the draw-stroke from a shoulder holster (and, again from a cross-draw) is also the most easily blocked under certain circumstances.

If an attack comes up close, and/or the attacker manages to get his arms around you or a hand on your strong arm, it becomes quite difficult to draw the gun and get it pointed the right way. If you place your arm flat across your chest like you're drawing from a shoulder holster and have someone hold that arm tightly, you'll find that it is pretty easy for that person to keep your arm pinned.
Further, if an attacker was to get you in a close grapple, with his body against yours, you'd have little chance to get your firing hand between your bodies to even get to the gun.

There are techniques which can be practiced to fight through those situations with some degree of success, but none of them will be as fast or as natural as drawing a gun from a holster at your waist on the strong side -- a move that is very difficult to block.

Certainly, not everyone who carries worries that attacks will happen up close like this and most probably assume that they'll have ample time and space to draw the gun.

Just something to consider.

RetiredUSNChief
January 28, 2014, 11:03 PM
Alrighty, here's my own review:

I have a Galco N3 IWB for my full sized Colt 1991A1.

Pros:

Black leather with a sweat guard that I really like: it keeps the upper slide/trigger off my body when I'm wearing it against my skin under a shirt.

The upper leather around the mouth is reinforced to help in reholstering.

Cons:

The holster has a single belt loop which, though it's offset, allows the holster to shift more than I'd like. Sometimes this leads me to make adjustments that I shouldn't have to do while carrying concealed.

The angle of the holster is critical when drawing my gun, which makes shifting of the holster doubly troubling for me. Proper holster positioning has the gun angled forward for ease of draw...if the holster shifts to a more vertical position, then drawing the 1911 style out of the holster tends to drag the top of the slide across the mouth of the holster, which may result in the edge of the ejection port momentarily snagging on the leather.

The holster is open on the barrel end, and my full sized pistol sticks out about 1/2 inch. Not a problem...unless I'm at the range and shooting my pistol a lot and forget about this when I reholster a smoking hot gun. The pictures on the Galco website did not show the pistol barrel extending past the bottom of the holster. And yes, I did get the correct holster at the LGS.

Other:

The holster has no retention strap. While I do not consider this a problem, based on the way the holster is designed and the fact that it's an IWB holster, some people may not like this.

Price:

I bought mine at a LGS for about $80, same as the Galco site. Fair price for similar holsters.


Recommendation:

Not a bad holster if I weren't carrying for self-defense. However, I would not buy another one based on the issues with the holster shifting and causing issues with adjustments that shouldn't be made and in drawing my gun. I will eventually replace this holster with another.

If I replace this with another Galco, I'd consider their V-Hawk IWB. It's got two belt loops, which will positively maintain proper position, and the bottom of the holster is not open ended.


Links to the N3 and V-Hawk holsters:

http://www.galcogunleather.com/n3-iwb-holster_8_7_1215.html

http://www.galcogunleather.com/v-hawk-iwb-holster_8_7_1330.html

9mmepiphany
January 28, 2014, 11:52 PM
I have a Galco N3... The holster has a single belt loop which, though it's offset, allows the holster to shift more than I'd like.
Unfortunately this seems to be a problem with many Galco holsters. It has been my experience that they size their belt loops to fit a wide range of belt widths so as not to have to offer different sized loops for customers.

The N2 is a clone of the Mitch Rosen ARG, which is a very stable holster. Referring back to the other thread (mentioned in your OP) this holster falls into the catagory which is designed to move a bit, at the front, for comfort when sitting.

http://glocktalk.com/classifieds/data/8/MitchRosenARG2.jpg

The placement of the rear mounted loop is meant to pull the gun butt in. For something more stable, you can look at the ARG-DL

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb95/swa18382/CCW/1911%204/IWB/gsroarg1-2.jpg

The Galco V-hawk in a clone of the Spark's VM II which fills the other end of the IWB spectrum is the widespread loops and leather wings spreading the weight and stabilizing the holster on the belt

http://www.miltsparks.com/images/Photos/VM-2_large.jpg

JTQ
January 29, 2014, 09:20 AM
RetiredUSNChief wrote,
The holster is open on the barrel end, and my full sized pistol sticks out about 1/2 inch. Not a problem...unless I'm at the range and shooting my pistol a lot and forget about this when I reholster a smoking hot gun. The pictures on the Galco website did not show the pistol barrel extending past the bottom of the holster. And yes, I did get the correct holster at the LGS.
Like you, that the slide extends beyond the bottom of the holster would surprise me, especially considering the link you gave to Galco's site. They show what looks like a 5" 1911 sitting in an N3, and the slide does not extend beyond the bottom of the holster. in addition, they also show a different holster listed, in the drop down menu, for a 3", 4.25", and 5" 1911's leading me to believe they make different size holsters. All of this would lead me to suspect you did receive the wrong size holster. It was possibly put in the wrong bag before shipping. If the holster is fairly new, I'd check with Galco.

The holster has no retention strap. While I do not consider this a problem, based on the way the holster is designed and the fact that it's an IWB holster, some people may not like this.

Is there a significance to the holster being IWB without a retention strap? There are some IWB holster's with retention straps, but there are not many. Usually, a retention strap is not needed for IWB carry as they are well concealed and the pressure of the belt on the holster body provides extra retention.

RetiredUSNChief
January 29, 2014, 12:14 PM
Thanks, 9mmepiphiny! Those other holsters look mighty attractive in design! I'll check them out!

Sam1911: Thanks a bunch for taking the time to post on SOB and shoulder holsters! I got a lot of valuable information there.


Like you, that the slide extends beyond the bottom of the holster would surprise me, especially considering the link you gave to Galco's site. They show what looks like a 5" 1911 sitting in an N3, and the slide does not extend beyond the bottom of the holster. in addition, they also show a different holster listed, in the drop down menu, for a 3", 4.25", and 5" 1911's leading me to believe they make different size holsters. All of this would lead me to suspect you did receive the wrong size holster. It was possibly put in the wrong bag before shipping. If the holster is fairly new, I'd check with Galco.

Is there a significance to the holster being IWB without a retention strap? There are some IWB holster's with retention straps, but there are not many. Usually, a retention strap is not needed for IWB carry as they are well concealed and the pressure of the belt on the holster body provides extra retention.

I've had the Galco for a couple years now, so probably not an option for replacement at this time.

As for IWB without a retention strap, it's my opinion (like yours) that a retention strap for this particular design (which is a form-fitted holster) combined with being IWB makes it much less susceptible to the gun falling out during movement (which is my primary concern). Others have hailed a retention strap as something that hinders attempts of others to snatch the weapon. Again, I think the holster design combined with IWB discourages this possibility as well.

And, internet opinions from strangers being what they are, others can take my opinion for whatever it's worth to them!

:neener:

JTQ
January 29, 2014, 12:37 PM
Certainly, if I were open carrying, I'd look for some kind of retention device. However, for any concealed carry holster, either IwB or OWB, I don't think they are needed.

Spending some time on forums listening to guys asking for ways to loosen up their holsters so they can just draw the pistol out of them (and experiencing it myself) is all I need to know that a retention device is not usually needed. "Wedgie" level of retention is probably good enough for the concealed carry user.

Sam1911
January 29, 2014, 01:37 PM
I'll add another note that I've posted many times:

I can conceal a 1911 in cargo shorts and a tucked in polo shirt. My "deep concealment" rig is this that member Joel made this for me early in his holster-making career:

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc184/sam1911/0910110025-1.jpg

Very comfortable and VERY tuckable. Only the straps show when I've got a t-shirt or polo tucked in around the gun.

If the grip seems obvious, try darker patterns and colors. Actually, a TUCKABLE IWB is even better than untucked as the shirt naturally blouses at the waistband and conceals very, very well.

Same basic idea as the Sparks Versa Max, but more tuckable, and with more "wings".

The extra material seems to make it even more comfortable.

I'd be telling no lie at all to say I often feel that this IWB holster is MORE comfortable than an OWB pancake holster. How that exactly happens, I can't say, but it sure feels like it.

As for retention, I've carried in that holster in a rollover car wreck and on multiple loop-the-loop type roller coasters over the years without a wiggle. If I wanted a holster for hanging upside down all day, I'd pick this one probably OVER a thumb-break.

NewGuy1911
January 29, 2014, 02:52 PM
"I'm surprised you didn't find a thread on this subject. I remember engaging in a rather long thread about carry positions on this forum."

9mmepiphany, might you post a link?

9mmepiphany
January 29, 2014, 04:53 PM
I did a quick search and couldn't find it...so, most likely is was on Sigforum. Which means that it has likely been pruned...they delete everything every few months.

I guess we'll see what fruit this thread bears

RetiredUSNChief
January 30, 2014, 07:17 PM
Unfortunately this seems to be a problem with many Galco holsters. It has been my experience that they size their belt loops to fit a wide range of belt widths so as not to have to offer different sized loops for customers.

The N2 is a clone of the Mitch Rosen ARG, which is a very stable holster. Referring back to the other thread (mentioned in your OP) this holster falls into the catagory which is designed to move a bit, at the front, for comfort when sitting.


The placement of the rear mounted loop is meant to pull the gun butt in. For something more stable, you can look at the ARG-DL

The Galco V-hawk in a clone of the Spark's VM II which fills the other end of the IWB spectrum is the widespread loops and leather wings spreading the weight and stabilizing the holster on the belt


Hmmm...I hadn't given thought to the belt/holster size relationship as being critical to holster placement with respect to shifting around. I'll have to look into that. I am in need of a decent belt geared towards holsters...what I have now isn't really suitable at all for this, and I know it.

I looked at both the Mitch Rosen and the Milt Sparks sites to see what they have. I'm really interested in the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2. It looks to be far more comfortable with a potentially flatter profile because there is no belt loop on the body of the holster itself.

I'm squirreling away some funds for a new holster, and a belt to go along with it, and so far I'm thinking Milt Sparks might be awarded the winning contract of all the different sites I've been looking through!

9mmepiphany
January 30, 2014, 08:57 PM
While I haven't always followed my own advice, I usually recommend that folks purchase holsters, magazine carriers, and belts from makers as a set. Unless you have a pretty good handle on different makers or have very particular preferences, getting a set insures that everything will be optimized for fit and stability.

I remember a holster maker, who used to make his 1.5" holster slots a "bit tight" for acceptable stability on 1.25" belts. This allowed for production variations and the natural shrinkage of different cuts of leather...yet you wouldn't have to tug the belt through the loops with pliers. That is one of the advantages of kydex loops...consistency and/or adjustability

hartcreek
January 31, 2014, 05:11 AM
I just picked up a new holster yesterday......It is a belt or Inside the pants holster. All it is is a tapered V but it is strong enough that I can carry my Walker in it inside my pants.

TRX
January 31, 2014, 08:28 AM
Weather permitting, my preferred setup is a shoulder rig. It doesn't drag my pants down, doesn't have to be removed at the toilet, doesn't get snagged in seat belts, doesn't dig into my abdomen, doesn't get snagged on chair arms.

Chocolate Bayou
January 31, 2014, 02:22 PM
I carry my Colt Defender in D.M. Bullard Texas Conceal Rig super comfortable @ 3:00.Easy to put on or take out and easy to draw gun from.

http://store.dmbullardleather.com/catalog/category/5060232

Madcap_Magician
January 31, 2014, 05:21 PM
Some thoughts:

IWB vs. OWB
Generally OWB holsters will be more comfortable, although some IWB holsters are extremely comfortable. IWB holsters will conceal better in most cases, although there are plenty of clothes that will conceal an OWB holster just fine. OWB holsters will be faster to access.

Appendix carry

Pro: Very concealable, quick draw with practice. Better access while seated than many hip carry styles.

Con: Having the muzzle pointed at your body is uncomfortable for many. Deep concealment holsters here are hard to draw from in this position with regular pants and a belt, although any clothing with elastic waistbands makes this substantially easier. Uncomfortable to sit with for some people.

Strong-side hip carry

Pro: Probably fastest and most natural draw. Good comfort. Good retention.

Con: May be hard to access while seated.

Small of the back carry

Pro: None, really.

Con: Awkward draw stroke that either sweeps the person drawing or other people around that person. Concealability is not bad until you reach up or bend over, at which point it disappears entirely. Risk of injury if you fall on your back. Tendency to make very distinguishable and unnatural noises (of two hard objects colliding) when sitting down on a hard seat. Very uncomfortable to sit down in, and extremely hard to draw while seated.

Crossdraw carry

Pro: Best draw stroke from the seated position. Very good retention (Note: Some people think crossdraw has terrible retention because a person in front of you can readily draw your gun. This is true, but you will see them going for it, whereas a person going to grab your gun from a strong-side holster from behind may approach unseen and have just as easy a time grabbing it.) Good concealability, avoids the butt of the gun printing when bending over, which can happen with strong-side carry.

Con: Slower draw stroke in most situations than strong-side hip carry (However, a very fast crossdraw draw stroke is to blade off from your target with the holster side closest to your target and your hands resting in front as though on your belt buckle).

Pocket carry

Pro: Comfortable and practical. If your situational awareness sets you off, you can have the gun in hand and yet still appear to be only a person with his hands in his pockets. Good for cold weather, as a snubnose revolver or small semiauto can be put in a coat pocket for ready access, and it can even be fired from the hip while still inside your coat.

Con: Very difficult to draw from a seated position. Very few people can carry guns bigger than a subcompact semiauto or snubnose revolver in their pockets. Limits your storage space, as there should not be anything else in the pocket with a pocket-carried gun. Slower draw than most belt carry methods.

Shoulder carry

Pro: Easy access while seated. Good concealment. Can allow you to carry a larger gun than is comfortable on your belt.

Con: Weight is on your shoulders instead of your hips. Draw stroke tends to be slower and sweep other people with the muzzle. Most conceal poorly under light-colored shirts. Forgetting to secure the retention snap means the gun will rapidly fall out of the holster.

Off-body carry [purse, shoulder bag, etc.]

Pro: You can carry just about anything easily.

Con: You have little retention of your gun, and most people do not actually take the bag with them literally everywhere, so you may become separated from the gun with relative ease.

Ankle carry

Pro: Great for backup, relatively easy to unobtrusively access during a ground fight, if you can successfully keep your opponent in your guard, by reaching over your opponent's back while bringing your leg up toward your hand. This is part of an effective defense against punches (clinch) while in the inferior position in the full guard. Decent access while seated, particularly in a car.

Con: Extremely difficult to access in most other situations. Limited to small guns. Without a retention strap, movement or groundfighting may dislodge the gun, leading to the extremely awkward skittering sound of your gun bouncing over the floor.

Deaf Smith
January 31, 2014, 08:19 PM
Holsters and Carry Methods: pros and cons

RetiredUSNChief,

I find just a few simple ways to pack.

Either a IWB or OWB open top holster behind the hip or a IWB in the appendix position.

No straps or gizmos to slow the draw down.

Any way you carry the gun you will have to practice quite a bit to be fast with it.

And that is another reason to shun exotic methods.

Deaf

RetiredUSNChief
February 2, 2014, 03:03 AM
A SAA in my gunfighter holster under a leather duster would be appealing, if a bit outside of my normal style of dress.

Be hot as Hades in the summer, though.

:neener:

heycods
February 2, 2014, 03:21 AM
having the lack of a butt to hold my pants up, waist carry is out, drags my pants down even with the smith 36, so its shoulder rig for me with second button of shirt left unbuttoned

Hometeached1
February 2, 2014, 09:26 PM
A SAA in my gunfighter holster under a leather duster would be appealing, if a bit outside of my normal style of dress.

Be hot as Hades in the summer, though.

:neener:
Hey at least you would look cool!:D

RetiredUSNChief
February 2, 2014, 09:47 PM
^^^^

Darn skippy!

1SOW
February 3, 2014, 03:35 AM
Chief, I'm mil. retired, skinny (approaching old) and live in a hot climate. Fast access, concealment and comfort are my order of priorities.
I prefer hammered metal/steel pistols.
I need the pistol in the car and seated at establishments like restaurants. I walk , ride a bicycle and fish.

Sig 239, IWB open top, 11:00, Cross-draw
A retired LEO recommended this holster. I tried it and found it fits all my priorities and also gives some position options for colder weather where concealment is easier.

Safariland lined plastic/kydex Model 18 :Sig 239, Rt Handed, IWB with two adjustable snap beltloops that "lock" into position with an allen wrench, Adjustable for cant around to 3:00 or so.


The holster stays in position and doesn't print much "with the right belt" with any slightly loose shirt. Fast access without having to make a show of clearing the shirt in the car with seat-belt on or seated in a restaurant. Weak-hand clear and complete draw without noticeable movements. Standing it's fast . Bonus: it reholsters just as easily and discretely.

I can forget it's there except when squatted down tieing my shoes. :-)

NewGuy1911
February 4, 2014, 01:20 PM
Hi 1SOW,

Pictures please. Also, you're THR name?

B1gGr33n
February 19, 2014, 12:47 AM
I have two guns I carry three different ways depending on conditions and attire.

1: Taurus TCP with
A) suede leather pocket holster
B) Barsony leather top-snap belt holster
C) nylon ankle holster.

2: Glock 22 Gen4
A) Uncle Mike's Reflex holster - Belt loop attachment
B) " - " paddle attachment.

The Taurus is the petite carry, the Glock is the work horse. I've tailored the carry methods as such.

When I carry the Taurus as the primary weapon, I use the pocket holster. The suede keeps the holster firmly in the pocket for a nice smooth draw, and the whole rig looks like a wallet in the pocket. I've carried it in a suit and tie with nobody being the wiser. The trade-off here being that you need to buy pants with enough room for a decent sized wallet, so skinny jeans are a no-go.

The Taurus in the belt holster is for discreet daily wear. I can conceal it easily and comfortably in the 2:30-3:30 position under a loose shirt or jacket. I tried an open top leather holster for a while, but got tired of constantly having to make sure the gun wasn't working loose (it fell out a couple times). The top snap cured that problem at the expense of losing a second in draw time.

The ankle holster is purely for carry as a backup gun when carrying the Glock, I wouldn't ever want to trust my life to my ability to grab my ankles faster than the guy coming at me with a knife.

I pretty much only carry the Glock when I'm not concerned about having to conceal it. Not to say it can't be done, I've done it several times under a Carhartt coat, it's just not convenient. I've been favoring the belt holster mostly because the paddle holster with the Reflex is way too tight on the pants in my opinion. Makes it very difficult to adjust or take on and off, which I believe is the intended design benefits of the paddle in the first place. I know some people say that a paddle should really grab hold of a belt so it's harder for a bad guy to grab, but I think that's more of an issue for Police Officers or guards, not the average joe. I chose a paddle for the ability to quickly remove the gun from my person if I have to run someplace like a post office or courthouse.

That's my experience so far. Take it for what you paid for it.

mugsie
February 21, 2014, 08:21 PM
If I'm carrying my LCP, then it's in my strong side pocket. If it's my 642 or my P250SC in 9mm, it's in the 4 - 5 o'clock position.

mongoslow
February 21, 2014, 10:17 PM
I'm real simple, I carry a G-23 in a blachawk serpa2 sportster holster at 3 o'clock it just works for me. as far as concealment i wear t-shirts and let it cover the pistol best it can. When im around home i tuck my shirt in and open carry, i dont change it around and i always know when i start my draw my hand finds that G-23 right where it should be :)

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