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Holsters and Carry Methods: pros and cons

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by RetiredUSNChief, Jan 27, 2014.

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  1. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    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!
     
  2. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

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    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.
     
  3. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  4. SconnieGirl

    SconnieGirl Member

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    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.
     
  5. TRX

    TRX Member

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    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.
     
  6. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    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.
     
  7. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    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.
     
  8. SconnieGirl

    SconnieGirl Member

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    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...
     
  9. SconnieGirl

    SconnieGirl Member

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    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.
     
  10. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Mostly OWB cross draw. Loose fitting shirt untucked covers it quite nicely.
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    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
     
  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    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.
     
  13. Kuyong_Chuin

    Kuyong_Chuin Member

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    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.
     
  14. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Member

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    ^^^^^^^^ 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
     
  15. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    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.
     
  16. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Appendix, Inside the Waistband. Usually in the 1:00 - 2:00 o'clock position.
     
  17. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Member

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    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
     
  18. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    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.
     
  19. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  20. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    What about off-body carry?,,,

    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" from the Gun Toten' Mama's website.

    Click here please.

    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

    .
     
  21. SconnieGirl

    SconnieGirl Member

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

    Valuable time and effort lost, IMO.
     
  22. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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

    Aarond

    .
     
  23. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Member

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    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.
     
  24. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Member

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    Thanks that what I meant.
     
  25. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    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.
     
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