One foot in this photo is in a legal concealed carry zone, while the other is in a gun free zone.
Make sense to you? Me neither.
Useless, pointless, ineffective and ill-conceived legislation gets people killed.
Write your congress leech.
Learn with a laugh! Your resource for gun reviews, shooting tips, personal defense, holsters, competition, shooting industry news and Second Amendment issues
One foot in this photo is in a legal concealed carry zone, while the other is in a gun free zone.
Make sense to you? Me neither.
Useless, pointless, ineffective and ill-conceived legislation gets people killed.
Write your congress leech.
Here’s some useful advice, and straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak, but don’t tell my friend William I mentioned his name and “horse’s mouth” in the same sentence. He spent years in law enforcement and made his share of traffic stops – always a potentially high-risk endeavor. Here are his thoughts on how you, as the concealed carrying driver, can help safely manage the situation for all involved.
One of the most frequent questions that I get as a CWP instructor and former police officer is what to do if stopped by a police officer while legally carrying a concealed handgun. The answer depends on the local and state laws where you live, but I think that most situations merely call for a little common sense.
You have to understand that when a police officer approaches a vehicle, they have no idea what they are going to encounter. It may be a 16 year old girl crying because it is the first time she has been stopped, or it may be someone who just robbed a bank who has made up his mind that he is not going to jail. Every traffic stop has the potential to be deadly, and every officer has been through hours of training reminding them of just how serious of a situation it can be.
So what does this mean if you get stopped while carrying? The first thing is that you have to do to make the situation easy and clear for the officer. Pull off the side of the road far enough, if possible, to give the officer enough room to approach your vehicle without having to worry about oncoming traffic. Roll your window down, place both hands on the steering wheel and leave them there until told to do otherwise. The first thing the officer is going to want to see is your hands, because that is where any threat is going to come from. If it is dark outside, take the added step of turning on your vehicle’s interior light; it is just one more thing that shows you’re looking out for his safety. I will tell you from experience that approaching a dark car with blackened windows is not fun. It’s common courtesy as a CWP holder to remove as many perceived threats as possible from the situation.
This is not the time to start digging in your glove box or center console for your insurance card or wayward registration. To an approaching officer, that looks surprisingly like someone reaching for a gun. This is especially true in states that allow one to carry a pistol there legally without a carry permit.
This is also not the time to jump out of your vehicle and walk back towards the officer. Although your tag number, vehicle description and location should already have been called in before the blue lights come on, there may be radio communications occupying his or her attention. Seeing a driver exit their vehicle and start walking back raises all kinds of warning alarms as the officer thinks back to their training on how many deadly encounters started that way.
Back to back Second Amendment victories emerged from an unlikely source – the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In two cases filled with irony, it turned out that California’s recent ban on open carry paved the way for the concealed carry victory. Huh?
Monkeys are now flying out of my… well, never mind.
While California bans open carry at the state level, concealed carry policies and restrictions are determined at the county level. Frustrated by permit refusals from San Diego County, five residents sued, challenging the county’s requirement for “proof of need” to obtain a concealed carry permit. Apparently, if you’ve been murdered more than once, you “might” be eligible to obtain a carry permit in some locales.
On February 13th, the appeals court ruled on the Peruta v. San Diego case in favor of the residents and ruled the “may issue” concealed permit policy unconstitutional.
“We are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, a Reagan appointee, wrote for the panel. “But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”
With no open carry option on the table, and concealed carry effectively banned in many California counties due to arbitrary permit issuance policies, the court agreed that citizens were effectively prevented from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
In a follow-up case, Richards vs. Sheriff Ed Prieto, Yolo County, California’s “may issue” concealed carry permit policy was also shot down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court rejected the county argument that the case circumstances were materially different than Peruta vs. San Diego.
“Today’s ruling reinforces the Second Amendment’s application to state and local governments, and will help clear the way for more California citizens to exercise their right to bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “California officials have been put on notice that they can no longer treat the Second Amendment as a heavily regulated government privilege.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, permits permit applications have been flooding in to a number of counties since the ruling, with many seeing double the annual average of applications in the past few weeks.
The bottom line? These two cases have solidified the position that Second Amendment rights apply outside the home – at least for California residents. At the national level, the Ninth Circuit decision is contrary to similar cases in the Second, Third and Fourth Circuit courts, so Supreme Court intervention is likely at some point.
Keep the pressure on folks!
I’ve started another new venture and am writing regular columns for Bearing Arms. It’s a great source of news, opinions, and how-to info for all things shooting and Second Amendment related. You can find them on Facebook also. Here’s this weeks rant…
Every day there’s something in the news about someone or other campaigning to restrict concealed carry.
For example, the newly-formed group MDASININE (Moms Demand Action Supporting Irrelevant Nonsensical Insane Nanny-like Edicts) is frequently on the warpath to shame businesses, who want nothing more than to just sell stuff, into the gun debate.
And they’re not the only ones. Federal and state officials – you may know them as bamboozlers in training – are constantly dreaming up new restrictions, laws and public proclamations. All these rules are just as ‘guaranteed’ to make us safer as the rock-solid ‘guarantees’ that health insurance will be cheaper and we can keep our own doctors.
Restrictions vary by geography. If you have a fast enough computer, you can calculate the number of restrictions by multiplying the number of politicians by the number of media microphones within a radius of 97 miles. Some examples of “no carry” restrictions include…
Restaurants. Churches. Public bathrooms. Sporting events. New York City. Political conventions (think about the number of criminals per square foot there!) Medical facilities (even though doctors kill far more innocent people than guns.) Post offices. Buffalo Wild Wings. Staples – or maybe not Staples. Schools. Movie theaters. The St. Louis Mass Transit System that delivered most people to the NRA Annual Meeting. 7-11 stores? Canada. Military bases. My house. Ha! Just kidding with ya.
I can’t for the life of me understand the logic behind restricting concealed carry to reduce crime. To believe that, you also have to believe that those who carry concealed are the root cause of crime. There’s no other way around the logic.
Not surprisingly, the concealed carry community has been proven over and over again to be the safest measurable population group around. More so than priests, active duty police officers, Hollywood intelligentsia, politicians and Amanda Bynes. The crime rate of Mayors Against Illegal Guns membership (sorry, I meant Mayors Against Legal Governing) is orders of magnitude more than that of concealed carry citizens. I can’t prove this, but I hear you have to provide photographic evidence of extortion, fraud or preschool fight club gambling to become initiated into the exclusive MAIG crime syndicate.
A number of states have compiled data on the lawfulness of concealed carry holsters. For example, in Texas, the average citizen is 7.7 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a concealed carry holder, and 18 times more likely to commit a non-violent crime than a concealed permit holder.
Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:
There are an infinite number of factors that have influence on which holster to use for concealed carry. I wrote a whole book about gun holsters and even that just begins to scratch the surface. The bottom line about gun holsters is that there is no cut and dried option for everyone. The right choice depends on each individuals lifestyle and specific needs. What’s perfect for one may be completely dysfunctional for another.
However, I believe there are three criteria that a concealed carry holster needs to meet:
With that said, let’s take a look at some “wrong holster” topics.
There are different definitions of “the wrong holster” and one of them is “no holster.” This simply refers to sticking a gun in your belt or pocket without use of holster.
I do not like this Sam I am. For two different, but often intertwined, reasons.
First, using a holster is a good way to make sure that you and your gun stay together. A good holster should have retention features – whether that’s achieved by friction, fit or positive retention devices. As they say, the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun. If you rely on just the pressure of your pants or belt, you may find you don’t have a gun when you most need it!
Second, your gun trigger is completely unprotected when you are not using a proper holster. When carrying in your belt, you certainly don’t want your trigger exposed. The problem is even worse with holster-less pocket carry. Keys, change or that roll of breath mints just might get caught up in the trigger.
Strangely enough, reasons one and two frequently go together. Case in point: NFL star Plaxico Burress, 2008. While only he knows the exact details that led to his “leg-o-cide” it appears that he was carrying his pistol sans holster when it started to slip down his leg. He inadvertently yanked the trigger while groping to catch his gun and shot himself in the leg. A classic example of reasons one and two playing together with malice.
Unfortunately, I could fill up this entire story with nothing but links to news stories of people negligently shooting themselves, and sometimes others, simply because they were not using a holster. Of course, every single one of those cases also involved a different deadly sin – keeping your finger off the trigger. Of course, most un-holster incidents are the result of a desperate grab to catch a falling gun, not an intentional trigger discipline issue. The point is that a good holster that protects the trigger will not allow a gun to be fired while holstered.
Be sure to check out our book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters. It will teach you all the major methods of concealed carry and walk you through pros and cons over 100 different holster models. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:
Galco makes some handy pocket holster for pocket guns like the Springfield Armory XD-S. It’s a rough side out leather design, which helps keep the holster in your pocket when you draw. There is also a leather “hook” cut into the top of the stabilizing panel which is intended to catch on the inside of your pocket, making sure the holster stays put when your gun is removed.
The open top of this holster is molded to the profile of specific gun so re-holstering is easy. I also find that the extra-sturdy leather stabilizing panel keeps a fully loaded semi-auto stable in my pocket. I’ve had less sturdy pocket holsters that were not strong enough to hold a top-heavy gun in the upright position in my pocket.
Simple and effective. I use this one a lot.
I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying a spare magazine in my support side pants pocket. No, it’s not some high-speed, low-drag tactical thing. I’m a high-drag kind of guy anyway. It’s more a result of ease and convenience. Having things to conceal on both sides of my body just seems like a chore and carrying magazines on my belt spoils the one comfortable side of my body that I have left.
The problem with carrying a magazine in the pocket is that it flops around as you walk, sit and do whatever else it is that you do. If you ever need to grab it quickly, it is almost guaranteed to be in the “wrong” position. For example, when I use a belt magazine carrier, I want the spare magazines oriented with bullets facing forward when mounted on my support side. Then, when I grab a spare magazine from that location, my index finger is already lined up on the front of the magazine. Inserting it into the pistol is then smooth and effortless. When that magazine is flopping around in my pocket, it might be facing forward, backward or even upside down. I’ll almost certainly have some fumbling to do to get it into my pistol.
The Galco PMC Pocket Magazine Carrier holds the magazine at a 45 degree angle exactly how I want it. Galco makes the carrier out of sturdy leather that is “inside out” and full pocket width. The firm leather keeps the whole thing stable inside of your pocket, while the rough outside creates a friction grip on the inside of your pocket. This helps prevent you from pulling the carrier out with the magazine. That would certainly be embarrassing in a life or death self-defense situation.
This works great in pants pockets, but helps with other carry locations too. I’ve used it in larger cargo pants pockets and it’s large enough so that it doesn’t spill over sideways. You can also use it in a coat or blazer pocket. Ladies, it also makes a great purse carry accessory. Put this in an interior pocket and you’ll know exactly where your spare magazine is.
Learn more about lots of other holster solutions in our book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters.
While testing my shooting in the dark skills, or more accurately lack thereof, at the recent Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational, I became sold on the concept of using a light on my carry gun. While I’ve used lasers on carry guns for years, I found the combination of light, laser and pistol fast and intuitive.
While there are lots of tactical gun-mounted lights on the market, the introduction of the Crimson Trace Lightguard was a game changer for concealed carry. The Crimson Trace Lightguard is slimmer than the frame of the gun, does not protrude in front of the muzzle, features instinctive activation, yet still manages to throw 100 lumens of light towards your target.
In short, it adds hardly any weight or bulk to a carry gun.
But there’s always a “but” right?
In this case, the “but” is that you need to find a holster that is molded to accept the Lightguard. Yes, you can use a general purpose “pouch” holster, but if you want good retention and security resulting from a perfectly form-fitted holster, you need to find one that is made specifically for your pistol with a Crimson Trace Lightguard mounted.
Sounds simple enough, but here’s where exponential math gets in the way. If you multiple the number of lights on the market times the number of gun models on the market, you get a number even larger than Michael Moore’s waist size. It’s somewhere around half the diameter of the moon as measured in inches. This presents a near impossible situation for holster makers as they would have to produce 43 gajillion models to meet all the desired combinations.
Here’s where White Dog Holsters steps in.
Devin is one of those guys who saw opportunity and did the American thing – started a business to address said opportunity. While he makes standard holsters out of kydex and/or leather, he seems to be developing a niche of holsters designed for Crimson Trace Lightguards, Laserguards and Rail Masters.
I just ordered the holster shown here. It’s the White Dog Mutt design which is a tuckable inside-the-waistband holster with a kydex gun pocket and leather backing. it’s similar to the Galco King Tuk. The difference is that this one is molded to be Lightguard and Lasergrip friendly.
I just started using this, but can already tell it’s a winner. The leather backing is solid and well-finished. The kydex is perfectly molded with all the right detail touches. The clips are adjustable for desired cant angle and comfort.
But again, there’s always a “but” to the story. Devin is also a guy who serves our country and has just been called to a deployment for a couple of months. This means you’ll have to wait a bit to order a holster from him. Keep checking the web site, he’ll be back making holsters before you know it.
I’d like to apologize in advance for this week’s column. While it has not yet been rated by the American Internet Content Classification Association of America, there is an excellent chance that it will offend small children, Mayors Against Legal Governing (oops, I meant Mayors Against Illegal Guns), and possibly Mr. Rogers.
With that said, let’s take a look at some less conventional, concealment holster options. We’re not going to get into the pros and cons of deep concealment versus more accessible hip-carry methods. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume that users have a concealment need that discourages use of belt holsters.
I love these. And not only because the tight spandex makes me look more buff than I really am. When deep concealment matters, and you have to wear tucked-in shirts and behave civilly, the undershirt carry method can be a a great option. Unlike tuckable holsters, you won’t see belt clips or unsightly bulges at your waistline. Make no mistake, as with most of the methods covered here, speed and ease of access may not match that of a belt holster.
Undershirt holsters feature pouches or elastic “holsters” located on the side of your chest, under your arm. This placement provides outstanding concealment as your arm hangs down over the gun. Access is a skill that requires planning and practice. To draw your gun, you’ll need to deal with your shirt first. If you’re wearing a button-down, you’ll need to open (or tear open) buttons to quickly get to the undershirt holster. Ripping buttons off is harder than you think, so many folks fabricate “fake” buttons with Velcro tabs holding the shirt closed.
After years of using these, I’ve found two that I really like. 5.11 Tactical’s Holster shirt features soft, but reinforced fabric holster pockets on both sides. As the pouch is designed to completely contain your gun, it works best with small to medium-sized handguns. I carried a Walther PPK and Glock 32 for years with this shirt. 5.11 also makes a sleeveless version cut specifically for ladies.
An excellent way to start a good old-fashioned bar fight, or at least an internet happy-slap chat spat, is to gather two groups of gun people. One who believes in Open Carry and another who believes in Concealed Carry. Then ask them whether Cher is a true Diva or not. While we won’t attempt to solve that debate here, we will briefly define each in the context of holster selection.
Open Carry [oh-puh n] [kar-ee]
- Act of possessing, wearing and transporting one or more firearms in a publicly visible and immediately accessible manner on one’s person.
- Proponents believe that clear visibility of armed status will deter evil dudes from doing evil things.
- See also: Lone Ranger, The Terminator, Wyatt Earp
At the time of this writing, only 7 states had no provision at all for legally carrying a gun via open carry. On the other end of the spectrum, about 12 states allow open carry with little if any restriction — excepting of course areas where guns are not allowed by Federal law or other restriction. All of the others have some provision for open carry. Some require permits to do so. Others have country and city ordinances that impact open carry.
Many proponents of open carry insist that a right not exercised is a right lost, and therefore want to increase the incidence of open carry to make it mainstream. A related benefit to frequent open carry is that over time, the general public will become desensitized to seeing guns in public. After encountering law-abiding citizens throughout their daily travels, and seeing no adverse impact, folks will figure out that citizens exercising open carry are in fact normal too. You have to admit that desensitization works. When Paris Hilton hits the New York club scene with 3 ducks, Ryan Seacrest and an ill-tempered llama, who even notices?
Concealed Carry [kuh n-seel-duh] [kar-ee]
- Act of hiding, withdrawing, and removing a gun or other weapon from public observation while still keeping it accessible on one’s person.
- Proponents believe that it’s better to give (by surprise) than to receive. Proponents also believe in the tactical advantage of remaining anonymous until the time and place of their choosing.
- See also: Armed citizens, Domestic Terrorists (as seen by the media), Sneaky Bastards, Responsible Law Abiders
Concealed carry is far more prevalent legally speaking. Only one state in the union has no provision for concealed carry, and that is Illinois. At the time of this writing, lawsuits are in progress aiming to change that. Also, the District of Columbia has no concealed carry provision, unless you are a high-ranking politician and therefore not subject to laws for us little people.
The District of Columbia is a foreign dictatorship conveniently located between Maryland and Virginia. Holsters are generally not used there as carrying a gun is outlawed for common people. One notable exception is “private parts holsters.” Politicians like to send photos of those with their cell phones.
Your personal carry decision, and therefore, your holster selection decision, could more likely to be a tactical issue than a legal one. Barring political objectives mentioned, many concealed carriers believe they hold a tactical self-defense advantage when no one else knows they are armed. Concealed carry theory suggests that the only time you want a potential threat to know about your gun is the instant when it is used. If your gun is visible, you may, in fact, deter crime. Or you may become the first target. We won’t get into that tactical debate in this book.
For our purposes, the outside the waistband holster section features holsters most appropriate for open carry. If you’re not worried about hiding your gun, you might as well choose the carry method that is both most accessible and most comfortable. For most folks, that would be via a belt holster with the gun mounted outside the pants or skirt.
There are dozens of ways to carry a concealed handgun these days. You can carry in your pockets. In your undershirt. With an evening gown. Under your desk. Under your belt. Over your belt. Across your shoulders. Even in your underwear.
With all those options, most trainers still recommend good, old-fashioned belt carry. Is it right for you?
If you idolized John Wayne, Annie Oakley, or Roy Rogers in your childhood fantasies, all of your cowboy quick-draw fantasies come true with belt carry. While you may not be as rustic looking as Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, you will be walking around carrying a real gun on your hip. And that’s gotta count for something in terms of living out a childhood fantasy.
Waist carry methods also give you excellent control over your firearms — at almost all times. One noteworthy exception is when you’re predisposed on the porcelain throne. You have to plan for that particular quality time, so your shiny new gun doesn’t clatter onto the bathroom floor. This is especially embarrassing — and kind of gross — in public restrooms. Nothing will make you want to sell your gun faster.
Driving a car with this carry method can help you discover new levels of pain and suffering from gun-induced kidney massage. And if you are wearing your seat belt like a good boy or girl, the strap relative to your body position can make it really difficult to get to your gun easily. You may want to keep the cigarette lighter charged as a last-ditch defense for close encounters of the criminal kind!
You’ll need what concealed carry commandos call a “cover garment.” In plain English, this is some form of upper body clothing that is untucked. It could be a shirt, coat or jacket, or better yet, a photographers vest. You know, the ones with just under 37 million pockets and zippers? Because everyone who wants to look natural and not out of place wears those. They fit in just about anywhere. Disney World, the mall, city parks, golf courses, and of course, Star Trek conventions. But as fashionable as they are, chances are, you will never be photographed by GQ or Glamour magazine while wearing a fake photographers vest. So give up that dream.
A serious opinion about photographers vests: Please note the key word, opinion. There’s a lot of internet commando debate about photographers vests. Many experienced veterans of not even one gunfight deride them as “shoot me first” vests. The idea is that “everyone” knows that someone wearing a photographers vest is carrying a gun. Here’s the opinion part. I’m not so sure about that. To those of us who are geeky about things like holsters (!) it is a clue that a person is carrying concealed. To anyone else? Doubt it. Think about all the people you encounter in your daily travels. Even the ones that aren’t performing the “walking while texting” interpretive dance. Are they really paying all that much attention to you? Even outside of New York City? Are they going to look at your wardrobe choice and make judgements about your armament status? Doubt it. If you like it, and it works for you, wear it!
If you choose to carry a gun with an ‘inside the waistband’ holster, you really need to buy pants at least a full size or two larger than normal. That means that the hot clothing salesperson on whom you have a secret crush will think you’re fatter than you really are. Just something to consider.
Tom McHale was born helpless, hungry and shooting-deprived. He later discovered the joys of collecting and shooting guns, reloading ammunition and writing about his adventures with a healthy dose of fun. Tom's career has been diverse, bordering on dysfunctional, with most of it spent leading marketing teams for a variety of technology companies including Microsoft and more than a couple of high-tech startups. He's finally seen the light and given up the corporate life to pursue his passion of creating slightly crazy, but educational, content related to guns, shooting, concealed carry and self defense.
His most recent project is publishing a series of informative books under the Insanely Practical Guides brand. You can learn more at InsanelyPracticalGuides.com.
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