In Part 1 of our series on holsters, we explored different types of holsters that correspond to various methods of concealed carry. While it’s great that enterprising designers have invented all sorts of concealed carry solutions, it’s up to you to understand the very real tradeoffs—and risks—between various methods of concealed carry. Why? It’s simple:
The most dangerous thing about selecting a holster is the risk of choosing a false sense of security.
Allow me to explain. Having a gun on your person in no way guarantees that it will help protect you. That depends on other things. It depends on your level of training and practice. It depends on the situational awareness skills you’ve developed through conscious effort. It depends on the skill and motivation of the person or people threatening you. It also depends on the type of carry method you choose.
So you have to look at the your choice of holster and carry method as a giant math equation that weighs risk and return. Don’t worry, just because I said “math,” we’re going to keep things simple—no fractions or long division, I promise! While there are a million variables we could discuss, let’s choose just two so I can illustrate the point.
You’re Concealing a Gun…But You Need Quick Access To It
Concealment and ease of access are both important factors when selecting a holster. Generally speaking, they’re inversely related. The more “concealed” a holster is, the harder it is to access your gun quickly and easily. If a holster is not concealed at all, for example riding on your belt, outside of your clothes, and just behind your shooting hand, access is about as fast as you can hope for. Make sense?
Now, let’s add in consideration for types of threats you might encounter. To illustrate the point, let’s assume you’re using a super concealable, but harder to access carry method. Maybe you’re using an undershirt holster so your gun is safely tucked away under your support side arm and covered with a tucked-in and buttoned shirt. Or perhaps you carry your handgun in a specially designed purse. Now consider these self-defense scenarios and visualize how useful your concealed carry gun might be.
You’re walking down the street at night. Suddenly, a really evil dude jumps from behind a parked van and grabs you by the throat. This guy appeared from a distance of about two feet and had hands on you almost instantly. How useful was your holster choice in getting your gun into action in time to make a difference in your defense?
You’re at work. From somewhere down the hall, you hear what sound like gunshots. How useful was your holster in getting your gun into action in time to make a difference in your defense?
You’re about to start your car. Suddenly, a crowbar crashes through the driver side window and someone reaches in to grab you. Your gun is safely tucked away in your concealment purse, which is sitting on the back seat. How useful was your holster in getting your gun into action in time to make a difference in your defense?
I raise these hypothetical situations to encourage you to think about a couple of things.
Having a gun somewhere on your person, or in your gear, provides no guarantee that it will be useful in all self-defense situations. In only one of the situations above did you have enough advance warning to draw a deeply concealed gun. You may not be able to access your gun from concealment quickly enough, or with only one hand, especially from a well-hidden location inside of your clothing, briefcase or purse.
I love your hypothetical questions. A self defense situation isn’t black and white like what people put it out to be. You’re not always going to have time to get your gun out to defend yourself, especially if it’s not on your person.