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Old August 21, 2016, 07:41 PM   #1
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Concealed Carry

I recently got my CHL and was wondering if any of you had any tips on how to carry effectively. What is a good middle ground between being able to draw quickly vs being comfortable enough to carry everyday?

More specifically, I was wondering where you carry on your body, (waistband (what postion on waist?), shoulder, ankle, pocket), and what size guns work best for those types of carry. Please also feel free to share why you carry the way you do and if you have had any problems (or lack of) because of it. Also appreciated would be brands/types of holsters that work well, and what you give up or gain from buying cheap or expensive holsters. I know everyone has a system that may work well only for them but I just want to gather some information. Thanks!
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Old August 21, 2016, 11:18 PM   #2
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Think about little things like getting in & out of the car, access to your wallet and stop patting your gun. Remember while it seems they do, but most people have no idea you’re carrying and are only starting at you because you’re acting suspicious – act normal. If someone does notice you’re carrying simply acknowledge their question with a short polite response and move along. Also, unless you actually are in law enforcement carrying a gun does not entitle or require you to get involved in every situation that arises, so seriously consider minding your own business.

For me I generally carry at approximately the 3:20 position. I use mostly leather pancake style OWB holsters, but also use some of the Summer Special style of IWB holsters along with one Milt Sparks VM II IWB. Generally you’ll need to experiment with holster models and position to determine what works best for you. Don’t feel bad we all have a box of holsters that didn’t quite work out.
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Old August 21, 2016, 11:39 PM   #3
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I carry IWB at about 5 o'clock and for me it is comfortable even for long days.
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Old August 22, 2016, 08:13 AM   #4
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I pocket carry a Smith 642.

Its comfortable and fast. When in an "iffy" situation, you can simply keep your hands in you pocket, making you "ready" at the same time not threatening.

Its extremely fast, even at my age, its nothing to get a shot off in under 1/2 sec. and get hits at normal SD ranges.

As mention, I'm not a young person. Ankle holsters are out. Assuming I could bend over that far, getting back up is gonna be a rather slow process.
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Old August 22, 2016, 09:45 AM   #5
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I carry in waist band at about 4:30 (right side, about where the rear pocket is). I had to buy larger pants, about 2" extra in waist size so that it would be comfortable.

Buy a good holster. I have a n8squared and an alien gear and I love both of mine, but they weren't cheap. Generally speaking, a holster that will be comfortable all day will be pricier than a holster that is bottom rack. I also wanted some retention capability in my holsters.

Welcome aboard.
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Old August 22, 2016, 10:16 AM   #6
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I carry inside the waistband on the strong side, at around 4:00 o'clock (being right-handed). I think you will find that something similar is pretty common, maybe even the most common, because it works for a lot of people.

The size of your carry gun is up to you, being a compromise between concealment and capacity. In considering where your comfort spot is going to be, remember that handgun ammunition does not reliably give a one-shot stop. In the event that you are forced to fire in self defense, you should expect to need two or three good hits to have a decent chance at a stop. Consider, too, the possibility of misses or peripheral hits, and the possibility of more than one attacker; thus, a thoughtful consideration of their needs leads a lot of people to carry a firearm with a capacity of ten and up.

The quality of your holster and your belt will make a big difference in the comfort and stability of your carry piece.

A significant number of concealed carriers also have a smaller pistol for pocket or ankle carry when concealment of their main pistol is difficult. That is just another way of saying that the point of compromise can fall in different spots in different situations.

Lots of good folks here. Welcome aboard, and feel completely free to ask whatever you need. Opinions may vary, but they will always be honest, and considering varied opinions is a good way to see all the sides of an issue before making a decision.
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Old August 22, 2016, 10:26 AM   #7
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The best advice is not to worry about equipment solutions from the Internet as a primary concern. The thing to do is find in your area a quality handgun class and get some training on these issues.
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Old August 22, 2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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The best advice is not to worry about equipment solutions from the Internet as a primary concern.

I literally have a box full of expensive holsters that I bought that didn't necessarily work the way I thought, or hide well, or draw well, or etc., etc.

I am a plainclothes LEO. My primary carry gun is a Commander sized 1911 in an Askins Avenger type holster. My off duty is the same gun/holster with a shirt covering it.

My "never leave home without it" gun is a smith J frame in a Desantis ankle holster. If I have long pants on, it's on.

That's what works for me. As you can tell, everyone hunts around and has to buy/borrow different holsters until they find out what works best for them, and you will likely have to do the same.
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Old August 22, 2016, 01:53 PM   #9
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The box of holsters rivals the stack of shoes from my beloved. There's always a new one to be had.

But training is more important. I don't know how many folks say a gun doesn't work for them, the sights are off, etc. and the problem is really training.

Not to say that all guns are perfect but there is more variance in the shooter than any quality handgun. One should be able to pick up any modern functionally handgun in the usual calibers and make decent hits at reasonable distances.
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Old August 22, 2016, 02:07 PM   #10
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I can only guarantee that the first method you choose of carrying your weapon will be changed soon after, and probably multiple times after.
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Old August 22, 2016, 02:28 PM   #11
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Never been able to carry any of my guns in 4/5/6 o'clock positions. Appendix or slightly to the right of there works best for me with my P239 in a Sig solid shell holster, OWB.

I also carry in the same spot with a hard leather IWB on occasion, depending on clothing for that day.

Nearly every (male) person I know who carries uses those other positions, and I see them practicing at the ranges and doing very well. I cannot. Shows you how we're in need of finding our own zone with this stuff. Found mine, you will find yours too. Practice as often as you can afford. Experiment.
We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. – Ronald Reagan
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Old August 22, 2016, 02:38 PM   #12
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Post #7 basically says it all already.

But to answer you, I carry all the time. Anywhere and everywhere. My gun is only off of me two times in a day. When I am in the shower and when I am asleep. In those two instances it's less than an arms reach away.

So when I'm home relaxing, walking my dogs, at a family gathering, or doing outdoor activities, my gun(s) are on me.

I've been carrying my HK USP 45 for almost a month now. My secondary being a Smith and Wesson 360PD in .357. I carry two guns for a few reasons.

The HK USP 45 is on my strong-side and my spare mag is in my front left pocket. Multiple threats, missed shots, barriers, and for the unknown. More ammo is always better than less ammo. If you don't need them all, even better. If you do need them all but don't have them, the day gets worse.

My Glock 19 is getting some custom work done, so it's been at my friend's and he got into an accident, so it'll be a while. I picked up an HK USP 9 Compact from another friend locally, I won't be carrying it until I get 2-3 more spare magazines that are from HK directly. I don't trust anything else for this gun.

So, USP 45 and now the Smith and Wesson 360PD. Why a second gun? I'm with my fiance, a family member, or a friend more often than not when I'm out and about. If I decide to stop for a snack while they wait in the car, or pump gas, or separate at any moment, I can hand my pistol to my loved one or leave it in the car. Especially if something goes really bad or I have the luxury of realizing it's about to go bad.

Second reason for the J-Frame revolver. If I am in a very tight scuffle where I cannot get to my HK and I guarding it I can usually always get to my KaBar TDI knife or....My J-Frame. The reason for the J-Frame is that it does not go out of battery if I was to jam it into an attacker. I could fire off all the rounds necessary to stop the threat without having a malfunction occur.

So it all depends. On you, on what you want training in, on what makes sense to you, etc.

People are constantly and I mean constantly attempting to discredit someone else's thought process for why they do what they do but trying to hack it down and poke holes in their logic. Fact of the matter is, different experiences lead to different preferences. DA / SA vs Striker. This bullet vs that bullet. This knife in this position vs that knife in that position. So on and so forth.

If it's dangerous it should be pointed out, if it's different than yours, simply move on.

Attempt to draw your own conclusions. I've taken classes with different people, they all do things differently and I disagree with some things, but I respect them enough to give them money, so I do it. Then I incorporate my own logic into what they're taught me.
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Old August 22, 2016, 02:51 PM   #13
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I have found the following to be true for me:

When I was heavier, I never could get really good concealment with belt holsters IWB or OWB. After I lost some weight I found holsters that didn't work before, did work afterwards.

A belt that isn't made to hold the weight of a gun and holster will give trouble by sagging. A nice thick leather belt makes carry much better than a big box store belt.

Single stack guns are a little bit thinner than double stacks, and even though the difference won't seem like much, it really does make a big difference in concealment. Grip length matters a lot too, and if it's short, thickness is less of an issue.

Two attachment-point holsters work better for heavier guns than do single-point attachment holsters. They tend to keep things stable and more comfortable. But the single-attachment are easier and faster to put on and take off.

I have settled upon behind the hip carry (between 8-9 o'clock as a lefty) which works for most of my needs. Sometimes I will pocket carry a smaller gun when close contact with friends and family is expected.
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Old August 24, 2016, 02:52 AM   #14
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Yes, to post #7 I do understand not to use the internet as my primary source of info, I am simply gathering information. This is a forum isn't it? also to post #9 I am not concerned with defense tactics/shooting training, just concerned with comfort and practicality. To all other posts, thanks for the information, trying things out is key I know. from what I've read, tactically, 4:00-5:00 IWB makes sense, you can conceal your draw more easily. Again thanks for the info and I'll keep on trying things out.
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Old August 24, 2016, 08:42 AM   #15
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No one should kid themselves that they have seen enough television and movies that they know how to conceal carry. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Find yourself a good training class that teaches drawing and shooting from concealment. I have been carrying concealed for well over 40 years and still attend an annual 4 day defensive handgun course just to make sure I am up to speed and have not picked up any bad habits along the way. I do this even tho I myself, am an Instructor because I want to make sure that when I do instruct, I am giving my students the very best I can impart to them.

Most everyone that has been shooting and carrying for a lot of years has a box of holsters. That box is most likely labeled, "What the hell was I thinking." Find what works best for you and stay with it. Remember that sometimes you may have to alter the way you carry for the way you are dressed. For example, I carry a 1911 (4" barrel) in an OWB holster at 3:30. That works best for me but I cannot do that if I am dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, unless I want to wear a dress shirt over that.
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Old August 24, 2016, 10:45 AM   #16
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without professional training they type of gear and how you carry isnt going to matter much if at all. Buy yourself a quality holster and take a full day DH1 class and you will know everything you need to about holsters and carry gear than most people with the preverbial box of expensive "spare" (junk) holsters that didnt work out, the money you save on holsters over time will be more than the cost of the class...
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Old August 24, 2016, 12:30 PM   #17
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Finding your preferred holster will more than likely be a trial and error process. Like all other clothing, different people find different styles and brands more comfortable.

That said, remember that you get what you pay for, and training is a must.

I carry a G26 in a Galco King Tuck at 4:30 most of the time. The holster was about $60. It's not the most comfortable, but it's probably the most practical.

On the flip side, when its necessary or preferable, I carry the same gun in a Galco Ankle Glove on my left ankle. The holster was about $100. It's definitely not the most practical, but is much more comfortable after you get used to it.

I've never been a fan of pocket carry, even with the smallest guns. It's not like it's terrible uncomfortable, but I just find it annoying for some reason. Even when I'm carrying my NAA mini around the house I usually just clip it to my waistband somewhere.

From what I've been hearing, Alien gear makes some good quality holsters at a good price.
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Old August 24, 2016, 06:05 PM   #18
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I carry in cavernous cargo pockets..... because I'm in a hurry or lazy......take your pick.

A Manhurin PPKS rides in a custom Charter Bell Oak pocket holster, a S&W 649 Bodyguard Airweight rides in a simple Uncle Mike's.

I have, on a dozen or so occasions, carried a cocked and locked Colt Officers Enhanced Model IWB in a Galco holster at about the 4:30 position. The knurled hammer, combined with my love handles, wore a hole in my T-shirt.

Thus that trial-and-error thing that everyone is talking about.
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Old August 24, 2016, 10:00 PM   #19
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I don't claim to be an authority, but I carry always, and tried a lot of options before I found my happy place.

Ruger LCP in Desantis Nemesis, right front pocket.
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Old August 27, 2016, 09:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by 3006loader
I know everyone has a system that may work well only for them but I just want to gather some information. Thanks!
Each of us needs to evaluate what's best suited for our situations.

I've been carrying for eight years now. My EDC is a S&W 642 that I keep in my right front pocket in a Mika holster. I keep it loaded with Speer 135gr Gold Dots. It's perfect for my purposes.
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Old August 27, 2016, 10:14 PM   #21
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Carry this right pocket...holster of course.

or this:
Ed Brown Alpha Carry| Sig P238, P938, P232, 1911 C3 | Colt Defender, Mustang Pocketlite, 1911 | Rohrbaugh R9 | Browning, Buckmark 22LR(suppressed) | Kahr PM9 Black Rose | S&W|M&P C.O.R.E RMR Trijicon | Dan Wesson ECO

Last edited by IMTHDUKE; August 27, 2016 at 10:23 PM.
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Old October 7, 2016, 11:49 PM   #22
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What works for you . . .

Lots of good advice here. I think we all know that you have to figure out what works best for you.

When I carry (Yes, when . . . ) I wear a vest or jacket with a CC pocket over the left breast. There are a lot of good clothing products out there designed for CC. I have two carry guns a Bersa Thunder CC model and a sig P238. They are small and don't "print" at all in any of my carry clothing. A couple of my vests will accommodate my full sized Beretta but I've never carried it. Occasionally if need warrants, but clothing options are limited, I'll put a 22 mag derringer in my suit pocket.

I live in a small rural town. We've had one incident of gun violence in the last 40 years (maybe more) and the was a first degree murder. I carry when I take a bike ride into the country (Meth houses out there.) and when I have to go into the city.

Live well, be safe
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Old October 8, 2016, 06:21 PM   #23
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I decided to carry an M9A1 IWB at 1:30-3:30. Walking around its at 1:30 but in car I slide it over to about 3:30. Tactically 4 o'clock makes more sense to me but this is what works comfort wise for me now.
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Old October 9, 2016, 04:36 PM   #24
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IWB at 3:30-4:00 a glock 19, use to a p229. Shield 9mm I carry IWB at 4 or in appendix. I feel I have more control in appendix (i.e. always in sight). I feel quicker with my g19 on draws though.
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Old October 9, 2016, 04:47 PM   #25
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I carry a Walther P99c 9mm. It's about the size of a Glock 26 or M&Pc. Double stack with 10+1 capacity. Like many others I've got a drawer full of holsters. It really is about trial and error. I've tried at every position and have come to prefer appendix carry at the 1:30 position. I find it much easier to conceal under just a t shirt. Behind the hip always prints when twisting, bending, and reaching and I like not worrying about that. It's also usually faster to draw and easier when in a seated position. I always thought shoulder holsters were cool and own one but never found a good use for it except maybe long car trips. Ankle is too difficult to get to for a primary gun. Not into guns small enough for pocket carry either. Good luck with your journey.

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