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Concealed Carry Tips – Part 1

Concealed Carry Tips - Part 1

Concealed Carry Tips – Part 1

The Times, They are a Changin’

As additional states (thankfully) adopt more civilized firearms laws such as Constitutional Carry or Shall Issue legislation, I thought I would share with you some thoughts and advice about carrying concealed that I have found quite helpful over the years.

Since there have already been good posts on this blog in regards to some of the shooting drills that can facilitate concealed carry shooters, I thought I would focus on the practical concealment portion instead of adding to the growing list of additional drills.

While this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive guide to concealed carry, it should get you moving in the right direction, and – as always – I welcome your thoughtful input in this blog, or via email. Your suggestions and improvements are always welcome and will be added to updates of this article and its sister white paper as they come in.

Defining Concealment

Let’s begin with a definition – The dictionary defines conceal as • to keep from sight; hide: • keep (something) secret; prevent from being known or noticed.

To refine this definition to better meet our needs as concealed carriers, I would point towards two key concepts: i) keeping your firearm hidden and secret until, ii) you make the decision that the benefits of having the gun in your hands outweighs the benefits having it concealed.

Reason for Concealment (the Why)

Because of the hoplophobia displayed by much of society today, it would be a bit of an understatement to say that carrying open would make most people uncomfortable… especially those who have been brought up in areas where a citizens rights have been denied and open carry is an unusual sight. Because of these facts, and because we are civilized and rational men, it behooves us to modify our behavior to the extent that such modifications don’t place either ourselves or our loved ones in greater jeopardy. Therefore, carrying concealed is certainly a very viable option. And, to be perfectly frank, it’s an option I would want even if one could carry open legally. Therefore proper concealment allows us to fulfill our responsibility to ourselves, our family, as well as society, all the while gaining us the advantage of convenience in carry as well as the all important tactical advantage of surprise.

For instance, with a long gun of any kind, eating dinner at a restaurant is made much more inconvenient (storage vs. accessibility) and doing so would certainly be conspicuous.
However, by carrying concealed, weapons retention while eating or moving is not a problem at all.

Also, by easily blending in with society, concealed carry gives us the element of surprise when we need it the most, while at the same time giving the bad guys a lot more potential threats to worry about.

Thus, carrying a handgun concealed lends itself much more readily to being practically armed with minimum inconvenience and fuss to all concerned parties (except for the bad guys of course).

Ralph Waldo Emerson once pointed out, “As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.”

I couldn’t agree more, so let’s begin with some simple Principles of Effective Concealment.

Four Principles for Effective Concealment

To achieve the goal of total concealment, it would be helpful if your chosen equipment would meet the following four main criteria:

  1.  Use clothing and equipment that is comfortable enough to wear all the time.
    1. If what you are using is so uncomfortable that you either wear it less, or gradually quit carrying altogether, you have defeated your primary purpose in carrying – That being said, don’t expect to begin carrying without a certain degree of initial discomfort, as it takes time to adjust your body to carrying a firearm.
  2.  Your selection in clothing and equipment should effectively conceal your firearm.
    1. Because people can (and have) learned to see the tells (subconscious fidgeting and adjustments of clothing or equipment) of concealed carry, your choice in clothing and equipment must leave no doubt as to is ability to effectively keep your firearm concealed. If you are continuously fidgeting to check yourself because you are afraid you equipment or clothing isn’t keeping your firearm concealed, then your clothing and equipment is not meeting this principle. For your own sake, find the appropriate clothing and equipment that will give you confidence in your ability to effectively carry concealed.
  3.  Equipment should be simple and practical enough to help you fight effectively
    1. This means that your equipment needs to retain your firearm during jostling, yet be easily accessible when you need it.
  4. Like anything else in life, in order to get better, you need to practice properly
    1. Once you make the decision to carry, and have obtained your license, find a range where they will allow you to practice concealed. Then practice under the same conditions you would normally find yourself in.
    2. While I fully advocate a citizens constitutional right to carry (even without training), I would encourage you to attend training beyond your states minimum required training to obtain your license. Whether this training is with us or not, get the best you can afford, because it is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and loved ones once you have made the choice to carry concealed. 

Visual Concealment

One of the ways that we achieve concealment is through the wearing of appropriate equipment and clothing. Appropriate equipment and clothing will give you the confidence to carry concealed without the worry of unintentionally showing your firearm.
Most often, this unintentionally show of firearms is caused by wearing inappropriate clothing or equipment which allows an outline or bulge in clothing, this is what is termed as “printing.”

Often printing is a product of improper holster placement, a stock that is too long, or an extended magazine which in effect, lengthens the profile of the stock under the concealment clothing.
Another way you could show your firearm is an unintentional uncovering or exposing it. This could happen when you stretch or bend over and your clothing exposes the firearm.

While this unintentional showing of the firearm is something we need guard against, it is not what is termed as “brandishing” a weapon. Brandishing would be when someone either opens their concealment garment on purpose or otherwise shows their firearm to another person with the intent to threaten or intimidate.
While an accidental exposure of your firearm is both tactically unsound as well as a potentially embarrassing faux pas, it is not necessary illegal (unless of course you are carrying illegally), however; brandishing a weapon is illegal, and shows both a lack of tactical soundness while also demonstrating poor judgment.

While holster placement is a personal preference, I personally recommend keeping everything from just behind the point of the hips, at about the 5 or 7 o’clock position (avoiding getting your handgun or magazines on or too near the spine).

By keeping the handgun in this position, it becomes near invisible when viewed from the front, even if a breeze should blow open your cover garment. Additionally, with this type of a configuration you are setting yourself up for success when you add long guns to your repertoire – because you will be able to keep your holster and magazine pouch in the same place as you sack your long gun equipment forward of your established positioning for your handgun.

Remember: if you are showing or printing, you are losing the benefit of total concealment and giving up your advantage of surprise.

Does the above suggestions mean that you can’t wear your handgun near the front?

No, it doesn’t, provided that doing so doesn’t impede your movement or inadvertently expose your firearm should your cover garment flap open.

I have seen people draw quite effectively from forward carries… Just ensure that before you carry towards the front, you do plenty of bending and squatting to ensure you aren’t restricting your full range of motion and that it fit’s your lifestyle. You are an adult, so you figure out what will work be best for your lifestyle and start working it.

Complete Concealment

While being visually concealed is good and important, I believe that an even better policy to adopt when carrying concealed is keeping the fact that you are carrying concealed a complete secret. What I am getting at here is – don’t even talk about it. Not even to your friends.

Concealed carrying is for your benefit, for your safety, and the safety of those around you. Once you start telling people that you carry concealed, you may as well carry in the open. So even if you are considering carrying concealed, or you are about to commit to carrying concealed, don’t be a “chatty Cathy” and begin telling everyone about it. If your friend asks you if you have started to carry, you can simply smile and say something like “Well Joe, if I told you whether or not I carried concealed, it would defeat the purpose of carrying concealed now wouldn’t it?”

Along these same lines, be cautious of those seemingly unintentional bumps around your firearm or magazine pouch, as it may indicate someone is trying to gather information.

Am I being paranoid? Not at all, as I learned this trick from undercover police officer who use a casual brushing glance of the hand/arm/hip to test for concealed carry if he had a suspicion of someone carrying. If the police do this, one can safely assume a criminal whose life may depend on your carrying will be equally clever.

I am not saying that you need to over-react here, just be aware.

Which Holster May be Right for You?

I assure you that I am not trying to be evasive when I tell you that you will be the best at judging which holster is ideal for your lifestyle. While I can’t tell you (nor should anyone else) what you should purchase, I can give you some basic ideas behind what may help you to shape a more appropriate decision. First, I would recommend that once you figure out your needs, you commit yourself to purchasing the best holster you can afford.

Unfortunately the holster is sometimes a distant second thought after the purchase of the handgun and ammunition, and it shouldn’t be.

I personally would rather have a generic handgun with generic (yet dependable) ammunition with a quality holster, than having a top of the line custom made handgun, with the most recently lauded ammunition, and a poor holster.

While expensive holsters do not necessary equal quality, often the very cheap means… well, exactly that. Remember – a quality holster can save your life and spare you countless hours of frustration due to improper practice that you will be forced to deal with if you select a poorly made/designed holster. So it is in your best interest to purchase a quality holster that will fit your lifestyle and be an item that you can rely on for years to come.

Next, consider what it is that you do on a daily basis. Do you do a lot of walking and standing around? If so, then you may want to consider carrying your firearm concealed around your waist. If however, you find yourself sitting in a chair or vehicle most of the time, you may find that reaching your firearm in a timely manner becomes substantially more difficult (nigh impossible) when it is concealed around your waist, hidden by a blazer, and trapped by a seat-belt (especially when it’s carried behind the point of the hip).

Therefore if you do a lot of sitting or driving, you may choose to opt for under the arm type holster under a jacket or vest. I know that under the arm types of holsters have received quite a bit of scorn in the past. However, people can be safely trained to use their firearms in this carry, so unless someone can present a legitimate argument (based on reason and facts), I see no cause to avoid them if they give you a practical advantage in your situation. If you wear relatively loose fitting shirts, a holster that is worn outside of your waistband may be fine.

If on the other hand, you normally wear more form fitting shirts, you may want to consider an inside the waistband or “IWB” holsters, which tend to help conceal better because they are shaped to keep the handgun closer to the body.

Are the plastic type (Kydex) holsters better than leather?

Well, that mainly depends on your working environment, and to be quite honest, is simply a matter of personal preference.

Most plastic type holsters hold up better when repeatedly exposed to sweat and water.  Also many leather holsters will collapse when worn IWB, especially once they become wet. However; leather is usually more comfortable because it is very flexible, and some leather manufacturers are now incorporating synthetics into their designs to keep the holster open.

Some holsters are simply more visually appealing than others. Visual appeal (in my opinion) should be your last consideration, but nonetheless visual appeal does become a factor in the process – I am not going to knock it – go ahead and get what works and looks good too. I have a good friend and fellow instructor that manufactures some of the most practical yet visual appealing leather holsters I have ever seen, and I admire their functionality, durability, comfort, and beauty… Yet I stick with the Kydex type because my work environment (hot and sweaty) is not leather friendly. Might I some day switch to leather? Sure, if the situation permits.

Companies like Raven Concealment Systems and Kaluban Cloak, specialize in the types of holsters which do meet the above stated criteria, as the are molded to fit closer to the body. An additional benefit that I have found with these types of holsters is that they are easy to modify from an inside the waistband holster (generally better for concealed carry or low-profile work with light body armor) to an outside the waistband holster (better for heavier body armor), in a matter of minutes with simple tools like a phillips-head screwdriver. Are Raven and Kaluban the only holsters on the market that you should consider? Nope, I have carried other holsters over the years that have served me well.

However, the purpose of this article is not to compare the virtues of the various holsters and their manufacturers out there, but to give you some basic ideas of what you should be looking for as a general fit for you and your lifestyle.
You may find that a man-purse (Maxpedition a.k.a. “manpurse” type of bags comes to mind here) may suit your lifestyle best.
If you are a woman you may find that a concealment purse is the ideal solution.

There are plenty of concealment purses manufactured today that are both practical as well as fashionable, and a good concealment purse will allow you to save the expense of modifying your wardrobe. One of the many wonderful things that the capitalist system provides is both variety and great customer service. This certainly holds true to for the manufacturers of holsters, as I have worked rather extensively with more than a few holster manufacturers to custom order as well as modify currently manufactured equipment to better meet my needs (I am sure that a concealed purse manufacturer would work with you as well)

These holster manufacturers can even make great Kydex inserts for your Maxpedition bags, and I am sure most other manufacturers who are firmly up and running (or just want a challenge) will do the same if asked.

Feel free to use the comment section on this blog post to keep us up to date with who is or who is not capable of working with you, and pass it on to your fellow warriors.

What the company can’t do at their facility – well, there is always the option of personal modifications once the product arrives at your home.

As long as you don’t defeat any of the built in safety features, you should be good to go. If you have any doubts about whether or not your modifications will negatively affect the safety features of your holster, either leave the product alone or contact the manufacturer for their expert advice and opinions. You may even be giving them a great idea for future models.

Finally, if you end up with a holster you don’t like or you find is not ideal as your were lead to believe it would be, it’s okay. You can always purchase a better one and sell the old one on eBay. The bottom line is – don’t be afraid to change out holsters and begin practicing with your new holster immediately… your life may very well depend on it.

Next blog posting…

In the next posting I will cover ideas for handgun selection in regards to concealed carry, retention systems, how to gradually change into a concealed carrier so that once you acquire your license you will naturally blend into your roll as a concealed handgun carrier, as well as some basic ideas for clothing modification if you need them.

These articles are not intended to give legal advice for carrying concealed. Just as there are a great deal of variance in the firearms laws between states, there are variances in counties within those states, as well as variances in each city. With this in mind we encourage you to become intimately familiar with firearm law as it applies to the jurisdiction in which you reside and carry in.

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  • Chris

    Great article! A couple of comments on a couple of statements. In my opinion most people are not uncomfortable with open carry, however, some of them are. I also don’t believe “the element of surprise” is accurate as it is a method of offense not defense. It also puts you a step behind the situation if you are an active participant and not an observer.
    That is just my personal opinion on those two matters.

    Regardless of your method of carry or even not carrying one must not forget situation awareness is your most valuable asset.

    • FireFighterChen

      Agree with above. I have had 1 negative encounter while open carrying with dozens of great encounters, and that is only the people caring enough to talk with me, a random stranger. The thousands of people I have walked by that have no reaction at all is what is key. The majority of people have no problem with open carry.

      And to say that because we are civilized and rational, we conceal. Is that a jab at us who open carry? Are we uncivilized and irrational?

      My open carry also shares the “tacticool” advantage of surprise…except mine is deployed way before a concealed carrier. You see, when someone is looking for a victim and they see me…SURPRISE I have a gun…breaking their ooda loop in the first O phase. When a concealed carrier using his surprise its in the A phase (the act has begun). Deterrence, the winner here.

      The 2A should not infringe on our method of carry, whether concealed or open.

      I get why CCW Instructors preach concealment…its their business and they want to get paid. Sure, but then I gotta ask, based on my personal experience in classes, why is the majority of the time spent open carrying?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

        Hello FireFighterChen and Chris. No, not a jab at open carry, I open carried in Nevada for a number of years. I love people that open carry, visit our blog and you will see that we openly support the individuals right to carry any way they choose. I apologize if anyone takes offense to the above statements, understand that it is a misunderstanding and nothing else.

        Few of us at Pulse O2DA are CCW instructors, so we preach concealment because it is practical, and for no other reason.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Thanks for the complement and the feedback Chris.

      You are accurate with the statement “…as it is a method of offense not defense.’ I agree with that (and teach it) because once we realize that the fighting is going to start, we need to go on the offense and leave “defense” behind. As you will see, in the part two, often times the fastest draw is having the gun in your hands just before you need it. In this case, as aptly point out if you have situational awareness and know what to do, you are certainly not behind in the decision making process.

      • blogengeezer

        2010, Linda and Gary Hass were both OK certified CCW. Both were ‘NOT’ carrying, when they stopped at an I-40 rest area in eastern NM. Arizona prison escapees, led by psychopath McCluskey, took ‘control’ of Linda in the restroom. Force leading her back to Gary, waiting in their truck. The NOT armed, nor situation-ally aware couple on their regular interstate trip to Colo, led to both being killed and burned beyond recognition in their RV trailer near I-40 Santa Rosa NM.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

    Let me head this off real quick: I am sorry if I the above sounds like I am against open carry. I am not. I am all for it. We at Pulse are big into Constitutional carry, any way you like. With that said, I am obviously a big proponent of concealed carry for the aforementioned reasons…

    • Chris

      Sorry if I opened a can of worms here. Wasn’t my intent. I really like your explanation of the defense vs offense comment. It has me thinking in a different way now regarding the application of concealed carry. By the way, I cc as much as I oc. and believe in carry as you feel most comfortable, just carry. Thank you again and looking forward to part 2.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

        Chris, no harm, and no can of worms opened. Just trying to explain my justification as best as I could in the short time I have to answer comments.

        Again, I am appreciative of your comments, and if I don’t have an answer, I either need to go back to the drawing board, ask those people who are better than me, or think it through a little harder.

  • j410

    Ron,
    Thank you for your informative posts.I work in the Heating/Ac buisness and I hope you can understand the difficuties I have staying concealed.A lot of posts seem more geared toward the White collar carriers.With your post I can always find useful info.What works best for me is the Judge and a IWB from Simply-Rugged and a long T-shirt.Again Thanks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Hello j410, you are very welcome, I am glad that you find the advice informative and useful.

      I can indeed understand the challenge that staying concealed presents in your line of work, and I am glad you found a solution and I thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us here.

  • John Doe

    while I am not against others open carrying, I choose not to myself because I dont want the criminals knowing I have a gun or where it is located. There is a video on Youtube of a man who was OC’ing who had an armed felon come up on him and take his gun at gun point.
    Out of sight, out of mind.

    I disagree with some posters about concealed carry not being an advantage. Criminals prefer knowing what they are facing. Not knowing what cards their victim is holding is absolutely an advantage.
    If they see your gun they can determine if you are going for it, and they will absolutely take measures to make sure you cant/wont go for your firearm. If the felon doesnt know if you are carrying or not, then you can be trying to give him your wallet and instead draw your gun on him. It happened a number of years back in a upscale restaurant in my home town where a knife weilding man followed an older gentleman into the restroom and tried to rob him at knifepoint.
    The old man calmly went for his supposed wallet but drew his gun instead and the felon ran off.
    If the old guy had been showing his weapon beforehand the felon would have very likely done things differently to make sure the old guy couldnt get his gun drawn.

    I prefer leaving these slimebags guessing…

    • blogengeezer

      New Mexico (border Mexico) has ‘incidents’ as do other states. An OC was in a ‘fast food’ line. A ‘known to police’, ‘repeat offender’ grabbed the weapon and a scuffle for life, played out on the floor. Police arrived and the OC was charged for ‘Inciting’ the incident. Weapon confiscated. Another arrest/confiscated weapon w two mags, to a certified CCW (‘printed’… with officers present) in a restaurant that ‘Served’ liquor. The latest NM firearm restriction modified (allowed) CCW in…. Beer/Wine… (served and/or packaged) establishments Only.

      In political exchange for beer/wine c carry, the NM previous recognition of ‘Utah certification’ was.. ‘Deleted’.
      CCW was passed in NM only ‘After’ two nationally recognized ‘incidents’. ‘Las Cruces Bowling Lanes’ Slaughter (unsolved) and ‘Hollywood Video’ Slaughter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1294323180 Joe Sobotka

    ” I would encourage you to attend training beyond your states minimum required training to obtain your license. Whether this training is with us or not, get the best you can afford, because it is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and loved ones once you have made the choice to carry concealed. ”
    I wholeheartedy agree!

  • 19807FirstStater

    I started carrying in January, after I received my Delaware Concealed Carry Permit in December 2011. I’m just old enough — 65 in Sept 2012 — and grey enough (silver-grey hair since before age 40) that no one I know holds any great sartorial style aspirations for me. As a result, after trying a couple of carry configurations inside my belt, none of which seemed comfortable or all that concealed, I bought a leather “fanny pack.” I keep my cell phone in the front zipper pocket in the event anyone asks why I wear it (but no one ever has!) as well as my keys, but the large compartment conceals my Walther PPS. I’m right handed, so I carry it just off-center to the left, so that with one motion I could reach across my waist and unzip the carry part and remove the handgun. Obviously, I’ve never had to do that. And, frankly, when I’m in some dangerous areas of Wilmington DE (recently rated as America’s most dangerous City in the 100,000 population range) in my convertible, I’ll just lay the fanny pack on my console and unzip so my handgun is ready to be retrieved. My usual work attire is Business Casual, blazer over slacks and open-neck shirt, but occasionally it’s a suit, and even jeans and a golf shirt from time-to-time, and the “fanny pack carry” is equally comfortable with any of them. I recommend you consider it for comfort as well as concealment and ease of access.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us here 1980FirstStater.

      If I may make one suggestion (if you are not already doing so) – I would recommend that when you doff your fanny pack and place it on your console, do make sure you secure it via the belt. It won’t be the first time that a concealed carrier ended up needing his firearm, reached for it on the console only to find it not where it should have been due to previous high speed turn/jolt which knocked the firearm to the floorboards or under the seats.

    • Diana S Winkler

      I wear a regular fanny pack for a purse, but don’t feel comfortable putting my firearm in the fanny pack. I don’t like wearing my fanny pack all the time, so I have decided on a different conceal carry approach instead that is not around my waist. I am new to conceal carry too. experimenting with different stuff.

  • geezer117

    One can of worms not mentioned here, but very pertinent, is size of handgun. I would strongly recommend that, before purchasing the handgun itself, one buy a toy gun of equal size and try carrying it concealed for a week. Keep it on your person without fail, and see how comfortable you are with it. See if concealing the handgun is conflicting with your choice of clothing or activities. See if you are deciding to leave it behind occasionally because it’s too much trouble, which is absolutely the wrong thing to be doing. If and when you need to have the weapon, it will be a time and place you least expect it, so you need to never leave it behind. That means the handgun fits all your clothing and activity choices without problems. If you do this, I predict you will be choosing a smaller handgun than you originally contemplated. I’m sure many will disagree, but a small .380 with laser sights and Buffalo Bore ammunition is a potent self-defense weapon. I also confidently choose the .32 at times. These will be with you when the Glocks and Berettas are home in a drawer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Hello Geezer, good points… I will briefly address handgun selection in part two.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • El Jefe

    From my own experience, stay away from holsters with a foam or cloth liners – the liners may retain moisture and lead to surface rust.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Nice to know El Jefe, thanks for the advice.

  • yikesarama

    My only addition would be to line up your clothing in advance and really check it out around the house first. How will you carry when in a suit? When in a suit but there’s a danger you’ll have to take your coat off? In shorts, no tee-shirt? (For me those 3 answers are belt holster, SmartCarry, and SmartCarry.) In other words, every situation, including driving a car.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      yikesarama… maybe you should write… that’s coming in part two ;-)
      Thanks for the input, and advice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dr.ozanne David E Ozanne

    On the choice of a holster, you need to constantly be checking it for proper retention. My Springfield Kydex holster has gotten to where it loosens up and I have to reset the tension daily when I am wearing it. Just a thought. A CC incident of the gun dropping out of the holster because it was too loose would be a disaster.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Good advice David, thanks for your input.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Ess/100000666571492 Dan Ess

    Personally I find it easier to carry between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock and I am not talking about the hours of the day or night. I find it very discomforting to drive with a weapon in my back. On my side or toward the front, I can drive my car or hike all day, never a worry about being safe and concealed. I’ve not had one person ever ask me if I was carrying or say they could tell. I open carried once while hiking in a national park and ran into multiple hikers, none of which said a thing about carrying and I even talked with each couple for a few minutes out on the trail. As another mentioned, what you carry (size/weight of gun) makes a difference, and so does your body shape. Unfortunately a toy gun will not likely weigh the same as a real gun, especially with a fully loaded magazine. Caliber of ammunition and number of rounds can make a big difference in final total weight when carrying too; especially if you plan to carry a spare magazine or speed loader. 7 rounds of 102gr 380 weighs quite a bit less than 7 rounds 230gr 45 acp or 180gr 40 S&W or 6 or 7 rounds of 357 mag.

  • the real diehl

    I have been carrying in the waste band at 2:00 and it seems every position has it’s draw backs, but have tried 4 and 5:00 and found it to be very uncomfortable,sitting, it printed terribly when I leaned forward or bent over. It also produces concern for me about my piece being behind me where some one can try to take it from me before I am aware . Furthermore reaching behind is concidered to be making yourself vulnerable. Reaching back was forbidden as a wrestler. You allow your opponent a great advantage. Can you comment on this subject.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/SilentBob-AtPulse/100003366002261 SilentBob AtPulse

      Hello real diehl, and thanks for the comment and input.

      You are spot on, every position has it’s draw backs as well as its benefits. This give and take is what we call the principle of duality which states that “most principles and techniques have two sides that can be exploited to your advantage depending on where you find yourself in the tactical situation. As with most things in life, these tactical principles have give and take; that is you are gaining something while at the same time you losing something in the process.”

      For instance, in the case of the forward carry 1-2 o’clock on the body gains you comfort while seated and speed on the draw – the downsides are that the forward position may prevent you from taking flights of stairs two or more at a time (pinching between the stomach and thigh), as well as climbing ladders may be a pain, and then keeping the firearm concealed via a gust of wind (if you have an open front jacket or cover shirt, obviously not as a big of a concern with closed front clothing).

      Conversely, the 4-5 o’clock is less comfortable in the seated (and makes presentation from the seated very difficult) yet it is an excellent position for concealment (because even a jacket that is blown open will not likely expose the firearm).

      Again, there is on “one position fits everyone” solution. We, as individuals working in different lines of work, must make up our minds on the best compromise for our life. For instance, if I were a professional driver (taxi, limo, bus, airplane) I may choose something around the front (to accommodate the fact that I will most likely be seated when the fight starts). Whereas if I am mostly on my feet, I may choose more toward the back. And, as I mentioned in the article, I am even a proponent of the under armed holsters if they fit your lifestyle.

      As for the worry about your “…piece being behind me where some one can try to take it from me before I am aware.” I would suggest that you consider taking a look at situational awareness, the concealed holster’s retention and the actual effectiveness of concealment. If one is meeting the principles for effective carry, it is unlikely that people will see a print. If one is situationally aware, it is unlikely that someone will be able to surreptitiously remove the firearm from a decent concealed holster (even a good kydex holster properly retaining your firearm will make it difficult for someone to easily “lift” as the tension on the trigger guard makes it difficult to draw if you are not the wearer).

      I think you bring up a good point – reaching back makes you vulnerable (while hands on and ground fighting), but if you are in the middle of a fight for your gun, you should be throttling the guy reaching for your gun, not fighting over your gun.

      While unarmed combat was not the focus of this post, I would simply say this – If in a situation where one may be fighting over their concealed gun, a quick finger or thumb through an adversaries eye or a solid strike to the throat or groin will do more good than trying to “reach back” to wrestle over a concealed handgun. The reality of the situation is that when two people engage in a life or death struggle, the situation won’t change until someone is injured, and then the person with the injury is at a disadvantage to the one doing the injury (this is proportional to the amount of injury that has been caused). My point here is that the location of concealment, and the retention are at the bottom of the priority pile when you are actually hands on. At that time you can safely forget about reaching back to retain a firearm if you have poked the guys eye out and are now breaking skull with your knee. I can guarantee that if you cause enough trauma (a no b.s. eye poke or knee to the testicles ) the adversary will let go of your firearm… neither of which will cause one to reach back, placing them at a disadvantage.

      Finally, as I also mentioned in the article, I personally prefer the 4-5 o’clock for myself, as it is not all that uncomfortable to me (after about a weeks worth of break in, you get used to it), and it allows me to then add my long gun to the mix when in need to, which allows me to maintain the integrity of my personal set up (I can simply add long gun magazine pouches to the current configuration, keeping my handgun and magazine pouches in place. Does what I do mean such a setup is right for you? Nope, not at all.

  • Erik

    Looking forward to future articles. How to carry concealed and comfortable is in my opinion the most important subject. I live in a very warm climate were shorts and t-shirt are common. Also I’m not large in stature so hiding a 1911 would be impossible. I’m still looking for an acceptable method of on the body carry.

  • retcsgt

    Very interesting information. I’ve tried a few diferent holsters and found the best for me is the sneaky pete. When I first started to carry, I thought it would be cool to have a shoulder holster, how I was wrong. I then tried a owb and like the sholder, uncomfortable. Since my use of the sneaky pete, I get some questions as to what it is. Of course it is my Ipad, my field glasses, my electrical gadget, but never a concealed carry.

  • Pineapple

    Very good article and informative. I would add that a couple of other means of carrying concealed would be the “fanny pack” and the pocket holster. Since I’m part of the senior citizen generation, I’m not fashion conscious and wear cargo pocket pants and shorts. This allows for a pocket holster that does not print yet fits snugly producing a quick accessibility without hanging up. Course one will have to practice to become proficient…and I still do. With a 5 shot .357/.38 revolver and a couple of speed loaders, it is, and has been, a very viable combination. When exercising, walking or bicycling, I wear the fanny pack with a right to left zipper and the weapon grip to the right for easier access. While neither on these will provide “speed” access, if one stays aware of their situation and environment, preventive response will be sufficient to diffuse the situation or terminate it. However, it still requires practice and patience…something you get as you get older.

  • Scott

    As someone, who is learning and considering carrying, I found the article very helpful and look forward to the next installment. Thank you

  • steve2511

    100% agree that the holster is the most important aspect of concealed carry, I have been using a Crossbred Supertuck for my Glock 36, and I carry all day every day. No one has ever noticed or asked if I was armed.

  • Smallz43

    This is a great site! Thanks for all the valuable information. I will be getting my concealed carry permit in the next month or so. My husband is a firefighter and is elated that I am finally doing this. He has tried for years to get me carry and to practice with him. The problem has been that I am not comfortable with his gun. It’s too heavy and intimidating to me, so I’m not comfortable handling it. I recently informed him that I want to carry, but the stipulation is I want my own gun. I need one that fits in my hand and I want to know everything about it..which includes taking it completely apart and putting it back together and cleaning it. I want to know everything I can about it. Preparation is key to me. We live on a farm, so practicing won’t be an issue. My family (that lives out of state) has had mixed reviews with me doing this, but I told them I would rather be prepared and not have to use it, then not have it and wish I did. A lot of farms have been hit over the last few months and crazy people are all over the place and I need to make sure that I am protected and so are the people around me.

    I have been actively searching for the right gun, which means going to the store and actually holding them in my hand. I thought I would like the S & W Bodyguard 380, but decided against it. I don’t like how you have to turn the laser on and decided it may be too small. I finally decided on a different one and I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s a 9mm and the laser is right below the trigger and comes on when I squeeze the handle. That’s perfect for me. Thanks for the info on the concealment purse. I have been looking at holsters, but a purse would be a better option for me, unless I can get used to carrying it on my waist. Looking forward to training and doing my classes and can’t wait to get my Christmas gift this year! Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, obviously don’t know the girls from the Midwest.

    • Diana S Winkler

      The Well Armed Woman and The Cornered Cat are excellent websites for conceal carry for women. I use a Flashbang holster and it is awesome! The Ruger LCP .380 is what I carry with the laser that comes on when you squeeze the handle.My hubby uses a Ruger LC9, with the laser. Good luck.