Concealed carry is more popular than ever with well over seven million people licensed in the US, not even counting those in states that do not require a license to do so. The vast majority of these folks carry full time in holster–the selection of which is endless. Leather, kydex? What kind of cant? Is it tuckable? Each year the market grows with more and more options.
But what if you could carry every day, concealed, safely, and not use a holster?
Enter ‘CCW Breakways’, the brainchild of Jay French. Jay personally designs, sells and markets a line of pants and shorts, both khaki and denim, with an integrated handgun holster in the front pockets. Demand has been so great he recently had to open a dedicated production facility to keep up.
I was a little skeptical at first because I had seen loosely similar concepts that I thought were poorly executed. Plus I have never been a fan of traditional pocket carry. Jay offered to send me a few pairs to sport for a while and see what I thought. It was clear he had great faith in his product so I decided to give it a go.
Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Well, that’s a question no one will ask with these.
I’ve tried some of the “tuckable” holsters on the market and while some worked decently, I felt that they printed to a degree I was not comfortable with. Some had clips or tabs displayed on the belt which drops some clues about what is under there. I do feel comfortable saying that this is the only handgun retention system I would use with a tucked-in shirt.
The key and critical difference between these pants and traditional pocket carry is that each pocket has two ingenious and totally hidden snaps under your belt on your waistline. If you want to draw the gun, you can fully grip it, and as you pull your hand out, just the right amount of pressure away from the waistline will pop the snaps and allow you to draw the gun with a ‘full gun grip’. You would be ready to fire the moment the [fully sized] gun is retrieved without having to adjust your handle on it. Using just one hand. A free hand could buy you precious seconds against a physical attack.
One of my first concerns was how much force the snaps needed to unsnap. Would my gun fall out or would it take a little too much force to pop them? I found the force necessary was perfect. The way the gun sits is quite secure and it’s not coming out of there unless you want it to.
There’s nothing more casual than putting your hands in your pockets. If you’re in a situation you think is escalating, you can have a ready-to-draw handgun without displaying it and if the situation calms down, you’re out nothing.
Another handy benefit is how easy it is to draw sitting down. If you are at eating at a booth in a restaurant, pulling a gun from under your shirt can be problematic especially if there’s not a lot of room to move around. This system allows total access, at a faster speed, to your gun than any other system I can think of, perhaps even better than open carry. Generally, a draw from the outer leg is more natural than a draw from the hip. This is reinforced by the increasing popularity of ‘drop leg’ style holsters in the military and recently law enforcement.
Now that we’ve gotten the tacticool stuff out of the way these are pants after all. It doesn’t matter how great they work if they aren’t comfortable. They are made of 100% cotton, are machine washable and feel great. You can choose from four styles and colors, all of which I would consider being totally appropriate for business casual wear.
The two styles I received were business casual khaki and business black. Since my home state of Florida is pretty darn hot, I usually opt for lighter colored clothing, so most of my testing took place wearing the khaki. It was a really strange sensation not carrying IWB, but still having my gun with me. I did a lot of trots walking up to my hallway mirror, twisting in front of it, and so forth to see how much printing the pants might do. I was pleasantly surprised. There’s virtually zero printing on the khaki color and with the black, it’s impossible to see anything at all. I could have hand grenades in there and nobody would know.
The only trade-off is that the pants are just slightly “poofier” below the front waistline0 which really is a fair trade, especially for the extra mobility you have when doing stuff like squatting, bending over, etc.
In my review package, I also received some bonus “MagSocks”.
I mean it when I say it that I really think these are awesome. While they are designed for use with the breakaway pants they can be used unto themselves. The socks are constructed from spandex which securely holds the magazine and covered in Velcro on one side. They are designed to hold a magazine securely, specifically on the interior of the pocket opposite the one holding the gun. Handily, due to the way they are built, you can fit other items in them such as pepper spray, money, anything really, and since they’re covered in Velcro you can stick them anywhere. This opens up a lot of possibilities like putting one inside your sock or attached to the outside of your sock concealed by a pant leg. I’m even using one stuck to the side of the seat of my car to hold a spare magazine. How’s that for convenient?
I like the pants. I think it’s a solid product that’s functional, comfortable, and made to last. When we talk about “tuckability” there’s simply nothing that can compare. You could walk into any business setting wearing them and no one would bat an eye which is really the whole point.
Who says you can’t look good and carry at the same time?