Considerations Regarding Concealed Carry
Concealed Carry vs Open Carry – this is an issue that has gained momentum in recent years. There are individuals and groups advocating for “Open Carry”. Most states require that persons obtaining a permit or license to carry a handgun must carrying the firearm concealed. Clothing must conceal the firearm and holster.
Open Carry supporters want to just strap on a handgun and wear it in public. There are states that do permit “Open Carry”. However, most of those states, if not all, do not require a permit or license. And in some of those states you must apply for a permit to carry concealed.
In my experience (33 years in law enforcement) there are individuals of the criminal type that would love to see “Open Carry”. This way they have a “Heads Up” on what type of resistance they may have to any crime they are contemplating, and particularly who may be an obstacle to their intended endeavor.
Areas in which I worked would typically provide for a less than desirable outcome for the individual carrying their gun openly displayed. I would hasten to say they would immediately be assaulted and robbed of their firearm. I have asked many of these advocates (both in person and online) to provide me one advantage of “Open Carry” as I believe it is nothing more than an avenue to massage someone’s ego.
There is a very wide selection of holsters available for carrying a handgun. I’ve seen a host of recent ads touting a company’s particular holster as “the last holster you’ll ever have to buy”. Suffice it to say I have a drawer full of them. Holsters, like guns, have tradeoffs…for every positive point there is likely to be a negative one. The more complex the holster and setup is the more likely it will eventually be left behind.
Basic Types of Holsters
Shoulder Holster – these rigs have a series of straps going over the shoulder of the person wearing it. It will require the user to wear a light jacket or other garment to hide the holster & firearm. The muzzle of the gun (the end of the barrel) usually ends up just above belt level. The gun itself is worn on the weak side of the body (worn on the left side of a right-handed shooter), positioned muzzle down, with the bottom of the grip of the gun facing forward (toward an adversary). Besides being a cumbersome package and requiring a garment to be worn over it, this affords quick access for an adversary as the gun is in position for them to quickly grab it.
Inside the Waist Band (IWB) Holsters – These holsters will have a clip or loop at the top of the holster that will loop around the belt of the user while the holster and gun are positioned inside the pants. Just wearing a shirt or t-shirt untucked will adequately conceal the gun.
Pancake or Outside the Waist Band Holsters – These holsters will have slots in them to run your belt through. The user would run their belt through the rear slot, then through a belt loop on their pants, then through the front slot. The holsters are very flat and like the IWB holster they require a shirt or t-shirt untucked and draped over the gun to adequately it. Carrying a smaller, flatter gun makes this a viable option. Carrying a larger gun and/or a thin shirt results in “printing” (a telltale bulge or visible outline of the gun).
Pocket Holsters – These holsters are typically for smaller guns such as a .380 or .22 caliber semiauto. They normally have a rubber outside surface which make them “sticky” allowing them to stay in position in your pocket when you draw the gun. They keep the gun in an upright position and breakup the outline of the gun. A very good alternative for warmer climates where the normal attire would be shorts and a t-shirt.
Ankle Holsters – Obviously wearing one of these holsters requires that you are wearing long pants. But ankle holsters allow one to carry a larger gun and are very discreet, hiding a gun well. The biggest drawback is knowing that getting access to your gun will require that you pull up your pant leg as you kneel down. But that is only if you are in a standing position. Imagine being seated in a vehicle, in a church pew or theater or restaurant. I would be able to draw from my ankle holster faster than trying to dig my .380 out of a pocket.
Belly Band Holsters – These holsters are typically a 4” wide surgical elastic band with Velcro ends. They work well when you are not wearing a belt. You can adjust them so your pants cover the bottom portion and your shirt covers the upper. You can rotate the belly band around your body so as to use a number of positions in which to carry your gun such as; at the hip, behind the hip, small of the back, appendix carry, cross-draw etc. Many of these holsters come with a magazine pouch to carry an extra mag.
Miscellaneous Holsters – There are holsters designed to look like a belt-mounted cell phone case and other such cases. Front-mounted soft belt cases like joggers use that have a quick-access portion to carry a small gun. Similarly, there are purses manufactured with a concealed pocket either inside or outside of the purse. The issue with the purses is that a purse is often the target. A woman will get purse-snatched and now the perpetrator has the Victim’s ID, money, credit cards, keys and now their firearm.
Written by: Ret. Sgt. Zeke Mathena