Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Concealed Carry Options

For my 100th post, I'm going to show you the new concealed carry options I've gotten for myself.

The usual caveats apply - I am not a firearms "expert", I am not an instructor, and I am not a self-defense expert. I'm just Jane Q Public, learning my way through this like everybody else. I know what MY needs/problems/concerns are, and I know what I like and what I don't like. You will obviously need to find what works for "you", but I hope this might give you some more ideas to look at.

Following, are two options I found while poking around the NRAAM this past spring. These options fit my Glock 42. It is still my favorite gun, and at the time, I didn't have a 43 yet, as it had only been released that weekend. During that event I was carrying my Glock 42 in my Ava IWB holster from Flashbang.

I have looked at (and even bought) other bellybands in the past, but I was just not satisfied with them. The main reason for this is that I am completely paranoid about retention. I just could not be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gun was not going to squish up out of the elastic. I do not have a young toothpick body type, and rolls of flesh tend to appear when I sit down, bend over, and perform the various routines of everyday life. That's just the reality, and I did not want one of these random rolls to force the gun to slide upwards out of its designated pocket in the elastic. I also did not want to deal with any retention straps or anything else getting in the way of my grip and draw in an emergency.  Plus, all of my match holsters are kydex. It's what I know. It's what I trust, and I know it works for me. I like the positive "click" sound, reassuring me that the gun is properly seated, and I like that kydex stays open and ready for reholstering.

So, imagine my delight when I saw at the Crossbreed booth, a bellyband WITH a Velcro-backed kydex holster. I ordered the size large band, so that I had the option of wearing it at hip level, and ordered the separate kydex holster, sized for my Glock 42.

Unlike other belly bands which have lingerie-type hooks and eyes (which I find tedious), this band is almost infinitely adjustable with wide swaths of velcro. I have worn this rig all day, driving the car, shopping for groceries, cooking, and lounging on the couch, and like it VERY much. I find it very comfortable. The only drawback I can find so far is that you can occasionally hear the Velcro noise. That seemed to occur more with yoga pants though, than with jeans, and may have only been noticeable to "me".

One huge advantage for me has been the kydex retention, while also not requiring a belt. I do often wear a belt anyway, but they are sometimes dressier belts which are not enhanced by the obvious outside clips of an IWB holster. And some days are just yoga pant days (not that I actually DO yoga or anything - I'm just a lazy comfort freak LOL) 

The other big "plus" to this rig, is that it stays on me when I (as we women do) need to drop trou to take care of business. No need for a gun peg in the bathroom, (like I saw at Gunsite), and no worries about the gun showing below the bathroom stall door as it can do with an IWB holster. Also no chance of leaving the gun behind in the bathroom, as you hear about in the news from time to time. The gun stays in the holster, which stays attached to the bellyband, which stays right where it is, around my waist.

Obviously your mileage may vary if you carry a larger gun, but for my G42 and my needs, I am a new fan. I think I found my new favorite carry method!

The second option I found, is a fallback for when a baggy outer layer to cover the grip of the gun is not viable - as with lightweight and sheerer summer fabrics. I also found this option at the NRAAM - this time at the Tuff Products booth.

Although this "looks" like purse carry, it's not. It's more of a holster pouch, which has the stability of a belt clip. The model I bought, is an iridescent red rip stop nylon, which does not scream "gun", like I feel the black and coyote versions do. And with my addition of a cross-body shoulder strap, the bag "camouflages" nicely as a small cross body purse. Ta-da! Gun hiding in plain sight. This bag has zippers up both sides, and Velcro at the top, with a grab and "rip" handle. You pull vigorously down on the handle, and whole thing peels down, exposing the gun.

I'm not a fan of the Velcro elastic loop that came with the bag, which was supposed to hold the gun inside (see my retention and control issues above). But, by happy coincidence, the kydex holster with Velcro backing which goes on my Crossbreed bellyband, also adheres nicely inside this bag.

I like the belt clip that is attached to the back of the bag. This gives me more stability and retention than say a fanny pack or a carry purse, and makes it more like an on-body holster. As you can see, comparing the photos, the addition of the strap makes the bag a little less "obvious". The belt clip worked with yoga pants too, and the strap gave it a little more support when wearing with belt-less pants.

I haven't yet become a dedicated EVERY day carrier - mostly because of convenience and clothing issues. My paranoia about control and retention have added to my "barriers" and frustration. I am hoping the addition of these two options for me will help change that situation for the better. And I hope by sharing these options, that it may help someone else's search as well.

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