In this post, I want to cover some points on concealed carry. With 49 states now allowing some form of concealed carry for citizens, and more and more passing “shall issue” laws every year, concealed carry of firearms has swept the nation. Americans are no longer allowing themselves to be victimized, and are instead standing their ground, and defending themselves from those who wish to do them harm.
I’ve been carrying a concealed handgun for several years now, and I have learned several lessons along the way. What I carry, and how I carry it has evolved many times as well. I try to be diligent in carrying a pistol whenever I can, and wherever it is legal to do so. This morning, I strapped my holster on when I got out of bed around 9:30AM (It was Saturday, and I worked 6 days this week, don’t judge…) and it is now around 3:00AM, and I still have my pistol, and a spare magazine on me.
My main carry pistol is a Glock 19. I personally feel that the compact Glocks, either the 19, or the 23, are the perfect all around carry pistols. They do everything well, they are as reliable as anything, tons of aftermarket support, and they will handle the hottest defensive loads on the market.
When choosing a pistol for concealed carry, be honest with yourself. We would all like to carry a big, heavy, powerful pistol, however, a 40oz hand cannon probably isn’t going to be something that you will actually carry ever day. I hear people all the time say things like “Well, I only carry when I think I’ll need it.” If I knew when I was going to need my pistol, I would just avoid that whole place all together, and save myself the trouble! These are the same people who have their concealed carry permit, but never seem to have a pistol on them when you see them out and about…
Be honest with yourself. The .380 in your pocket, is a whole lot better than the .45 that you left at home. With just about every manufacturer jumping head first into the concealed carry pistol market, there are tons and tons of high quality, small, concealable pistols on the market right now. Do your research, stay with a reputable brand, and you should be good to go.
There are a couple features that I avoid when buying a pistol:
1. External safety. I shoot Glocks, which do not have an external safety, and I feel that they are the safest pistols on the market. None of my competition Glocks that I shoot the most have an external safety, so neither do my concealed carry pistols. Some people like them, and if you train with it, fine, but I prefer commonality with all of my pistols, so I choose not to have them.
2. Magazine disconnects. A magazine disconnect is a “safety feature” found on some pistols that keeps from pistol from firing when the magazine is removed, even if there is a round in the chamber. I was taught that mechanical safeties were mechanical devices, and mechanical devices can fail. These are just one more thing to keep your pistol from functioning when you need it. No thanks.
3. Internal locks. Internal locks are another “safety feature” added to some pistols by manufacturers usually after being pressured into it by their lawyers. I was talking to someone in a gun store recently, who said that he has kids, and prefers the internal lock, so he can keep a loaded pistol on his night stand, and the pistol cannot be fired, until he unlocks it with his key. I’m sorry, but if you have a loaded pistol sitting out where your kids can get to it, and the only thing keeping them from firing it is an internal lock mechanism, you are an idiot, and I will not apologize for saying it. I will not buy a pistol with an internal lock based on principal. I do not like manufacturers adding “features” to their pistols based on pressure from their lawyers. I have also personally witnessed two pistols with internal lock mechanisms lock up while firing. One was a Taurus 605 revolver, and the other was an auto, that I cannot remember the manufacturer of. The owner of the Taurus had been carrying the revolver as a defensive pistol for some time, and thankfully, it locked up during a shooting competition, and not when he needed it to defend his life.
I also prefer a good set of night sights on a defensive pistol, although I have found that I prefer to have just a tritium front sight, and a solid black rear, with a wide notch. The 3 dot sights I found to slow me down a little. I have the Ameriglo GL-433 sights on my Glock 19, and I find them to be phenomenal sights, that are very fast to pick up. Ameriglo uses Trijicon tritium vials, so you know you are buying quality. Trijicon also makes an “HD” series of sights that look very promising.
Every bit as important as the pistol you choose to carry, is the holster you choose the carry it in. If you skimp out on the holster, you will find yourself carrying the pistol less and less. I’ve tried everything from Galco shoulder rigs, to pocket holsters, and just about everything in between. For small, pocket sized pistols, I like the Desantis Nemesis pocket holsters. They are made from thick fabric, with some grippy material on the outside that keeps the holster in your pocket when you draw the pistol. They are also quite inexpensive.
I’ve tried a very high quality Galco shoulder rig, and it just wasn’t for me. Very comfortable for short periods, but after a while my clothes began to get tangled in the straps, becoming uncomfortable. I also found that the pistol was not as concealed as I thought, after I had a gas station attendant ask me what was in my holster one night, because he could see the strap poking out around my collar. I also found drawing the pistol across my body to be slow, and I did not like that when drawing, I would sweep an entire 180* path with my muzzle. I got rid of this style of holster, and I have not missed it.
My main carry rig, is a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe, which is an IWB or Inside the Waistband holster. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years of daily carry, and it keeps getting better, and more comfortable as time goes on. Absolutely fantastic holster. The downside is that there can be a small wait to get them, and they are not inexpensive. I think mine was right around $100 when it was all said and done. These holsters are a hybrid design, with a large piece of leather that goes against your body, with a molded piece of kydex that is formed around the pistol, and belt loops that hold the holster to your belt. At a glance they look like they would be uncomfortable, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The big piece of leather distributes the shape of the pistol over a large area, so you do not end up with sharp edges of the pistol digging into your side.
Pardon my crappy cell-phone pictures, but this should give you an idea on the Supertuck Deluxe, and how it sits against your body.
OK, I don’t want this post to be a full on review of the Supertuck, but rather a overview of concealed carry, and things to think about when it comes to the gear you need, so I will leave the holster discussion there.
The next thing to think about when it comes to concealed carry, is your belt. The single piece of leather belt that you bought at the department store, or your regular dress belt, isnt going to cut it when it comes to carrying a pistol all day. You want a stiff belt, that is made for carrying a pistol. This is another area where you can spend a lot of money for a nice hand made leather gun belt, or you can spend a little less for a “instructor” style nylon belt. A stiff belt helps to distribute the load all the way around your waist, and keeps your pants from sagging on the side where you have your pistol.
I personally use a Wilderness CSM, which can be found here, for about $50, after you add the stiffener. I know several people who use this belt without the stiffener, and they say it works fine. I originally bought mine for shooting IDPA competitions, so I opted for the stiffener, and I found that I really like the stiff belt, and I have been wearing it almost every day for about 2 years. There are also some very nice leather belts out there, specifically the Beltman (who is also a local NC business), who makes very nice belts.
Ammo is a very personal subject when it comes to concealed carry. Most people have their one load that they prefer to carry, and they do not like to stray from that. That is totally fine if you find a load that you like, and it runs reliably in your pistol, no worries. I will carry pretty much any good quality defensive load from any of the major manufacturers. I prefer a +P round, but I’ve carried standard pressure loads as well.
I generally carry 9mm pistols for concealed carry, with the occasional .38 special, or .380 thrown into the mix. 9mm is my choice because of the low cost of ammo for training, and because many of the modern defensive loads are right on the heels of .40S&W and .45ACP in terms of penetration and expansion. Any of the big three service calibers are suitable as a defensive round with modern loads.
The big thing I want to stress with the ammo section here, is that you must make sure that your pistol will function reliably with the ammo that you want to carry. This doesn’t mean buying a 20rd box of defensive loads, firing 5 rounds, and stuffing the other 15 into your magazine, and calling it a day. You need to run AT LEAST 100 rounds of it through your pistol, preferably more. If your pistol chokes on a certain type, move on to something else. With some of the fancy loads out there, this can be an expensive proposition so you really need to ask yourself if the fancy rounds are really any better than a good quality defensive load from one of the major manufacturers. Do research on your load of choice, and look at how it performs in different environments, from different barrel lengths, and through different barriers. Choosing a load is a decision that you must make for yourself, so do it diligence, and make the best choice for you.
So, in closing, you want a quality pistol, loaded with quality defensive ammo, carried in a good quality holster, held up by a stiff belt. Pretty simple. Remember to be honest with yourself when choosing a pistol, and buy something that you will actually carry, and not leave at home.
I think that’s all for now, stay tuned for some more in-depth reviews of some of the products I mentioned above in the next couple weeks.
If there is anything I missed here, let me know in the comments, and I’ll get it remedied, and as always, be sure to like Triangle Tactical on Facebook.