So You Want To Carry a Gun- Part 2- Guns & Holsters

In the first part of the series, we very broadly, and briefly, covered the basics of carrying a gun. I touched on getting a permit, and some basics on gun selections and a starting point for your research. Well, I received a surprising amount of queries about some other aspects, and more details were requested, so here we are.

One of the biggest things I get asked when it comes to concealed carry, is what gun do I recommend. The short answer: I don’t. Carrying a gun, especially carrying a gun concealed, is a very personal and subjective thing. What works for me, may not for you. And vice versa. What I like, you may not like. I gave some reccomendations for people to try out in Part 1 of this series, and that is something I want to touch on again. Try a potential carry gun out. Go to a range that has guns you can rent, and rent whatever it is you are thinking about carrying. Borrow one from,a friend, or go shooting with a friend. This is an item you may very well defend your life, or the lives of your family members with. Make sure it feels right in your hand, that you can reach the controls comfortably without altering your firing grip, and that you can shoot it reasonably accurately.

The second thing I get asked quite often is whether concealed carry guns should or shouldn’t have manual safeties on them. There’s really no correct answer to this. In short, I do not think they are needed, so long as you have a quality firearm in good condition, a quality holster, and use safe firearms handling skills. BUT, I also have no problem with people that do choose to carry a gun with a manual safety either. The biggest thing here is that you practice. Make engaging the safety, both on and off, a part of your routine when you train. Draw, safety off, fire, safety on, reholster. Repeat. You need to ingrain that step into your muscle memory, especially if you are going from carrying a gun with no manual safety to one with the safety. For those wondering what I mean by the term “manual safety,” it is a lever or button that must be manually engaged before the gun will fire. 1911 style handguns have these, some of Smith and Wesson’s M&P lineup do as well. Glock, on the other hand, does not. They have a series of internal safeties which are designed to prevent negligent discharge of the firearm, but are not disengaged manually, rather, they are activated through the normal firing sequence.

I have had several questions about my reccomendation of the 9mm as a self defense round. My reasons, in case you missed Part 1, are that the 9mm cartridge, when loaded with defensive ammunition, has sufficient muzzle energy to be used for self defense, it is cheaper to buy ammunition than other popular calibers, and has lighter recoil, enabling the shooter to more successfully get faster, more accurate follow up shots on target. This does not mean I think .40 S&W, or .45 ACP are bad rounds. Simply that I don’t think they give enough ballistic advantage to justify their higher cost for practicing, and their heavier recoil. Magazine capacity is also reduced from the larger calibers. Again, if you carry one of these two rounds, or another defensive clambering, I’m not saying you’ve made a bad choice. However, for the novice concealed carrier, I would recommend 9mm.

Holsters are a very subjective thing. I use two main types, IWB (inside the waistband) that goes inside my pants, and has two clips that clip onto my belt. This option is great for helping “break up” the pattern of the gun through your clothing. The brand I use and trust is Alien Gear Holsters. As you can see in the picture below, it is a “hybrid” holster, meaning made of two materials. The leather serves as a backing and goes against the skin, and the plastic is Kydex: a durable, long lasting plastic, and is molded for this specific gun.

The Author’s carry setup: Glock 19 Gen 4 in an Alien Gear IWB Holster

The second method of carry I routinely utelize is OWB (Outside the Waistband). These holsters typically are attached to the belt with loops, or with a paddle that slides inside the waistband, yet the holster and gun remain outside the waistband. This type of holster is primarily used in a duty configuration by law enforcement or in winter months under jackets, etc. It is usually more comfortable than IWB carry, but at the cost of concealment. I primarily use my OWB holster, a Safariland ALS , when I am doing yard work, or outdoor activities where I am,unlikely to encounter other people, and have no need for concealment.

The Author’s Safariland ALS OWB Holster and Glock 19 Gen4

Which holster you choose will likely come down to your normal dress, size of gun you decide on, and how frequently you need to take the gun and holster off, etc. If you plan on carrying IWB primarily, remember to get your pants with a little extra room in the waist when clothes shopping. Also, regardless of how you carry, a good belt is critical. I reccomend and use a nylon tactical rigger’s belt from 511 Tactical daily. However, there are several good belt makers that make them in a variety of fashions, from tactical to dress.

I hope this article helps. Please subscribe to the page, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Also, please share this article if you think it can help others as well. Thank you for reading.


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Published by Nick

Nick is an avid shooter and 2nd Amendment content creator with 20 years shooting experience. You can usually find him testing guns and equipment at his range on his property, or creating video content to help others enjoy the shooting sports as much as he has over the years.

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