Choosing A Conceal Carry Holster
Concealed carry, many times referred to as CCW or carrying a concealed weapon, has become more popular than ever in America today. Yet before you're prepared to protect yourself or bystanders with a concealed carry weapon, there are a few important details to consider like how you will carry your concealed weapon. There are a wide range of different concealed carry schemes available today, and as you would expect each method has distinct strengths and drawbacks. However, if you take into consideration where and when you'll need a concealed weapon, you can ensure you'll be safe but ready for action should the moment arise.
When it comes to self-defense matters, the first thing that people consider is stopping power in a firearm. While stopping power is certainly important, your main concern should always be accuracy. If this is your first foray into CCW, you should probably consider a compact or ultra-compact handgun as the best if not only option for a concealed carry weapon. Make sure you select a weapon you can handle and one that you can put several shots on target with at the range. You should also invest in hollow-point personal defense rounds as the preferred ammunition for your concealed carry weapon.
Consider Your Shooting Scenario
Once you've selected an appropriate conceal and carry firearm, you need to consider any and all situations where you may need to draw your firearm. Quick deployment in CCW is paramount, and you'll want to avoid any complicated unzipping or fumbling of the firearm when drawing inconspicuously. There are several different concealed carry holsters schemes out there, but selecting the right one for you takes some thinking ahead.
First, what climate do you reside in and what sort of clothing do you wear whenever you carry a concealed weapon? If you reside in a tropical climate, then a concealed carry scheme centered around wearing a jacket isn't going to work out for you. The same goes for those looking to use a shoulder holster without an suit or accompanying jacket to hide the holster. Naturally it isn't really concealed carry if you can't effectively conceal the weapon. Now that you've thought about where you'll CCW, lets move on to holster types.
Choose An Appropriate Holster
Belt-mounted holsters tend to be the most common in CCW, but they aren't always the best option depending on how you plan to draw. Drawing your concealed firearm from the back or side of your belt while standing allows for very quick weapon deployment, but if you are forced to sit down, it may take a little longer to draw, and your motions will be a bit more obvious. If you would prefer quicker draw while sitting, an ankle holster is likely the better option for you. Ankle holsters are probably the best at keeping your firearm hidden, but only if you wear pants long enough to conceal the entire weapon. Standing deployment of your weapon while using an ankle holster will naturally take longer than a belt-mounted holster, but a quick draw isn't impossible with practice.
Aside from belt and Ankle Holsters, IWB (inside the waistband) holsters are on the rise as innovative solutions to safe and discrete CCW. IWB Holsters fit between your midsection and pants or shorts, and they are very easy to deploy when standing, however they are not explicitly designed for drawing while seated. There are a wide array of IWB holsters out on the market today, and they are very sleek and easy to operate. IWB holsters are also easy to equip and remove so you can place the holster in your vehicle's center console or glove box when driving if need be.
Although shoulder holsters typically conjure up images of television detectives, they can also be great for CCW. Traditional shoulder holsters are worn under a jacket or suit, and they are the best option for larger firearms with longer barrels. The primary drawback of a shoulder holster is they require a jacket or blazer to be worn over them, but quick draw is a snap, and shoulder holsters are a great option as long as you wear appropriate clothing with them.
Clothing As A CCW Alternative
You don't actually have to wear a holster for CCW. These days there are countless lines of apparel out there designed specifically for CCW, and you can find them designed for both men and women. For example, a great alternative to a shoulder holster is a conceal and carry shirt, and when worn in conjunction with a button up or jacket, no one would ever guess you were carrying a firearm. Clothing designed with CCW in mind can also serve a second purpose. If the action gets really thick, you may need more than one magazine worth of ammo. Tactical clothing lines now feature integrated ammo and magazine pockets for this very scenario. Generally speaking, if you can wear it, then it can be tailored to inconspicuously hold extra ammo or magazines for those serious about CCW.
Prepare For The Worst
CCW is all about thinking with the worse scenario in mind, but the truly reliable citizens out there are the ones who prepare for the worst. When selecting a holster for CCW, always consider how others can get the best of you, and make sure you always have an option available to you no matter the circumstances. If drawing while sitting is your weakness given your holster selection, then practice that draw as well as your standing draw. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen conceal and carry method, and it just might save your life as well as the lives of others.