From our June 11 edition of Shooting Wire, it’s the response to a reader question – and it should be of interest to readers of this service.
Our Editor at The Outdoor Wire received an email from a reader asking for advice. I saw the email and saw that it raised a relevant issue. Titled “S&W 380 Shield EZ,” the reader said “I am looking for a safe holster that has a very strong clip that I can simply clip to my waistband. I do not wear belts and I cannot find a holster that does not require one. My local police department has told me they are out there. Any ideas?”
In this age of expanded concealed carry – and concealed carry options – it’s a relevant question. I didn’t have the answer.
But I know people, so I asked. I’m gratified at the responses, appended below with my notes. The link to this feature will go to our subscriber to meet the possibility that she doesn’t subscribe to Shooting Wire.
To start with, wearing a gun in the waist without wearing a belt isn’t optimal. Neither is wearing a gun in the waist with a flimsy belt. There, that’s out of the way and it doesn’t solve our subscriber’s issue. Our publisher had a few options and mentioned belly bands.
Those tend to be spotty in terms of quality, but doubtless there are some quality belly bands out there. Someone was trying a kydex gun shell inside a belly band, but I lost the link to that information.
Il Ling New (www.onthewildside.com), ace instructor and professional hunter responded thusly –
“I use a clip-IWB holster made by Mike Barranti (Barrantileather.com) . . . but more often a non-clip, "Sticky Holster." These are meant to be pocket holsters, and are of some sort of rubber-zed material that is sticky/tacky enough to stay in my waistband without a clip. Surprisingly effective (and inexpensive!) . . .
“P.S. -- I wouldn't recommend the Sticky Holster for anything but frontal carry. The, um, "padding" of the abdomen helps, and also in the event that it does shift (it sometimes does but not often), it can be repositioned.”
This is an issue for any kind of “pouch holster.” I’ve used the BLACKHAWK! TecGrip in IWB and pocket-carry format. The outer shell seems to cling to nearly anything, keeping the holster inside while drawing. It’s slick on the inside, allowing the gun to slide out. A high density closed foam tends to pad the gun, making the ‘field expedient’ belt-less holster more comfortable.
Like Il Ling, I find the TecGrip should be worn in front of the waist – and for the same reasons. Chuck Buis, former peace officer and longtime member of the industry, told me he finds a small version of the TecGrip to be handy when he is “carrying light” with a Glock 43. I’ve used the TecGrip with the Gen5 Glock 19, but that’s pushing the limits for this kind of carry.
Top flight holster maker Mark Garrity recommended his In-Cinspicuous IWB holsters. “It’s one of my most popular sellers. The steel clip has a hook or claw in its center that really locks onto the waistband. I have several customers that wear it clipped to their waistband with the belt over top of the clip to conceal the clip.”
I contacted Mike Barham at Galco. He said “Our Stow-N-Go and Tuck-N-Go work reasonably well without a belt, though they’re IWB designs. Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer either one for the Shield EZ.”
I can confirm that, as I’ve used the Stow-N-Go for small guns – in the waist without a belt – and with a belt.
“Our holster with the concealable clip does not require a belt. We have many customers that use it with scrubs, sweat pants or who just don't like to wear a belt. We are expecting to get in the BlueGun for the Shield .380 EZ in our next BlueGun shipment. However, she can order our Shield 9 holster and put in comments that it is for the Shield .380 EZ so we can make the needed adjustments for the proper fit.” -- Concealed Carry Group of Alabama LLC, Steve Thomas, Director.
Finally, Kat Ainsworth, an accomplished writer and hunter, provided some information for our subscriber.
“. . . (Y)ou're well acquainted with the key word of "safe" and can definitely go on about that without my help . . . I will be honest, I've clipped holsters to my yoga pants many times to get to and from class, but I actually select my pants based on thickness and ability to hold up my guns. Technically any clip holster could be clipped to pants but I hate to recommend it for daily use . . . I do clip some of my Galcos and Crossbreeds for yoga. We're not talking about hours of wear, though.
“I guess I can bottom line it better. I've never found a clip holster that actually stays attached to your clothing when you draw (most also fail to properly protect the trigger guard as well). For that reason I try to avoid recommending it. You'll find I don't like belly band holsters for main carry (or purses). It sounds like it comes down to . . . if this is the only way that person is going to carry, we need to try to work with it. In that case, we could throw some of the better clippable holsters out there.”
There you have it. It’s better than (1) leaving the gun home (or, oh-please-no) in the car and it’s better than (2) off-body carry (think purse) – but it’s not the best plan.
And we didn’t even cover shoulder systems, which are a better plan than beltless carry if you have a cover garment.
I’ve been working on alternative carry options, but it’s been about a month since our subscriber asked for help and I wanted to get a response out in the short term. We’re still open to suggestions.
I can add this: beltless inside the waist adds an issue beyond simple security. I can address this as I’m in lounging attire as I write this with a Glock 19 inside the TecGrip in my waist and under a shirt: getting to the gun isn’t easy. If you think you can get a quick firing grip on the piece, you’re mistaken.
It’s months faster than leaving the gun in the car or back at home. It’s days faster (years more secure) than having the gun in a bag. And reholstering?
Forget that. The rule with any of the collapsing holsters is (1) remove the holster from the waist, (2) place the gun into the holster, (3) put both back into the waistband.
Beltless inside the waist – it’s not the best plan. It is better than nothing.
As to the Fusion rig, we’re getting one and will get back to you. And the alternative carry piece, it’ll appear here . . . at some point.
In any event, we’ll keep you posted.
- - Rich Grassi