MAY 19, 2015

Editor's Notebook: Thoughts on Discreet Carry

This Model 60 S&W was carried "off-duty" in a suede clip-on IWB holster at the "appendix" position in the late 1970s. The set-up wasn't a great idea even then.
Nothing stays the same in 'internet-world' and, like print media, controversy is order of the day. I'm not sure why, but there it is. I've not taken a stance on "appendix" inside-the-waist carry for a number of reasons. First, I've carried a gun in that way before many of the current proponents of the systems were alive. Second, I have a rule – a life rule, really, imposed by life upon all – each is responsible for his own salvation. I didn't make that up – others have said and written it – but it's irrefutable. The current issue is that a real expert of the pistol, Jeff Cooper, never mentioned AIWB. It's likely that he just didn't see a need.
This holster by Bell Charter Oak wasn't the one carried long years ago, but does fit low in the waist.
The so-called "appendix" carry is older than the cartridge firing handgun. It has been considered, at various times, "felon carry," "vice carry," "narc carry." The original Bruce Nelson IWB, now called the "Summer Special," was a holster he designed as a neutral cant to carry a Colt Commander in front of the hip under an untucked shirt. In a previous life, I used one of the suede clip-on IWBs -- a Bucheimer-Clark that sat low inside the waist -- to carry a Model 60 S&W "off-duty." The chances of actually re-holstering without first removing the holster from the trousers was nil. Young at the time, it never occurred to me I could need more pistol and I wasn't alone in carrying the minimum. AIWB has been "rediscovered" by people designing holsters to fit individuals -- it is not one size fits all. What they do in making it work for people who carry large pistols -- Spencer Keepers carries a G35 I believe -- is remarkable. I've been trying it sporadically -- with a holster -- not like a guy reported on last week who just stuffed a heater in his waist and perforated himself. I prefer (1) a manual safety and/or (2) a hammer-fired DA when carrying in that location – but, in any event, a holster.
Holster: RCS Eidolon
That's because the bigger problem in discreet carry is when one carries without a holster. This used to be popular in the days you were usually down to a revolver – single or double action, a chamber-empty auto or one with a manual safety or one of the "wow, what a ridiculous trigger" DA autos. With the advent of the modern striker-fired pistol, the short and relatively light trigger stroke and the "trigger safety" makes carry without a holster simply foolish. There are those who must try. It's for them we have laws against reckless endangerment and have the "Darwin Award." Late last week, a story was run about a gent with a permit who, whilst reaching into a pocket for something, triggered what was described in media as a "9mm Glock" that was in the same pocket. Perhaps a word about pocket carry should be said. I pontificated about the news report -- not the case, as state-run media seldom get any detail correct – on social media. A commentator noted that pocket carry is best accomplished in a pocket holster carried in a "sterile" pocket.
Mika Pocket Holster.
Sterile. Easily as good as "empty," and I'll take that. Nothing else goes in the pocket, just the gun that's inside the holster. Ed Head, Gunsite Rangemaster and fellow writer, notes that reholstering requires removing the empty holster from the pocket, replacing the gun into the holster, then pocketing both. That's quite true with many, if not all, holsters. I've had good luck reholstering in the pocket with the Mika Pocket Holster and with the Safariland Model 25. Others, like Galco, DeSantis and some very small makers, require the gun to be reholstered outside the pocket. A number of makers produce outstanding pocket holsters, more than just "a pouch in the pocket." One maker designs pocket holsters specifically for the pockets in which you seek to wear them. Jeans with top loading pockets are different from slacks with "slash" pockets and some guns will show through the pocket's opening unless the gun is tipped forward. To get a specific holster for that specific need, you need Pocket Concealment Systems. Use a holster to carry a gun. There's no reason not to. To carry a gun in a pocket, first make sure the pocket will have nothing but the gun – and the pocket holster. As to wearing in the "appendix" position, that's your call. If you foul up, it can really suck. So don't. -- Rich Grassi