For years I lived in the exceptionally firearms unfriendly state of Illinois. Fortunately, my employment and travels took me out of there at a relatively young age and, while I lived in Marquette, Michigan, the state of Michigan finally passed concealed carry as “shall-issue” for the entire state. That was almost 20 years ago and, since then, many more states have followed suit—to the detriment of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells everywhere who prefer completely helpless victims.
With the increasing wisdom that age brings, I moved my family from the upper Midwest to a place where removal of snow in any form is a conscious choice, requiring the drive of approximately 100 miles to do so. The best news? My new home state of Arizona has Constitutional Carry. No permit necessary.
Having carried a firearm almost daily for the better part of two decades, I have learned a few things in the way of carry and comfort. (If you don’t think carrying in comfort is a big deal, I was recently involved an incident where I was forced to brandish my carry weapon – which I would not have had if it had not been comfortable.) My preferred weapon for “every day” carry is a subcompact .380. I alternate between my Taurus 738 and a new Glock model 42. Both have an extremely small profile with the Taurus being slightly slimmer and the Glock a bit more comfortable for me to shoot.
One of the main influencers of how you carry—as I learned with my move—was the climate you are carrying in. In the upper Midwest, for a good part of the year people wear bulkier clothes and jackets, making it easier to conceal even larger size weapons on their person. If you carry in warmer climes, clothing is much less bulky, usually of thinner materials, and makes it a few degrees more difficult to hide a weapon.
Your profession can also dictate what types of clothes you wear and your carry style. Much of my day is spent wearing slacks and dress clothes, with the occasional jacket worn for meetings. Obviously, a suit coat makes concealed carry a breeze. However, when I carry in the summertime in the desert, I am relegated to just three methods of carry: pocket, ankle, and “tucked.”
Anyone that watched a television show “Miami Vice” in the 80s is familiar with the ankle holster, as it appeared seemingly in just about every episode. When carrying for “ultra concealment” in warmer climates, this is a preferred method. It is almost impossible to detect, and you can carry even a “Midsized” compact firearm. Wearing shorts with this method is really not an option, though.
One of the easiest methods of carry for small sub-compacts is in a “pocket holster” designed to hide the profile of your weapon while tucked into the front pocket of your pants. When carrying a micro or sub compact, this is also one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to be prepared with your weapon. People tend to ignore when you reach into your pocket, as it is a very common movement. Lifting your leg or grabbing at your ankle is not.
Many people like to wear their concealed weapon on their waist between three and 5 o’clock on their person, and, due to the genetics of our population, most wear them on the right hip. I have never been that comfortable when carrying this way, and due to a few too many good meals at meetings and home, I don’t want to go buy all new pants to accommodate the additional thickness of a holster in addition to my own. Because of this—and especially when I carry one of my larger size compacts—I prefer to carry just to the right of midline in the small of my back.
Until recently, I used a very simple holster from Blackhawk that is essentially a “pocket” for your gun with a clip to hold it to your pants to prevent the gun from sliding down while you have it tucked in your waist band. The upside and downside to this method of concealed carry is that the gun can slide out relatively easily; good when a situation arises and bad when you are exiting your vehicle and the gun slips out!
Ever on the search for a better option, I recently acquired an Alien Gear “Cloak Tuck 3.0” holster.
This holster is rated highly in just about every review for its extreme comfort. Most of this is due to the material used against your skin–neoprene–one of the softest and most comfortable-yet-durable materials out there.
I am a believer that the best concealed weapon is the one that is truly concealed; that way the bad guy can never tell who’s in the fight. My concern with a “tuckable” holster was that it would be evident without a jacket, so I put this holster to what I refer to as the “white dress shirt test.” If a holster can hide a weapon under a tucked in, white dress shirt, I consider it “fully concealed.”
While not as completely invisible as an ankle or pocket holster, the only sign that I am carrying a weapon with a tucked in shirt is two small clips that, when positioned the right way, can blend with your belt loops quite nicely. The best news? This was the same whether carrying a micro-compact or my midsized Taurus Millennium 40 caliber.
Alien Gear makes holsters to fit most makes and models, and sometimes can even accommodate a newer weapon if you give them a call. After a week of daily wear, I highly recommend it.