The Complete guide to everyday Concealed Carry:
These questions regularly come up from our students; what gun to carry? What holster to buy? What additional gear to get? We decided to put together a complete guide to concealed carry that is designed to take you from zero to hero of how to conceal carry and with what like a pro!
Concealed carry is centralized around the gun. Everything that comes after that will have something to do with the gun you choose. Although there are several great handguns out there for concealed carry, we recommend the following: M&P 9 2.0, H&K VP9, Glock 19, and IWI Masada. The main reason for choosing any one of these guns is: reliability, shoot ability, and ease of finding accessories.
Great! You chose the right gun. Now let’s find the right holster for you. Before choosing the right holster you need to know how you are planning on carrying. We recommend either appendix carry (front of the body – slide aligned with belly button) or strong side carry (3-4 o’clock position). Why? This makes the gun both accessible to you and less accessible to the bad guys.
Once you have chosen the right position for yourself you will need to find the right holster to use.
First and foremost purchase a holster from a reputable quality manufacturer like Bravo Concealment, T-Rex arms, C&G holster, A&R design, etc. The holster needs to be made custom to your gun, a perfect fit, and preferable made out of kydex. The clip needs to be the same size as the belt you are wearing and preferably made of metal or some type of hard plastic. If you are carrying appendix (AIWB) we recommend also having a wing that will help push the handle of the gun more towards the body and in turn conceal the gun better.
The holster will not hold itself up so a good belt will be extremely important. A hard belt which you cannot fold with your fingers is the way to go. The belt can be made from hard leather, nylon, or whatever other material as long as it maintains its’ shape and doesn’t fold on itself. Whichever belt you choose make sure it is the same size as your holster clips. We generally recommend going with a 1.5” or 1.75” belt because these are the standard sizes used across the industry. These are the belt manufacturers we recommend: Klik belts, Esstac, and Ares gear.
Finally, once our gun is situated in a holster that is held up by a good belt we need to consider ways that we will be concealing that gun effectively. We will need to make a few adaptations to our clothing to make sure we conceal our gun in the best way possible.
Pants/shorts should be bought a size higher and with belt loops to accommodate the extra space of the gun. Skinny jeans don’t work great for concealed carry! Stretchier material will generally be more comfortable to conceal with because they won’t push the gun into your hip or groin.
Shirts need to be loose fitting and preferably a thicker cotton material. These could be T-shirts, button downs, polo shirts, etc. They need to be flexible enough to be pulled up when the gun is needed without getting stuck.
During winter time it will be much easier to conceal however you will need to make sure your jackets and sweatshirts do not impede your draw. Additionally, make sure that all the extra layers are tucked behind the gun so when you draw you will only need to defeat one layer of clothing.
It is always best to wear shoes that will allow you to move easily without slipping or tripping.
Lastly, test all of your clothing regularly with your gun and practice drawing your gun as clothing choices change. We recommend practicing a few draws with your gun each morning before you leave your home.
Other every day carry items to consider having with you while you conceal carry:
- Knife – besides being great for opening your amazon packages; a knife is wonderful as a tool for cutting seat belts, stabbing someone trying to kill you, and cutting a shirt to make a tourniquet. Some of our recommendations are – Benchmade, Kershaw, Microtech and Spyderco.
- Light – You can’t shoot what you can’t see! A hand held light is a great tool to have; more so than a weapon mounted light. (Though we recommend having both). You can’t always take out your gun in public but your handheld will always come in handy. It is also great for preventing stepping in dog poop when walking your dog at night. Click for more recommendations!
- Medical gear – if guns are being used someone may get shot… basic medical gear should be part of your EDC. A CAT tourniquet, Israeli bandage, quick clot, and chest seal is a must. This should either be kept on you, in a bag pack, or within immediate reach in your vehicle.
As your day to day reality changes so should your EDC. Adaptations need to be constantly made based on where you are going, who you are with, and the level of perceived risk. To the extreme this may mean driving with your gun in your hand because the neighborhood or area you are going through is extremely dangerous (we call this Brazilian style). To the more relaxed version where you are on an interstate highway going 80 miles per hour through the middle of nowhere; you may just put your gun in your center console. Perhaps you are going to a fancy event where you have to wear a suite? A tuckable holster clip may be a better option. Summer is coming up. Do you have a good way to carry off body in a backpack? Is the gun easily accessible? These should be your considerations every morning when you wake up and make the decision to carry.
All of the fancy gear in the world is not worth much without proper training. You must train regularly both in live and dry fire using your gun, light, and medical gear. Practice should be performed wearing different clothing, in different positions, and most importantly in different situations. One of the most important type training someone who has decided to conceal carry their firearm regularly should perform is scenario based force-on-force training. This type of training will not only challenge the shooting skills of the practitioner but also their ability to problem solve under stress. As the saying goes: “you won’t rise to the occasion you will fall on your lowest level of training.”
You made the decision to be a protector, to conceal carry a gun, do it right! Carry the right gun, in the right holster, on the right belt. Make sure you have the proper supplementary gear to be able to see your threats and treat the injured (including yourself) Most importantly: TRAIN!