We carry a weapon so we can protect ourselves or the people we love when a defensive situation arises. It’s a basic and inherent right for the people in the United States to facilitate concealed carry. Today, we will discuss the 5 questions people asked about concealed carry.
What is concealed carry?
The Second Amendment states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So, although you may be aware of our right to carry a weapon, let’s get into specifics and different methods of exercising our constitutional rights.
When you dig into the answer, you might see another term, “Constitutional Carry.” What does this mean?
Concealed carry generally refers to the act of carrying a concealed weapon on one’s person. There are tons of different ways to carry. Each method has its specific benefits and drawbacks that may benefit one person over another due to various factors.
Body mass, clothing type, gender, season, firearm type, and location are just some contributing factors one must consider when deciding to carry.
The concept of constitutional carry is a simple one that has now been adopted by 25 out of 50 states. If you live in one of these states, just think of the constitution itself as your permit to carry. These states have recognized that the restriction of concealed carry is not consistent with the Second Amendment.
Rights do not need permission slips. If there is no permission slip to speak outside your own home, it makes sense not to hold other rights to a different, equally protected standard. If you are not a convicted felon or prohibited person, enjoy your freedom of non-permissive carry. The rest of us will have to jump through the hoops necessary until our own states realize that criminals carry regardless of who possesses a permit.
Is concealed carry safe?
Absolutely. If you do your due diligence, the possibility of an accidental discharge is extremely slim. In fact, the vehicle you’re driving in at a high rate of speed will always be more hazardous than an encased firearm.
Holsters generally have the entirety of the trigger guard sealed off. This means you will NOT be able to actuate the trigger unless you intentionally remove your firearm from its holster. Although anyone can physically carry a firearm with little training, deploying, re-holstering, marksmanship, and weapon manipulation are perishable skills that need attention to ensure safety and proficiency. It is your responsibility to yourself and others around you to remain proficient should you carry your firearm in public.
Do you need a permit to concealed carry?
A concealed carry permit is essentially a permission slip granted by your state to carry a firearm concealed. Unfortunately, there are no federal permit options that allow you to carry in all 50 states. There are, however, states that recognize other states’ concealed carry permits, which means that you are free to travel between states with your out-of-state permit without violating the law.
You MUST check the states first. Suppose you are misinformed about which state your permit is transferable to and are caught with an unrecognized permit. In that case, the charges could potentially be severe, especially if you use your firearm in a defensive situation.
What is the most comfortable concealed carry holster?
People will experience different levels of comfort with different holsters. Therefore, it is vital that you find the holster that suits your needs and is as comfortable as practically possible.
Uncomfortable holsters tend to make people carry less, decreasing their self-preparedness. I will introduce some different styles and materials that are most prevalent amongst concealed carriers.
The Inside the Waistband Holster (IWB) is the most prevalent of today’s carry options. Depending on the shooter’s needs, it can be carried in multiple positions in your belt line. The most popular choice for today’s concealed carriers is appendix carry. Meaning your IWB holster will sit at the front of your pants. It has become popular because it is the most speed-efficient and natural form of drawing. It is the most recommended form of carrying by most of today’s professional users.
Other popular carry options include the 4 O’clock position. This may be beneficial to you due to clothing type, body type, or your comfortability with sticking the firearm down the front of your pants. 4 O’clock carry does tend to be a very comfortable position. It also works well if you must wear a tucked shirt. Potential printing will be less noticeable when face to face with other people. The shooter must decide the best option for their situation.
After choosing your intended carry positioning, you will have to decide on the material you wish your holster to be composed of. The most common options are Kydex, leather, and nylon.
Common materials for IWB holsters
- Kydex: Kydex will have the most direct fitment of your particular firearm compared to other holsters. You should be able to feel or hear your firearm lock into place because the fit is so directly in line with the dimensions of the firearm – an attribute that the other material style of holsters does not have. Kydex holsters also do not have any break-in period, an attribute of leather holsters. Some cons of Kydex include a noisier draw, slide wear, and comfortability in some situations.
- Leather: By far the oldest option, leather holsters are still a popular item amongst some concealed carriers. Most often, the old-timers. Leather does a great job forming your specific body shape over time and is quite flexible. This, coupled with its soft-feeling exterior, can make for a highly comfortable carrying experience. In addition to this, drawing from your leather holster is generally very quiet. Some cons of the leather holster include a slightly slower draw due to friction, sweat being able to seep into the holster, expensive material, and a quicker degradation of the holster over time.
- Nylon: Nylon is also a solid and comfortable option for the concealed carrier. It is usually the most economical due to the cheap material. These holsters are also considered more universal as they have a greater ability to conform to different firearm shapes. Therefore you will sometimes see these marketed as “Universal” holsters, like the venerable Universal holster manufactured by Tacticon Armament. This can be a good option if you have multiple pistols that are somewhat similar in profile and do not wish to buy a specific holster for each firearm. Drawing from nylon also provides an extremely quiet draw. Cons of this design include the potential for shorter service life and less structural integrity.
Universal Shoulder Holster$17.95
Shoulder holsters are old school. Yet, they persist in use, and some people still opt to carry them. They aren’t quite as foolproof and simplistic as IWB holsters, but they can provide a comfortable experience with a few notable benefits when set up properly.
The shoulder holster offers comfort and easier access to your firearm when riding in a vehicle. This could be beneficial for someone doing a lot of sit-down office work or perhaps those that drive for a living. Weight distribution is another advantage if you need to carry a heavier firearm, as the weight will be distributed more evenly amongst the shoulders.
It is also possible to get a firing grip more discreetly with the shoulder holster, as it can look like you are just naturally folding your arms.
That being said, there are definitely still cons to this concealed carry holster style. You will certainly restrict the apparel you may wear in conjunction with a shoulder holster to ensure proper concealment. It is also easier to get your draw blocked by an adversary should they be in close contact with you. Your draw will undoubtedly be slower when compared to something like an appendix rig.
Due to the cross-draw nature of the shoulder holster, flagging becomes an issue and those parallel to you might not appreciate being in line with your draw, even if it is for a fraction of a second. Because of this, many shooting schools, ranges, and competitions prohibit the use of shoulder holsters altogether. A definite factor to account for should you intend on taking one of these to a class or a public firing range.
Belly Band Holster
Belly Band Holster$19.95
Belly band holsters are large, flexible bands that go around your entire torso that is generally secured with Velcro. Much like the nylon holsters, they are more universal in fitment with firearms of a similar profile.
The belly band can make a great addition to your collection as it does not require a belt or even pants to conceal a firearm. This can give people who like to wear different styles an edge as the belly band can also offer more personalization to one’s current body type. No problem if you gain or lose a little weight, as the belly band is easily adjustable.
Concealed Carry Ankle Holsters are most often used as a backup firearm option, but some use it as their main carry option. Attention is generally focused less on your lower extremities than your waistline. So, as long as you are not wearing skintight jeans or short pants, these holsters conceal pretty well.
In conjunction with the new materials available today, ankle holsters are more comfortable than before. Therefore, you may also consider using this holster for specific situations. For example, if you are sitting down for most of the day, you will most likely find the ankle holster, so you can be more comfortable than carrying an appendix. This form of carrying does, however, come with some considerable drawbacks.
One major drawback is drawing location while in the standing position. In order to draw, one must either put all of their weight onto one leg while retracting the holstered leg into a reachable position or the other option is to bend down to one knee to facilitate a draw. Neither of these methods is quick nor convenient.
They also put you in an awkward and vulnerable position in a situation where an assailant might be coming after you in full force. Ankle holsters also limit carry options of compact and full-sized firearms. They are leading the user to have to choose between subcompact variants.
Purses are undoubtedly great at concealing firearms of all shapes and sizes (given your purse is not super tiny), ranging from subcompacts to full-size handguns, which may include accessories like a mini reflex sight or even a torch. Women generally wear less carry-friendly apparel, leaving only a few options to carry concealed. This is why offering a concealed carry option for a purse is essential whenever real estate is not readily available.
Just like anything else, there are a few cons with carrying concealed carry for a purse. The first is simply accessibility. Buttons, zippers, and other contents in your bag are obstructions that will potentially slow down your draw in a time-sensitive situation. The most important thing is to make sure your firearm is not in a cluttered environment in order to maximize your efficiency. In addition, by having a cluttered bag, you could accidentally discharge your firearm by digging around for your chapstick if it is unholstered.
There are holster designs that address this specific problem out there. For example, Tacticon Armament makes an adjustable flat-faced design that is intended to sit against the wall of the purse. This effectively separates belongings from the firearm and offers protection from a negligent discharge.
The other big con of carrying in a purse is that they are relatively easy to steal. Something transported separately from your body will be easier to misplace, be snatched off your person, or just left on the counter 30 feet away due to a complacent comfort level. If you are carrying a purse, make sure that you take that thing EVERYWHERE with you. It should be just as a part of your body as firearms carried under the clothing.