Friday, March 26, 2010

How to carry? Strong side, weak side, small of back? All of the above

Holster choices and carry methods are many and varied but the main thing is to find something that's relatively comfortable and works for you. As Clint Smith says, a carry gun is not supposed to be comfortable, it's supposed to be comforting.

How do you carry? Paul Rackley of American Rifleman analyzes the various choices and chooses strong-side, whether inside the waistband or outside and waistband holsters.

Regardless of the type of holster, strong-side carry has some definite advantages over other methods. First and foremost, the handgun is easily accessible. There is no reaching across or around the body as the hand is already near the gun. Another strong-side advantage is that it allows the use of the weak arm for close-quarters defense without interfering with the draw. Most importantly, the strong-side draw can be simplified to its most basic motions, which, with practice, creates a very smooth, fast draw. And practice is more readily available since many gun ranges limit how shooters can train from retention (holster), if allowed at all, to strong side for safety.

Of course, every carry method has its disadvantages. Strong-side carry has three distinct problems for shooters, the most significant of which is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to start with a hand on the gun. Lifting the cover garment for the draw almost always reveals the gun to potential threats. The other issues with strong-side carry are “printing” and car carry. Care must be taken to not print (when the cover garment tightens and shows the imprint of the gun) when bending over or reaching for an item. This is especially a problem in summer months when light, airy shirts are the norm. Car carry is difficult because with the gun on the strong side, the cover garment and seatbelt combine to make drawing the gun nearly impossible, but it can be conducted with forethought and practice.

For carry at work, which is always open with a t-shirt in the gun shop, I alternate between shoulder holster and strongside waist holster for the main carry with a small-of-back holster for backup.

I'm a lefty but sorta ambiguous about it as my right hand is actually my "strong" hand, since I throw right-handed, so I'm also comfortable with a right-side holster. But after trying two waist holsters, I didn't like that as well as main carry on left waist and backup in small-of-back for right hand. I figure that way if my left arm is disabled or busy, I can still draw right-handed.

And when nothing else works well, I go to a left-side pocket holster for my Kel-Tec PF9.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is kind of cool.