Clint Smith, well-known firearms and self-defense trainer has a saying: “Carrying a concealed handgun is not supposed to be comfortable, but comforting.” Okay, if you can’t comfortably carry, I guess I can go with that. But, I carry comfortably every day, and I know others who do as well and most of us carry BIG guns.
Here’s another saying that has merit: “Same gun, same place, every day.” I don’t remember where I heard that one, but I’m pretty sure it was another well-respected firearms trainer. If I were just an armed citizen, I’d probably go with that and if I did, it would probably be my Sig Sauer 1911 Emperor Scorpion Commander. When I do carry that gun, using my D.M. Bullard belt, IWB holster and dual magazine carrier for my two spare magazines, I rarely give it a second thought except to touch it from time-to-time to remind myself it’s there or to practice my draw, which I still do several times a day. When I shoot that gun, it goes “bang” every time I pull the trigger and the bullet holes go right where I expect them to go. I have confidence in that rig and I find it both comfortable and comforting.
I’m not just an armed citizen, however. I’m an instructor, certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the National Rifle Association and Texas Law Shield, entrusted with the responsibility to help other armed citizens prepare to defend themselves and their families, should the need arise. And I’m a firearms dealer. So with those added responsibilities, comes the need to broaden my experience so that it encompasses a variety of firearms and carry rigs. In order to honor that responsibility, I make it a practice to carry different guns from time to time.
You might be surprised by the size of them. My first daily carry gun was a Taurus 24/7 Pro. After that a Smith & Wesson M&P. Both guns are available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, all with the same external dimensions, so carrying a .45 takes no more space than carrying a 9mm. For a while I carried a Springfield XDm 45 with 4.4 inch barrel. Each of these guns I’ve carried in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster worn at approximately 3 o’clock with one or more spare magazine pouches carried IWB at 9 o’clock.
When I joined the 1911 bandwagon, it was with a Commander-sized handgun. In 1911 parlance, Commander means 4.25 inch barrel, full-length grip. Sometimes you’ll see the barrels as 4 inch or 4.2 inch, but generally 4.25. I find I can carry a Commander-sized 1911 with 9 rounds of .45 ACP, using a Colt flush-bottom magazine and I’m both comforted and comfortable.
What about other guns, those bigger ones I mentioned? All this week I’ve been carrying a Sig Sauer P229. I had ordered a D.M. Bullard holster for a P226, knowing it would also fit a P229 and just to make sure I wouldn’t be misleading anyone if I recommended it, I put on that holster, along with a dual mag carrier that holds two double stack 9-mm magazines, and here it is Thursday and I can’t say I’ve had an uncomfortable moment. That’s a nice gun, sixteen rounds of 9mm in it and 30 more rounds in case the terrorists show up when I’m eating lunch somewhere or maybe even at my office.
These pictures are not me. This is just a new shooter, trying stuff out, but look, he’s already figured out he can wear his shirt tail out or tuck it in, and he can keep his gun hidden from prying eyes, even when it’s not a tiny pocket pistol.
This is repetitive from some of my earlier articles, but here it is one more time:
- Get a GUN belt – not just a regular belt. A GUN belt – thick leather, two layers, made specifically for guns. I have belts made by Crossbreed and by D.M. Bullard that fit the bill.
- Buy your pants a little larger than normal, maybe even two inches larger, you’ll have to experiment. Most of my pants have some elastic in the waist, so that helps, but for you skinny guys and gals, just buckle down and buy you some bigger pants.
- Get a good IWB holster from somebody like D.M. Bullard and White Hat (we sell both of those at Texas Gun Pros), Alien Gear, or Crossbreed. I’ve heard others rave about Milt Sparks and Galco, but I tried both of those and went back to my Crossbreed or D.M. Bullard holsters. Probably just a matter of preference.
- Get a spare magazine carrier to go with your holster. You can’t carry too much ammo. All of that “if I can’t get them in 6 shots . . .” is head-in-the-sand baloney. You do not KNOW what you might encounter from which you would need to defend yourself or your family.
- Wear your gun and your spare magazines every day, all day. If it’s not comfortable at first, make small adjustments here and there until you are comfortable. You can comfortably carry.
- Summertime, wintertime, it makes no difference. A gun on your hip doesn’t care how long your pants are, so all of this “I need a smaller gun in the summertime” just doesn’t make sense if you REALLY DO WANT TO DEFEND YOURSELF or your family.