Best Holster for My CCW Gun?

By Joe Woolley
Posted in #Gear
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Best Holster for My CCW Gun?

July 12th, 2020

4 minute read

The sun is out, the air is warmer, grass is turning green and young men’s thoughts are turning to baseball — or something like that. It gets warm early in Houston here, but summer lasts for a long time to make up for it. That creates any number of opportunities for our residents. If you want to go swimming in April, no problem.

It also creates some challenges. One of those issues concerns my EDC. My everyday carry pistol is just that. If it is legal for me to have a pistol on, I do. That means I have to conceal it and do so not wearing any more clothing than necessary due to the heat, which complicates that process. Carrying a smaller pistol can help, but one too small can hinder more than help. And I’ve found, if you can work out a good carry system with an effective pistol for summer, it gives you a leg up for the whole year.

My Must-Haves

In my license-to-carry classes, I provide my students with the criteria I require in my carry guns:

  • It has to go bang when I tell it to.
  • It has to hit what I point it at.
  • It needs to be of a reasonable caliber – I spec .380 ACP and up.
  • I strongly suggest that it should be the largest gun you can and will carry (yes, there is a difference between those two terms).
A compact yet powerful pistol like the Springfield Armory 911 is a great CCW choice, but how will you carry it?

Springfield Armory offers three pistols that I really like and that meet these criteria:

  1. The 911 Series, in both .380 and 9mm. They are small, easy to conceal, both meet or exceed my self-imposed minimum caliber, and have a manual of arms much like a 1911.
  2. The 1911 Range Officer Compact in 9mm. Less than 30 oz. with a short frame while maintaining a 4″ barrel, this pistol is easy to carry and easy to shoot.
  3. The new Hellcat is one of the ultimate examples of the concealable power I ask for in a pistol. This little powerhouse carries 11 rounds in a flush-fit magazine plus one more in the tube for a total of 12 rounds on board!

Packing Problems

Back to our original question — how do you carry in the heat?

Pocket Carry: This is, or at least used to be, very popular. As long as the pistol is small enough and the pocket is big enough to allow a fist clinched around the pistol to be removed from the pocket, the method can work. Make sure the pistol goes in a pocket holster. These must cover the trigger and maintain the pistol in an upright position, and the good ones stay in your pocket as the pistol is drawn. Make sure that nothing else goes in that pocket other than the holster and the handgun. Be aware that handguns thus carried are almost impossible to draw when you are seated or running. Also note that if you pocket carry and you sit down across from someone, you are essentially pointing a firearm at someone that you are not willing to kill or destroy.

The Hellcat in the author’s well-worn Milt Sparks Summer Special 2.

Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB): This is the current rage and is indeed very fast when done correctly. When done incorrectly, especially reholstering, it can be very problematic. I strongly recommend external safeties when carrying AIWB.

For the author, nice, soft leather feels much better next to bare skin than kydex. Tucker Gun Leather pancake holster shown.

IWB or Inside the Waistband: This can be very secure, well-concealed and doesn’t point at parts of your body going in or out of the holster. As with any concealment holster, remember that the deeper the firearm is concealed, the slower it is to draw and the sooner the draw stroke must be started.

This holster from Tucker Gun Leather was tailor made to fit the Hellcat and the Shield RMSc.

Outside the Waistband (OWB): This is probably the second fastest though most-visible of these methods. Good holsters minimize printing and still allow access to the pistol. If feasible, wear a T-shirt under a short-sleeved shirt. If the holster goes next to your skin, make sure it has a good, soft outer lining. Leather comes in handy here. My favorite leather holsters are made by Tucker Gunleather, and I most frequently use kydex holsters made by Blade-Tech and Comp-Tac.

Conclusion

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a good fit for you and your needs. Does it fit well, can you draw from it, does it conceal well and work with your clothing and physique, etc.? Once you crossed all those “t”s and dotted all those “i”s, you should be ready to carry in the summer heat. And, once you work out this system, you have a pretty good foundation for year-round carry!

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Joe Woolley

Joe Woolley

Joe Woolley lives in the Houston, Texas area. He was a salesman, Sales Manager and Production Manager for over 35 years. He is currently a full-time firearms instructor teaching, primarily, at American Shooting Centers in west Houston. He is also certified in Texas as a License To Carry instructor and has been active as an instructor for over a decade working with, literally, thousands of students over that time.

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