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Carry Systems - What Works For You

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by mkwerx, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    I didn't want to further hi-jack the rant thread about Fisherman's Marine, but I know that at least one person in the thread hadn't tried a tuckable holster yet, and that might be beneficial for him and a lot of others in that it can allow the carry of a larger concealed gun than some pocket rocket, and still be able to dress professionally and comfortably.

    I've been using IWB tuckable holsters for most of my carry for a few years now - starting out with crude contraptions and eventually settling on my current appendix style rig.

    I make my own holsters and have for some time, so this has allowed me to refine my holsters and make something that fits me. The holster I carry in now is a straight drop IWB only setup that utilizes snap straps with one-way snaps to anchor to the belt, the snap straps are attached to injection molded struts that allow for carrying while tucking your shirt in.

    Be warned - I've only been doing the Atkins thing for a about two and a half weeks/three weeks now, so I'm still a big'un. Try not to hurl when you view the pix below. Also, I apologize in advance for the MySpace like mirror-posed "selfies" - but I didn't want to bother my wife to try to take the pix.


    The holster I carry my Glock 19 in is the prototype of this design for me. Subsequent holsters have had some refinements done, but the concept and overall size/shape are the same.


    The gun stays put all day, doesn't shift around, and for me and my size/body shape this works great. I don't get jabbed in the balls or the leg crease when carrying a G19 size gun, and there's just enough muzzle/holster to lever the muzzle out and keep the butt of the gun close in, instead of flopping over as smaller guns tend to do for me (and if I loose the weight I want to, that may not be an issue, but I"ll still opt for the mid size G19 size guns for carry)

    I also have some single point of attachment holsters that I carry in, and this style of holster can be utilized with one or both attachments. A single point of attachment allows the holster to shift a bit - some folks find this more comfortable, I find it to be a pain in the bubblegum (well, actually abdomen) and I don't like having to constantly nudge and adjust my holster throughout the day. The point is NOT drawing attention to my waistband and the gun.

    Here is the wife's SD9VE - which is almost identical in size to the Glock 19, in a newer version of the above holster style, utilizing only one strut/loop attachment.


    Throughout my work day I am in and out of vehicles several times, accompanied with lots of crouching, kneeling, bending, and rolling around on my back. Almost sounds like a prostitute, but I don't get paid nearly as much as they do, and my legs are too hairy to attract anyone except for maybe Playboy Penguin/Yankee Marshall's attention.

    I keep my shirt tucked in to present a professional appearance, which is sometimes lacking in the industry in which I work, and I try to give the best impression to my customers as possible. I also want to be armed while I'm bouncing around all over the metro area and the state.

    As you can see in the pictures, the only thing you can see of the whole gun/holster system are the two snap straps around the belt. These can be had in rubber, leather, or nylon depending on holster maker or accessory supplier. They come in multiple colors so if you opt for an IWB holster like this, and you're fashionable or want the most subtle appearance, you can pick the snap straps to match the color and material style of your belt.

    Leather is not my friend at work, except for my gloves. I've destroyed leather belts, and so I choose nylon. I wear a Wilderness Frequent Flyer inch and a half, and the black rubber straps work just fine.

    For a long time I often left spare mags either at home, or in a bag/back pack in the truck - a non optimal solution since I carry an auto loader. So borrowing some lines from PhillyEDC/Phlster holsters Glock 42 mag carriers, I created some full size mag carriers that allow for on-body concealed magazine carry.

    One version I made to allow for tuckable IWB carry of the magazine, utilizing the same injection molded strut and loop setup as the holster.

    I made these with adjustable retention screws to get mag tension "just right" and because M&P mags and Glock mags can use the same carriers, if it's made for a Glock and then torqued down tight for an M&P mag. The photo below demonstrates the idea with my wife's Smith SD9 mag.


    I don't find IWB mag carry terribly comfortable at work, and my left side belt realestate is already taken up by my outside the waistband belt carried flash light and multi-tool, so I opt for a pocket carry method for the magazine - but having had a magazine fall out of a pocket (unseen by anyone but myself), and out of an early prototype non-tensionable mag carrier in front of a customer once - I elected to make a pocket carry version of the above. I keep the mag tension pretty tight, figuring on a grip & rip if I need the mag, it'll pop free of the carrier. For pocket carry, I fashioned a lanyard out of paracord, which gets looped to my belt directly over the pocket, and the magazine sits base-down, bullets forward in my pocket. This allows me to grip the magazine body easily, and rotate the mag into position for removal and insertion into the gun fairly easily, although not nearly as quickly as a belt-carried mag would. It does keep the magazine in place though, which is most important. Should the magazine ever fall out of my pocket (hasn't yet) it is still retained to my person and the weight of the mag slapping my leg will be immediately felt.


    As I mentioned above, I also carry a light and multi tool at work. I opt for OWB carry for these - as they don't scare people. The light is a Mag Lite XL50 LED, it has high beam, low beam, and strobe. Comes in very handy, only cost $30, and takes AAA batts. I made a kydex sheath for this, and use injection molded OWB belt loops.


    I won't bother to show the leatherman, because everyone knows what they look like and the black leather case is a Leatherman factory case.

    I carry all day, every day, and the gun only becomes annoying after 10-12 hours of driving or sitting. Note I said annoying, not uncomfortable enough to make me want something else or a different carry method.

    When I'm not working, I carry much of the same stuff - it's just become natural so it's part of getting dressed. I find I use the flash light and multi-tool as much when I'm off as I do when I"m working. The gun goes everywhere I go. If I'm not working I typically won't tuck my shirt in, but I carry in the same holster almost exclusively - the only times I don't are when I carry OWB while I"m fishing or otherwise playing in the woods. Then I slap the TLR-1 on the gun and run a kydex OWB rig, and I carry the hand held flash light in my backpack or fishing kit.

    I've worn this rig with dress shirts, polos, and the button up denims pictured above and unless your shirts are worn huggy and tight, the gun won't print. The butt disappears where the shirt naturally blouses at your waist. The only tell tale is the snaps, and 99% of people don't see them, or don't realize what they're attached to. They're less assuming and noticable than a shiny metal clip (see a lot of Crossbreed clips and the knock offs - the glint of metal on the belt is a lot less subtle and natural than leather rubber or nylon, especially if you're wearing a brown or tan belt as opposed to black.)

    So that is MY carry system and what works for me. Lets see how the rest of you carry, and please explain how and why you chose the gear you chose, it might just help other members find a better carry solution for them, and benefit new shooters/gun carriers figure this stuff out without a lot of expense and headache.

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
    swpost10 likes this.
  2. swpost10

    swpost10 SE Vancouver, WA Member

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    I use a N82 for either my XD-9, XD-9SC.
    This allows tucking your shirt behind the belt line
    between the pants and holster.

    This Nate-Squared IWB also has a trigger guard
    lock preventing the gun from working out of
    the holster BUT quick and natural to disengage.
    [I had another fine custom IWB friction hold holster (not cheap)
    which did allow it's designated gun to work-loose while
    getting in/out, up/down/over, etc. Just like that CHL guy
    on the coast who lost his gun in a theater!]

    This holster also covers the gun's entire grip preventing any
    aggressive checkering from tearing your skin/cloths.
    There's only one clip which could be colored/covered
    if it's too shiny.

    I must congratulate you on your fine thread; layout,
    txt, pics, etc. Great work!:D
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  3. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Werx, what a great write up.. I'm sure many will find your contribution valuable and useful.
    Joe13, GuyBMeredith and swpost10 like this.
  4. Ironbar

    Ironbar Tigard, OR Well-Known Member

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    I use a Blade Tech kydex OWB holster and mag pouch. I don't give a f**k if I'm printing or not. If it's under my clothes then it's concealed.
  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Unfortunately, for some of us, printing can be an issue based on certain locations we have to go for work - it's much better that it's really concealed, no printing.

    +1 for N82. I have the 'tactical' version, which is a tuckable model. I prefer to go untucked as often as possible though, not because I may print, I just don't find it as comfortable. And yes, the holster can move a bit with only a single clip on the belt, but it's not been a problem for me. I used the holster when I took a defensive handgun course at OFA and the holster worked very well for drawing and re-holstering all day long.
    swpost10 likes this.
  6. Oklahomie

    Oklahomie Marysville Active Member

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    I've heard nothing but great things about N82, I even considered it as my first holster ever. But I found a better deal on a king tuck type hybrid holster and went with that. I carried a G17 this way had a two people notice my firearm...well one nice lady and a scaredy cat at my wife's work who appearantly ran in the back to tell my wife that a huge Mexican guy was shopping with his son and he had a gun tucked in his pants. Suffice to say she knew immediately who this kid was talking about. Crisis averted I guess. Next time I'll choose something a bit more concealable than that big ol 17.

    If I weren't such a fatty fat fat I'd like to try appendix carry next time around, has anyone tried this successfully?
  7. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    Oklahomie, if you notice in my OP - I carry appendix every day with the holster pictured, with my G19. I'm 6'4 and when I scaled myself last weekend, I was 277lbs, my waist is 44 inches at the moment. A lot of guys with bellies think that appendix can't be done unless you're a bean stalk - it just isn't the case. If you find the right holster for it, and find a comfortable position - appendix is a viable option. Some guys like to carry more centerline, close to the belt - I can't do that and actually conceal the gun - the butt prints there like a mofo. The sweet spot for me is the two o'clock position. The gun disappears here, doesn't interfere with movement, crouching, kneeling, or being seated.

    I've tried appendix with a Glock 17 and found that, with my holster choice, it's not as comfortable as I'd like. The extra half inch pokes me in the crease of my leg/groin too much. However, I choose to anchor my holster with two snaps and keep it completely vertical - if you try a single strap attachment and carry the gun with a minor negative (muzzle forward) cant it can be done fairly comfortably while seated, though you'll be adjusting the gun more this way.

    Appendix isn't for everyone, but there's a lot of guys who are afraid to try it because they don't think they can do it - but you don't really know till you try it. I know it's expensive buying holsters all the time (why I make my own rather than keep buying commercially - $10 in materials vs $40, 50 or more for each custom or commercially made holster) but if you want to try appendix, it's worth a shot. I'd personally try a Phlster Access or Skeleton if I were you, or a G-Code Incog. The Phlster stuff uses nylon snap straps and injection molded struts - the Incog uses injection molded clips that require using a stiff gun belt to securely grab onto. There's other custom kydex benders out there, and I'm sure one locally to you that can create something to suit your gun and body.
    ZA_Survivalist likes this.
  8. Oklahomie

    Oklahomie Marysville Active Member

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    See I like that gcode incog with the mag holster combo. Perhaps I could try appendix with my next pistol, if it doesn't work out I'm sure I could sell or trade off the holster.
  9. GuyBMeredith

    GuyBMeredith Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    I use this tuckable IWB holster from A. E. Nelson Leather in Scio for appendix carry of my 4" .357 magnum S&W K-frame and Dickies suspenders with plastic belt clips. My holster has been customized to use a leather belt strap.


    I neglected to mention that the holster hangs off a Ted Blocker belt.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  10. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Ruger LCR .38+P in a Galco pocket holster goes in the right pocket, a pair of Speed Strip reloads goes in the left, keys on a carabiner get clipped to a belt loop, and my iphone in its case gets clipped to the outside of my right pocket to further hide the bulge of the gun. Works perfect for me.
    AMProducts likes this.
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    If you have to tuck your shirt in, don't want printing, then stick it in your pocket. I don't have the same limitations on wardrobe, however when it's hot outside, I usually switch over to the pocket pistol (walther PPS) that goes in my front right pocket. I'm thinking about picking up a revolver relatively soon, as the walther is more than a bit heavy.
  12. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    If you are a big guy like me, a protruding belly can make IWB carry a challenge. The solution for me is to carry at 6:00, in the small of my back. All you have to do if you are right-handed is to order a left-handed holster. I carry my Ruger LCR or my Glock 26 this way and it is quite comfortable. There is also some piece of mind in knowing that the muzzle of the gun is pointed straight down my butt crack instead of being aimed at a more vital piece of my anatomy.
  13. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    For an average low impact non working day IWB works alright.
    I prefer OWB, but if that isn't an option or if I choose to carry depending on what Im wearing
    IWB works better with sport shorts than OWB so I usually carry IWB in my down time. Almost any simple IWB holster.. Albeit uncomfortable, but doable.

    For worming days no "on person" carry method works for me so I started to fanny pack carry.. Gun shy clients don't know the difference and I can carry bait in there to boot. They see me pull bait out and are none the wiser.

    In my personal opinion I HATE IWB carry.. Being a big guy it just sucks.
    But I chose a smoother smaller firearm and that seemed to help.
    Im still a fan of alternative carry methods such as FP carry.

    Whats odd is I tried appendix IWB carry and really liked it. Even for a big guy its much less noticeable both to on lookers as well as myself.
    I hardly feel it, when as when I IWB carry on the hip area its a PITA.
  14. Scott F

    Scott F Oregon City, OR Active Member

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    I am 65 and busted up but still carry a full size 1911 all day, every day. I am 6'1" and 185 but my Milt Sparks VB-II is so comfortable I can work all day on the farm and forget I am carrying.
  15. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I like your rig fine, soberups, but beware. I carried my keys and a $140 fob on a belt loop (Levi's), reached for them and found only a flapping belt loop! I was carrying some heavy items and never felt the loop let go. :(
  16. RK600

    RK600 SW WA Active Member

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    Galco King-Tuk, S&W M&P. 40 full frame. No one ever knows I'm carrying. Not even friends and family who know I have a CCW permit.


  17. clee109

    clee109 Portland, OR Member

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    My favorite carry method is OWB with my RCS phantom. However, with this oppressive heat lately, my attire hasn't lent itself well to OWB. I'm not as cavalier as Ironbar about printing, though I am going to bet that is more of my own personal issues than anyone noticing.

    For these hot days I carry in a N82 Pro. When I first got the holster a while back I really didn't like it. It felt like it slid down my rear end too much. So I picked up a Foxx hybrid (a lot like a crossbreed but a fraction of the cost). It didn't move much, but still slid down my rear, but as it got hotter the polymer on my G26 grip aggravated my side/back and I kept having to remove the gun when I sat down (in my car or at home of course). If I couldn't remove it, it felt like a lil gnome itching at my side.

    So I went back to my N82 and behold it was so comfy in comparison! When I get a lil sweaty it grips fantastically well. I only notice it sliding down a bit in the morning when I first put it on. After about 15 minutes or so it seats in there just right and doesn't move. I also ditched my wilderness CSM belts. They just didn't work for me and replaced them with a Volund Gearworks Atlas Cobra. Perfect IWB carry system. The cobra flexes like my beltman when I sit (more comfort) but doesn't force me to pick a hole.

    If I'm sitting for an extended period of time (long drive or at home -- I work out of my home) I just release the buckle and bask in comfort. When I get up I just hook the buckle back in and it's right where I left it. Not to mention it carries my G26 OWB in the phantom fantastically as well.

    I'm 6'0, 215 lbs.