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As a BUG it is VERY difficult to beat a j-frame in an ankle holster. The ankle is a slow draw when standing but offers some benefits. When driving it is much easier to draw from an ankle holster than a hip holster or from a pocket. If you've been taken to the ground it is highly likely that you could get to the ankle easier than a pocket. And the main EDC gun is available for when you're upright and walking around.
My personal choice is a 642 in a Galco ankle glove.
I carry Kahr PM9 (deluxe version of CM9) as my EDC in my right front pocket of my jeans. It works very well with loose fit jeans. I agree that as a BUG I would also recommend an ankle holster. The only time I don't like pocket carry is setting. Ankle carry is good for that and when down.
I worked as a LEO for 20yrs. and only felt the need for a BUG when we were looking for a holdup man that carried an Uzi. But to each his own.
Lets Be Careful Out There!
I have carried a 442 for years in a pocket carry. Before that, it was a Chief's Special as a BUG. Always ready to go, you can stand in a relaxed, casual pose with your hand in your pocket on your gun. Good pocket holsters are near impossible to detect and there are a number of great leathersmiths that make them. Carried in the front right pocket. Wallet in the left front. Knife in the left rear, bandana in the right rear. Speed strip on the belt (right side). Phone on the belt (left side).
You can pocket carry in any weather and any clothing (except a swim suit, and I suppose that's possible if you don't wear speedos or go swimming).
J frame in a Galco ankle lite holster.
and your hand can easily and quickly get into it. A wardrobe adjustment might be needed.
Moreover, in a confrontation, you are likely to want to blade your body
and use your left hand to block or spray OC. or perhaps even present a knife. Blading your body puts you in a better
defensive position, but if the pants are not loose you will have a tough time getting the gun out of that front pocket holster.
You'll also be a tad off balance because the natural thing when putting your left hand up and forward is to try to balance
by putting your right hand toward your back.
Except for vulnerability to pick pockets, a back pocket on your strong side gives you the advantage of an easy draw
and opportunity to use the weak hand for blocking or even for steadying your gun hand once you do draw. (A couple of years
back this was nicely illustrated in a drawing against the drop thread.) Problem is, most weapons are too large to
comfortably go in that position.
The ankle holster, from all I've read-- not personal experience-- is slow and dangerous.
I admit to carrying in the front pocket, but it is far from ideal if you are being rushed or fighting someone off.
\ You may need to kick your attacker off or otherwise strike him before being able to make space and time for presenting your weapon.
There aren't any really good answers to these problems-- except that the first rule of a gun fight is "don't be there."
I have no doubt there are plenty of professionals and force on force instructors who have "answers," all learned and
many from the school of the street. However, if you are just a regular guy with a license, you do need to be thinking
about the fact that you won't likely have 3 -5 seconds to say "excuse me while I get something."
642 and 442 in front right are what I've been leaning towards but wanted to hear from each of you with experience. This way I could, when the 642 or 442 follow me home from the LGS, carry it in many different places and attire. Small J frame seems to be next on the list.
Another issue to consider. If you go with ankle carry you will be cleaning your BUG a lot during the winter. Anywhere that uses salt to control ice will wind up on your BUG as well. It is amazing how fast it will collect even though it is concealed.
Good call rocky, especially with the weather here in MI
Shown below is my EDC system. I own several larger and higher capacity semi-autos but I find this rig comfortable in all of my clothing, shorts to dress slacks and blue jeans.
S&W 642 in a GALCO PRO 158 holster in right pocket (pockets are lengthened and reinforced) and a Bianchi speed strip and a Swiss army knife in left pocket.
I pocket carry my 442 or M&P 340 in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster. I like that in a shady situation you can put your hand on the gun in pocket without drawing attention. I had two thugs get on a parking garage elevator with me. Nothing went down, but i was comfortable holding the Crimson Trace LG-405 during the ride. Also in a scuffle, the gun stays secure in your pocket...
My vote would be for a Ruger LCR 38. Very compact, lightweight, and I think it would carry well in the places you described.
If I carry a bug I carry a lcp or S&W 638 in my left front pocket and a glock on my right hip. It is basically a new york reload. The bug is about the same weight as a spare mag but in a pinch I can have my left hand in my pocket on a gun with no one knowing. Also if unable to draw with right hand I still have my bug at my left hand. I understand I do not have the round count of a spare mag but I think that having a gun at both hands is worth it.
I'm late to this party, but one thing you may want to consider is a calf holster with the holster a little further up the leg and a garter-type strap just under the knee. It keeps the BUG more concealed. I would recommend one where the actual holster is built like a "belly-band" instead of one that looks like a OWB that's sewn onto a strap around the ankle. The trigger guard cover can tend to flap with each stride and print more.
For BUGs in 9mm...I thought of the Diamondback and Kimber Solo (I'm not well versed with revolvers), but I'm not sure of the quality of both. I'm not sure of your body size, but would a PPS or LC9 be something you can conceal?