This is a discussion on Thoughts on paddle holster carry with suit? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi everyone. First time poster here. I just recently received my concealed carry license and am looking to buy my first holster for my S&W ...
Hi everyone. First time poster here.
I just recently received my concealed carry license and am looking to buy my first holster for my S&W M&P 9mm, full size with a crimson trace laser grip. (Yes, I know the M&P 9mm compact is more concealable but I just didn't care for the way I shot with the gun and how it felt in my hand.)
I work as a prosecutor in a city in Texas. The reason I want to carry concealed should be obvious--I interact with criminals and their families on a daily basis and they tend not to be very happy when I send them or their loved ones to jail. Threats against prosecutors, though rare, do happen. And, as we've all seen in recent months, courthouse shootings also happen from time to time.
Because I'm in court everyday, I wear a suit to work everyday. My concealed carry license is a special one that allows me, unlike civilians, to carry inside the courthouse. However, my office's policy prevents me from carrying inside the actual courtrooms, the idea being that (1) the bailiffs should provide sufficient protection for everyone in the courtroom and (2) a defendant could grab a gun from a prosecutor who has chosen a poor-retention concealed carry option.
Because of this policy, I'll have to take off my weapon and secure it in my locked desk drawer whenever I go to court. Paddle holster carry looks very attractive since I'll be putting on and taking off my gun several times a day. (I experimented briefly with shoulder holster carry, but it wasn't comfortable for me and resulted in way too much printing.) I haven't written off OWB or IWB carry, but I'm hesitant to buy gun belts (for traditional OWB) or adjust my already tailored suit pants (for comfortable IWB). My only worry with paddle holster carry is the same printing issues that come with OWB, but I've heard that printing isn't so bad with a suit jacket, which I'll be wearing all the time.
So, my questions are:
1) Do y'all think paddle holster carry is a reasonable option considering my situation? If not, what would you recommend instead?
2) How badly does a paddle holster print through a suit jacket?
3) Which paddle holsters do y'all recommend? I've done some research and I think I've narrowed my choices down to the FIST #18 or the Wild Bill Fusion. I'm particularly interested to hear everyone's opinions on those models.
Thanks in advance for helping out a concealed carry newbie.
I wear a suit everyday and carry a fs H&K USP .45 in a Fobus Paddle Holster. No problems at all.
H&K USP .45, Taurus PT100 .40, Nambu Type 14 8mm, Browning HP 9mm,
Desert Eagle .50, Makarov .380, Walther PK380
Welcome to the forum!
A paddle typically wont conceal very well, even under a jacket. If your suit fits like it should (I assume it does), then a paddle will probably print. This is another option. It's a leather pancake holster, but it detaches from your belt pretty quickly. I've used it and think its a great system. Just make sure you get a gun-specific belt. There are plenty of gun belts that go well with a suit. Good luck!
BLACKHAWK! Detachable Slide Leather Concealment Holster - BLACKHAWK!
When I wear a suit, I use a Wild Bill's Concealment paddle holster. So far, it is the only paddle holster that I have come across that pulls the butt of the gun in toward the body. This drastically reduces the printing I have seen with a lot of other paddle holsters.
I've tried a Fobus with my XD40SC, and it prints very badly.
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I have a Kramer MSP paddle holster, by far as good as they get. But it prints a bit, if I'm not careful. I strongly recommend a different type of holster. These two types are just as easy on/off as any paddle holster. The first is a snap holster, such as Alessi's CQC-S. These are available at Brownell's. It snaps on to your belt, works pretty slick. And they even stock them for the M&P. Google Brownell's and type in Alessi under the search function.
The second type is, to me, the best. It is an IWB snap holster, such as the Milt Sparks Versa Max, the TT Gunleather RIWB, or the Galco V- Hawk. Slides inside the waistband, and secures to the belt with snaps fore and aft of the gun. Lots of places will stock the Galco for the M&P, as it is a production holster, but you will have to order the others from the makers. I have a TT Gunleather RIWB for my M&P 357 SIG. An excellent rig. Good luck, counselor.
The amount to which a paddle holster (or any belt holster, for that matter) prints under a suit jacket depends on one's anatomy and the cut of the suit, as much as it does on the size of the gun. I have a large chest relative to my waist, so ready-made suits generally won't work for me, and when the occasion calls for it I wear a sport coat or blazer which is generally less tailored than a suit jacket. But I have worn OWB holsters (paddles and belt-mounted) under a jacket without looking lumpy. Leaving the jacket unbuttoned helps.
I have Fobus paddle holsters for 3 guns and frankly, they are the bottom end of holsters (and are priced accordingly). Better than 'Mexican carry,' but just barely. Gun fit is hit-or-miss... I had one that was perfect, and another that needed two men and a boy to get the gun out, so... no more.
I currently use a Wild Bill's paddle for a CW9 that is my around-the-house or quick dash to the corner store gun. It's comfortable and a good fit to my body and the gun, and the cant is slightly adjustable. For the 1911, when I'm 'dressed' I much prefer my Horseshoe Leather #28 since it tucks the gun in tightly to the body, but this falls outside your parameters as it's not a paddle - just mentioned it for reference.
Probably the ne plus ultra of paddle holsters is the "MSP" by Kramer - seen here in the catalog and independent review. I've never seen one in person, but it looks to be a substantial rig and of course it's got the effective endorsement of a state police agency.
A couple of other thoughts to consider are first, an IWB such as the Milt Sparks Summer Special. Your trousers will have to run on the large side to accommodate the bulk of holster and gun, but if that's not a major consideration, the SS is pretty darned easy to put on and take off - about 3 seconds longer than a paddle. Two belt loops with snaps secure the holster to the belt. Second - have you looked at a Yaqui Slide? If you can tolerate have a mostly-exposed gun while you're carrying it, the nice thing is that you just leave the 'holster' on your belt when you remove the gun, and what's left behind has a unobtrusive presence which most people won't even notice when it's empty. You do have to 'learn' the holster, as the exposed muzzle can bump against things (like the arm of an office chair) and push the gun out of the holster. But it's another solution to the gun on, gun off problem many of us face.
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You'll still NEED a belt to retain this particular patented paddle, as the barbs engage the belt by protruding against its lower edge from inside the pants. Principles from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society were used in inventing this paddle, and it's quite comfortable and concealable. There's even a version (from Aker) for big hips / small waisted women.
Holster designer to the majors 1970-
For your purpose see FIST #2 and their Dave Spaulding. More concealable and secure than a paddle plus easy on-easy off.
Get a Pure Kustom Black Ops Pro with the snap belt loops. This will absolutely pull the gun in tight and it will not be seen. It will snap on/off for IWB and can also be worn OWB, but does not snap on that way.
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OP I too wear a suit everyday and because of places I go, I must remove my pistol at times.
1) no need to remove the entire rig. Remove the pistol only and leave the holster. This will allow you to wear any type of holster you want to wear.
2) An IWB with a strong metal clip is simple to remove and replace. I have a Garrity Gunleather InConspicuous that fits a 1.5" belt, and the barb on the underside of the clip literally snaps underneath the belt for a tight and unmovable fit. I also have an Exodus Gunleather IWB rig with one outside strap that snaps into place. Easy on, easy off.
3) Using an IWB with tailored pants will allow you to remove the pistol, leave the holster and still have a comfortable fit.
Most folks expect a prosecutor to be carrying, but if printing is a concern then I would recommend the IWB route. As mentioned I am positive your suits actually fit. There will be printing with an OWB rig way more than with IWB. Also, if you can swing the darker colors year round it will help (kind of an advantage for me).
If you choose IWB, be sure to get one with a smooth outside finish if you do plan to remove the entire holster with pistol several times a day. The rough side holsters will grab your shirt and pull it out with it. Gets sloppy looking in a hurry and requires adjustments that are simply a pain in the butt.
Good luck and congrats on the permit.
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I'll second Deadguy's advice. I'm not a prosecutor, but there are days where I'm in and out of government buildings frequently. Below is what I wear under my sport jacket on those days. The metal clip is as strong as a bear trap, and has a j-hook in it that really grabs your belt. The smooth leather finish won't untuck your shirt when you do go to take it off:
Don't forget that you will need a double-layered, stitched gun belt now. There are plenty of manufacturers that make suit-quality belts.
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You could also try out a Remora. It's secure, easy to conceal, and very VERY easy on/off. A very flexible holster, and they have a tuckable now as well.
I wear my edc set-up, a Brommeland Max-Con V comfortably with suits without any modifications. My tailored trousers are still loose enough to allow the IWB to fit comfortably. I do use a custom leather dress gunbelt instead of my Wilderness Instructor belt with this attire. The snaps on the belt loops make it an easy on/off if I have to remain unarmed for extended periods of time. Although this vid doesn't show the application, the holster affords flawless concealability under a dress coat.
The Brommeland Max-Con V, (arguably) The Best IWB Holster On The Planet - YouTube
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