Best Concealment Holster for Rapid Handgun Presentation / Access
This is a discussion on Best Concealment Holster for Rapid Handgun Presentation / Access within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Thanks for the input, I agree. I would comment more but, I gotta little problem here. CL4 showed up today and it looks like this ...
October 3rd, 2012 03:44 PM
Thanks for the input, I agree. I would comment more but, I gotta little problem here. CL4 showed up today and it looks like this is going to have to be a trial by fire. What are the chances that the holster comes on the one day that my wife decides to get the mail. Now she's out shopping with it and I just got the "here we go again speech." Made the mistake of trying to explain why I need this and she laid down a CL4 challenge of her own. She promised not to go onto the website but, if she can find the gun on me later tonight it's either gotta go back or I have to spend a week with her at my mother-in-law's. Guess I'm gonna find out how well this works real quick because she's been around me and guns for a long time. Also ordered a Smartcarry to compare against, glad that didn't come today!
October 3rd, 2012 09:21 PM
I'll be interested in your trial by fire review on the C4L holster. I've been a AIWB carrier since 2007, and there has been a huge uptick in good appendix carry holsters being made. I currently carry in JM Custom Kydex appendix holsters. Biggest problem with tucked appendix carry is the printing/bulge on the front of your body. I've only seen really skinny/athletic body types be able to pull off AIWB without looking like a tumor or weird.
There are many times when I need to be dressed business casual in a NPE with a tucked shirt, so AIWB will not work with the holsters I have. I have to pocket carry a smaller gun in those instances.
The Raven Vanguard II is tuckable appendix trigger guard holster. Raven Concealment intros the VanGuard2. | Military Times GearScout
J.R. Customs Handmade Holsters has a tuckable appendix holster. AIWB-CDA
October 3rd, 2012 11:44 PM
Well boys, it definitely ain’t pretty but it works! I set-up the holster really quick by just tying an extra knot in the lanyard, played with it for a while, and then I tucked my G27 underneath a T-shirt (wearing blue jeans with the shirt tucked in). Did a few precursory checks in the mirror and reported to the kitchen for the test. She didn’t have a clue! I even got cocky and threw a little of the bending, twisting, reaching hoopla in for good measure. Her final guess was that it was someplace on my ankle. I haven’t customized it yet so I might even try to use it with a bigger handgun. Now that I know I’m safe from the mother-in-law, I’m going to go play with it some more. Access is great with either hand but, I’m going to put this thing through the ringer in the next few days and see exactly what it can do. Initial impression of the CL4 is a thumbs up! I do also have a Smartcarry rig coming so I’ll do a side by side comparison in a few days.
October 3rd, 2012 11:51 PM
I did look at the Vanguard but it looked like you really have to snap it to get the holster off of the trigger guard. The video I saw the guys whole belt was coming up with the holster. Have you used this one?
October 4th, 2012 12:00 AM
No I haven't used it yet, but many have. The biggest gripe about the holster is it is hard to train with. You need to take it off to reholster every time you draw. The retention is tight because it needs to be since it is only grabbing hold of the guns trigger guard. I would rather have to much retention in the appendix position than not enough. YMMV.
Originally Posted by TAC1
October 4th, 2012 07:23 AM
I think those are competing goals, and every holster maker strives to balance the two. Deepest concealment will generally be the least identifiable, but it'll tend to be harder to present from that "deep."
Originally Posted by TAC1
So far as I've found (across 20+ yrs of toying with holsters of all types, positions and clothing options) ... Any decently-made, IWB/OWB holster that matches your body shape and clothing choices will probably be your best bet. Your body shape might well not allow for ease of presentation from deep concealment. And your current clothing might well not, for example, adequately cover OWB. If your clothing allows, a shoulder holstered weapon can be very quickly accessed yet remain highly concealed.
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
October 5th, 2012 04:01 PM
Hi guys, I was hoping for some more discussion on access and concealment before I did this but, I’m just going to go ahead and post a few notes that I took while talking with the owner of Tradecraft last week. It was one of the best conversations I think I’ve ever had on PD tactics and I wrote some of it down for myself. I know I’m kind of a nerd this way but, I think some of you might appreciate this, I know I did.
Regarding rapid presentation/access and concealment:
“There is nothing subjective about handgun access or concealment and both can be tested and measured. If you want to win a gunfight then you prepare for the worst and hope for the best, settling for good enough and probably ok, is just a recipe for disaster.” He said every holster manufacturer is going to tell you that their holster provides access and concealment but, it’s up to you to make this determination for yourself and you can’t do that by standing in front of a mirror or in a typical range type setting. “Forget about the terms access and concealment, and focus on your ability to adapt, take offensive action, and capitalize on the element of surprise.”
Before setting out to design a holster they (SWAT officers and a U.S. Marine CQB instructor) came up with every way they could think of to defeat a holster, or interfere with the ability to draw a handgun. He said that this can occur in more ways than you realize and handgun positioning means everything (he now prefers the 12 o’clock). One example he gave was the Rear Naked Choke. Scenario was that bad guy notices printing (or handgun is OC) and BG wants the gun. BG comes up behind unsuspecting person, applies choke, and locks his legs around the victim’s waist. If victim can’t break the hold or draw handgun, unconsciousness usually results in 8 -10 seconds and BG gets the gun or worse. I guess there were holsters dropping like flies on this one. CL4’s were eventually designed to counter this as well as a lot other scenarios that could result in potential holster failure. (There’s a snippet of this in a couple of their videos.)
ANY THOUGHTS ON THIS?
PS – I checked on the rear naked choke technique on Google and I wouldn’t recommend messing around with this one at home. Looks like a 14 year old kid just accidentally killed his 24 year old cousin (twice his size) with it a while back. Also, my SmartCarry is here so I’ll be running some comparison tests of my own this weekend.
October 6th, 2012 09:29 AM
As others have said, you'll have to balance concealability with speed. By this I mean your most concealed options are typically going to be a bit slower. I would suggest a hybrid strong side carry. Many hybrid holsters tend to limit your ability to get a full shooting grip on the handgun by having excess leather limiting your thumb, or a cut that is to close and blocks your fingers from easily wrapping around the grip. SHTF Gear holsters have a reduced leather footprint which really helps speed and accessibility. You can check us out at SHTF Gear LLC or you can find one for your gun here Glock 26/27/33/36 ACE-1 Holster
Here are a few pics for the holster, but fitted for a G19.
October 6th, 2012 12:01 PM
Hello Sir, very happy to see an actual holster manufacturer chiming in here. Typically I would’ve agreed with your comments on concealment and speed but, I’ve been working with a new holster recently and this does not appear to be the case. I am finding that I can hide my handgun to the degree that my family knows I am wearing a gun but, they can’t find it (shirt tucked in). Speed has been comparable to other concealed carry holsters I've used and sometimes even a little faster. I really like it but, I don't want to make this sticky post about any single product.
If I understand you correctly, you are recommending a strong side carry somewhere between 3:00 – 4:30 on the clock as being most accessible. My question to you is why, how have you determined this, and how did you test for it? I did go to your website but, I can’t find any videos showing your products in use. Could you post one of those for us here? Thanks for the input and I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say on this.
October 6th, 2012 02:50 PM
Holy Moly! A 65lb man concealing a full sized 1911... with a .3 second draw speed! That is pretty scary stuff! There would be little defense against that.
Originally Posted by Phillep Harding
October 6th, 2012 03:15 PM
October 25th, 2012 08:16 PM
Kind of got away from the forum thing for a while but, I promised a review on the CL4 Executive so I wanted to follow through with that. I’ve been working with this holster for a few weeks now and I absolutely love it. As far as I’m concerned Tradecraft nailed it in terms of Access, Concealment, and Comfort. I would say it’s very close to being perfect but, it does have one small drawback in that it doesn’t support one-handed reholstering.
You won’t be admiring the CL4 Exec in the mirror. It’s not sexy and it’s definitely not a cool “looking” piece of gear. To be honest, it doesn’t look like much of anything and when I first saw it I thought I might be sending it back. Now I’ve got three more of them for different handguns. I think part of the problem is that Tradecraft really needs to clarify a few things on their website. They do a pretty good job of demonstrating their holsters but, the concept behind them is never really explained so it’s easy to overlook a lot of the benefits. Once you understand exactly what these holsters do, the way they look makes a lot more sense but, you shouldn’t have to call the company to get a detailed explanation on this. With that said, customer service was outstanding.
Simple but, it’s designed with purpose and it’s put together well. The materials are exceptional. Barrel anchors are machined from virgin Teflon, attached to a Dyneema cord, and locked into place with Spectra serving. This is some pretty tough stuff that’s routinely used in body armor and climbing gear. Strength is said to be 15 times greater than steel. The diameter of the cord is about the size of a toothpick, maybe a little smaller, and it’s rated at 345lbs. It has an infinite flex-life, doesn’t stretch even when wet, and is abrasion and cut resistant. The leather portion provides good trigger protection and stays in place very well. Easy on-and-off, easy to hide, and secure in the waistband. Takes a few minutes to complete the initial set-up but, it’s well worth the time and effort because the holster is then matched to your exact requirements for positioning, ride, and cant.
One word - Unbelievable. My old partner stopped by one night last week to see my new “gimmick”. He’s a big AIWB, tactical, gotta spend $100 plus on a holster, double mag pouch, I don’t have any problems because I dress around the gun guy. (he’s now a closet CL4 guy, heard it from his wife) Showed him the inside corner access test, which he rolled his eyes at but, when he tried it with his set-up he got to a point where he couldn’t draw his handgun. (If you haven’t tried this yet, you really should test your current holster set-up, it’s an eye opener) This got him extremely agitated so we had to step outside for a “real test” where things continued to get worse for him and better for me. He was pretty angry and the more hands on and physical it got, stress levels went up, personal space went down, and angles came into play big time. Where he always had to draw the same way, straight up and out - primarily with his right hand, I was able to draw up, left, right, ambidextrous, and I was even able to roll the CL4 to the side and draw my handgun in a downward motion when I had to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always the easiest thing to do in a fight but, you have a lot of options with the CL4 and that comes in very handy when you’re off-balance and dealing with a threat that’s right on top of you with limited space and obstacles. In terms of access, I would have to say that the CL4 performs as advertised, I wasn’t able to find a position that I couldn’t draw from and it works exceptionally well from a seated position or inside the car (requires very little movement or effort to present quickly). Aside from the flexible properties of the holster, the Teflon anchor is also a huge factor here because it disconnects very easily and gets your handgun into play fast, which of course brings up the retention issue.
I was a little worried about testing retention because my partner was still very worked up about the access issue and he was really looking to prove that the CL4 wasn’t worthy of being compared to his expensive tactical rig. Surprisingly, he ended up having more problems than I did. With the 12 o’clock handgun positioning I was able to put both my hands on top of the grip and push straight down on top of my handgun with my elbows locked in tight to my sides. It resulted in a very strong and stable position that was directly in-line with the core of my body. I found that not only could I retain solid control over my handgun, it didn’t take a whole lot of effort or strength to accomplish this, and I was in a much more balanced position to throw counter strikes and break free to draw. The anchor did a great job of keeping the grip of my handgun above my waistband and it really locked it into place. In contrast, my partner was carrying close to the 2 o’clock and he couldn’t get both of his elbows locked in tight next to his body. He had to twist his torso slightly and this resulted in a weaker hold that required more effort to maintain control of his handgun. He also had more problems with throwing counter strikes and breaking free to draw because he really wasn’t able to remove either hand without sacrificing a significant amount of strength. In the end, even though his holster had the appearance of being more secure this really didn’t turn out to be the case. We found that positioning and leverage had much more to do with the actual retention than the amount of encasement material surrounding the handgun.
Awesome. I’ve found that even if someone knows exactly where I carry my handgun, they can’t tell whether I’m wearing it or not, it works that well (with full size guns). My brother has resorted to bump frisking because it drives him nuts that he can’t tell if I’m carrying. What makes it so effective is that the CL4 allows you to cant your handgun and wear it at almost a 45 degree angle so that the grip of your handgun is essentially in-line (up and down) with your body instead of being parallel to it. This allows you to move around, bend, twist, reach, or do whatever (with much lighter weight clothing) and the grip never extends past, or breaks, the circular boundary of your waistband, hence no printing (also, at 45 degrees handgun isn’t muzzling your manhood or femoral). And because the handgun is anchored or supported at the muzzle, it also allows plenty of room for a very natural tuck of your shirt if you need to dress up. The connection point where the holster attaches to your belt is very easy to hide and you can’t see it behind the overlapping layers of leather (on your belt). Presentation is simple - weak hand moves clothing away, strong hand follows directly behind, and comes down on top of grip. As your strong hand comes down on top of the handgun, you just apply a small amount of pressure and the grip rotates right into your hand, then you continue with the draw in any direction that you need to go. Very intuitive, very fast and you can also do it one-handed if you have to.
It feels a little awkward at first but, you get used to it pretty quickly and it’s actually very comfortable. Because the connection is flexible, you can always re-position the CL4 to oblige whatever actions you want to take. This comes in very handy when you go to sit down or bend over to do things like tie your shoes or pick something up. I’ve always experienced jabbing and prodding issues with other AIWB holsters in the past and I’m happy to report that this has all but been eliminated with the CL4. Have worn it all day without any issues.
I’m not a tactical guru or CQB expert but, I have been in countless fights with street thugs over the years and thankfully, more often than not, I had the benefit of back-up. Still, I know just how fast and spontaneous these situations can be and how easy it can be to find yourself in a very bad position, even when you are paying attention. The CL4 has boosted my confidence tremendously. Best advice I can give is to steer clear of the mirror and really test a few things with your holster because when it happens to you, there won’t be anything subjective about accessing your handgun, you’ll either be able to present it or you won’t. Lastly, for any current LEO’s, please take note of these holsters because they are out there and in the wrong hands they are extremely dangerous, especially when dealing with vehicles or in a struggle. Stay safe everyone and I hope this helps someone.
October 26th, 2012 02:35 PM
Hey guys! First time on this forum. I look forward to the wealth of knowledge I have noticed already! I just purchased my first CCW (Glock 27). The guys at the store were extremely helpful and sold me on the Versa Carry. Now, I haven't carried yet. I will when I figure out if the Versa Carry is smart or not. The Generation II does have the outside trigger guard however, I did not realize that with Glocks in particular and them not have external safties and the concern of clothing or something having the ability to grab or pull the trigger was a possibility. I've spent $20 on worse but I wonder now. I hate to do what so many have done and spend a lot of $$$ finding the "one" that works, but I am quickly wondering if that is just the way it is. Great forum, great discussion guys. I've seen a few threads on versa carry, but anyone with a Glock 27 and carrying with Versa Carry, I'd love to hear their thoughts too! Hope this isn't thread creep or stealing! Also, FWIW, Amazon seems to have a lot of $20-something IWB holsters with a lot of great reviews, I'm thinking to start there before I dump upwards 50, 75 or $100 on a holster. Thanks in advance for any insight. Be safe guys!
October 27th, 2012 10:20 AM
I am currently using a Galco Combat Master for my G22 Gen 4 and I love it. Printing is a minimum when having a shirt over it. I bought from LA Police Gear LA Police Gear 5.11 Tactical, Galco, Maxpedition, Converse, Bates, Danner, Surefire and Blackhawk.
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