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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In responding to the “What’s your carry today” thread, I wrote a rather detailed explanation of what I carried and why. I realized how long it took me to find “what works” for carry. If you are new to carrying, it will take a while to find what works for you. You’ll probably try a few guns, and for each gun, a few holsters. You may ask for advice and recommendations on gun forums, and be very disappointed in the results. Finding what works can be a frustrating and expensive endeavor. But once you find the right combination, stick with it. You’ll save money, time, and be free of frustration.

For me, “what works” is the following:
  • A gun I can shoot relatively well compared to other guns;
  • A gun that is of the size and weight such that it is not uncomfortable to carry at my desired carry position;
  • A holster that that is comfortable at my desired carry position;
  • A holster that allows for quick presentation;
  • The gun and holster combined must be nearly idiot proof for negligent discharge at appendix.
For me, I have two combinations that meet those criteria:
I’ve tried a number of other guns and carry positions. Some guns feel too bulky (Springfield XD Mod 2 .45), some are too thin (First gen Shield, felt too thin in my hand and shifted a bit during rapid fire; ditto for Springfield XDS). I have also found I don't like OWB at the 3:30 position; it’s not as comfortable as appendix (for me), and draw time is significantly slower.

I do have CZ 75D PCR that carries “okay” at appendix, but it is not as comfortable as the Defender. I’ve been experimenting with carrying the CZ more often. While not as comfortable as the Defender or 637, I do like the extra capacity, so I’m still going to give it a go for the next several months. I do think, however, the gun will eventually find its way back to the safe. Another drawback with carrying the CZ is it’s another gun with which I need to practice. Ammo is now relatively expensive, and practicing takes time. While shooting can be an enjoyable experience, I’ve shot enough that the novelty has long worn off. So now I find myself shooting because practice is a necessity. And if I can keep it simple, I will. More guns require more ammo and time.

Finally, during the time it took me to find what works, the gun manufactures have been busy releasing new guns. Hellcat, Sig P365, Shield Plus, and so on. I’m sure that one of the new micro compact 9mm guns would work for me. But what is the advantage of going out, buying a new gun, finding the right holster, and shooting a bunch of ammo when I already have what works for me?
 

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In the beginning of my carry journey I was dirt poor so did not have a lot of choices and made due with what I could afford.
Funny how when you have no choices, the equipment you have seems to be just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In the beginning of my carry journey I was dirt poor so did not have a lot of choices and made due with what I could afford.
Funny how when you have no choices, the equipment you have seems to be just fine.
Amen to that, sir.
 

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Rock solid post, Paul, to which I can add only a few personal observations:

What works changes. When my edc journey began years ago, I was a different person--less-skilled and very inexperienced as both a carrier and a shooter. I was younger, many pounds heavier, and much less conscious of the ergonomics which work and don't work. Over those years I have changed, and the working ergos have changed, as well. I no longer have 225 pounds of real estate and a 34" waist line under which to hide the biggest, heaviest handgun available under an XXL t-shirt;

I can no longer carry strong side. That limits me to appendix carry. Surgery and injury further limit me to crossdraw appendix. That is all I have. No other options are efficient to my needs;

I can carry nothing with more than a 4" barrel comfortably;

I cannot effectively and efficiently conceal anything wider than 1.1";

I cannot effectively and efficiently carry and fire with a grip that leaves my pinky in space. I need a full handed grip. Too long, and it prints. Too small, and my firing grip suffers;

Efficiency and eyesight demand that I run a red dot.
 

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My first pistol and first carry gun when I turned 21 was a Hi Point JHP45 in a cheap nylon IWB clip holster! I carried that thing for about 8-9 months until I could afford a used Kel-Tec P11. 3:00 with a very loose t-shirt and that Hi Point wasn't too bad if I didn't do a lot of bending or reaching! LoL

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
 

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I always carried I/OWB at 3:30, and it worked fine for a long time. The back, however, has deteriorated to the point where anything on the belt is uncomfortable at best, usually painful after a short while. I'm hedging more and more to a snubbie in the pocket.
 

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I've had to carry a Model 66 4" square butt with Packy Presentation grips AIWB under a light shirt for over a year, because that's all I had...uncomfortable and hard to hide, but I did it. Once the commitment to carry's made, we can figure the rest out. I'd rather see a fella struggling to conceal a HiPoint than leaving his round butt snubby at home because he's not convinced he should always carry. First rule of ice cream: SOME. Second rule of ice cream: MORE. Same like guns.
 

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I've had to carry a Model 66 4" square butt with Packy Presentation grips AIWB under a light shirt for over a year, because that's all I had...uncomfortable and hard to hide, but I did it. Once the commitment to carry's made, we can figure the rest out. I'd rather see a fella struggling to conceal a HiPoint than leaving his round butt snubby at home because he's not convinced he should always carry. First rule of ice cream: SOME. Second rule of ice cream: MORE. Same like guns.
Much better to go with what you have rather than to leave it at home because it isn't what you want. True of many things in life...
 

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I've only been concealed carrying full time for about 5 years now. IWB in every position from 3-5 o'clock hurts my back so much it's getting harder and harder to do for more than about 2 hours, then major trouble/pain for days in addition to the usual pain I'm used to. Having 4 broken vertebrae never really heals up, it seems. Had to quit pain meds many years ago, then also gave up alcohol years ago. Addictions didn't help anything.
Pocket carry has been my friend lately. I am, however, going to give AIWB one last serious try -- have a Tenicor Velo4 holster on the way. If that doesn't work, I'll just have to keep pocket carrying.
 

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One of the things which has kept me comfortable in carrying through the years is the willingness to critically survey my set up - That is, examine each component for function, suitability, and continuity. If something seems to be a little off, it's not going to get better on it's own, because something is changing, whether it be one's weight, conditioning, experiences, or physical "shape". Be willing to observe, and take action. When you are reaching for your weapon and can't get it out of the holster because you've gained/lost a few pounds is not the time to evaluate.
 

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My first handgun and only handgun for many years was a Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 magnum in a nylon holster. It was my woods gun, plinking gun, and home defense gun.

When I carried a sidearm in my twenty-two years in the military, it was a 1911 45 ACP on my hip. I preferred revolvers for shooting.

My wife and I got our first concealed carry permits in early 1992. We could have two guns listed on the permits. Glocks and 10mm were the popular handguns in gun magazines at the time. I went with a Glock G20 10mm and an S&W J-Frame 357 magnum.

I copied what I saw detectives on television carry and went with a small-of-the-back leather holster for the J-Frame. My first carry was to a steakhouse with my wife. The booths were high-back wood seats. There was a loud thunk when I sat down with a sharp pain in my lower back. That was my first holster in the tried, but didn't work holster box.

I ended up with nine Glocks in 10mm, 45 ACP and 9mm. I tried shoulder holsters, IWB holsters, ankle holsters, and various carry methods. I always go back to a leather pancake style holster on my right hip with spares on my left hip.

In 2010 I read that Colt was coming out with a 100th Anniversary 1911. I started looking for one for nostalgia. I bought a Dan Wesson stainless Valor 45 ACP. I bought a Colt Wiley Clapp government model 45 ACP. I bought a Colt Delta Elite 10mm.

I ended up with multiple government model 1911s in 45 ACP and 10mm. I sold all of my Glocks. I have multiple revolvers in big bore calibers.

I carry a 1911 in a leather pancake style holster with spare magazines on my belt most of the time. My woods carry is often a revolver in a a leather pancake style holster with speed loaders on my belt.
 

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I've only been concealed carrying full time for about 5 years now. IWB in every position from 3-5 o'clock hurts my back so much it's getting harder and harder to do for more than about 2 hours, then major trouble/pain for days in addition to the usual pain I'm used to. Having 4 broken vertebrae never really heals up, it seems. Had to quit pain meds many years ago, then also gave up alcohol years ago. Addictions didn't help anything.
Pocket carry has been my friend lately. I am, however, going to give AIWB one last serious try -- have a Tenicor Velo4 holster on the way. If that doesn't work, I'll just have to keep pocket carrying.
Position, ride height and customizing to your personal needs are everything when carrying AIWB, in my experience. Sharp corners or edges, foam wedges and a sixteenth of an inch up or down can make all the difference between comfort and agony. I am convinced that the people who engineer holsters don't actually wear them all day, every day.
 

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What I don't carry much anymore, will eventually be going to my kids and grandkids....such is my logic presented to my wife when I get the itch for something new. 😁
 

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I like a good pancake, too (no relation to retired deputy), and my first was a Roy Baker back in the 70s, that fit both my M60 Chief and Charter Bulldog .44. Being southpaw, my left hip was often crammed up against an armrest, and crossdraw was a solution for that...and coats were normally worn open. In summer, it fit close enough front of the right hip to let a light shirt cover it well. I carry two today: left hip and crossdraw front of right hip...have come full circle. It's not a matter of conscious thought. What works for you may not work for anyone else...just that it DOES work for you. Glad we have so many choices.
 

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We all take the journey to find what works for us individually. It's part of life. I still carry similar to what I started out with. I prefer to carry my guns at the 4:30 or 7:30 positions when carrying. Concealed that is. For open carry when I'm in the woods I have a chest harness.

The biggest change I've made is to go from my SA XDM to carrying either my S&W M2.0 or now the Glock G40. I've gotten comfortable enough to not want guns with safeties that could help get me killed. By my own actions that is.

One gun I have to find is a pocket revolver that fits my hands. I only started looking for that option in the past couple of years. Another, faster drawable, CC option appeals to me. Frankly, I chose the worst time to realize the effectiveness of a pocket gun. Good old hindsight.
 

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I have several Alien Gear iwb holsters and quite a few kydex shells. That's the holster system I've kind of gravitated to for several years now. Anything from a full size 1911, M&P 40 or Sig P320 to a Taurus GX4 or Sig P365 with a Romeo Zero. However, I injured my back Sunday doing some chores around the house and anything on the belt bugs me right now. The LCP gets the nod until my back is better. Front right pocket in the factory supplied holster is working just fine for now.

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I've only been concealed carrying full time for about 5 years now. IWB in every position from 3-5 o'clock hurts my back so much it's getting harder and harder to do for more than about 2 hours, then major trouble/pain for days in addition to the usual pain I'm used to. Having 4 broken vertebrae never really heals up, it seems. Had to quit pain meds many years ago, then also gave up alcohol years ago. Addictions didn't help anything.
Pocket carry has been my friend lately. I am, however, going to give AIWB one last serious try -- have a Tenicor Velo4 holster on the way. If that doesn't work, I'll just have to keep pocket carrying.
Strong side IWB carry, my go-to method for the first eight years of everyday carry, quit being even a remote possibility when I got down to about 195 pounds. It is simply too agonizing. That is when I started working with AIWB solutions.
 
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