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Alternative Carry Concepts
When a traditional holster won’t do, it’s time to get tricky.
People, especially those new to concealed carry, are often overly concerned about concealment. Not that concealment is not required; we just don’t need to be concerned with every little bump. Thinking each bulge broadcasts that they are carrying a gun, folks can get paranoid and go unarmed when they shouldn’t, and that just won’t do. But there are times a traditional belt holster doesn’t cut it—due to temperature, social situations, dress restrictions or other concerns—so finding an alternative carry method may be the difference between being armed or having to leave your gun behind.
The good news is that the marketplace has a multitude of manufacturers offering versions of the perfect carry method, some of them quite ingenious. Today’s alternative options, far more varied than those of the not-too-distant past, include outerwear, underwear, pocket, deep concealment and off-body choices.
Vests are quite commonly used for concealment of a belt or shoulder holster but can also be used to carry a firearm. Concealed Carry Clothiers (concealedcarry.com, 888-959-4500) as well as several other manufacturers make vests with concealment pockets designed to hold removable Velcro holsters....
Best Bear Gun Holster
Galco's Kodiak shoulder rig is perfect for the great outdoors.
I recently spent some time in the Wyoming backcountry where I was not, shall we say, at the top of the food chain. Originally I'd planned to carry my S&W 629 .44 Magnum in a hip holster as bear medicine, but the trip turned out to entail more backpacking than I'd expected, so I needed a different rig.
I considered a shoulder holster but was concerned that the way they typically position a big revolver would not be ideal for backpacking. So Mike Barham at Galco suggested the company's Kodiak Shoulder Holster ($190), and he set me up with one. My 629 has a five-inch barrel and the stock Kodiak is for an 83/8, so they had to make it a custom job--which they commonly do (for an extra charge, as you'd expect).
The Kodiak goes around your shoulder sort of bandolier style and positions the gun diagonally across your torso; a second strap goes around your midsection and clips to the holster to hold it in position....
Duty rigs have changed a great deal since I entered the police academy in 1993.
Shiny patent leather and laminate holsters are still popular, but nylon has made big inroads.
Users of striker-fired pistols should avoid non-reinforced nylon holsters and thumb breaks. Non-reinforced nylon is too soft, and in most cases the holster mouth is devoid of structure, preventing easy one-hand reholstering. Thumb breaks are prone to catching in the trigger guard during re-holstering.
Weapon retention is the key consideration when selecting a duty holster. Level I usually consists of nothing more than a simple thumb break. Level II relies on a thumb break or a roll top and a simple motion to release. Level III holsters have three separate safety features. Odds are your department will mandate a particular holster. If not, most users will find Level II offers the best balance of draw speed and weapon retention....