Learning to Conceal a Firearm & IDPA Gear

Discussion in 'GSSF / IDPA / Competition' started by G-23, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

    I am a Safety Officer (SO) for International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and have been shooting this sport almost from it's start. I started carrying a firearm back in 1994 I think, several years before it came to be the "In" thing to do for our safety. My job at the time required me to be armed for my safety during late night calls, and dealing with people in all walks of live that were in need of my services.

    There were not many I could go to to ask help in learning the "How To's," on concealing my 1911 at the time and holster manufactures and the internet were pretty much yet to come. Because my wife started working and helping out an old Navy aquaintance who had a gun store I did have some help if I could learn to ask the right questions on how to conceal, and learn to safely carry a firearm. And I too, made many mistakes. Afterall, I might have learned a lot about firearms in the Navy but for some reason, we never learned consealment, I wonder why:D

    So with that said, after reading a thread here on new IDPA shooters I thought maybe a good thread could help in actually discussing the "How To's" of everyday concealment and equipement selection.

    I don't intend to propose one manufacture over the other or slam equipment selections for individuals. I think discussing the techinques used might be a better way to approach the safety issues I see on the range and in everyday gun handling skills we need to keep our loved ones and those around us, out of harms way.

    So my first subject is selection of holsters.
  2. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

    Holster Selection

    Holster Selection is going to be the hardest part of the whole scheme.

    First selection/decision you need to make after deciding what gun you are going to carry is "How" an I going to carry and conceal this thing.

    Outside the waist band (OWB) holsters seem to me to be the first selection (folks make) for one major reason, it's easy. You don't have to change your wardrobe too drastically and, it is probably the most comfortable way to carry at first.

    Wrong! The first thing you really need is a real honest to goodness gun belt. These are usually double up leather or nylon in construction. Most I believe come in 1.5" beltloop size though you can get bigger.

    Sorry, I had to throw the belt thing out there because, like a house without a strong foundation, you're heading for a problem right off the get-go. If you think a flimsy belt is going to be OK for toten that gun around all day you ahead. It's you we'll see wandering around pulling ya pants up, and adjusting that flopping gun butt around all day.

    But back to the holster. As you search you will come across many with lots of features and made from all types of material. Most common is the leather and plastic (keydex) for material and features: You name it!

    Screw retention
    Velcro Strap
    Thumb release
    Cant forward
    FBI Cant
    5 degree cant

    ... to name a few. There are enough decisions to make to think you are buying a car. Well, you might as well be, afterall, you plan on wearing this thing mostly every day all day long so, why not make a decision with your comfort in mind?

    Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holsters are a whole new lot now-a-days. Many like the OWB holsters are made of similair design. Now though you'll need a wardrobe of bigger waist band pants to accomodate that holster (usually 1. - 1.5").

    Once you have made the holster style decision, before you buy, please think about this:

    Can I draw and then safely reholster my firearm from that holster?

    That question is what we have to really consider, if you really want to carry a gun for self defense and gaming on the range.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012

  3. Oddball Gunner

    Oddball Gunner New Member

    Nevermind what I had here earlier.. good guide G-23.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  4. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

  5. Blades

    Blades Senior Member

  6. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

    My intention was to cover, "Bullet Hand" in the next phase of this thread but the author said it all right there.

    Next is what to look for before holstering.

    We are lazy by nature and only take the path from any given point to another, that offers the least resistance. So why should we be more diligent when we holster a gun? Ya just stick it into the holster and set any safety devices right?

    A number of people I see think so but this action is like parking a car really. Imagine the fire truck or ambulance driver just driving in head first and parking. The next move will require the driver to slowly back, out using the mirrors: a slow operation if you want to get some where fast.

    If you will take the time to look at the clothing you want to wear that day you may see items that can cause your holstered gun problems. Loose lanyards. Shirt tails. Security straps. Coat tails. Long hair.

    Any item that is near the holster that can get into the holster during the process of returning the gun to the cradle will cause concern because as lazy critters, after we notice the problem; What is our next move? The brain sez, "Geez that don't belong in there, PULL it out!"

    The problem is that when doing this, easy just pull it out motion we now have a potential for creating a very bad day! Here you have a loaded gun in the holster and you are pulling anything but the gun out you can cause a ND. right down ya leg.

    So, when practicing your draw, always use an empty gun and pay attention to the holstering process to ensure it is clear. Many of our shooters simply place their off hand to the holster side and sweep all their loose clothing up and into their arm pit area WHILE keeping their firearm extended downrange, before completing the process. Then a "look-see" at the holster area to ensure the area is in fact clear.

    Please, NEVER just pull the offending/trapped material out of a holster. Remove the firearm first, then the material.

    Once you learn to focus on stuff like this and practice it for awhile, it becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it is now the easiest point from A to B and we can get back to being the relaxed souls we all enjoy being.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  7. Recommendation on a 'real' gun belt..

    Don't really have the funds to make poor selections...You seem to know your way around...have a recommendation for a good quality gun belt that doesnt have the obvious 'I have a holster attached to this thing' look?

    BTW, I, too, live in South Carolina...Where are you located in the Palmetto State?