Advice, Where to Begin?!

New to the concealed carry world(still waiting on my license to come in)… and have been doing a TON of reading. But it seems more information is just adding more decisions to make.
Such as type of Holster, IWB, but what position, cant, ammo…

Was wondering if anyone could just give some pointers in where to look, what you do, why you do it? Needing a good starting point!

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And I understand a lot of this is preference… and I won’t like everything. But figured I’d hear from some more experienced folks.

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You’ll go through holsters more than anything. It took me some time to find something I liked. It’s more trial and error. I took my unloaded firearm and practiced drawing and holstering in different positions until I found one I liked.

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I wish I could just say this is the way it is done. But you are going to have to find out what is best for you. And of course your state laws may dictate your choice. If you can try and work with one of the USCCA Instructors here it would benefit you greatly. They can both train and help you through the vast amount of products out there.
I will offer up something that I just changed and found a huge benefit from. I wear an IWB holster. I was at the 3:30 postion and moved to Appendix… 12:30 position. It is far more comfortable, a better conceal, and has dramatically improved both the speed and consistency of my draw. It works for me… not for everyone though.
I hope this helped a bit. You are going to get a lot of great advise here. You just need to do what works best for you.
Enjoy!

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I will offer up something that I just changed and found a huge benefit from. I wear an IWB holster. I was at the 3:30 postion and moved to Appendix… 12:30 position. It is far more comfortable, a better conceal, and has dramatically improved both the speed and consistency of my draw. It works for me… not for everyone though.

You don’t have any problems sitting down with appendix carry?
Also, I’m not the biggest guy… 6’0, 175 pounds… would that hurt or help with appendix carry?

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@4SquareHoly No problem. I am 6’ and 190 pounds. I have a toned stomach (not bragging, worked hard at it). I carry all the time and sometimes forget that I even have it on.
Can you see it]?

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@4SquareHoly@John150 is spot on. I went through a lot of holsters. May I suggest buying 5 or 6 via Amazon. I did. And I returned all but one for full refunds. And if you want to know… and this just came down to my mechanics and my body shape… a Fierce Defender IWB Kydex Paladin Series.

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Back in the late 80’s when I started carrying I got some good advice from an experienced “guy about town” that said.

“Go get you one of them cheep Uncle Mike’s IWB pancake holsters that just clip onto your belt from the inside. Wear your gun around your house for a day in ONE position and write down what you do and don’t like. Then change position and repeat as often as you deem necessary. Once you stand up, sit down, squat, bend over and do all the normal everyday things you do you will figure out where you want to carry. THEN start looking at real holsters that fit that position.”

I still have a box full of holsters that I will never wear again but it is a lot smaller than most of my friends from the same era.

Cheers,

Craig6

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My two cents.

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Step #1 is get a good belt. I like metal reinforced ones from Bigfoot: https://gunbelts.com/gun-belt-1-5-wide-leather-with-core-18-oz Not super cheap, but you can try good holster on a cheap belt, and not like it. Start with the foundation.

As far as holsters, I carry OWB, and normally carry one by Jason Winnie http://www.jasonwinnie.com/iwb-with-steel-clip-j201/ A bit over $65 for one of his IWB.

Also, for holsters, a lot of people were where you were not long ago and often will sell some of their lightly used holsters for good prices on gun forums.

Ask around your range, or maybe local gun store. Maybe someone will let you try a few of their holsters before you buy anything.

Good luck, don’t get discouraged if a holster you really ‘like’ does not work for you. I ‘stole’ a beautiful Milt Sparks 50’th anniversary OWB holster with elephant trim. I loved the look and draw of that holster! But I could not wear it for more than an hour and walk without pain… So you may have to try a few.

Just my 2 cents worth!

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@Fred_G is spot on. Without a good belt you’ll never know what holster is or isn’t working. I don’t know how many holsters I went thru before I changed to a good belt and that was the biggest game changer.

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How do you dress? That’s a big one. Do you wear tucked shirts and khakis? Probably going to end up OWB. Loose shirt and jeans/cargo pants? Probably IWB. Suits and a suit coat? Pocket or shoulder.

These are examples but the point is you need to find a holster that compliments how you dress. But I 100% agree that you need to start with the foundation, if you’re looking at IWB or OWB then you are going to need a quality belt. It doesn’t have to be Bigfoot Gun Belts, there are others, but it’s a good place to start.

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To add to what the others have said, once you get a holster and carry gun, carry around your house. It will help you get used to having it on your body, and figuring out what position is the most comfortable for your daily activities (sitting, walking, etc). Carrying a gun should be comforting, not necessarily comfortable. But, not uncomfortable.

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I’m going to ask different questions.

What type of gun do you plan on carrying? Full size ? Compact, sub compact? 45, 9, 380? Revolver, Semi Auto?

I carry a Sig P238 in .380 in the summer, a Shield 9 mm in the winter. Both are appendix carry at about 112:30 . I’m not sure I’d carry anything bigger there.

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As most have been saying it is all very personal. And you will go through holsters until you find some you really like. I mostly carry a Glock 26 IWB but switch it up to OWB depending on what I am wearing and how they fit. OWB is more comfortable but is more likely to print. At times I will also carry in a shoulder holster, because of clothing. If I need to downsize, I’ll carry a Glock 42 in a pocket holster or ankle holster.

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New to the concealed carry world(still waiting on my license to come in)… and have been doing a TON of reading. But it seems more information is just adding more decisions to make.
Such as type of Holster, IWB, but what position, cant, ammo…

Was wondering if anyone could just give some pointers in where to look, what you do, why you do it? Needing a good starting point!

Have you already made some decisions yet, like what firearm you want to carry? If you can give us an idea of what your constraints are (office “non-permissive environment”, suit & tie vs casual clothing, etc) we can maybe be more specific in helping steer you in the right direction. I’ll post some about my experience below in case it helps.

There is some good advice already here in this thread especially from @Craig6 and @Fred_G . Ultimately though, there is a lot of trial and error as every person’s body shape and nooks & crannies is different. I too have a box full of old holsters.

If you plan on carrying on the waist, a good gun belt is super important. In fact, maybe the most important. A stiff belt helps prevent the firearm (and maybe spare mags, etc) from sagging your pants down, and keeps the firearm in the position/cant you placed it. Characteristics of a good belt is that is is stiff, durable, and adjustable in small increments.

I have a good opinion of Kore gun-belts (their leather ones fit right into an office environment), and I use Volund Gearworks “G-hook” belts daily. They have a normal weight one and a “slim” weight that is more flexible which I use when I have a lighter firearm and/or and moving around a lot (like yardwork). There are many reputable gun-belts around, those are just the ones I have experience with.

I personally carry appendix (link to EDC in another thread) as I found that to be the most comfortable and easy to conceal for me. I’m short (5’6" 170, built like a former athlete :slight_smile: so not super fit, but not chunky either). I’m a web developer, so I wear t-shirt and jeans/shorts/cargo pants every day (basically really casual, but not sloppy).

Carrying at 3 o’clock made my waist look really wide so I just looked like a square shape. No one could tell i had a firearm, but they could see i had something on my hip. Anyone remotely paying attention would assume it was a firearm.
Carrying at 4-5 o’clock-ish was actually really comfortable, and concealed very well when i was standing or walking around, but whenever i sat (remember I’m in t-shirts) it printed like a mofo, and every time I stood up i’d have to adjust my t-shirt over the gun since it had a tendency to slip in between the firearm and my body just a bit.

Carrying appendix works best for me in terms of concealment and comfort. Concealment, literally no one knows I carry except for the few people who know where it is and even then they can’t see it. Sitting down, standing up, twisting, etc it all stays put. It is a little counter-intuitive, but a longer slide length is helpful here as it prevents “tip-out” where the butt of the firearm leans outward. Think of your belt as a fulcrum point and you need at least a certain amount of firearm above the beltline in order to get a good grip, the remainder is below the beltline. If you have more above the line than below you are likely to get that “tip-out”. Even though I usually carry a Glock 26, it is in a Glock 19 holster. My Glock 43 holster is “long” to get a similar effect. Both holsters are from JM Custom Kydex. For AIWB having a “claw” of some sort helps tilt the firearm grip back towards your body. About 80% of the time I carry the G26, but sometimes just a certain pants/shirt/“i ate too much” combo makes it not conceal great so on those days I carry a G43 instead.

For comfort, it took some work to find just the right spot where it doesn’t hit a pelvic bone when sitting, and also adding a neoprene wedge was super helpful. You might carry right at 12 o’clock or maybe a little off to the side 1 o’clock or even further at 2-2:30 o’clock to find that safe spot. You may have to adjust when sitting down/standing up, but I usually don’t have the need to if I put it in the right spot to begin with.

I have a good friend who carries a Sig P250 in a belly band. He finds it super easy to conceal and is very comfortable for him.

If you have more specific questions, would be super happy to help answer and I’m sure others on here who carry on their hip (or shoulder, ankle, pocket, off-body)

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Sounds like everybody is giving great advice already - I will just chime in on the holster thing. Check out Alien Gear Holsters: https://aliengearholsters.com/ They have a 30 day test drive, so if you find you don’t like the way a particular carry method is working, you can send it back risk free and try another. And they have free shell swaps for life - so if you decide to change your carry gun, you can modify your holster for FREE. It avoids that “box of holsters” everyone keeps talking about. I have 2 holsters: a paddle (OWB) for a 1911 and a IWB for my Sig P238. I may not carry the Sig forever (thinking about getting a compact 9), but with Alien Gear, I know I can swap out my shell if/when the time comes.

(I’m also thinking about trying appendix carry, but the 4:00 position works for me, so not sure why I would change.)

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Great question and welcome to the world of protecting what you love.

Echoing what has been already written, find a USCCA Certified Instructor in your area or here on this forum. The Defensive Shooting Fundamentals course is the logical (some might say mandatory) next step in your education and training. Gear is personal as it must be comfortable and functional. As noted, many retailers and ranges will allow you to test drive equipment. Aside from that you are very much already on the right path by participating in this community and asking the questions. Best regards and let us know how your journey unfolds.

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As of right now, I have my M&P Shield 2.0 9mm… most of the time I’m in an untucked, button-down dress shirt(work), suit and tie(church), or basketball pants and t-shirt(everywhere else).

Work will be easy(rather AIWB or something similar), but still up in the air on church and basketball pants.

Appreciate all the great tips, guys!

I like that suggestion, @Craig6! As long as you’re being safe with the firearm and the trigger is covered, it’s a great way to find out what you like/don’t like. My only addition would be to train a LOT after you figure out exactly how you want to carry so that it’s instinctual.

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