Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

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fickman
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Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#1

Post by fickman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:13 pm

I've navigated through most of my concealed carry existence with little or no practical input or connection to the community. From poking around this site for a couple of weeks, I think I respect the opinions of this group enough to ask for some input.

Background:
I got my CHL four years ago and am up for renewal in 2009. If I carry, I usually ankle carry a small S&W revolver. If I'm wearing shorts (which is admittedly most of the time), I typically carry a semi-auto in a full sized backpack and keep the revolver in my console. If I'm wearing slacks, then I'm wearing boots and my ankle holster won't do, so I'm either doing the backpack or nothing.

I am convinced by the "carry 24/7 or guess right" philosophy, but I don't back it up because I've never found a comfortable way to carry. I work from home, so I'm really not out that much. My wife has a CHL and normally carries a small S&W revolver in her purse or in the diaper bag. When she isn't doing that, it's in the console of her car.

Our home defense plan is solid, but the roaming plan needs to be shored up.

Firearms:
All of these were purchased with the intention of carrying. I'm a fairly big guy (6'5" and 330 lbs. - wear XXXL or XXXLT), so carrying the P229 IWB didn't last too long since I need most of the available real estate inside the waistband for myself. :totap: I've carried the 1911 a few times with no holster, but obviously didn't like that.

Eventually I'd like to get a Kimber Ultra Carry .45 ACP, but that'll be a while considering our recent buying spree to pick up an AR and investigate tactical shotguns before the end of the year. I really just need to clamp down and commit to one of the options I've already got until I can buy a more suitable subcompact.

Kimber Custom II 1911 .45 ACP w/ Wilson combat mag
Sig Sauer P229 double/single .40 S&W
Smith & Wesson 640 .357 magnum/.38 +P/.38; stainless steel; 5-shot revolver with internal hammer; DAO :: This is the my normal ankle-CCW
Smith & Wesson 340PD .357 magnum/.38 +P/.38; scandium alloy frame with titanium barrel; 5-shot revolver with internal hammer; DAO :: This is usually loaded with .38 +P and is my wife's primary CCW

My thoughts:
I've leaned toward carrying the Kimber IWB or with a snug OWB holster (I almost always have my shirts untucked). It's heavy, but it's slimmer than the Sig P229. Carrying the Kimber or the Sig would allow me to still use a revolver as an ankle backup.

It just recently hit me that I could get an IWB or snug OWB holster for one of the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers, too. They're only five shots, but the waist carry would give me better access to the firearm and allow me to carry on my person even in shorts or when I have on boots.

And, like for most people, money is tight. I have a problem picking a holster because most of the good ones I've seen are online, too expensive, and there's no chance to walk around and see how they really feel before purchase. Cheaper than Dirt's selection is terrible, and I've been largely unimpressed with the options at the High Caliber Gun Shows in Fort Worth.

The questions:
What would you recommend as the carry option out of my existing inventory?
What specific holster (links appreciated) would you recommend?
Any other advice you want to throw in. . . go for it.

Thanks in advance!
Native Texian


BobCat
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#2

Post by BobCat » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:34 pm

Having used both leather and Kydex holsters, I can say that the Kydex from Comp-Tac works for me better than most leather holsters I've tried. Never tired a real top-quality leather one, though.

I carry a CZ-75B in a Comp-Tac C-Tac holster, at about 4:00 o'clock, with a Beltman belt, covered with an unbuttoned, untucked Wrangler shirt a size too large. Underneath that either a T-shirt (weekends) or a T-shirt and ordinary button-up dress shirt. Nobody sees, notices, or cares. It is a full-size service pistol; I am about 5'9" tall and maybe 175 lbs - not big, not little, just average size. My friends may tease me about carrying a "girly gun" (9mm is somehow not "manly" enough for some people) but it is as large as a 1911 and weighs as much or more (loaded with 15 rounds).

It takes a few days of carrying IWB for the pistol and holster to disappear from your consciousness. It is always there, a little weight, an anchor to the here-and-now, but it stops being uncomfortable. When you go places you have to leave it home or in the car, something feels odd and missing.

So - if you like the 1911 and shoot it well, get a holster and decide on a cover garment, and make it work. Stay simple and wear it for a few days before you decide it is not working; it will be fine and not be uncomfortable after a while.

I have been very hard of hearing for many years, and the situation is the same with a hearing aid. At first, it sounds like you are listening to the cheapest pocket radio ever made, that someone put an ice pick through the speaker, turned up to max volume. It is uncomfortable and infuriating. After a while, it is not as uncomfortable and it is obvious you can hear/function in society better with it than without it - so is it no longer uncomfortable. Once you find a passable holster your 1911 (or whatever you choose) will not be uncomfortable at all.

I hope this helps. There are lots of people on here who know more than I do, this is just my experience and they will relate theirs, and come up with suggestions.

Regards,
Andrew
Retractable claws; the *original* concealed carry

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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#3

Post by The Annoyed Man » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:06 pm

fickman wrote:Carrying the Kimber or the Sig would allow me to still use a revolver as an ankle backup.
You've seen my Kimber and its Galco holster (at the retreat), and you know that I'm no lightweight either, but I just bought a Minotaur MTAC from Comp-Tac, and I REALLY like it a lot. It is far and away the most comfortable holster I've ever worn. It also has the advantage that you can buy additional holster bodies for different pistols which can be swapped out by removing 4 screws, and each holster body is only $38.00 more. I've had mine on since 10:00 a.m. this morning (11 hours now), and it is still comfortable. I bought a second holster body for my USP Compact.

If you want to get together before you spend any money, I'll show you mine and you can decide if that would work for you. But if you like it, you can have holster bodies for both your Sig and your Kimber.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes.—The Annoyed Boy
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fickman
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#4

Post by fickman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:17 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
fickman wrote:Carrying the Kimber or the Sig would allow me to still use a revolver as an ankle backup.
You've seen my Kimber and its Galco holster (at the retreat), and you know that I'm no lightweight either, but I just bought a Minotaur MTAC from Comp-Tac, and I REALLY like it a lot. It is far and away the most comfortable holster I've ever worn. It also has the advantage that you can buy additional holster bodies for different pistols which can be swapped out by removing 4 screws, and each holster body is only $38.00 more. I've had mine on since 10:00 a.m. this morning (11 hours now), and it is still comfortable. I bought a second holster body for my USP Compact.

If you want to get together before you spend any money, I'll show you mine and you can decide if that would work for you. But if you like it, you can have holster bodies for both your Sig and your Kimber.
Would a full-size 1911 fit in your Minotaur?

Also - to Andrew - thanks for the input. I've been looking around the Comp-Tac website since you pointed them out to me.

I'm shocked I haven't heard from any "subcompact guys" telling me just to go with the J-Frame revolvers until I get a smaller firearm. You guys really want to see me strap the big boys on, huh? :mrgreen:
Native Texian


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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#5

Post by badgerw » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:28 pm

Mr. Fick -

The challenge is to find a comfortable holster at a reasonable price.

First, I recommend Tucker's The Answer http://rlcompanyusa.stores.yahoo.net/answeriwbs.html IWB holster. I had one for my 1911 and I was known to take long naps while wearing it and my gun. It's that comfortable. The price is steep, but the quality is unbelievable.

Second, a good belt. I've been using a Liger belt every day for two and a half years. Looks good, no loss of shape. http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/vie ... ategory=16

I hope this helps.

Bill


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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#6

Post by stroo » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:57 am

I really don't like carrying IWB either and tend to be a cheapskate. I have found that I really like Don Hume JIT holsters (http://www.gunnersalley.com/product/JIT ... lster.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) and High Noon belt slides (http://www.highnoonholsters.com/Product ... _skin.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;). Both are in th $25-40 range which is about as cheap as it gets for a decent holster. I have a Sig 229 that I occasionally carry with a JIT and I usually carry a Browning Hi Power in either a JIT or a High Noon belt slide. You just have to wear shirts that are big enough to cover. I would also suggest you get a good belt. Boston Leather makes some decent belts that are fairly inexpensive. I have a couple of Wilderness belts as well and love them. A good belt makes a huge difference.
Last edited by stroo on Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:15 am, edited 3 times in total.


stroo
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#7

Post by stroo » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:07 am

Another option is to pocket carry one of your J frames. I sometimes pocket carry a Kel Tec P 11 either as a primary or a secondary gun. I made my own holster but have also used a Nemesis which works very well. Nemesis pocket holsters are in the $25 range as well. http://www.desantisholster.com/n38.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; You do need to have pants with pockets that are big enough to carry this off. Having said that I pocket carry on Sunday's in a suit pants with no problem

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fickman
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#8

Post by fickman » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:11 pm

Great responses. . . thanks, guys! I guess now it's just time to make a decision. I'm planning on going to the Mesquite Gun Show on Saturday - I've never made it out there but I've heard it's a better show than the ones in Ft. Worth.
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Re: Advice welcome: choosing sidearm and holster

#9

Post by Flatland2D » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:08 pm

I would second the pocket carry option. It has changed concealed carry for me. I carry a Kel-Tec P-3AT in a Galco horsehide leather pocket holster. It's no bigger than a wallet, and actually tends to balance out the other side (opposite side of wallet in back pocket). It's not up there in stopping power, but there is nothing more convient than pocket carry for me.
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Kel-Tec P-3AT
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