Packin’ Tee Concealed Carry T-Shirt

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This is a video that I made along with my daughter Morgan, giving you a basic demonstration of the Packin’ Tee system:

The Packin’ Tee represents the next generation of concealed carry t-shirt.

One of the first things that you notice when you examine one, is that the holster is modular and attached with industrial strength hook and loop material (Velcro).

There are reinforcements around the side of the shirt, over the shoulder and around the arm holes, and across the back. Basically, the manufacturer made a cloth shoulder holster, and then sewed it into the inside of the shirt.

The shirt itself is 100% cotton, pre-shrunk. This means that it’s not only comfortable and easy to clean, but it “looks normal”. There are a number of concealed carry t-shirts out there that have rather “distinctive” looks to them, looks that can give you away to people who know what to look for.

One of the best features of this holster system is the modular holsters themselves. You can easily switch out between the various holsters to customize your carry to what you need to do. You can move the holster up, down, sideways, or just give it a small cant forward or backward, whatever it takes to give you that sweet spot for carry comfort that makes all the difference in the world in whether or not a holster system works for you.

Are all Packin’ Tees sleeveless?

All of the mens style shirts are sleeveless. The womens’ shirts have small cap sleeves on them.

What colors are they available in?

All shirts are in both Black and white.

How heavy of a gun can I carry?

The manufacturer rates these shirts as being useful for guns up to 10 pounds in weight.

How big of a gun can I carry?

That’s a bit more detailed of a question.  A concealed carry gun that is too small to work with this would be one of the NAA mini revolvers.  A gun that’s too large would be the larger N-Frames and other super sized revolvers.  Things in between those two extremes tend to work with the Packin’ Tee.

How do I clean these shirts?

Official answer: Remove the holster patches before washing, then just wash them as you would do your regular t-shirts.

Unofficial answer: You can wash and dry them with the patches in place.  Once you do this, the patches (which are made out of industrial strength velcro) will NOT easily remove from the shirt.  They will work just fine, but be sure that you have the patches “where you want them” before doing this.  You may not be able to adjust them afterwards.

What is the life expectancy on these shirts?

This is a piece of clothing, and underwear at that. Given that, it’s not going to last forever. The manufacturer has estimated that you should be able to get two years out of them under normal use.

I’ve been using these for several years. I’ve never seen one actually fail. They do eventually get old, and most people replace them rather than wear a several year old shirt.

Do I need to wear an over shirt with this?

Only if you feel the need to conceal the weapon. Seriously, pretty much every method of concealment depends at least in part on “cover garments”. This one is no different.

Does the shirt need to be tight on me?

Snug is good. Tourniquet is bad.

Previous designs of shirts needed a good amount of “tight fit” to keep the weapon in the place. Because of the reinforcement built into this shirt, it doesn’t need to be worn as tightly as other similar products, but you do not want to wear it loose, either. Wearing it loosely will cause the weapon to sag, hang lower than normal, and bounce off your ribcage in a most annoying manner. Wearing the shirt snug is a good idea.

What size should I order?

If you wear an XL, then get an XL sized Packin’ Tee. There is no need to guesstimate down the size with this shirt. These were built from the ground up as concealment shirts, and they were built knowing that they needed to be snug. So, if you normally wear, say, and XL for comfort, then pick up an XL here as well, and it will fit on you snugly.

What if I wear two different sizes?

If, for example, you wear both XL and 2X depending on the cut, then you should probably get a 2X Packin’ Tee. Remember, these are built to be snug, and if you get a size too small, it’s really going to be a size too small!

Is this shirt hot to wear?

Being in the midwest, I get this question a lot. The answer is that it’s no hotter than any other 100 percent cotton t-shirt. If you can live with a t-shirt on, this will be no different to you.

Will my gun get rusty from my sweat?

Well, I can’t answer to the rust resistance of your gun, but I can tell you this: One of the reinforcement layers that makes this shirt so suited for this job, is a thin layer of plastic that helps keeps any moisture from getting from you to your gun.

How do I draw my weapon from this holster?

The Packin’ Tee is a cross draw style holster, traditionally one of the easiest draw motions there is. If you have a button down shirt, just reach inside and grab the weapon. If you have a non-button down (pullover) type shirt, just grab the shirt bottom nearest the gun, and pull the shirt over the top of the weapon, then go ahead and grab your gun.

Do Packin’ Tees come in “big and tall” sizes?

Yes and sort of. Yes, in that they currently come in 2x, 3x, and 4x shirts. There are no specific “tall” versions, but these shirts were made longer than most concealment shirts, and as a result, most people will find the length to be fine. The larger the shirt, the longer they are.

Can I get a Packin’ Tee configured to carry two guns?

One of the really nice things about this design is that you can easily configure it to whatever you need to go. It comes standard with both left and right mountings. Possible setups include:

One gun, no other rigging

Two guns, no other rigging

One gun, plus magazine carrier

One gun, plus hidden pocket

Bear in mind that you can buy the equipment to run any and all of these options, but you can only run the above options at any given time. The mag carrier takes the place of the second gun, for example.

How many different holsters are there available for the Packin’ Tee?

There are currently two, “large” and “small”. To make life easier for everyone involved, I’m selling these holsters as a set, so no matter what holster you need, you will be set to go. To determine which one you need for your particular gun, just try them out and see which one fits better.

Packin' Tee Display at a Gun Show

Packin’ Tee Display at a Gun Show

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Remora Holster – No Clip No Slip Excellence

Remora Holster – Once Upon a Time

Years ago, I used to sell the Remora Holster at the gun shows. While I’ve moved on to a similar product in the Grip Hugger, I still have a spot in my heart for the Remora Holster.

The Remora holsters typically share the same basic features. They use a very grippy and waterproof PVC outer coating and the edging is made from the same material. A cordura nylon inside, and 1/8″ closed cell foam for padding in the middle. That describes the Basic Remora Holster

Before going any further, here’s a video that I made many years ago, featuring my daughter Morgan, doing a basic demonstration of the Remora holster:

Remora Holster has made a video that really does a good job of explaining all of the basics.

Options, Options, Options

Remora Holster didn’t stick to the one product. They kept tinkering and creating new options for the holster. Some were simply cosmetic, such as different color linings, or even different color exteriors. Some put their logo in the material itself.

There were a number of useful options, however.

Tuckable Remora Holster

Remora has made a good video explaining how this variant works. It actually has info in it that wasn’t available when I was selling them.

When I was selling these, the tuckables never really were a fast mover for me. I just didn’t get a lot of people wanting that particular feature. A friend of mine that sells in another area, though, does have better luck with them than I did.

Remora RFT Holster

RFT stands for “Reinforced Top”. A stiffener is placed at the top of the mouth of the holster. This keeps the holster mouth open when the gun is removed. This feature allows the wearer to “one hand reholster”, which is to return the gun to holster carry without actually manipulating the holster.

The video explains this in detail:

This is a feature mostly in demand from law enforcement officers, who may find themselves with a hand busy dealing with a suspect. A typical concealed carrier probably isn’t going to find themselves in that situation. A number of people still want that capacity, though, and this provides it.

The Body Shields

I didn’t spot a video explaining this one, so we will just have to do it the old fashioned way. A Body Shield holster is one that is taller on one side (the side towards the body) than the other side. The reason for this is so that people who don’t want any metal touching their body, don’t have to have metal touching their body.

To make matters more fun for us vendors, they actually had two versions, a normal and a really tall version. The body shield is directional, it has to be only right handed or left handed. The basic Remora Holster was completely ambidextrous, the Body Shields? Not at all.

If you are making these as you go, such as Remora Holster would be doing, this isn’t an issue. If you have to buy your products in advance and try to guess what the public wants to get, then you have an issue.

There are actually a lot more variants out there, including some that were introduced after I stopped carrying the holsters. Given that, it would be hard for me to comment on them, so I won’t. As a gun show vendor, I keep my stock to a small table space and as fast moving as I can. The Remora Holster line is excellent, but it just got too much to try to keep up with as a vendor.

I have no trouble recommending the Remora Holster to anyone looking for a good concealed carry option. I just no longer carry them myself, going with the Grip Hugger holster instead.

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Don Hume Leather Holsters

Don Hume Leather Holsters

Don Hume Leather Holsters have been around on the market for a good 40 years plus. Based in Miami Oklahoma, they have been producing a number of styles popular in the concealed carry community. I have been carrying some of their models at the gun shows for quite some time now.

JIT Holster (OWB Style)

Don Hume JIT Holster - Front view

Don Hume JIT Leather Holsters front

The JIT is an “outside the waistband” (OWB) holster intended for the 3:00 to 4:00 position, or 9:00 to 8:00 if you are left handed.

There is no “cant” to this gun, in that it’s built to keep the gun straight up and down.

The pistol rides “high” in this holster compared to some. The center of gravity will be on the beltline, with the pistol grip above the center of gravity. This design puts the gun overall higher than some. This makes it a bit easier to hide than lower hanging holsters.

If you are wanting your gun to be straight up and down, and on or near the hip, the JIT holster is a good option.

Don Hume JIT Holsters

First Agent H710

Don Hume H710 First Agent Holster - Front Side

Don Hume H710 First Agent Leather Holsters – Front

The H710 First Agent OWB (Outside the Waistband) holster is comparable to the JIT style holster. The main difference is that it has a 15 degree forward cant rather than being straight up and down.

Because of this, it’s primary position should be on or behind the hip. Think 3:00 to 5:00 for right handed people, and 9:00 to 7:00 for left handed.

Placing this holster in front of the hips can be done. I don’t recommend it, though. It creates a rather awkward draw stroke.

Don Hume H710 First Agent Holsters

H715M IWB (Inside the Waistband)

Don Hume H715M IWB Leather holster - Front View

Don Hume H715M Leather Holsters – Front

This is the most typical of the Humes leather line of Inside the Waistband holsters. It’s a design that features the “mouth reinforcement” that allows easier one-handed reholstering of the gun. It’s secured to the carrier with a very strong metal clip. Trust me on this, it’s a very strong clip. A lot of people trying these on at the gun shows have trouble removing it.

Don Hume H715M IWB Holsters

General Notes on Don Hume Leather Holsters

These holsters are all molded to specific gun types. Many holsters are “forgiving” on the fits. Molded leather is not one of those types. Double check the fittings on a holster before purchasing it.  Make sure that it’s marked for your gun.

Don Hume Holsters

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Ankle Holster with Calf Strap

Ankle Holster with Calf Strap

Ankle Holster with Calf Strap and Thumb Strap

Ankle Holster with Calf Strap and Thumb Strap retention.

The ankle holster that I sell at the gun shows is a fairly basic model, but works well. It comes sized for five basic gun styles. It has an adjustable thumb strap giving it a level of retention against droppage.

Calf Strap

One of the most important features of an ankle holster is the calf strap. This goes up to just above the calf muscle, and below the knee.  It helps to secure the holster from “wandering downwards”.

An ankle is naturally a “v” shape, pointing down. Wrap something around it, and move it enough, and the item in question will start migrating downwards. This isn’t something you want happening. A calf strap helps to keep this from happening. It shares the weight of the rig.  And it puts it in an area that is wider at the “bottom” than the top.  Thus making it far harder to move accidentally.

Recommendations

I am personally not a big fan of this type of holster in general, no matter what it’s design. It tends to be a slower draw than other holster designs, and harder to get to in a hurry. However, there are uses for this design, and people for whom it works well.

I’ve talked with people, for example, that drive for a living: Taxis, Ubers, Truck Drivers. They appreciate being able to keep the gun out of the waistline.  Given their seated posture, snagging a gun out of a ankle holster isn’t as difficult for them.

The next group of people that find the ankle holster useful, are those that are in need of “deep concealment”. Most people don’t tend to check out your ankles, so this can be a decent way to avoid casual detection when concealed carrying.

One other thing that I can recommend the ankle holster for: It’s good for a secondary gun. If you feel the need for a second gun, an ankle holster usually won’t get in the way of your primary gun.

Nylon Ankle Holsters

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Nylon Clip Holster – Outside the Waistband

Nylon Clip Holster

Basic Clip Holster, Nylon OWB

Basic Nylon Clip Holster, Outside the Waist style

This type of clip holster is not something that I recommend for concealed carry duty due to it’s overall bulk. This holster can be very difficult to hide. However, a good number of them sell, simply because they are inexpensive, and they fulfill functions that aren’t related to concealed carry.

If you need your gun protected in place, such as in a vehicle, these are fine. If you are headed out back for a little target practice, these are great for that.

Open Carry Option?

Technically, yes, you can use this for Open Carry work. I usually recommend something a bit more secure if you are expecting the possibility of having someone fight you for possession of your gun, though.

This holster does have a retention strap. However, it’s more designed with the idea of preventing accidental drops. Defense against an aggressor is a whole different ball game.

Features

Most Nylon Outside the Waistband Holsters have the same basic features. The ones I work with have a metal clip to attach with. You can move the clip from side to side. This allows for right handed or left handed use.

If you don’t like to use a metal clip, there is a space to pass your belt through for securing it to you.

The thumb break security strap attaches with velcro hook and loop, and can be moved around to suit your needs.

The holsters intended for use with a pistol have a built in magazine pouch for carrying a spare magazine. The ones built for use with a revolver do NOT have this feature.

This should not be your primary concealed carry option.  It’s rather difficult to hide.  It does make a good non-conceal option for many purposes.

Nylon OWB Holsters

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Derringer Holster for small handguns

Nylon Derringer Holster

At the gun shows, I carry three sizes of Derringer Holster. These are Nylon with a single clip and an adjustable retention strap.

Three sizes of Derringer Holster

Three sizes of Derringer Holster

The construction of this holster allows it to be worn inside the waist or outside the waist. Most people that I’ve sold this to at the shows, choose to wear them outside the waist for comfort. Since they are so small overall, it’s really not that hard to conceal.

Small Sized

The top most holster on the photo is the “small” sized nylon derringer holster. This is a specialty fit for the ultra-small NAA small revolvers. The bottom is open on this, so even the longer barrel models should be fine.

Medium sized

The middle holster, the medium nylon derringer holster, and occasionally the bottom one, fits the more typical Derringer class guns. Note that the exceedingly large ones, such as any of the Bond Arms class guns, will NOT fit in any of these nylon derringer holsters, period.

Large sized

Some of the guns that fit this holster include:

Ruger LCP (first model, the LCP II has a larger trigger guard)

Kel Tec P32 and P3AT

Beretta Tomcat, Bobcat, 22A

Sig Sauer P238

Diamondback DB380

NAA .32 auto and variants

Seecamp .32 auto

Kahr Arms P380

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 with red laser or no laser.  The Green laser model is a bit bulkier.

Kimber Micro Carry .380

If the gun you are looking to holster is within these general sizes, and does not feature an overly large trigger guard, you should be able to use it.  Always check manufacturers recommendations when picking a holster.

Retention Notes

Retention on these holsters uses a velcro thumb break strap.  You will need a butter knife or a tongue depressor to make adjustments.

Nylon Derringer Holsters

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Clipless Holster by Grip Hugger

Grip Hugger Clipless Holster

At the gun shows, for this very popular class of compression style clipless holster, I’ve been carrying Remora Holsters (previously), and currently, the Camille Conceals Grip Hugger holster.

What is a Clipless holster?

Clipless Holster Display at a Gun Show

Grip Hugger Clipless Holsters on Display at a gun show.

The Clipless Holster style is one of the simplest holster systems I’ve personally seen. Most holster systems rely on a series of one or more clips to attach the holster. The clipless holster does not have any clips at all.  The Grip Hugger has an outer shell of very “grippy” material being put until some compression by the inside the waist position and the clothes you are wearing.

At first, this sounds a bit hard to believe. This is why, at the gun shows, I don’t even attempt to tell people how it works. I find out what gun they are looking to conceal, snag an aluminum dummy of said gun, put it in the holster, and let them try it for themselves. Trying is believing.

Basic Info

The outer layer and the edge is a grippy waterproof PVC material. The lining is a Cordura nylon material. The inside layer is 1/8″ closed cell foam.

How they work

Put something inside your waistband and pressure is exerted on it. Even if you have a fairly loose waistband, there is some pressure there. This pressure is what the “Grippy waterproof PVC material” uses to keep the holster in place.

What can I wear and use this?

Most basic outer clothes I’ve seen work well with this style of holster. What can be fun to wrap your head around, is that a lot of “lighter weight” clothing, such as gym shorts and sweat pants, can work with a clipless holster as well. So long as there is enough compression to keep the pants on your hips, you are probably fine.

There is one material, though, that I’ve found to not work well with this. And that would be Silk.  If you commonly wear silk pants, then the Grip Hugger Clipless Inside the Waistband holster, may not be for you.

Luckily, I’ve only seen one person wearing silk out in public, at least at a gun show.

Gun Fittings

This is not a “one size fits all” item. Because you want the gun to fit in snug, there are actually a number of sizes available, which needs to be specified when getting one of these holsters.

Lasers, Lights, and Rails, Oh My

Adding rail mounted devices such as laser sights and tactical lights are an increasingly popular option to many concealed carry guns. With hard molded holsters such as saddle leather, kydex or plastic, the holsters often need to be specifically made for the gun and device combination.

This is not the case with either the Grip Hugger Clipless holsters. There are special fittings to accommodate such options, but they don’t need to be made specific to one gun and one light/laser combo. Make sure to specify what you have when you order, if you aren’t buying at a gun show and can see right then if it works.

Cant? Can Do!

Most IWB style holsters are pretty much made for sitting at one particular angle, often referred to as the “cant” of the holster. If the barrel is straight up and down, that would be a “0 degree cant”. If you, as a right handed person, tilted it forward so the back of the slide is point at, say, the 11:00 position, that’s approximately a 15 degree cant.

One of the nice things about the way Clipless holsters work, is that you can pretty much put the cant at whatever angle you like within reason. Do you want a backwards cant to use for cross draw? No problem. Want to use the 15 degree forward cant for the FBI position? There you go.

True Ambidextrous Holster

The Clipless holster is a true ambidextrous holster.  The Grip Hugger works for both left handed and right handed people.  Put the holster where you need it and at what angle you prefer, and away you go.

Comfort level

Inside the Waistband holsters aren’t typically known for being comfortable. Shove a hard object (a gun) inside another hard object (a typical IWB holster). Now shove that combo between your belt and your body. Now bend around a bit and see how much you like that.

The Grip Hugger is not only far thinner than a typical holster, it’s padded and it bends a little. This makes it easier to put up with when you start moving around.

Damage to the finish of the gun

Many people worry about the damage that a holster will do to their gun. In the past, this was a very serious concern, and we all have seen guns with “hard holster wear” on them over the years.

Tough Stuff

Modern gun coatings are far, far more tough than their yesteryear equivalents. Some modern finishes were originally developed to coat rock crushing drill bits. I’m thinking that if it can drill through rock, your holster probably isn’t a major issue.

It’s more often the dirt that accumulates in a holster than the holster itself that causes wear and tear, especially in a modern holster. Keep the particulates cleaned out and you shouldn’t have much issue.

Personal Experience

This design of holster simply does not cause holster wear under normal circumstances. I can say this with certainty, because I kept a Smith & Wesson M&P40 full sized gun in one of these holsters, for five years solid. No holster wear, no rust.

Let me expound on that. I had a S&W M&P40 (first gen) in one of these holsters. For five years. Continuous. The gun only came out to show people the finish, and to demonstrate how it worked.

Care and Feeding

On a related note, if you get this holster dirty, it’s very easy to clean. Just take it to the sink, rinse it lightly, a little dish soap and scrub, rinse it lightly again, and dry it. Ready to roll.

Alternatively, at the gun shows, if they got too much skin oil, hand lotion, or whatever on them, I just grabbed an alcohol prep pad and wiped them down.

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Camille Conceals Grip Hugger holster.

Clipless Holster Designs

Remora Holsters

Can I bring my gun to the Gun Show?

Can I bring my gun to the Gun Show?

When talking to people at the gun show about what holster they are looking for, I usually ask them if they have brought their gun with them.  If it’s a lesser known or rarer gun, you may need to have it handy to get a good holster fit.  Many people are under the impression that they are not allowed to bring their guns into the gun show.  In the vast majority of cases, nothing could be farther from the truth!

We are all 2A here

There is no such thing as a gun show that’s ran by anti-gun types.  We are all 2A types to some degree or another, or we wouldn’t be there.  There is an etiquette to be followed when preparing to go to the gun show with your weapon.

Why do this?

There are many reasons why you might want to bring your gun to the gun show.  Perhaps you want to sell it, or perhaps you want to trade it for something more to your liking.  You might be looking for a gunsmith to do some work, or put on a new coating or bluing on  your gun.  Perhaps (as is usually in my case), you want to get a new holster for concealed carry.

The common element among all of those scenarios, is that people will be handling your gun at the gun show.  You may be passing it over to others, you may be handling it yourself.  The best way to handle this situation is to make sure that any gun that will be handled is unloaded.  To both verify this, and to make it easy to visually check that the gun is unloaded, guns are “tied off” with zip ties.

Tying off a Gun

There are many, many ways to “tie off” a gun, and most shows have their own ways that they want to see it done.  Because of this, there really is very little incentive for you to “tie off” your gun.  It’s easier to just let the show officials do it for you.

The general rule for this situation, is to make sure that your guns are empty before you walk into the gun show.  You hand them to the officers working the gun check table. The officers examine the weapons to insure that they are unloaded.  They then zip tie the guns to show their empty status.  Next they typically put a “mark” such as a special sticker or label on the gun.  This is to show that the gun came in the door with you.

It is possible to unload the gun while standing at the gun check table.  However, if you choose to do it this way, please heed the following sign:

Note that ignoring this sign is a bad idea

Please do not be this guy. Do not be the guy that points a gun at anyone, let alone the gun check officers.

I know, I know.  You are smarter than that.  However, there was someone, somewhere, that wasn’t.  And you may be handing your weapon to them at the show.  This is why we have the gun tie-off rules.

Once you are cleared

Once in the show, go ahead and do what you came to do.  Just leave the zip strip in place while you do it.  Sometimes, when fitting holsters, zip ties get in the way.  It’s typically permissible to remove zip ties temporarily when fitting, so long as they are replaced before you leave the vendor.  Make sure to ask the vendor if they have spare zip ties to retie your weapon after doing this.

Time to Go

Ready to leave?  No problem!  You don’t need to check in with the gun check table before leaving.  Show personnel may check your guns to see if they are properly marked.  Remember that label that they put on the gun when you came in?  This is an anti-theft measure, to ensure that people don’t just “pick up a gun” laying on a table and walk out the door, claiming it’s theirs.  So long as the gun is properly labeled, or you have the sales invoice where you bought it at the show, it’s on to the parking lot.

In most areas, you can remove the zip ties once you head for the door.  You can also load back up at this time if you want.  I would suggest that you wait until you get to your car in most cases, though.  There really isn’t any point in making passers by nervous from seeing people walking out loading guns.  You and I both know we aren’t looking to cause trouble.  But why tempt fate?

Part of my Dummy Gun Selection at a gun show.

Part of my Dummy Gun Selection at the Gun Shows.

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Camille Conceals Concealed Carry Purses

Camille Conceals Concealed Carry Purses

I just wanted to take a moment to recommend a couple of friends of mine, the people that run Camille Conceals Concealed Carry Purses. Based out of Colorado, they produce some very nice and innovative Women’s concealed carry products.

Camille Conceals Women’s Concealed Carry purses and holsters

I don’t carry concealed carry purses for sale, for a very simple reason. I found out long ago, that I just don’t have any sense of style, at least when it comes to women’s accessories.

The conventional wisdom regarding off-body carry of a concealed weapon is usually “don’t do that”. In principle, I agree with that. However, lets be honest here, womens clothing was not made for concealment in general. As a result, sometimes a purse carry is the only real option available for many people.

If you have to go that way, you might as well make the most of it.

Husband and Wife team

Camille Conceals is a husband and wife team out of Colorado. They work the gun show circuit, same as I do, and they really do go the extra mile to make good products for their customers.

There are plenty of people out there selling other peoples products. Heck, I’m one of those myself. Camille Conceals actually builds their own products for sale. The Grip Hugger holster that I sell at the gun shows, comes from them, for example.

If you are wanting to try out purse carry, it’s worth your time to have a look at Camille Conceals and their line of concealed carry purses.

Camille Conceals Concealed Carry Purses

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Concealed Carry Gun Selection

Concealed Carry Gun Selection

Concealed Carry Gun Selection can be a big can of worms.  Everyone has an opinion, and of course, it’s totally right. For them, at least.  I’m not going to get into “what caliber is the best”, or what ammo is the best, I’m simply going to point out some facts that should be universal.

Small guns are easier to hide.

File that under “no duh?”, right?  There are a lot of people that pick out a duty sized weapon for concealed carry.  It doesn’t matter what the reason might be, or what the perceived need is for a full sized duty gun is. The bigger it is, the harder it hides, it’s as simple as that.  If you pick on a smaller weapon, you are going to have more concealment options.

Hurtful Things

Sharp angles and pointy things HURT.  And they hurt YOU.  Anytime you have an odd or pointy shape pointed against your body, you are asking for pain.  If you choose to carry a gun with such features, there are ways to help.  Switching to Outside the waistband holsters.  Using something that gets it away from being pressed against your body (belly band, concealment T-shirt), but it is something that needs to be considered. Even just getting a “body shield” style holster can make a difference.

Rust is not your friend

Your best bet for a convenient concealed carry gun selection is going to be one that’s as rustproof as possible.  If you carry a finely blued gun, sooner or later, you are probably going to be cleaning surface rust from it.  Pick a stainless, a hard chromed, a nickel plated gun, or a Duracoated Gun (or just one with a really nice hard finish), and you will spend a lot less time worrying about the metallurgical state of your weapon.

Safety Features

This is easily “the eternal question” and probably deserves it’s own write up.

Safety features should always come into consideration in concealed carry gun selection.  Make sure that you are are comfortable with the safety features on your weapon, that there are enough for you to be comfortable, and that you practice until the muscle memory takes over and you don’t have to think about pulling down the safeties when you need the gun.

Muscle memory is the phenomena where you are so used to doing something, that you automatically do it without having to think about the steps involved.  Think “buttoning up your shirt” or “tying your shoelaces”…  you just do it without thinking “this goes here, and I push on that”.

Slim is In

The thinner, the better. Usually.  Automatics tend to be thin already, but some of them are still quite thick.  A thinner gun is simply easier to hide than a thick one.  Single stack mag weapons (guns with magazines that hold one round on top of the other, not “staggered” to put more rounds on it) tend to have the thinnest outlines, because they don’t have to accommodate a double stacked magazine.  There are double stacked guns out there with pretty thin outlines.  Choose carefully.

Remember that the obvious “flip side” to a thinner weapon is that you carry less ammo in the gun. If the amount of ammo that you carry is a concern, you should weight that when considering a thin gun.

Price and Safe Queens

Price comes up when selecting a concealed carry gun, not only because you need to be able to afford to buy the gun (because even if it’s perfect for you, if you can’t afford it, it doesn’t help), but because you need to actually be willing to CARRY the weapon.  Time and time again, I’ve heard people talk about their perfect carry weapon.

That they don’t have on them.  Why?  Because if they carried it, it might get rusty, scratched, dinged, or otherwise depreciated.

I understand that, but that doesn’t help out when you need a weapon.  Sometimes, picking on an ugly and relatively cheap weapon as your day to day carry makes perfect sense, especially if you actually carry it day to day, rather than leave it in the safe at home.  The gun you have with you is far more effective than the gun that you left at home.

Weapon Reliability

Of course, reliability of the weapon is a key concern, and that should be obvious to anyone.  Reliability not only affects whether it goes “boom” when you want it to, it also affects whether or not it goes “boom” when you DON’T want it to.  Make sure that the weapon that you choose is reliable enough to satisfy you in both of these regards.

There is no one perfect gun. If there was a perfect gun, that’s the only one that would ever be made.  Every weapon has a mix of features and benefits (and liabilities), that you are going to have to weigh to find out what works for you in the situations that you find yourself in.  Just be sure to think about the options carefully, and in time, you will find yourself a good option or two.

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