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Buying Pants for Concealed Carry (Pt. 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at my 3 Steps to Buying Pants for Concealed Carry.  And now in Part 2 I will provide you with insight as to the why and how these steps work together.  To recap, our steps are as follows:

  1. Know Your Size
  2. Know Your EDC Loadout
  3. Try Them On

The Pants

Pants buying alone can either be simple or frustrating, throw in a handgun and two spare magazines and it can become a nightmare that many dread.  Knowing your size is half the battle.  It gives you a place to start and almost gets rid of the need to wear a belt because your pants fit you so well.  The general rule of thumb when it comes to pants for concealed carry is to buy the next size up.  While this is decent advice, I find that it is one of those hand-me-down statements spread through gun forums and gun stores based upon age-old thinking from when most of the firearms available for carry had 5″ barrels and/or huge cylinders.

Looking for pants one size up is too broad; especially if you shop in real mens clothing stores such as Jos. A. Bank.  Depending on the store (sometimes even the brand), the next size up could be 1 number or 2 (i.e. 30-32 or 30-31).  When you know your size you at least know where to start on the rack.

CBH_PDN_600x90Once you have your size now you need to know your gear.  Not just your gun, but your holster, extra magazine carrier, keys, gun belts, knife, etc.  Any and everything you carry daily should be accounted for.

Starting with The Gun

XDs 4.0 inside of a Gun Vault Nano Vault 300 (NV 300)

XDs 4.0 inside of a Gun Vault Nano Vault 300 (NV 300)

Today’s assortment of firearms is geared directly towards CCW; which is great for us!  Not only do we have many choices of calibers, barrel sizes, striker or hammer fired, revolver or semi-auto but in case you haven’t heard……………………………………………………..THIN IS IN! Guns like the Springfield Armory XDs, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and many others all tout a thickness of 1″ or less.  With a thickness of 1″, one can easily fit a firearm in pants that perfectly fit ones waiste.

With thin guns also comes thin holsters.  Some made out of kydex, nylon, leather, or a combination.  Many of which are far less than an inch thick.  So with a 1″ firearm, a holster less than an inch thick, one would be hard pressed to make up an additional 2 inches of space inside-the-waistband.  But we still need to factor in additional magazines, if you choose to carry them.

Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry & Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier

If we are sticking with the idea of carrying slim firearms, then those magazines are thinner than the guns that they fit in.  Pair that with a nice mag carrier and you STILL do not get a full 2″ of space.

As far as belts go, most gun belts are either 1.4″ or 1.5″ wide; which is important to note because not all belt loops are wide enough to accommodate.  Now if you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook you have likely seen several times that I have shown that I am not wearing a gun belt, but we will save that discussion for another post.

The rest of your loadout is either carried on your belt or inside a pocket depending on how dapper you are dressing.  Pockets on pants come with all sorts of different cuts and depths.  Knowing what you intend to put in those pockets is paramount in selecting pants.  For example: If your EDC pocketknife has an unopened length of 4″, those snazzy chinos with the shallow pockets are probably a bad idea (unless you have a smaller knife to carry when you wear them).  This is just one example of the myriad of things that maybe in your everyday carry that should be accounted for.

The Perfect Fit

Now that we have gotten sized for pants and have all of our gear in mind, it is time to grab some pants off the rack or shelf (preferably 1 that is your exact size, 1 size up if they have it,  and another 2 sizes up) and head into the fitting room.

FullSizeRender

As if trying on pants was not already a tedious procedure, it is even more so when you add in a gun and a belt.  But in order to get this right we have to include those items in this process.  Of course we need to follow all 4 Gun Safety Rules as we remove our holster from our current pants (you did bring your firearm correct?).  We are now going to proceed with trying on the new pants WITH our holstered weapon and OUR belt.  This is important because here is where we find out if we can stick with our actual size, one size up, or two.

Once you land on a pair that is a comfortable fit, I like to make note (mental or actual) of the brand and possibly the model for future reference.  This is great when you shop major retailers/brands such as Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, and Levis.  With this information you are now equipped to shop for those same pants in different colors; in-store or online.


Conclusion

Carrying a gun does not mean you have have to dress like you are reliving high school. Neither does it mean you have to be uncomfortable while carrying. Whether you are purchasing a nice pair of slacks or slim fit jeans, these 3 steps will help to ensure you get perfect fitting CCW pants every time. 

Feel free to add something you feel I missed down in the comments, and if there’s something specific you would like me to talk about, send me an email at dapperconcealedcarry@gmail.com

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– Peace 

Buying Pants for Concealed Carry (Pt. 1)

If you have done any searching for how-to guides or just general information on concealed carry you have likely ran across the almost unanimous advice of gun belts and good holsters.  But finding information on pants buying is a lot tougher to find and usually coming from someone who is no where near a fashion expert (was that politically correct enough?).

In the gun forums, most of the recommendations talk about buying pants that are the next size up which is not bad advice; nor is it great either.  The reason I say it is not great advice is because it is too general of a statement.  Like shoes, pants can run big or small and have different cuts that affect the way they wear.

In this 1st post of a 2 part series, I would like to start by breaking down the pants buying process into 3 easy steps that will ensure that you get the perfect pants every time you shop.

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1. Know Your Size

Clothing Meaurement Tape

Knowing your pant size is as important as knowing your shoes size.  If you have never been sized or have not been recently, I highly recommend getting yourself sized.  Not only for pants, but for clothes in general.  One of the keys to living the #dapperccw lifestyle is wearing clothes that fit properly.  (Most big name suit/clothing retailers offer sizing as a complimentary service) Once you have your size you now have the essential piece of information needed to buy the perfect pants for CCW every single time.

2. Know Your EDC Loadout

EDC Loadout

 

We have all come across those individuals that can tell you everything about the guns in their safe all the way down to the date they were each manufactured.  But knowing your Everyday Carry (EDC) loadout goes beyond just knowing the specs of your firearms.  If you are truly living the responsibly armed lifestyle, then there is a lot more involved in your loadout than the gun you are carrying.  Without taking your carry gear into account when buying pants, you are likely to make purchases that do not completely fit you needs.

The following are just a few examples of the many items that may be included in you gear that you must account for when shopping for pants:

  • Gun(s) & Holster(s)
  • Belt(s)
  • Pocket Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Chapstick
  • Pen
  • Extra Mag(s)
  • OC Spray

You may be wondering what knowing your gear has to do with buying pants.  The answer is EVERYTHING.  If you do not know what is in your EDC you do not know what type of pockets (cut and size), how much inside-the-waistband (IWB) space, or what belt loop size you need.

3. Try Them On

Fitting Room Pants

This step is probably the most important and should go without saying, but in the age of things like Trunk Club and shopping online I have to make sure I say it.  Even though you know your size, know your gear, and have successfully purchased pants of the same size before, you still want to try them on (preferably with your gun and holster, at least) to ensure that they fit the way you want.  The only time this step is not an absolute must is when you are purchasing the exact same brand and model in a different color.


Now that we have gotten our 3 Steps to Buying Pants for Concealed Carry down, in our next post we will look at how these 3 steps work together and I believe they are a better guide than the general rule of thumb “buy the next size up”.

 

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– Peace

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Volcanic Kydex Creations IWB Holster Review

The Volcanic Kydex Creations (VKC) IWB Holster is handmade right here in the grand ol’ USA.  When ordering you have the choice of several different colors and the option to have it made with a single, adjustable cant clip (which is what I have) or a tuckable J Hook.

Volcanic Kydex Creations IWB Holster

Retention

Straight out of it’s packaging, the holster has one of the most desirable “chicks” I have heard (it is still there after months of testing).  This positive audible click is usually a good sign that the mold is perfect and retention is very good.  And indeed it was.  In fact, the retention was so good that I loosened it a bit, with the adjustable retention screws, to make for a smoother draw.

This is the type of retention that is perfect for anyone who is very active or ones that acknowledge that running, jumping, flipping, etc. might be required in a life or death situation. (You wouldn’t want to successfully retreat from a bad situation only to discover you dropped your favorite handgun in the process!) It also makes for a very deliberate draw. The gun isn’t coming out unless you want it to. This is great for practicing your draw because it forces you to really work on a solid presentation instead of being lazy.

Comfort

For Appendix In-The-Waist Band (AIWB) carry, full kydex holsters can either be extremely uncomfortable, bearably uncomfortable, or extremely comfortable.  It is clear that VKC thought about this in their design by rounding off all the edges.

Volcanin Kydex Creations

These rounded edges allow you to move freely through the the day. Even sitting is comfortable without having the holster poking you in the thigh, or needing to be adjusted every time you stand up an/or sit. (This of course depends on your belt, which we will discuss later in the next section)

If AIWB carry is not your flavor, this holster still works for you.  The adjustable cant of the single clip option allows this holster to be carried in the 4-5 o’clock position while allowing for a smooth comfortable draw.

I find this position to be great with this holster.

Now to the part that really matters to us here at Dapper Concealed Carry…

Concealment

In both the appendix and the 4-5 o’clock carry positions this holster conceals very well.  The ride height is very generous and allows you to get a full firing grip on the firearm before drawing.

 

Most of the time this is seen as a negative for concealment because the grip of the gun is what tends to be the most difficult part to conceal.  With this holster, I didn’t find it to be a problem.  In fact I find it easier to conceal when the gun rides high.  The thing that helps this with the VKC IWB Holster is a small indenture under the clip to allow the clip to get a good hold on the belt.

Volcanic Kydex Creations - Molded Clip

Speaking of belts, I did run across something to look out for with holster and belts. Belt thickness (not width) is not something that we particularly think about when selecting belts, but with this particular holster’s clip it is something to consider. If you noticed in previous photos that my belt seemed to be pushed over to the side away from the center, this was not on accident. Because of the thinness of my belts, the holster would shift slightly throughout the day, in the appendix carry position, due to constant sitting down and standing up. So to fix this, I put my belts on from right to left; which allows for the excess to be on my appendix side and creates a thicker support for the molded clip.  This adjustment does cause the holster to push out a little further from the body, but not enough to create a printing problem.


 I have not had this problem in the 4-5’oclock position.

Conclusion

The Volcanic Kydex Creations IWB Holster is a fantastic holster that fits into most EDC load outs.  It works well in the appendix carry as well as the 4-5 o’clock positions.  The rounded edges makes it very comfortable and easily concealable.

Currently the Volcanic Kydex Creations website is being updated and I am waiting to hear back from the owner about how you can contact them to place your order.

Stay tuned for the video review coming soon.

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– Peace

So Now Carrying A Gun In Church Is A Good Idea

As Pro-Gun advocates, one of the first things we want to do after a mass shooting (AFTER giving our condolences to the families of the victims), is say something to the effect of, “See I/we told you so”.

If you have been paying attention long enough, then the recent mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC does not come as a shock to you.  But to some, this is the first time they have actually seen and/or paid attention to a church shooting.  With just a quick search of “church shootings” on your favorite search engine, you will quickly see that these types of shootings have been taking place for years, but for whatever reason carry a gun in church is still illegal in many places and is frowned upon by many (some who even claim to support gun rights).

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It is sad that we have to have these types of events to occur before some people start to rethink their position on concealed carry and firearms in general.  Even Jesus in Luke 22:36 NLT said,

if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!

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– Peace

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Lessons Learned After A Year of Carrying A Gun

A little over a year ago, I joined the ranks of the armed citizenry and began concealed carrying a gun everyday.  If you have read my 1st blog post (My Journey To Concealed Carry) then you already know about my somewhat irregular path to carrying.

 

If you are still on the fence about concealed carry, this post may help you.

There are 3 main things that I learned from carrying daily for a year:

  1. People really can not tell when you are carrying a gun. (When you are properly concealing)
  2. It is not as uncomfortable as I thought it might have been.  (Holster, belt, and pants contribute to this)
  3. Non Permissive Environments (NPEs) are stupid. (The reason is probably not what you think)

People Really Can Not Tell When You Are Carrying

This is one of the ones that new carriers worry about the most………….printing.

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Does my gun make me look fat?

Printing is something that the gun community has zeroed in on as something the be conscious of.  But after a year with a firearm strapped to me everyday,  I have found it to be somewhat ridiculous.  In order for you to be spotted printing, someone has to be staring directly at you (for a considerable amount of time) and at the exact spot your firearm is in for them to notice.  Of course if you are wearing a shirt that is 2 sizes too small for you, you wont just be printing, you will have a complete outline of of your firearm showing.

Even if you have a slight bulge, the average person is not going to be staring you down trying to figure out if you are carrying or not.

 It Is Not As Uncomfortable As I Thought

I initially thought that concealed carry would be somewhat uncomfortable and that I would have to get used to that in order to feel comforted by the fact that I had a gun on me.    This was mostly due to what you hear others say about CCW.  But the fact is, that with today’s modern firearms and wide selection of holsters, you can be extremely comfortable while carrying.  Almost to the point where you could forget at times that you are!  I have even fallen asleep while wearing my gun with a Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry (You can read my review of it here).

NPEs Are Stupid!

It is already bad enough that there is actually a list of places where you cannot carry your weapon.  Most people will bring up the fact that these places are targets for criminals because they know that no one there will be armed.  And while this is a valid point, my gripe with most NPEs is that they DO NOT ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING TO ENSURE THAT NO ONE IS ARMED!!!

As I law abiding citizen, I like to abide by the law.  Even if that sometimes means I am walking into a place that could potentially make me a victim (I try not to frequent places like this often).  It really irks me that, after I go through all the trouble of disarming myself and ensuring that no one can easily access my firearm while I am away,

XDs 4.0 inside of a Gun Vault Nano Vault 300 (NV 300)

XDs 4.0 inside of a Gun Vault Nano Vault 300 (NV 300)

there is no one actually checking to make sure that everyone is disarmed.  Even when going to an event where they check women’s purses, which is a joke.  They do such a poor job at it that you could practically bring in a fully assembled AR-15!

I just don’t get it.  With no metal detectors or pat downs, how in the world do they expect there to be no weapons of any kind?

Photo credit: http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/11/no-firearms-or-weapons-sign-download.html

Photo credit: http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/11/no-firearms-or-weapons-sign-download.html

They really can not expect any one, criminal or law abiding, to just obey this sign can they?

Conclusion

While there are only 3 things listed here, these are the things that truly stood out to me in my reflections of the past year.  If you have a specific question, feel free to ask.

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– Peace

 

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Rubber City Holsters: The Akron Holster Review

Having spent almost an entire year exclusively carrying appendix with the Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry (you can read my review of it here), I was both eager and skeptical to try out this holster from Rubber City Holsters.

 Retention

Let me start off by saying that, with this holster, the gun is not coming out unless you WANT it to.  The factory retention of this holster is beyond what I consider to be adequate for an IWB holster (it does come with an additional spacer that can loosen it up if desired).  It is absolutely superb and feels as if you could throw it across a room with the gun in it and the gun will stay in place (if you are going to try this make sure you UNLOAD the gun and throw it into a sofa or on the bed, so you don’t scratch up your firearm or the walls).

This level of retention is fantastic for draw practice because you can not lazily draw from this holster; the draw has to be strong and deliberate to get the handgun out.  Check out the following videos to see the draw from this holster.

 Comfort

Previous to this holster, my experience with AIWB holsters was from a few weeks with a DeSantis Pro Stealth, which is made out of ballistic nylon and almost a full year with a Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry (Check out my review of it here), which is a hybrid kydex mold with cowhide backing.  I had always been skeptical about a full kydex mold inside my pants.  Just the thought of it seemed uncomfortable because there was no padding or cushion to keep the holster from poking you.  I was presently surprised to find that this holster was extremely comfortable once I found the sweet spot.

There is one caveat.  Depending on the pants and where the belt loops are place, you may not get the holster perfectly in your sweet spot every time until you memorize the location on each pair of pants you have (this is a nightmare if you are a fashion junkie).

The above pictures show the different placements that can occur (Left: inside the belt loop, Right: outside the belt loop) with different pants and trying to achieve the sweet spot.  This approximately 1 inch difference makes a HUGE difference in the overall comfort of this holster because of its rounded edge around the clip/retention screws.

Get the placement wrong and you will quickly realize it after sitting down for a period of time.  When the holster is not in the sweet-spot, this rounded edge digs into your thigh and it can be painful if you do not adjust it.

Concealment

Because of its .08 thickness, the Rubber City Holsters: The Akron Holster slips inside-the-waistband easily and doesn’t add any unnecessary bulging.  Using the injection molded strut with soft loop, the holster holds close to the body and doesn’t move too much once you adjust the loop to your belt’s thickness.  There is also an injection molded clip available that I have not tried out yet, but I will update this review when I do.

This holster is tuckable and even though the loop or clip isn’t hidden, I was never asked about it nor do I think anyone actually saw it anyways; because like I’ve said before, nobody wants to look at another person’s crotch unless they are a pervert.

Adjustments

Sometimes a holster is almost perfect but is hindered by one or two minor adjustments needing to be made.  Rubber City Holsters has thought about this and provide some fantastic height adjustments that make this holster even more awesome.  The injection molded strut and soft loop both have 3 different holes at different heights allowing you to tailor the holster to your likings.  Out of the 9 possible settings, I adjusted mine 3 times before settling on what I find to be the perfect setting for me.

From left to right in the pictures above, you can see the 3 different heights I experimented with.  Also with these height adjustments, I altered how tight the loop was around the belt, which slightly affects the height as well but more importantly how much wiggle you will get throughout the day or when drawing.  If you prefer a deeper concealment you can achieve it and if you want to get a firm grip on the firearm before drawing you can achieve that as well (3rd picture).

Conclusions

At $55 for a handcrafted in the USA kydex holster, The Akron from Rubber City Holsters is a great addition to your holster collection or if you are looking for a new EDC holster.  With its superb retention, ability to tuck, and range of adjustments this holster is definitely amongst my favorites and I currently go to it more than my Crossbreed (gasp).

If you decide to give this holster a try, visit Rubber City Holsters and you can receive 10% OFF of your entire order by using the coupon code “DCCW10” at checkout.

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– Peace

 

 

 

Appendix Carry & Why I Prefer It

Appendix carry is not new, but in the last few years or so there seems to be a lot of rave about it.  Like every other topic or debate in gun culture, there are people that love it and there are those that hate it.  Me personally,  I absolutely love appendix carry and it is my preferred method for 2 main reasons:

  1. Ease of Concealment
  2. Tactics

***I purposely left out comfort because it is subjective and dependent on different variables from person to person.***

Before I dive into these, let me preface this by saying that: as of this time, I have only carried appendix and strong side (3 o’clock position).  I will update this post or revisit this discussion as I test more holsters and methods of carry.

Ease of Concealment

Concealed carry is all about concealment at all times.  This includes reaching up for something on a top shelf at Walmart.  When you wear shirts that are your proper size, they tend to be short; which makes reaching up for something without your gun becoming exposed nearly impossible without holding down your shirt.  This is why OWB doesn’t work for fashion conscious concealed carriers and certainly a problem if your state has statutes against exposing your concealed handgun.   By the very nature of this reaching action, you will likely be facing something that will obstruct the view of your torso; therefore, even if your shirt rises above your gun, no one is likely to see it unless they are staring.

This brings up an interesting thought.  Part of carrying a concealed firearm is thinking on a level that most people don’t think psychologically.  For example, we know that it is not polite to stare at another persons crotch.  Using this information alone, appendix carry is the best place to carry undetected because even if you are printing a little bit, no one will be looking long enough or hard enough at you to wonder what that slight bulge or imprint is on your torso.

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Tactics

While I am not an expert on being tactical or “tacticool”, I do believe I have studied and tried enough things to present some solid points on this topic.  Tactics are a huge part of CCW and even if you do not consider yourself to be tactical, you more than likely are because of the way you think in regards to self-defense and protecting yourself and your loved ones.

Ask yourself these questions.  How can you quickly and effectively draw your gun:

  • While seated?
  • If you are pushed down onto your back?
  • If your strong side hand is incapacitated?

It should not take you long to realize that, just in these 3 examples, any other method of carry (lets stick to the common methods of hip carry for the purposes of this topic) is inferior to appendix carry.  Dont just take my word for it; unload your concealed carry gun, holster it, and go see how quickly and effectively you can draw in these scenarios.  Yes I know that training can teach you how to do this, but even with training you will still be slower and you would have to practice those techniques as much if not more than your normal draw practice to make sure you stay fluid.

I will not go as far as to say that drawing from appendix carry is faster than other methods of carry because I believe that to be subjective and dependent on the individual and how much time they have put into training and practicing.  But I will say that no matter what the situation, carrying appendix makes the most sense because of the “right there” access it provides you to your gun at all times.

Conclusion

There are other reasons that I could have listed, but when you think about them, they lead you back to these two methods one way or the other.  And they are reason enough for me to carry appendix 90% of the time.

If you would like to see some convincing photos, head over to the Lookbook or check out the Instagram feed.

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– Peace

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I’m On YouTube!

I have made my way to YouTube and have posted my first two videos.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

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– Peace

2015…The Year of Dreams

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  and welcome to 2015.  If you are reading this, you made it and now it is time to get down to business.  As with every new year, people are setting resolutions and have a positive outlook for things to come and goals to achieve.  As for me, it is the year to get closer to living my dreams.

Most of my dreams are unrelated to concealed carry, self defense, firearms, or fashion, but I do have some goals to achieve here:

  1. Sponsorship
  2. Clothing and Holsters to review
  3. Lighting and backdrop for better photographs
  4. Continue to build a grassroots following
  5. Shoot more often

Those are the big ones that come to mind and I am sure as the year goes on I will come up with other ones.

I challenge you all to think about what it is you dream to do and/or the life you want to live then work out the steps to get there.  And if you have anything you think I should strive to do this year, let me know!

Until next time…

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– Peace

Lookbook

As you can see, I have relocated the blog to an actual website at the recommendation of Kenn Blanchard a.k.a Black Man With A Gun.  If you are not familiar with him, I would highly suggest checking out his site and listening to his Pro Gun Podcast.  Thank you Kenn for your help!

To kickoff this new site I would like you to head on over to the Lookbook page of this site and check out some of the Dapper Concealed Carry Approved outfits.  Leave some comments to let me know what you think.  Also if you would like to be featured on this site, send your pictures to featureme@dapperconcealedcarry.com.

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– Peace

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