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Posts tagged EDC

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

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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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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620 Concealment OWB Kydex Holster Review

Even though I prefer IWB carry, I cannot deny the pleasure of carrying OWB with a nice kydex holster.  And the 620 Concealment OWB Kydex Holster is just that.  Let me preface this review by stating that my only prior experience with Outside-the-Waistband holsters was the XDs Gear Paddle Holster that comes with the Springfield Armory XDs Series pistols.

Retention

As with every holster that I have purchased or received, the first thing I did after unpacking this holster was UNLOAD my firearm and check the fitment and retention.  The first thing that really stood out to me was that there was this sensationally loud “click” sound when inserting the gun into this holster that I had to recreate several times before further examining this holster.

My first thoughts were, “My XDs Gear holster never sounded like this”. (I soon after dug out the hex key that came with the XDs Gear holster and tightened the retention)

Along side the positive “click” when holstering, unholstering is smooth and requires a minimal amount of force but it is enough to make sure drawing is a deliberate action.  If you have to take off running while carrying with this holster, your gun will not flop out and hit the ground.

Comfort

I do believe that most will agree that, Outside-the-Waistband carry is probably the most comfortable method of on-body carry; even with the super comfortable Inside-the-Waistband holsters available today.  Even while driving, this holster was comfortable.  But because of tactics I usually remove the pistol from the holster before buckling up when carrying OWB.

Concealment

The 620 Concealment Kydex OWB Holster lives up to its “concealment” title.  Even on the first day of carrying this holster I immediately noticed the difference between it and my XDs Gear Paddle Holster.  It’s slim design allows the gun to sit very close to the body, which really aids in concealment when wearing shirts that fit.  Even with this there are still some shirts that will cause printing.  But as I stated in the IWB vs OWB Carry article, it is minimal and a person would have to be look very closely to truly notice.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a Kydex OWB Holster for your Everyday Carry (EDC) or to add to your collection, at this price it is hard to beat this holster from 620 Concealment.  Check them out and please let them know who sent you.

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– Peace

IWB vs OWB Carry

Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) and Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) are certainly the two most common ways to carry a handgun, but the debate on which is better will go on for years to come.  Personally I prefer IWB but there are times when I opt for OWB.  If you are new to concealed carry and still trying to decide which method of carry you want to use, I hope to provide you with a resource to help your decision.

Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) Carry

For concealed carry, IWB carry is the easiest way to conceal a handgun.  This is because the slide of the gun is down inside the pants and the only thing left to cover is the grip, which is as easy as throwing on a t-shirt.  Also, inside-the-waistband carry is extremely comfortable, contrary to older beliefs, especially with the current trends of “conceal carry handguns” and the wide range of holsters available.

Printing with IWB carry is relatively minimal compared to OWB depending on the handgun and clothing style.  I am consistently able to wear very fitting clothing without printing.

Appendix carry makes concealment even easier because the average person, man or woman, is not going to be staring into another persons crotch. (Unless they are a flat-out pervert)

Tactically, inside-the-waistband carry gives you better control and access to the firearm at all times, even while driving. (which I do a lot of.)

Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Carry

When a lot of people hear OWB carry they usually think Open Carry, which is not always the case.  Carrying concealed with an outside-the-wiastband holster is very doable, it just requires a little more attention to detail than carrying inside-the-waistband.  Even though, IWB can be extremely comfortable, there is no denying that OWB is much more comfortable because you do not have the cold, hard handgun slide down your pants rubbing against you.

If you are gravely concerned about printing or you gun being seen, I would not recommend OWB carry for you.  This is because it is very likely that throughout the course of your day, someone will see your gun via printing

or because your shirt has raised up enough to reveal the bottom of the slide, or completely exposing your handgun.  As you can see in the above photos, OWB carry with properly fitting clothing makes me look bulky round the waist and if someone looks hard enough, they will likely see the outline of my pistol.  (Adding a jacket to this outfit, would probably get rid of the awkward wideness around the hips)

One major disadvantage to outside-the-waistband carry is driving.  Once you strap on the seatbelt, your access to your firearm is greatly hindered not only by the seatbelt itself, but also your cover garment.  This tactical disadvantage is at the top of my list for why I do not carry this way on a daily basis.  When I do carry this way; however, I often remove the firearm from the holster and wedge it in-between my seat and the center console area.

(I do plan on getting a Grassburr Mountable Holster for this purpose)

Which one is better?

I would not go on record saying one method is better than the other, but I will say that if you are new to concealed carry and are fashion conscious, IWB carry is the way to go because of the ease of concealment and minimal printing even with extremely fitted clothing.  If you can afford it, I would recommend purchasing a holster for both carry methods because there are pros and cons to both and there are times when one method is clearly more desirable and/or appropriate than the other.

No matter which you chose, ALWAYS carry and look dapper while doing it!

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– Peace

Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry and Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier Review

If you have been into concealed carry for awhile or even if you are a new comer to the community, it is very likely that you have heard of Crossbreed Holsters.  If you have not, you should check them out!  They are the original creators of the Hybrid Holster style of Kydex molded holsters attached to leather (or other material) backings.  This review will focus on their Appendix Carry Holster and Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier.

 

Appendix Carry Holster

The first thing that comes to mind for most men when they hear appendix carry is something along the lines of “you’re going to shoot your man parts off!”.  While this may be a valid concern, anyone who has been around firearms and understands how they work knows that as long as the TRIGGER GUARD IS COVERED and you KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER when holstering and drawing the gun is not going to go off unless it has a serious malfunction.

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Now that we have gotten that out of the way.

The Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry Holster is a great option for anyone considering appendix carry.  With it’s one clip design, it makes it easy to put on and take off easily without even having to undo your belt buckle.  The one clip design also allows you to easily adjust the placement of the holster when sitting, if necessary.  The factory retention is adequate for an IWB (Inside The Waistband) holster because the belt will add even more, but there is a way to tighten it if you would like.

The comfort of this holster is superb!  It is so good that I have actually almost slept through an entire night without realizing that my firearm was strapped to me.  And it actually gets more comfortable over time as the cowhide forms to your body.

The placement of the holster will vary slightly depending on how your belt buckle works (I really like the 5.11 Tactical Apex Gunner’s Belt for Everyday Carry).  I also have a modified Crossbreed Holsters Gun Belt w/ Velcro for when I need to tuck in my shirt.

The sweet spot for me is the space right between my upper thigh and my man parts. But there are times to where the one clip design causes the holster to shift on its own.  Sitting is comfortable as long as you actually wear you pants up on your waist.  But when sitting down in the car I usually hike my pants up a little bit because of the way my seats are.  This allows the gun to sit flat against my stomach and is the perfect tactical position while driving.

Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier

Like the Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry Holster, the Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier is extremely comfortable and conforms to your body over time.

Because of its wide, two clip design, this mag carrier’s placement will shift slightly day-to-day depending on where your pant’s belt loops are.  But even so its usually not that noticeable of a shift.  Because of my body shape and the split design of the kydex magazine slots, I had to test out a few different placement options before deciding on my desired spot, which is about the 7 o’clock position.

The only real problem that I had/have with this holster is that occasionally, when I am disarming for the night, I will pull out the magazines and notice that the top round is not properly seated.

After noticing this on several different occasions, I think I discovered the problem.  Because I often carry a backpack over my left shoulder, I believe that while walking the backpack would push down on top of the magazines causing this to happen.  I am still testing this theory and I will be conducting this experiment with other mag carriers to see if I experience the same problem.

Concealment & Clips

Both of these products conceal very well and because they are so comfortable you won’t be shifting them around all day drawing attention to yourself.  Because fashion is a big part of who I am as an individual, I needed to have a deep concealment option for those times when I am wearing tucked shirts.  The tuckability of these holsters is excellent and with the added V-clips (the V is for Velcro), people will really be clueless to the fact that you are carrying.  But there is a flaw to these clips.  The adhesive used to attach the velcro to the plastic clip does not last very long.  It is so bad that within weeks of receiving my holsters and wearing them daily, the velcro was starting to shift, before one finally lost all of its adhesive and will no longer stay on the clip.

The standard metal clips are perfect for Every Day Carry with untucked shirts.  It even works well with thick sweatpants!

Conclusion

The Crossbreed Holsters Appendix Carry Holster and Dual Tuckable Mag Carrier are two great holster options for anyone looking for a discreet and comfortable carry system. Especially if you are someone who dresses up often.  The ability to tuck in your shirt easily makes this one of my favorite carry setups because of its versatility.  Even with the terrible v-clip adhesive, you can figure out a way to reattach the velcro if it wears out.

I look forward to comparing this system to many of the others out there.

Here is the video review of these holsters and the Crossbreed Holsters Gun Belt:

If you would like to get one of these holsters or any others made by Crossbreed holster, consider using my affiliate link HERE (I do receive a commission from your purchase).

Thank you for reading.

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– Peace

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