Concealed Gun Holsters For When You Can't Wear A Belt
Some people find themselves in circumstances where typical concealed gun holsters just aren't feasible. It can be due to any of a number of factors.
You might want to conceal and carry at work, but the nature of your employment rules out a typical gun belt and holster. For instance, mechanics can't be laying on a gun all day and nurses and other hospital personnel can't wear a belt with scrubs.
It could be that you have a medical issue.
Some people have nerve issues that preclude them from wearing a belt or anything that even slightly affects circulation. A hernia could likewise make wearing your typical belt incredibly painful.
It could also be that you don't always wear typical pants or shorts, but still want to stay armed for your own protection. After all, you don't wear a belt to the gym unless it's a weight belt.
And so on and so forth; not everyone can wear belts and typical concealed gun holsters all the time or at all. How do you still conceal and carry?
By selecting an alternative style of holster that allows you to do so without need for a belt or waistband holster. But what type to choose?
Whatever Style Of Concealed Gun Holsters You Choose...Make Sure You're Practicing
Before we get into viable alternative concealed gun holsters, we have to talk about training and practice. That's where the difference is made between a person who is prepared to defend themselves and someone who just totes a gun.
The latter person has a gun but isn't really armed. You can insert the cliche of your choice, but it all adds up to the same thing. The mind behind the tool determines what can and will be done with it, and if yours isn't used to using it properly...it's next to useless.
What good is a gun if you can't get it out of its holster in time to use it? What good is a gun if you can't hit the target?
It's true that shooting is not rocket science. Plenty of physical activities and mental activities are vastly more complicated, thought not necessarily easier to do really well unless you put in a lot of practice.
Whatever your daily carry loadout is, you have to train with it. Therefore, make sure you select gear that lets you do so competently, effectively, and efficiently, as well as carries comfortably.
Also understand that every type of concealed gun holster comes with a compromise of some sort. Nothing in life is perfect; it's up to you to pick the set of problems you prefer.
It's also your responsibility to train yourself to overcome them or at least work with them, so you can be effective if the moment of truth should ever arrive.
But that being said, that doesn't mean that you'll be any less effective if you aren't carrying with a traditional holster and belt. Smart choices of equipment, combined with sufficient reps in dry fire and live fire training, can make alternative carry options perfectly viable.
What are some of those alternative carry methods?
A Wise Choice Of Belly Band Makes For Excellent Concealed Gun Holsters
If practicable, the right design of belly band holsters is one of the best alternative concealed carry methods available. IF, that is, you make a smart choice of belly band and not all of them are.
To cut to the chase, you're looking for two specific types of belly band holster design.
A belly band holster system which uses a belly band to suspend an actual holster on the body, or a belly band that has a quality holster - such as a rigid holster shell and base - integrated into the belly band itself.
Both are few and far between. Most belly band holsters are little more than a spandex girdle with an elastic flap sewn into them as a "holster." Such holster designs are typically not fully secure, and certainly aren't functional enough to seriously train with.
Again, if you can't train effectively or efficiently with a holster, it's not worth fooling with; you won't be able to gain and hone the skill you need to save your life if you need to.
A proper belly band holster doesn't compromise when it comes to function and security.
The belly band and holster combo system is the overall best choice. You can wear the holster where you normally would, which lets you avoid having to train for two different holsters; everything is the same, it's just that the support system is different.
Overall, this is the best alternative to a traditional belt and waistband holster as it duplicates the carry position and, as mentioned, you don't have to do anything different in terms of the draw and your practice regimen.
However, it isn't necessarily for everyone. Also as mentioned, some people may have a medical condition or employment conditions that preclude wearing a gun on the waist. If so, then you have to find a different alternative.
Pocket Carry Is Fine If, And Only If, You're Using A Pocket Holster
Another alternative is pocket carry.
Once dialed in...competent pocket carry is a viable method of using a concealed gun holster when you can't wear a typical belt and holster rig. An old police practice was to carry multiple revolvers in one's pockets, which used to be called a "New York reload."
Frank Pape, a legendary/infamous Chicago police detective in the turbulent Prohibition era, was known to carry four Police Specials at a time, two in the pants pockets and two in his suit jacket with special pockets. They didn't have speedloaders in those days, so you had to.
But you need to tread very carefully. There is no carry practice more dangerous than pocket carry when a person is doing it wrong.
First of all, you need a pocket holster. No ifs, no ands, no buts; people who pocket carry without a holster are darned irresponsible, period. They're putting themselves and others at risk.
Google "accidental gunshot" and one of the most common tropes you'll see in all the news reports is people pocket carrying who sat down wrong or started poking at their gun - usually adjusting it for comfort - and induced a negligent discharge.
People have died because of it. People have killed themselves and loved ones, even in some tragic instances their own children, because they were pocket carrying without a holster.
If you're going to...get a pocket holster.
As to the pocket holster itself, you're looking for a couple of key attributes.
First, it should be durable enough to protect the trigger guard. If you can feel the trigger through the holster, it's not good enough. You need either a molded polymer holster or a durable cloth holster with a rigid lining for pocket carry.
If you even consider a shoot-through pocket holster or wallet holster, hang your head in shame.
You should also look for a pocket holster that has a pocket catch, typically a wing-like structure. This catches on the rim of the pocket, anchoring the holster in place and allowing you to draw the pistol clean.
If the holster lacks this feature or otherwise can't do that, the holster is next to worthless.
Pants selection also matters. The pocket must be deep enough to hold the gun. If you put your hand in the pocket, the pocket should cover up to the wrist.
The front pocket can't be so tight that the gun prints, but also can't be so loose that even a pocket catch fails to work. Additionally, the mouth of the pocket must be wide enough to allow you to get your hand on the grip of the pistol to draw it.
Again, once you have it dialed in...it can be effective. But you have to get it dialed in first, or else you have an uphill battle.
An Ankle Holster Can Work, But Isn't The Best Primary Carry Method
Another common alternative is to use an ankle holster. While an ankle holster is an effective way to conceal and carry a gun in terms of being able to conceal and carry it, it has much to be desired in other area.
Indeed it is a popular form of concealed gun holster. If it's all you have to work with a gun on the ankle is better than nothing...but it's better to use a type of holster that makes the gun more readily accessible in the first place.
It's long been the case that an ankle holster or boot gun was more of a last-ditch weapon rather than the main implement of personal defense that you bet your life on, and for good reason.
Access is impeded compared to a holster at waist level, so the draw is more than twice as slow. When fractions of a second count, you need to take fewer of them to get a gun into a fight, not more.
However, it is also the case, again, that it's better than nothing if it's all you have to work with.
If you're going to ankle carry, there are a few things to look for in a holster.
Make sure that your ankle holster has adequate support, keeping the pistol in place and not riding up or down the leg. A two-piece strap design is best, especially if it attaches at the heel and around the lower leg for vertical and horizontal stability.
The holster should also be made for the pistol you're carrying, securely retaining the gun as you walk around.
You also need to practice to get the draw technique down.
Some people favor taking a knee to draw up the pant leg. A competing technique is to plant the leg with the ankle holster in front of you, drawing the pant leg up and bending down to draw the gun.
Again, an ankle holster is classically for the backup gun rather than the main gun, but if it's what you have to work with...set yourself up to make it work.
Shoulder Holsters Are Excellent Concealed Gun Holsters...But Make Some Impositions
Another classic type of concealed gun holster that deviates from the typical waistband holster and belt rig is the shoulder holster.
Shoulder holsters can be excellent, if they are comfortable to wear and you can successfully conceal the gun while wearing one. However, just as with any other alternative carry method, you need to know what you're getting into.
It's vital to get a shoulder holster that can be adjusted, both to dial in the fit but also the ride position so that the holster is comfortable to wear and concealable. Rarely will it be perfect out of the box.
Some people think that a shoulder holster is a good way to wear a larger gun, but anyone who's done actually done it will tell you the opposite is true. A slim, light pistol like a Sig P365 is easy to carry in a shoulder holster; a 1911 will give you bursitis by lunchtime.
While it may be comfortable to wear, you're going to have the weight hanging off one shoulder and ultimately there's no getting around it. It's either something you can deal with or its not.
A shoulder holster is also necessarily a cross-draw holster. The gun needs to ride in a position where you don't have to stretch to get to the grip to draw the gun. Again, you have to dial the holster in.
Then you have the issue of concealment.
While it isn't the hardest thing in the world, you do have to find the right clothing choice for you to be able to conceal a shoulder holster. It's different for everyone; some people turn the trick with a loose button-up shirt, others need a jacket.
The thing with shoulder holsters is that they're great IF you find them to your liking and IF you can get it dialed in and adjusted correctly...and not everyone is able to. Fantastic if you can make it work, but that can be easier said than done.
If you're going to invest in a shoulder holster, make sure you also invest in the time to get yours set up properly.