Carrying a gun for personal protection goes a lot deeper than just strapping on a gun. I look at concealed carry as more of a practical martial art. It takes more than just putting on a gi and tying on a belt to be proficient. You have to practice your art the same way you would employ it in real life. The old training axiom of “training like you intend to fight because you will be fighting just like you trained” is one of those hard rules we can’t BS our way out of.

I was recently working on draws from concealment with a student and he seemed very hesitant — moving excessively slow. I asked him why he was moving like a slow robot. He said he’d paid a lot of money for his leather holster and didn’t want to wear it out practicing.

We took a break and I went into the fight-like-you-train mantra. I told him if he was worried about tearing up the expensive holster he should buy a Kydex-type holster with similar characteristics his daily carry rig had, and get back to training realistically.

I let him borrow my Contact Concealment holster and mag pouches for the remainder of the training session. At the end of our training I had him do the last few reps with his leather rig to make sure everything felt the same. He saw the wisdom and bought a Kydex holster. What he found was he liked it so much he ended up using it for daily carry.


Kydex may not be as “warm” as leather or break-in with a
patina of its own, but it takes a licking and keeps your
expensive leather gear from taking a beating while training.

Open Parachute

I know more than a few gun-people who are very closed-minded when it comes to guns and gear. At a writers event several years ago, a well known writer refused to use the provided Kydex holster. He was mumbling about how a “… real gun guy always uses leather and this plastic stuff was sacrilegious.” During a break I tried to impart the wisdom of how alternate holster materials can be used to save the high dollar leather rigs for daily wear. It was met with a snort and more mumbling about not being a real gun guy if I used plastic junk. I tried, but there was no way he was going to get it.

Parachutes and brains work much better when open. I’ve had a main chute malfunction — and I can tell you it’s an unforgettable event. I was never so happy to see my reserve pop open. As a student I’ve found myself in classes where at first I didn’t see the wisdom in the new piece of gear or technique, but by keeping an open mind, learned new things. I’ve also tried new gear and techniques and found out they weren’t going to work for me — but still put them in my toolbox for passing on to others.


This is an original Lou Alessi rig Sammy’s used a lot
over the years. It sees limited range time thanks to
his other Kydex rigs being used for training.

The Mission

Your mission is to assess what your concealed carry needs are so you can be the most prepared you can afford to be. I don’t have all the answers but I do have a huge number of resources at my disposal. If you have questions, reach out and I’ll help get you sorted out. Find me at [email protected] and Roy will pass your note along to me.

If you’ve been reading Handgunner for a bit, you may have sensed I’m very passionate about the importance of the good guys having the best gear and training they can afford. I take the responsibility of this column very seriously, and you should take your own role in your own protection even more seriously.


By Sammy Reese

For more info:, (828) 729-3415

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