Recently, a reader – Robert H – emailed requesting an article on concealed carry holsters for retired cops. Well, that fits nicely into my wheelhouse. Appropriate concealed carry holsters are not just a subject for off-duty cops, like nearly everything else here – it is a subject for all our readers.
Concealed holsters can be very person specific. It has to do with our environment, our physical build, what we are carrying, and how we are carrying.
My most frequently used concealed holster is an appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) design from JM Custom Kydex. It attaches to my waistband via a pair of Discreet Carry Clips (DCC) metal waistband and belt clips, though the design allows for other belt attachments. It has a wing out front that takes pressure from your belt. A foam wedge on the back helps “force” the grip back into my body. Both minimize the likelihood of the pistol printing.
JM Custom Kydex’s AIWB design with both a wing and a foam pad
A spare magazine gets carried too. Mine rides in a pocket magazine pouch from Tucker Gun leather.
Not everyone likes appendix carry or appreciates an AIWB holster. While initially skeptical, I have come to trust carrying that way. Yes, one must take a definite set of steps when doing this.
Yes, I know the concern about a femoral artery or genital shot. Plenty of people have shot themselves using an outside-the-waistband rig too.
You should follow those steps anytime you are re-holstering.
These include, but are not limited to:
– Ensure that your trigger finger is off the trigger and up on the frame/slide interface;
– Take a second to confirm now is the time to re-holster;
– Ensure nothing is blocking the interior of the holster;
– If you feel resistance while re-holstering, STOP, withdraw the pistol, figure out what caused the resistance, and clear it before continuing to re-holster.
I have other AIWB holsters, too, for both mid and full-size M&Ps – mostly from JMCK. They are used when the situation or location dictates, and I’m using a larger pistol like that – this includes shooting matches from concealment.
If the conditions tilt towards a more traditional design, such as inclement weather, I have an outside-the-waistband design that Dave Spaulding conceived. I would identify the maker if I knew them.
This nylon sling bag fits in some places but not others. This one carries a handgun, spare magazines, a light, and a trauma dressing.
A purpose-built sling bag sees use when I am heading to physical or the gym. Even though my old Eagle Industries black nylon fanny has some visual concealment on it – a sewn-on logo from a major outdoor gear company – the ladies who work where I go to physical all knew what it was. They convinced me to go with the sling bag.
Those are my choices, but they might not be the best for everyone else. I contacted some other retired or close-to-it cops I know. They responded with their regular use choices. And, for the record, all these guys carry guns daily.
Raven Concealment System’s Phantom/Hackathorn design for a G19.
Rob, retired from Georgia, carries his Gen 4 Glock 19 in an “old school” Phantom/Hackathon Special from Raven Concealment. Years back, Raven’s owner Mike Goerlich and crew set The Standard for kydex concealment rigs. He’s also been known to carry a Galco ankle glove with a Smith & Wesson 642.
Another JMCK appendix holster for Glock 45.
Bryan, a retired sergeant from OKC PD, also uses a JMCK AIWB holster with a belt from his company, EDC Belt Co. That holster will conceal his G45 under a t-shirt and is held in place with a DCC mono-block clip.
Worn inside the waistband, this JMCK holster carries Wayne’s Glock 48.
Traditional Inside-the-waistband carry is not overlooked in this crowd. Retired from the Richardson, TX police and working with law enforcement agencies on optics issues, Wayne is yet another purchaser of JMCK holsters. His G48 IWB holster attaches to his belt via their over hooks.
Simply Rugged sewed this pocket holster for Wayne.
He has also been known to carry an M&P 340 hammerless revolver. When he does, it rides in a Simply Rugged pocket holster from Rob Leahy in Chino Valley, AZ.
There’s no doubt Mark likes his J FGrame revolvers. He just can’t decide on the holster.
Mark works for a national-level law enforcement training program. Smith & Wesson’s long-serving J Frame family is the gun of choice for him. As you can see, he doesn’t believe in just one holster option. His options include a Tommy Gun gun pack, DarkStar Gear’s Apollo IWB, a Bianchi #6 AIWB, an ankle rig from Uncle Mike’s, a Safariland pocket holster, and finally GunderWear from Kickin’A Packs ‘n Stuff.
Two noticeable trends emerged – AIWB is not a bad thing, especially not for those who take concealed carry seriously. Secondly, JM Custom Kydex is worth checking out – especially if you are unfamiliar with them.
These are not the only viable options. There are some I have tried that did not work for me, and there are options I have not yet tried.
Robert – I hope this answers some of your questions.