Most of us carry concealed firearms in or on our beltline, whether with a strong side hip holster, inside the waistband, or “appendix-ish” carry. At least one American Cop writer advocates for carrying smaller revolvers in pocket holsters. All those options are great until you can’t carry them that way because of your environment, employment, the dress code, or what you are doing that day.
For example, I’ve been going to physical therapy for quite a while to address the cumulative damage and injuries from spending my adult life in the military and public safety. I can’t really hit the Pilates machines carrying strong side hip. But I can make my appointment with some sort of off-body carry. The place I go to is very pro-first responder, and a couple of staff members quickly identified my old Eagle Industries fanny pack as being one with a gun. Yup, got it. I switched to a sling bag that was purpose-built by an outdoor gear manufacturer. It doesn’t have the same sort of visual signature.
Fortunately for me, I have had enough exposure to various carry methods that I was able to develop my own way of acquiring and employing my handgun when carried that way.
But what about many other people?
Eve Kulcsar is talking about the acquisition of the pistol when carried off-body. The Downrange Tab is visible on the muzzle end of the bag.
Enter Roka Arms and the principal, Eve Kulcsar. She is a bit unique in that she has one foot in law enforcement world (not uncommon for a firearms trainer), and her other foot is deeply planted in the business world. That business world exposure in a state not perceived as being firearms friendly has helped developed her niche while driving her to create the classes she has. While she is certified as a full-time, sworn peace officer in her state, she only works part-time in that capacity.
Eve is a protégé of Tom & Lynne Givens with instructor certifications from Rangemaster Tactical. She has trained with Craig Douglas, Paul Sharp, the late Dr. William Aprill, and Cecil Burch along with attending the Rogers Shooting School.
I first encountered Kulcsar, in passing, at the 2015 Rangemaster Tactical Conference. A couple of years later, I attended her Business Tactical lecture in which she addressed the need to dress appropriately for the business world while still being able to carry a concealed firearm – if permissible – without it being detected. There is a substantial difference between being an off-duty cop who can just cover their handgun while having an ID that will get you out of trouble and having to conceal a firearm to keep you from losing your job.
And, no, it doesn’t matter if you are technically correct; the business world does not care. Can you afford to lose your job, your source of income on principle if you get made carrying your defensive handgun?
Her course work at the time emphasized the carry and use of OC spray. As a result, she developed an O/C deployment tab – a length of sewn nylon or Naugahyde that attaches to the O/C canister and allows you to grab it for deployment when carrying the canister in a purse or sling bag. I will come back to this momentarily.
As an off-shoot of her Business-Tactical classes, she developed an off-body carry curriculum and formally presented it this year at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference in Dallas. She credits Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, for pushing her to cover this material.
Even when pulling the fanny pack open, the orange Downrange Tab is still visible.
Eve’s block focused on carrying your handgun in a purse and how to employ it from there. With several students, who all came from different backgrounds, Kulcsar needed a way to quickly identify the muzzle end of the purse. She re-visited her O/C pull-tabs and made the design with a Hi-Viz orange nylon strap stitched to a closed D-ring with an alligator-like clamp. I attended her instructional block – even though we had discussed her material at length before the presentation.
She had the students attach the orange tab to the downrange of their bags or purses. This step gave her and everyone else much better situational awareness of each student’s muzzle orientation.
While the tab is facing rearward now, it’s because she has drawn the pistol and swept the bag to the rear as she finished her presentation.
Fast forward a few months, I found myself teaching an off-body and alternative carry methods class in a region not known for being gun-friendly. My first call? Yes, to Eve. Among the multiple ways she helped me out, she sent me several of her downrange tabs.
Purses, sling bags, and fanny packs all got the downrange tabs. Mika pocket holsters were used in the class too.
When the day for my class came, I attached the tabs to fanny packs, sling bags, purses, and a chest rig that the students and I used in the class. Even with seven students on the line, most of whom were using a different carry method from the shooter next to them, I was able to stay aware of muzzle orientation while tracking their manipulations. And it was not just for my benefit; the students could see where their muzzle was oriented and where the muzzle of the shooter next to them was pointed.
Plenty of dry repetitions were used when working from the various off-body carry bags before we went to live fire. Notice how visible the orange tab is as the shooter acquires his grip.
Kulcsar’s material and her training aides are as solid as they are unique. Rather than focusing on plate carriers and battle belts, she addresses realistic situations for everyone.
Off-body carry doesn’t always require purpose-built gear. Galco made this insert for regular purses or bags.
Her downrange tabs will retail for $15; if you are an instructor who wants to order multiple tabs, please contact her. Information about her class – Business Tactical: Lecture & Live-fire, a one evening lecture and one day on the range class – can be found on the Roka Arms website, rokaarms.com