Packing Serious Heat

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Confessions Of A Backsliding Gun-Guy

By Will Debbs, MD
Photos By Sarah Debbs

Sometimes it’s hot, I’m tired, or the threat assessment is just really low. I know I should do better but I would occasionally just drop a compact .380 in my jeans pocket on the way out the door and call it good. It was almost not worth the trouble.

I had an unfortunate young man die in my arms many years back after he received a .380 ACP round to the chest during a drug deal gone bad. The surprising part was he was still mobile and active nearly 20 minutes after he was shot. Though his wound eventually took his life, he could have caused a great deal of mischief during that time. The moral is if we are going to carry a gun we should really just suck it up and do it right.

HEAT-1

Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you have to be defenseless.
By picking up a couple pairs of baggy shorts and selecting some proper
carry gear you can indeed pack an effective defensive handgun underneath
shorts and a T-shirt.

HEAR-6b

With a proper holster like the one from Alien Gear, Will can carry
an HK P30SK, itself a wide-bodied handgun, underneath surgical
scrubs without being uncomfortable.

Winds Of Change

Nowadays it’s commonplace, at least down in the Deep South where I live, to see folks in public with an odd bulge here or there or even exercising their newfound open carry rights. The anti-gunners prognosticated gutters simply awash in blood but such dark predictions have turned out to be, yet again, overstated.

I made a New Year’s resolution to be a more responsible armed citizen. If I am going to voluntarily inject myself into a potentially lethal exchange I need to carry the appropriate tools. The results of a little cerebrating on the subject were enlightening, even to a crusty old gun-guy like me.

HEAT-3

The S&W Model 66 .357 Magnum is a sexy and intimidating combat magnum revolver.
Using .38 Special for training and .357 Magnum for serious work, the S&W 66
is a state-of-the-art tactical wheelgun. Believe it.

HEAT-4

One of the critical components to carrying full-sized service guns concealed is
a quality gun belt. The leather belt from CrossBreed Holsters is about the best I
have ever seen. Stylish and durable, the CrossBreed belt is just stiff enough
to carry comfortably without being a burden.

Tools

The debate over caliber and magazine capacity is as old as gunpowder. I’ll spare you the rehash. My goal with this project was to see if I could actually carry a serious defensive firearm underneath the light clothing typical of Mississippi in the summertime without hurting myself or frightening my neighbors.

I chose four fairly big guns. John Moses Browning designed the .45 ACP cartridge and the inimitable 1911 pistol launching it specifically to knock suicidal Muslim jihadists in the dirt. It worked then and it works now.

The Kimber TLE (Tactical Law Enforcement) is heavy and expensive but it’s also a well-tuned tactical machine. There are yet more expensive custom 1911 handguns but the TLE shoots better than I do and has everything I could possibly want in a semiautomatic combat pistol. The chassis is also fairly thin.

Smith and Wesson still produces their classic stainless Model 66 .357 Magnum and that gun screams “Don’t screw with me, dude” in about 70 different languages. The gun is big, fat, and heavy but the rubber stocks are rounded so they don’t print unduly. Also, with this big Smith you never have to wonder if you brought enough gun.

The HK P30SK is a state-of-the-art stubby but fat polymer-framed 9mm combat handgun. HK makes the guns most Free World counterterrorist units use and their P30 has all the bells and whistles. The unique P30 LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) trigger system offers a trigger long for safety but light for accuracy.

The Steyr L40A1 combines longslide accuracy with polymer portability and .40 caliber thump. I like the trigger better than the “other” Austrian handgun and my L40A1 shoots like a dream. With these four big honking guns as a starting point I set out to see if I could indeed carry them both comfortably and concealed.

HEAT-2

Kimber’s 1911 TLE is a finely tuned tactical tool but it’s steel-framed and heavy.
It’s uncomfortable to sit on but with a shirt tail tucked in nobody knows
you’re carrying it.

Waist Sizes

Carrying a proper gun starts at the clothing store rather than the gun shop. To conceal guns of this stature mandates IWB (Inside the Waistband) carry. I add a couple of inches to my waist size to accommodate the heater. I picked up a couple pairs of shorts and some Dockers dedicated to deep carry and render splendid service in this regard.

You’ll need a good stiff belt and CrossBreed Holsters makes a great one. Stylish and heavy enough not to sag or bite, CrossBreed belts are designed from scratch to support firearms and they work like a champ. Check out their website for details. It’s worth your time.

Out Of This World

Alien Gear holsters are available for most anything that shoots and they use soft, flexible neoprene as a starting point. This Space Age stuff wraps around the contours of your body and manages moisture without affecting your expensive hog leg. The structural piece of their holsters is made from Kydex and the fasteners are an unbreakable synthetic. Not that it matters. If you ever manage to break one they offer an unconditional lifetime warranty.

James Nelson’s custom holsters are available in a variety of styles and exhibit artistic perfection in leatherwork. They can hook you up with a custom belt, holster, and magazine pouch for a reasonable price. Beauty is where you find it but James Nelson’s two-tone, neoprene-backed carry rigs are both functional and gorgeous.

HEAT-5

These four full-figured handguns can actually pack underneath shorts and
a T-shirt in a Mississippi summer without being unduly uncomfortable or
excessively obvious to bystanders.

Vanity And Sloth

I used these four carry solutions for about six months through a hot Mississippi summer. It turns out you can indeed pack serious guns underneath light clothing with the right gear without being totally miserable. In fact, I wear hospital scrubs every day and successfully conceal the HK P30SK in an Alien Gear IWB rig without a belt. I never would have suspected that possible before this little experiment. They are all uncomfortable to sit on in a car but there is little to be done about that.

I’m a skinny guy and if I set my mind to it I can indeed pack a 1911, HK P30SK, Steyr L40A1 or even a proper S&W wheelgun in most any climate without scaring the little old lady in the checkout line next to me or inducing orthopedic injuries. The secret is investing in the right gear and having the discipline to use it every day.

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