The How Not To Carry Mode


Shorts and ankle rigs do not belong in the same sentence. Even if it’s an open carry state.
Please? And no, those are not Dave’s feet — or shoes.

People have devised many ways of carrying a sidearm. Sometimes you may not have a choice; if your department or agency says this is how it’s done, you either comply or resign. If you do have a choice, it comes down to personal preference. If you like it and it works for you, no explanation is necessary.

Nonetheless I’ve seen some carry styles, mostly but not always in movies or TV shows, which leave me baffled. I remember a movie from the early ’70s called Hickey and Boggs in which the stars of the old I Spy TV show (Robert Culp and Bill Cosby) played a pair of seedy LA private detectives.

The movie came out shortly after the success of Dirty Harry. The producers decided it would be cool if they were armed with .44 Magnums. Apparently only one S&W model 29 could be found, so Cosby’s revolver appears to be an old Colt New Service. There’s a funny scene in which Cosby struggles into a shoulder holster holding the big revolver and puts his jacket on over it. He looks like someone trying to shoplift a frozen turkey. So as they work the streets and bars of LA, they carry their revolvers in hand, wrapped in either a towel or a newspaper. Guy walks down the street carrying some heavy item wrapped in a towel in his hand? I think I’d notice.

Then how was Clint able to conceal a big 61/2″ N-Frame so effectively? Well, he had a couple of advantages. If the scene didn’t call for the revolver to be used, he just didn’t wear it. In scenes where the gun was worn, carefully chosen camera angles made it less noticeable.

In the real world, don’t expect to conceal a handgun of this size under a lightweight summer business suit. Under a winter parka, sure. Carrying such a big revolver concealed is kind of like leaping vehicles over rivers and canyons. Both work better in movies than in real life.

A classic handgun, in an early Safariland right-hand draw belt holster, so far so good.
They then chose the “Sharky-carry” wearing it on the one location (behind the left hip)
the gun can’t be reached with the right hand (and barely with the left).

More Movie Madness

An early ’80s movie called Sharky’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds might as well have been called “Dirty Sharky.” It had some original characters — a hooker with a heart of gold, a tough cop who makes his own rules, a stone-cold, drug-sniffing psycho killer — where do they come up with such ideas? There’s even a politician who turn out to be a crook! I didn’t see that coming. On the plus side it has renowned martial artist Danny Inosanto in a small role, doing some fancy moves with a butterfly knife.

It could also have been called “The Rampant Pony Strikes Back.” Instead of the near-mandatory S&W 29, Sharky is seen with Colt handguns — at various times a Diamondback, a Python and a 1911. One of the bad guys got the S&W 29.

In one scene Sharky seems to be wearing the Python barrel-up in his left pant leg with the grip frame in a sock. To draw all he has to do is sit down on the pavement, pull down the sock, grab the gun and pull it out of the pant leg. Huh?

Later he’s wearing the 1911 in a belt holster, right hand draw, butt canted forward — except it is worn on the left side pushed back over the left cheek, inaccessible to the right hand. To draw he has to dig the gun out with the left hand and then pass it over to the right.

Kidding aside, I rather like this movie. I just don’t understand why a right-handed person would wear a sidearm in a position it can’t be reached with the right hand. Maybe it is a similar concept to mandated 15-day “cooling off” waiting periods?

This is a recreation of an Internet photo purported to be an actual real-world carry.
Dave likes to think it’s a hoax, but he isn’t fazed by anything anymore. The holster is an
old Bianchi #2 Speed Scabbard Dave used in his first few IPSC matches some 40 years ago —
although not upside down.

Upside Down Method

The worst example of how not to carry (and the reason for this column) was in a real-world photo His Serene Highness Editor Roy came across and forwarded to me. It shows someone wearing a pistol in a straight-draw holster, worn on the trouser belt on the strong side. Sounds routine, why is it so terrible? Because the holster is worn upside down.

The barrel points straight up, with the muzzle just a couple of inches from the wearer’s elbow, with the grip frame down around the side pocket. A thumb break keeps the pistol from falling to the ground. The utility of this carry absolutely baffles me. I suppose with an open-bottom holster one could keep a pen or pencil stored in the barrel of the pistol, handy for a quick draw to write out a citation?

Or maybe, as I fervently hope, it’s an Internet hoax. In any case, it’s another example of ways not to carry. And a final example: don’t wear an ankle holster when wearing shorts. No … really.

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