Carry Options: Day-by-Day
Concealed Carry Choices

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I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. I’m talking about the carry guns that actually get daily “out-and-about” concealed carry use. Around here, we spend a lot of time talking about (and testing) a wide variety of guns and gear, so excepting the days spent doing formal evaluations of new carry guns and holster rigs, I thought it might be helpful to share the guns that have more recently occupied the lion’s share of my more discretionary carry time.

Not too long ago, I took a look back at the shooting gear I actually use the most. It was somewhat enlightening, as the results of an honest look were somewhat different from what I would have guessed before I stopped and took an objective inventory of the gear I actually packed on every range trip. There’s a similar phenomenon at play with concealed-carry guns and holsters. When I stopped to consider the question, three sets of guns and gear seemed to occupy the oversized GunVault at my desk, where I keep my loaded and ready-to-go carry guns.

Staccato 2011 P

Staccato 2011 P

With an objective retroactive look over the past few months, I estimate this is my carry choice 90% of the time.

The Staccato P, this one with a steel frame and 4.4″ barrel, is not a small gun. Think 1911 but thicker thanks to its 17+1 9mm double-stack design. I’ve not been shy about my personal preference to carry a physically larger gun as, for me, it’s significantly easier to shoot well. Ipso facto e. pluribus unum, that translates to confidence should I ever have to use it. I won’t complain about the capacity benefits over a pocket wonder-micro, either. Add a Trijicon RMR HD and we’re talking a standard full-size duty-type pistol, weighing in at 33 ounces, not counting ammo and optic.

But guess what? I’ve also been vocal about challenging the “I can’t carry a larger gun” argument. You can. It’s a choice, not a restriction imposed by the universe. While this would be difficult to conceal in a traditional on-the-hip position, it’s nearly invisible when carried in the appendix position using a LAS Concealment Shogun holster. The dual clips, concealment wing, and foam backer I added make this not only comfortable but also easily concealed when wearing even shorts and a T-shirt.

Springfield Armory XD-S

Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2

The remaining 10% of my outings are covered by either the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 or S&W 642 we’ll discuss next.

The XD-S, also equipped with an optic, in this case, a Holosun HE407K, gets the nod when I need something flatter owing to that day’s dress code. This single stack (7+1) is small enough for some pockets and certainly ankle carry if that’s how you roll, but it disappears in the appendix position with a good holster.

I’ve been alternating between two appendix rigs for it: a 1791 Gunleather Kydex IWB with its molded-in concealment wing and a Comp-Tac eV2 Max. The Comp-Tac takes a different approach to appendix design, using a combination of a Kydex shell and a two-ply leather backer. For both holsters, I’ve added my regular foam backer. This makes appendix carry viable for me as it encourages the grip back toward the body and pushes the muzzle forward. Makes all the difference.

Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center

Smith & Wesson Performance Center 642

The Smith & Wesson snubby is my go-to when I want or need to pocket carry. While I’ve pocket-carried autos in the past using proper pocket holsters, I’m just more comfortable with the J-Frame for pocket use, whether for the front pants pocket or a coat pocket. Even with the revolver and its heavy hammerless double-action trigger, I always use a holster and, just as importantly, a dedicated pocket. No other items are in the designated gun pocket.

The reason for this choice is the little extras that make it more shooting-friendly. It’s .38 Special +P rated (plenty for this use) and, as a Performance Center model, cut for full moon clip use. You can certainly load loose rounds, but the clip makes a spare reload quite handy and reduces fumbling in the process. The grip is kinda nifty, too, in both appearance and comfort. While the backstrap is exposed, the sides are made from recoil-absorbing rubber with nice-looking wood inserts that help fill the palm. A polished trigger improved the press sensation, and the polished flutes added more visual appeal.

My go-to holster is the Galco Front Pocket Horsehide holster. The sturdy leather is contoured to keep the gun oriented properly and features “hooks” that help the holster separate from the gun when you draw by catching on the pocket opening.

Okay, I bared all. Now, it’s time for you to share. If you’re so inclined, drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what your daily carry gear is. I’m particularly interested in the “why” behind your choices.

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