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By Stu Chisholm

Telor Tactical Comfort-Air Thigh Holster

Telor Tactical Comfort-Air Thigh Holster

Knowing Guns: The Ins & Outs of Firearms & Firearms Politics for the Uninitiated

Knowing Guns: The Ins & Outs of Firearms & Firearms Politics for the Uninitiated

Detroit, Michigan --(Ammoland.com)- One of my biggest gripes with my original concealed carry class was that, after all of the drilling on safety, the law and qualifying, nobody really explained any of the methods and strategies for actually concealing and carrying a firearm on a regular basis.

I had to learn a lot on how to carry from posting on chat forums, reading blogs and websites, and mostly trial-and-error experimentation.

To make matters worse, it seemed as if the holster industry was doing everything it could to make things difficult.

99 WAYS TO HIDE

Oh, they’ve got PLENTY of options!  But it can be an expensive and time consuming prospect to discover all of the advantages and disadvantages not discussed in the advertisements.  A perfect case-in-point: IWB (In the Waist Band) holsters.  My first one was all leather and looked as solidly built as a saddle.  It had a clip on the side so that I could wear it with just about any belt at about any position.  The drawback: when you draw your gun, it flattens like a punctured tire, making easy reholstering an exercise in undignified flailing.  (NOT something you want to do in full view of others!)

Another one I tried had a reinforced upper opening, resisting the pancake effect.  When wearing it, though, it adds width to your gun.  What’s the point in getting the thinnest gun you can buy if you’re going to then add another half-inch of girth via the holster?  It also provided the option of being able to tuck-in one’s shirt for that ultra-concealed, “day at the office” look.  I never really pulled that look off, though, because unless you’ve got a substantial paunch – even moreso than mine – and place your holster “appendix style,” which makes sitting difficult for me, it then looks like you’ve got a big, squared-off robo-hip.

In short: everyone knows you’re hiding something.  They’re just too polite to say so.

Then there’s my BUG (Back-Up Gun) option.  I’ve tried many, many ankle rigs over the years before I settled on my current configuration.  Some were wonderfully made leather masterpieces and others were cheap $20 gun show specials.  The leather gets very hot and can chafe the skin.  Cheap holsters absorb sweat and, after about a week on the job, smell horrible.  Washing them can make them sloppy and saggy, and thus very short-lived.  Unless you like to wear thick knee socks even in the summer and strap your holster extremely tight, which is none too good for circulation, then you may get “gun slosh” – that side-to-side movement as you walk or run.  If it rides the top of your shoe or boot, you’ll be wearing holes in the shoe’s upper.  Some come with a calf strap which prevents the gun from falling with your socks, but adds more heat and sweat.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

Then there are the women; the fastest growing segment of the shooting community.  I feel for them.  As a budding instructor, I’ve worked with more than a few trying to find ways to let them dress as “girly” as before – a good idea, since any sudden change in appearance lets friends and family know “something’s up” – yet conceal a decent-caliber defensive firearm.

Some really smart ladies have done some amazing things with existing holsters, modifying them for thigh carry underneath a skirt, as evidenced by their YouTube videos.  Others have used belly bands with jeans or loose-hanging blouses, and then, of course, there’s the infamous “Flashbang” bra holster that is actually a good option for most women.  I have two main complaints with it: it doesn’t work for extremely small-busted or extremely large-busted women.  In the former, the gun easily “prints” unless the blouse is extremely loose, and in the latter, the gun is hard to access.  (Guys… stop laughing.  Let’s be mature here, okay?)  For most, though, a small revolver, .380 or 9mm semi-auto is easily hidden in a place usually off-limits to eyes and strangers.  But that’s just a couple of options.  Women need several, since their clothing is far more varied than men’s and generally is designed to be light and revealing.  (Note: Looper Law Enforcement, helmed by Lisa Looper, invented the Flashbang and has many other solutions for both women and men at their website.)

So you can imagine my delight when a friend called me from a gun show in breathless excitement about a new company she’d found: Telor Tactical.  (Yes, this is gonna be a bit of a commercial.)  Not only was she excited that Telor had addressed a lot of the problems above, but she also knows how I think: I’m a firm believer in cross-platform problem solving.  See, whenever I have a problem, before I spend the time and effort to invent a brand new solution, I look around the web to see if anyone else had the same, or similar, problem and how they might’ve solved it.  This is the tack that Telor took.

 

AND NOW FOR A BRIEF WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

Telor Tactical T-fit Ankle Holster

Telor Tactical T-fit Ankle Holster

The company’s founder, David Leverett, spent some 20 years designing, developing and manufacturing medical and orthopedic equipment.  He knows the human body and what people need to live in/with wheelchairs, artificial limbs and other medical appliances.  He brought all of this knowledge and experience to bear on holsters and certain tactical products.

A great case-in-point: his T-fit ankle holster (as in “fits you to a T”) which uses a special panel that is sealed in plastic.  Once opened to air and placed inside the holster, the user wears it on his/her ankle with their preferred carry gun and the holster literally molds to the wearer’s leg and gun, providing a completely customized fit.

The materials are very lightweight, and like an air cast, allow air to flow freely around the holster, producing less sweat and, therefore, less odor and more comfort.  And all for well under a hundred bucks!

Dave and his crew also gave some thought to the problems women face and came up with their own version of a thigh holster called the “Comfort Air.”  It uses the same airflow technology to help the ladies stay cool and comfortable while keeping their firearm both handy and secure.  Unlike some of the others I mentioned above, this is not a modification of an existing product; no cutting leather and experimenting with endlessly variable positions.  This is purpose-built for women who don’t want to be restricted to pants all the time.  Maybe you kilt wearin’ men might think about it, too.

 

MYSTERY SOLVED

Okay, so that this isn’t a complete commercial for Telor Tactical, I’ll fess-up to my own ankle holster solution.  It started out with an Uncle Mike’s Nylon holster sized to my Kel-Tec 9mm semi-auto pistol.  It has a nice fit and easy thumb-break retention strap that you can reposition as you see fit since everything is held together by Velcro.  It has a nice, wide strap which is also secured and tightened by Velcro.  (True confession: while it doesn’t chafe, I do prefer to wear socks under it.)  It has the advantage of not loosening up as the day wears on.  It WILL drop, however, and Uncle Mike’s originally provided a calf strap made of wide elastic to hold it up.  But elastic only lasts so long, and like an old pair of underpants, had to go bye-bye.  What to do?

The problem was easily solved with a $2.50 carpenter’s web belt from Home Depot.  After sizing it to my upper calf (just below the knee) and cutting off the excess, I used some of that to be the dangling support strap.  The web is some tough stuff to work with, so I had to drill holes and use pop rivets to secure the strap to the belt.  I also put a layer of super glue under it and glued a piece of soft fabric to the back, so the rivets don’t meet skin.  I cut a taper at the end of the support strap and carefully glued on some Velcro.  The result: a super-strong, well-secured and mostly comfortable ankle rig for under $30!  It may well outlast the gun.  (Another view here.)

Got some great ways to conceal that you’ve come up with?  Please share them with me and maybe they’ll appear in a future article.  Send yours to: glockslinger@keepandbeararms.com.

About the author:
Mobile DJ, business owner/entrepreneur and author Stu Chisholm was born in Detroit, Michigan. A columnist for the DJ industry trade magazine, Mobile Beat, Stu’s series on “DJ Security” contained a controversial segment on concealed carry and the use of guns. It was later included in, and expanded upon, in his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey,” published in 2008. Running a business and pursuing what he considers logical security measures, Stu obtained his CCW permit in the state of Michigan in the late ’90s and later became active in the gun rights movement. He joined the grass roots group MCRGO, the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, helping to reform Michigan’s concealed carry law in 2001. Stu remains an active DJ, writer and activist, and is currently collaborating on an upcoming science-fiction book set in Detroit’s near future. He is married to cable television producer, Janette Chisholm and lives in Roseville, Michigan.

  • 7 User comments to “You Know the Problem With Concealed Carry – Concealment”

    1. The main reason it TIME, with having to cover what the state required the shooting qual’s if your state requires it its hard to get people to stay for the extra time. There are so many options on concealed carry each with pro’s and con’s both on and off the body.

      As you pointed out the options are huge and what ive found that works for me my not be best for you. Its trial and error especially when you add the face people refuse to accept some change in dress in required.

      Over the 25 plus years of concealed carry I’ve gone through more holsters than you can ever guess at. Some were cheap and some very expensive, with good and bad ones on each end of the price scale. Some worked for me and others were useless for me but were swarn by others. I have Fanny packs,day planners and courrer style bags along with in the waist, outside the waist, shoulder rigs but only one ankle holster for one of my first guns, a little .38 chiefs special. ( An occasional backup to my everyday carry).

      I will not list brands, but the best shoulder rig I bought was more than $100 less than the other ones I bought. Now the best IWB i’ve bought was a very expensive leather one I bought years ago but has been recently replaced by a leather/ klydex combination thats of a popular big name brand style but is less than half the cost and in my opinion better made but still functions the same. So cost is not always good measurement.

      On a personal note I would never recommend purse or man bag carry as a they are the target for a grab and run robber. And a ankle holster, EXCEPT as a backup. You have to bend down to reach it and as you do your going to take your eyes off thr threat. It a natural reaction. Just ask someone to grab their ankle and see.

    2. Jamie on May 20, 2014 at 8:49 AM said:

      Is that a banana in your pocket or are you happy to see me or is it a concealed carry?

    3. hopefully open carry will come to Texas in ’15 !

    4. Chuck on May 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM said:

      I like a .45 and they are damn hard to conceal. The weight pulls your pants down and it just does not feel good. I have a shoulder holster but it is only good in winter. Yeah, I could go to a pea shooter, but I don’t want to shoot someone and just piss them off so they can finish the job. Concealing something with real firepower is a big problem.

    5. Swampie on May 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM said:

      I have had to change my clothing style more than my choice of holsters; so now it is jeans with wide belt, cowboy boots with sewn in mini-holster; and a few different vests with arm pit pockets. Or of course, a work out jacket/ zip sweatshirt/ windbreaker. Fall/winter/spring ski jackets too. I also like the under Shirt with arm pit stash ( although it goes from 1 sec to 2-3 sec draw. A trade off I have to make). Well, weight is an issue, so after carrying 2 pieces, with some extra ammo in the car/ briefcase; it is a long day.

      Try cowboy boots or army boots, and work on sewing on/in a suede/ nylon holster. Works great for droop/sag; and bell bottoms are back in style! Time for more derringers!

    6. Janek on May 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM said:

      Concealed carry, in spite of the discomfort cited, is the better choice. Open carry may deter an attacker or it may motivate him to disarm you? How many uniformed police who carried openly were slain with their own gun? If local law is favorable you can make the choice, open carry or concealed carry. I’ll take discomfort over serious injury or death!

    7. tenringrob on May 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM said:

      Open carry means you are the first one shot. Concealed is uncomfortable but much safer. For those worried about the weight pulling your pants down, use suspenders as well as a belt. You have the advantage to draw your gun at your discretion and timetable

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