American COP’s Compendium Of Gun Toting Tips.
While we have a regular column called Carry Options every other month, we expanded on the concept this issue to bring a broad cross-section of goodies we’ve laid our hands on and checked out. We’ve worked with each of these pieces of gear, some quite extensively, and found they all have something to offer. Not everything will work for everybody, and that’s why we all have that box of holsters hiding in the closet. (Tip: Give ‘em away to the more needy so they don’t have to buy their own box of holsters and waste the money you did!)
If you’re like me, as my job description changes (patrol, detectives, specialized units) and as new firearm technology arrives, I’m pretty much constantly keeping an eye out for new ideas to make toting a gun on- and off-duty more comfortable and effective. Some ideas are home runs while many shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place. But hey, that’s why we’re here — to help you peer through the clutter and come up with a rosy picture. Consider the following a synopsis of some “Good-2-Go” gear (G2G, get it?); and while we didn’t have room to include everybody, it’s a good place for you to start. We’ll be covering even more gear in future columns and features so stay tuned.
Pants with a purpose — CCW Breakaways are nothing short of revolutionary for anyone who carries concealed. Only you will know you have a gun in your pocket thanks to the deep, front holster pockets. They were designed from the ground up by Jay French to not only carry a gun comfortably concealed in the built-in pants pocket holster, but to be able to deploy it rapidly. By practicing good tactics, you can achieve the master grip on your gun while it’s still in your pocket. When a threat presents itself, you’re able to draw in less than a second, with the aid of the two breakaway snaps securing the pocket to the belt line (check out the pictures). This ability is what sets CCW Breakaways apart from any other holster option. They’re comfortable, look like normal pants and are beautifully constructed. The deep, pocket design puts the gun more toward the inside of the thigh, so it’s less likely to print — and it simply works great. Available in khaki, cargo and denim, they are well worth the MSRP is $69.99.
We’ll call this versatile plastic: The Stryker System is an all-new polymer holster from DeSantis. It’s modular, and one of the most-adjustable security holsters I’ve seen. Use it either as a finger-activated Level III security holster, or remove the lever and use it as a thumb-activated Level II holster. The thumb lever is also adjustable for a perfect fit for any officer.
The Stryker is quickly attached to or removed from belts, thigh rigs or MOLLE vests, and no tools are needed to do the presto-chango thing. This truly is a versatile system. MSRP is $120.99.
Known for their competition and personal-defense Kydex belt holsters, Comp-Tac has moved into the concealment arena with their new Minotaur MTAC inside-the-pants holster. Combining Kydex and leather, Comp-Tac creates a holster that’s comfortable against your body while still allowing effortless re-holstering.
The holster body is an interchangeable Kydex half shell, allowing you to switch guns without having to buy a completely new holster. The Minotaur MTAC is adjustable for cant and ride height, and the clips are interchangeable too, letting you match your belt size and colors as needed. MSRP is $85.
Building on the design and comfort of the SuperTuck IWB holsters, CrossBreed now offers an OWB — the SuperSlide — featuring a Kydex holster attached to a leather panel. The panel has three belt slots, which allow you several carry options including strong side and crossdraw. The leather panel fully protects the gun from touching your body.
CrossBreed also uses a similar design for a matching single and double mag pouch. This design gives you a great combination of close-to-the-body concealed carry and a comfortable, fast belt holster. MSRP starts at $52.50.
Their name says it all — Galco Gunleather — beautiful holsters made out of leather. Recently though, they dove head first into the plastic holster business and came up with a real gem. Their latest thermoplastic Matrix holster line is the M6X ALH (Auto Locking Holster). It has a patented locking device, keeping the gun securely in the holster until released using the thumb lever.
The M6X ALH has a very natural, intuitive draw, allowing you to get the gun out and on-target in a hurry. The belt slots adjust from 1.25″ to 2″ and the holster hugs close to your body for nice concealment. MSRP is just $39.95
The best holster in the world is almost worthless if you’re not using a good belt. Daltech Force makes good-quality, inexpensive leather belts. Their BULLBELT is made from a layer of bull hide on the front, and cowhide leather on the back to create a sturdy, yet comfortable belt. The belt needs to be sturdy in order to properly support the weight of the gun and holster. I’ve been wearing two of them for several months now and they are outstanding.
BULLBELTs run a little small because of the thickness of the leather. Add 4″ to your normal waist size to get a proper fit. They come in 28″-70″ and several widths, with 1.25″ for smaller belt loops (ladies?), 1.5″ for standard belt loops, and 1.75″ for bigger belt loops. Choose from stainless steel or brass hardware. MSRP is $49.95.
Natt Stevens and his crew at TUFF Products have a reputation for listening to their clients and willingness to try new things; it’s how they came up with the Pocket-Roo and Tacllett Jr. The Pocket-Roo is a twist on the conventional pocket holster; a small pouch is added for carrying a spare magazine or one of their great QuickStrips.
The Tacllett Jr. is a multipocket pouch you clip to your belt. Outside, it features elastic slots for a pen and flashlight, and a flapped mesh pocket perfect for a cell phone. The main zippered compartment holds a small gun and spare magazine or QuickStrip, each in individual elastic straps. Access is super fast thanks to the pull handle that defeats the zipper and Velcro closure. MSRP is $19.99 (Pocket-Roo) and $59.99 (Tacllett Jr.).
If you find your duties require you to carry a little extra gear on a daily basis, you’ll want to give the Kakadu Briefcase a close look. It has a rugged but sophisticated look, allowing it to blend into a variety of situations. In addition to being large enough for a laptop and having pockets to keep all your stuff, it features a snap-in holster panel. This panel has a holster and two mag pouches made from military-grade elastic, keeping your gun secure and at the ready. I’ve been using one every day for a few months and I’m very happy with it. MSRP is $144.99.
Are you in need of a custom Kydex holster, but don’t want to wait two months and pay through the nose for one? Jim Tactay understands your quandary. He’s a disabled vet and competitive shooter who’s also living the American dream of owning his own business, Tac-Tech-Cal. Jim handmakes each holster to order and prides himself on trying to keep turn around time under two weeks. He specializes in belt holsters ideal for range use and competition, but I had him make a low profile rig for my M&P 9C — it works great for undercover carry.
Tac-Tech-Cal holsters can be had in many different colors (including black) and Jim can do custom magazine pouches in just about any shape and number you want. He made me a 1911 pouch holding six mags in two offset rows that works great for range use.
The Smith & Wesson name has been on more than just great firearms over the last century. Now they have partnered with Wild Things, LLC to create a line of outdoor clothing aimed at the armed individual. One of the first items offered is the Range Jacket. This is a cotton canvas Western-style jacket with a host of pockets to store all your gear.
There are two internal handgun concealment pockets capable of keeping your gun ready for instant use. These pockets are zippered and have snap closures to ensure the gun stays put. Other really cool features are the gun hammer zipper pulls, S&W logo snaps and the handgun print lining taken from actual S&W blue prints. (MSRP not available at the time.)
If you are looking for a logical way to carry your gear to the range, check out G-Outdoors’ line of G.P.S. Wild About Shooting Range Bags. With their Visual ID Storage System, they’ve labeled each pocket and compartment with a picture of the item meant to be stored in it. Now you don’t have to wonder where you put something, just look at the picture.
Range bags are made of heavy-duty nylon with durable hardware and zippers. I have the large bag, which is made to carry multiple handguns and anything I could ever need while at the range. The Wild About Shooting line is pretty extensive, they’re sure to have a bag to meet your needs.
Over the last year I’ve been hearing a lot about N82 Tactical (Nate Squared Tactical) and their take on the IWB holster. They recognize one of the main things making IWB carry uncomfortable is the pressure from the sharp angles on the gun pressing into your body. They’ve created a polycarbonate holster attached to a panel, featuring suede on one side to press against the body, and oil tanned leather on the other for the gun to rest against.
This would be great as is, but they’ve sandwiched a piece of neoprene between the two sides. What the neoprene does is give you a comfortable pad absorbing the pressure from the gun. The suede allows your skin to breathe, while the neoprene keeps any moisture from your skin from getting to the gun. All of this adds up to extreme comfort. I’ve been testing the Professional and am quite happy with it. MSRP $69.95.
Sometimes you just have to have some fun while you try to be serious. Mitch Rosen (of Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather) did this double J-frame rig for His Immenseness, Publisher Roy Huntington. Roy is a big fan of S&W J-frame revolvers (as are most of us) and thought it might be fun and interesting to see how a double rig worked.
You get two guns, 10 shots, lightweight carry and a rig that’s easy to take off and put on. Dangerous game hunters carry double rifles because they have, essentially, two complete rifles in one. It’s the same concept here — you don’t just have a reload, you have another gun! Roy says it’s comfy and just a tad James Bond-ish, which isn’t all that bad I suspect.
By John Russo