Comfort & Concealment
Concealed Carry Doesn’t Have To Be Uncomfortable.
Here Are Some Packing Tips
By Massad Ayoob
Let’s face it, carrying a concealed handgun can be inconvenient. Maybe it requires one more garment than you want on a hot day. Or maybe the gun digs into your side. Over the years, for comfort’s sake, many detectives and Federal agents decided their desk drawer, glove box, or briefcase was the most comfortable holster and didn’t bulge their Brooks Brothers suit. Those folks had sacrificed potentially life-saving access for comfort.
As an example of balancing comfort and access I offer this formula: Comfort=N82. That would stand for Nate Squared. A few years ago at the NRA National Meeting, I met a couple of guys named Nate (Nate squared, get it? I thought it was cute) who came up with an intriguing variation of the hybrid holster. The shell surrounding three sides of the gun was hard synthetic, but the big, wide backing design on the wearer’s side made it different.
As the Nates say, “Since 2009, our holsters have been designed with a patented three-layer backing that completely isolates your handgun from contact with your body. The facing leather provides a durable, pliable, and most important, natural material for your handgun to contact. Nate Squared pioneered the use of neoprene in the holster industry. This waterproof material provides a moisture barrier between you and your handgun and also adds to the comfort of the holster. Some people have an allergic reaction to neoprene and neoprene doesn’t allow the skin to breathe. This prompted the use of soft suede leather for contact with your skin. The suede allows your skin to breathe, so even when you are in humid environments or are just out working and sweating, it will still feel cool to your skin. So, unlike our competitors, we suggest you wear the holster directly against your skin! No more undershirts!”
Any hybrid-style holster putting a shield between the grip-frame of the handgun and your body—bearing in mind these are generally inside-the-waistband holsters which hold the sidearm tight to your body already—makes it a bit more difficult for your drawing hand to get between the pistol grip and the holster’s body barrier to take a good grasp. This tends to slow you down. In IDPA, the concealed carry shooting sport, I’ve never seen a champion competitor draw from such. (They often wore a hybrid home from the match, though.) Your fingertips have to reach past one more obstacle to take a drawing grasp and this slows you down.
Thick, flexible, cushiony padding between pistol and body is what makes the N82 so
exquisitely comfortable for inside the waistband carry. Photo: Gail Pepin
How much will it slow you? Only you, the gun, holster and an electronic shot timer together can answer the question. If you have some extra avoirdupois at the beltline, it’s going to get in the way and slow you down, even if your inside-the-waistband holster isn’t the hybrid type. Adding the body shield is certainly not going to speed up your draw and will probably slow it to some degree. We have to take this into consideration.
That said, the cushion between gun and body is delightful. The Nate Squared holster is what I’d want if I were carrying one of the RTF2 GLOCK’s in my safe. These pistols, with aggressive “polymids” on the grip, chew up enough clothing that the company stopped selling them for a while. G10 style grips with aggressively rough grip surfaces can likewise take DNA samples off bare skin. With the body shield, though, you are spared the loss and just have to pay the price of the slightly slower draw.
The comfort element begs the question, “Just how much comfort are you losing due to the barrier between your side and your gun?” The answer is, “It depends.” If the situation is such your gun is so uncomfortable you leave it at home, get the N82. A slightly slower draw beats the heck out of having to go home and retrieve the pistol if you need it in the here and now.
The Nates came up with a feature they trademarked called Twist Release, to deal with concerns over some dirtbag trying to rip your gun out of the holster. To clear the pistol from a Twist Release holster, you have to pivot the butt inward to your body to clear the triggerguard from the niche holding it, and then you can do a clean, straight draw. It reminds me of the old Jay-Pee revolver holster NYPD mandated when all their cops carried revolvers in uniform. The late, great Lt. Frank McGee, head of NYPD Firearms & Tactics Unit, said “Gun experts make fun of our holsters, but criminals can’t get the guns out and our cops can.”
Mas’ N82 holster comfortably carries his Tarnhelm Custom GLOCK 30. Photo: Gail Pepin
Find The Balance
I make my living teaching firearms and speed of draw is important to me, which is why I don’t often carry hybrid holsters. However, a Nate Squared for my pet GLOCK 30 sits waiting in my holster drawer for any day when I might need some extra comfort in carry. Each of us finds our own balance, and balance can tip one way or the other depending on weather, wardrobe and other factors.
The more options you have readily at hand any time you get dressed, the more likely you are to find your balance of preparedness and ordinary life on any given day.
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