The three areas of the body where handguns are most often worn concealed are under the shoulder, at the waist and on the ankle. The most common of these carries today is at the waist but each of these three body areas can offer the skillful person a concealment advantage. At waist level, holsters are worn on the belt or inside the waistband (IWB). My preference is often decidedly for the latter since the portion of the holster that is below the level of the waistband doesn’t have to be of any concern. It’s hidden already.
BlackHawk Leather Inside The Pants
I’ve recently been experimenting with a BlackHawk Leather Inside The Pants holster for a Glock 22 with a Picatinny rail and Crimson Trace Lasergrips. The Glock 22 is a full-sized handgun, making the concealment challenge all the greater.
The BlackHawk Inside The Pants holster is unique in several ways, not the least is its country of origin – Italy. Very frequently, holsters made overseas may be beautifully executed but less than cutting edge in design. I can truthfully say that this offering from BlackHawk is impressive, not only in materials and workmanship, but also in concept. The single, wide snap closure belt loop is angle adjustable for anything from strong side FBI Cant carry to crossdraw, this achieved in a unique way that I’ve not encountered in well over two decades of testing, evaluating and reporting on concealment holsters.
The holster is built up on the body side, so leather will be interposed between the gun and the wearer’s skin or clothing. Circumferencing the holster at the lip and continuing at that same level on the body side of the holster is a reinforcing band. This aids dramatically in ease of re-holstering. On the underside of the belt loop there’s hook material, a corresponding but larger patch of fuzz affixed to the reinforcing band. When you want to change the angle, separate the hook from the loop, rotate the belt loop and then let the hook and loop re-mate.
Draw with the BlackHawk inside holster is slick, a molded-in/boned-in sight channel helps out in that regard. There’s a tension screw just aft of the covered triggerguard area.
DeSantis Holster: New York City Classic
Comfort is, of course, totally subjective. Some persons find shoulder holsters, for example, to be the most convenient carry, while others could care less about convenience and eschew shoulder carry on the grounds of discomfort. Typically, these days, the balanced shoulder rig is the best choice in shoulder holsters for concealed carry, wherein the gun is carried diagonally (muzzle angled slightly upward) under the offside shoulder and at least two spare magazines are positioned under the strong side shoulder, at a slight angle.
One of my favorite balanced diagonal (don’t wear these rigs horizontally, unless the gun in question is quite short in overall length) shoulder rigs is the DeSantis New York City Classic. Shoulder rigs are best suited for medium to larger sized guns.
The harness is fully adjustable with unique and practical button-like fasteners. The way the holster attaches to the harness allows the gun holstered in it to roll toward the body, enhancing concealment. The unique positioning of the attachment at the front of the holster is helpful in this regard, as well. The magazine pouch can be worn three ways, for an upward vertical withdrawal, the more usual downward vertical carry or attached to the harness horizontally.
The holster can be adjusted into a very practical diagonal position, allowing one to “scoop up” the butt of the gun and pop the thumb break in one fluid motion. The holster has a tension screw, hardly needed because the holster is gun specific and features a good wet mold. There’s a boned-in sight track too.
The harness free floats on a leather coupler and is comprised of four tails. The two forward tails on the DeSantis New York City Classic come contoured, which many people like, feeling the contoured straps better distribute weight.
Galco Gunleather: Ankle Glove
Galco offers a whole host of excellent concealment products. One of my favorites is the Ankle Glove, one of the finest ankle holsters to be had. Although I’ve carried a gun of greater size and weight in an ankle rig, after all guns are considered for ankle carry, I’d have a tough time not choosing a 2-inch barrel revolver.
One of the reasons the Galco Ankle Glove is so good is that it’s made from a perfect combination of materials. The band, which wraps around ankles up to 13 inches, is constructed from neoprene. The portion of the band positioned behind the holster is padded with genuine sheepskin, to protect the anklebone area from being bruised by the gun. Genuine Velcro hook and loop fasteners are used to close the band around the ankle. If desired, a calf strap is available, which keeps the gun/holster combination from succumbing to gravity and sinking to the top of the shoe.
Offered for a wide range of handguns, both revolvers and semi-automatics, the Galco Ankle Glove can be had with a safety strap or with a tension adjustment screw. I opted for the safety strap, although Ankle Gloves for guns without exposed hammer, are offered both ways.
The holster itself is black. It is detail molded, perfectly stitched and features a boned-in sight track. The thumb break is metal reinforced and the base of the male snap on the actual strap is backed by a plastic insert, to protect the gun from scratching. The holster is pitched at what would be called an “FBI Cant” if it were a belt rig. Worn just slightly behind the anklebone, the Galco Ankle Glove is comfortable and, with the right trousers, extremely concealable. The Galco Ankle Glove is available for both right- and left-handed concealed weapons carriers.
Remember that the operational word in the term “concealed weapon” is “concealed.” These holsters from BlackHawk, DeSantis and Galco will do their part if you do yours.
The three areas of the body where handguns are most often worn concealed are…
by Paul Markel / May 11, 2009