So you’ve just got that concealed carry permit, or maybe you live in a state where no permit is required, and you’ve decided to start packing heat. The first natural accessory that new concealed carriers will purchase is often a holster; all but the smallest pocket pistols will require a holster of some sort in order to carry the pistol properly. There is so much out there on concealed carry holsters that we won’t bother mentioning them here, and as important as they are, did you realize that there are other important accessories to consider, as well? Yes, there are!
The first point of failure for most new concealed carriers usually happens to be the belt, or lack thereof. Most people just assume they’re going to wear the belt they already have, and some people wear no belt at all on a normal basis. Consider that the belt you wear while concealed carrying is one of the most important parts of carrying – period. Here’s why:
- Your belt does two things while concealed carrying – it provides an attachment point for the holster, and it also keeps the holster on a horizontal plane. Both of these are critical for keeping the weapon stable.
- A properly fastened and retentive belt also keeps the holster attached when you draw the weapon. Keep in mind that a belt that is too loose, too thin, or not up to the task will flex and bend when you draw the gun, which could interfere with your draw.
- The belt is part of the concealment system. No belt, or too thin a belt means a droopy bulge of a gun that moves when you move. There’s nothing that screams “I’m carrying a gun” as much as a bulge that slaps your hip or leg with every stride. A good belt keeps the gun well-secured and tight to your body.
- A belt is critical to weapons retention, and is often the only thing holding your holster in your pants.
A good belt for concealed carrying can be made of either quality leather, or even synthetic nylon. Look for a solid buckle and a wider belt rather than thinner, as this provides more of a purchase for holsters.
2. MAGAZINE CARRIERS
Perhaps you were of the impression that the only rounds you needed could be found within the gun itself. This may be the case – but then again, it may not. Consider a multiple active shooter situation such as Columbine or something of that nature – in which people and lots of ammo are needed to get the bad guys — and you’ll quickly want the ability to reload. Since you have a belt and a concealed holster to begin with, there’s no reason that you can’t have a couple of slim-fitting magazine carriers on your weak side. Often, these can be disguised as well as or even better than the pistol itself, and you’ll hardly notice the weight. There’s no room for flap-type pouches here – go with an open-top magazine carrier that allows you to grab the magazines from their bottoms, and pull them straight up for a reload.
If you shoot a revolver, there’s no problem with open-top speed loader pouches, although they are wider than the corresponding magazine pouches. Remember one thing – speed loaders or magazines in your front pocket looks exactly like speed loaders or magazines in your front pocket! Yes, people that know can tell. Keep them just as concealed as the weapon itself.
It’s pretty safe to assume that the pistol you are using to concealed carry probably won’t be equipped with a weapons light. The whole size of a rig like that is too big and bulky, and not only that, the corresponding holster will also be huge. None of this diminishes the fact that you still need tactical illumination, since many of the places you might carry, such as theaters and restaurants, are dimly lit. Correspondingly, restaurants and theaters also happen to be popular attractions for active shooters! Therefore, carry some form of tactical illumination on your person. It doesn’t have to be clipped to your belt, just available.
Part of concealed carrying is having a weapons system on your person, and a weapons system is more than just a weapon itself. It’s a way to respond to a potential threat and a means to have more options than just expending a single eight round magazine and then giving up or having to run away. Not all self defense situations will require multiple magazines worth of ammunition – some might only require a single round. But as concealed carriers often quote – it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Come equipped!