Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 17: Handgun Carry Options

For all the talk about handguns on this blog, we haven't talked much about methods of carrying them. I thought I would offer a quick review of some of the carry options that I routinely use for concealed carry, and discuss the pros and cons of these systems.

From left to right in the top image: Wilderness magazine pouch, Raven magazine pouch, Ravine G19 holster, MTAC G20 Holster. All on Wilderness Instructor belt.

Raven Concealment Holster & Magazine Pouches

I love the fact that Raven holster systems are modular. I can wear the same holster either inside or outside the waistband by simply swapping out the stock OWB for accessory IWB hooks. I was able to order 1.75” belt loops even though they don’t list them, simply by adding a comment to my online order. I can easily conceal my Glock 19 in this holster under a t-shirt whether it’s worn inside or outside my waistband, though the IWB configuration hugs noticeable tighter to my body. Overall, I prefer IWB carry for everyday concealment and OWB for range use and tactical shooting, but that’s mostly individual preference.

One thing I don’t like about the Raven holster system is the inability to adjust retention strength. Both the holster and magazine pouches are molded kydex and you’re stuck with the factory setting, which is quite strong. I found the gun retention to be nearly perfect, but the magazines are much too difficult to remove for my taste. I have to wear them farther back on my belt to maintain the leverage needed for crisp reloading drills, which complicates things if you find yourself on the ground, especially in the supine position.

Minotaur MTAC Holster

The Minotaur MTAC holster sold by Comp-Tac is a fantastic holster for concealing large handguns like the G20. This leather-kydex hybrid combines the comfort of leather with the rigidity of polymer, and is fully adjustable for retention and cant. In terms of IWB carry efficiency, it’s very close to the Raven holster. You can also purchase addition kydex halves to make the same primary body function with any model of pistol. In the future I’ll probably stick with Raven simply because it can be worn outside of the belt, but if you like the comfort of leather and only desire to carry inside your belt, the MTAC is one of the best options out there.

Wilderness Tactical Belt & Magazine Pouches

I’m generally a fan of products by the Wilderness. They make a fantastic belt: I wear a 5-stitch instructor belt every day, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I also use their slings on two long guns. I hate to say it, but their magazine pouches are garbage. I bought the horizontal style because I thought it would ease concealment, but it’s bulky and wears awkwardly. Even though it was specifically sold to accommodate the 10mm double stack magazines of the Glock 20, the fit is far too tight, and the magazine catches on a seam in the nylon totally preventing smooth draws. So while I recommend most Wilderness products, I’d stay away from their mag pouches.

*The arrangement shown is clearly for illustrative purposes only, and is not intended to be an actual layout for practical carry.

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