Ankle Holsters & Belly Bands

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Different states and jurisdictions define carrying concealed differently. In some states, a firearm has to be hidden to the point where it doesn’t “print” through clothing, showing the outline of the gun. Others are a bit more relaxed, accepting the fact that guns are bulky items that will make a bulge under one’s clothing and in some cases, that bulge will be discernable as a gun.

Fortunately, a lot of people carry their phones in a holster on their hip, which can also make a bulge under one’s clothing. It can be tricky to tell if the bulge you see on someone’s hip is their phone or a gun. Most people won’t look close enough to tell, making it easier for those of us who carry, to do so without notice.

Even so, there are times when a gun looks like a gun, even under one’s clothing. Tight and/or thin clothing is much more likely to show the outline of a gun. While that might be legal in the state you live in, it may still not be desirable. One of the big advantages of carrying concealed, is that we can choose when to reveal the fact that we are armed, maintaining the element of surprise. That’s not something to be given up casually, without serious thought.

So, the question this leaves us with is, what can we do to carry concealed, when we can’t carry on our hip? This question has probably caused more head-scratching for carriers, as well as holster manufacturers, than any other. A large variety of options have been developed, some with better results than others.

I don’t use a belly band, as I have too much belly. I’ve always thought that using a belly band would be like putting a sign on my belly saying “GUN CONCEALED HERE!” But I have used an ankle holster. I’ve also carried in my backpack, briefcase and coat pocket. People In essence, I’ve tried almost every option that I thought might work for me.

One of my favorite alternate carry places is in a cargo pocket of cargo pants. People aren’t surprised to see a bulge there, as that could be anything. I have made a pocket insert holster, so that the trigger guard is covered and the gun is standing upright, where I can easily grasp the handle. So, it’s a convenient way to carry, even if it isn’t a convenient way to draw.

Carrying in a backpack or briefcase isn’t ideal either, in that you often have to set the bag down, in order to draw the pistol. I have a cross-body EDC bag with a carry compartment, that is fairly easy to draw from; but carrying a tactical bag shopping or into a restaurant can draw attention. Better to use something like a messenger bag. It’s also cross-body, and a holster to go in it can be fabricated, keeping the gun in an easy-to-draw position.

The biggest issue I see with pretty much all of these alternative ways of carrying, is one of drawing quickly and without attracting notice. The ankle holster is probably the worst for this, unless you can duck down behind a bush while outside or a clothing rack in a store. There’s just no convenient way to draw any pistol out of an ankle holster. About the only thing I can think of which would be worse, would be a thigh holster, as has been developed for women to use while wearing a skirt. But they have the advantage of distraction, as they pull their skirt up to get at their holster.

Without the ability to draw quickly, we’re left with the challenge of how to get our gun into action, before the bad guys can shoot. That’s the real risk with many of these holster styles. The need for concealability overtakes all other considerations; making them less safe to use.

My only solution to this is to draw more quickly than I otherwise would have, keeping the gun concealed with my body. This might mean moving the gun to my coat pocket, with may hand on it; or it might mean holding it in my hand, down the side of my leg, with my body blocking anyone’s view of the gun.

Such actions are not ideal, as they can be seen as threatening by others. That’s why they need to be undertaken cautiously. Doing anything that can be seen as a threat could result in an uncomfortable talk with the police and even being charged with a crime. Even a concealed carry license doesn’t protect you from other laws about firearms.

Each of us has to find what works for us. Just make sure you get enough practice with whatever manner you carry, so that you can get access to your gun quickly and unobtrusively, when you need it. Carrying a gun in a way you can’t use it, is almost worse than not carrying at all. Like always, be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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