Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rethinking Pocket Carry


 The Pocket Guns and Gear guy is rethinking pocket carry?  Yup.  It's true.

Over the last few months I've really taken advantage of my private range access and spent a considerable amount of time actually shooting my carry pistols.  In the past, all my shooting was done at a commercial indoor range or semi-public outdoor ranges that didn't allow for draw from concealment.  You may occasionally luck out and get the semi-public range to yourself and sneak in some draw to fire practice, but I never felt comfortable doing it because the range wardens would often pull up in their trucks to observe the range activity from the parking lot.  I didn't relish the thought of a confrontation with them.

I quickly learned that drawing from your pocket can be incredibly slow if you are someone that wears a variety of different pants with different pocket styles.  It's still better than not having something in your pocket or on your person, but it got me started down the path of investigating other carry options.  My next stop was investigating inside the waistband appendix carry. 

Appendix carry requires a small leap of faith that folks around you won't notice the bulge in your waistband at the 2 O'clock position under your shirt.  Pocket concealment is easy as long as you are working with one of the smaller pistols.  Move that pistol up to your waistband and all kinds of paranoia starts running through your head.  In reality, I realized that people are usually busy, caught up in their own lives, and have better things to do than give you more than quick fraction of a second glance.  Paranoia eliminated.

For me, the main advantage of AIWB carry is very fast access to your firearm if you need it.  After finding the right holster and some practice, I really started to see the merits of this carry method.  I really didn't fully appreciate it until I finally bought myself a shot timer.  Here's a little snip of a video I made over the weekend when I was practicing with my current favorite carry combo.  A Boberg XR9-S in a chopped down Remora holster.  This rig works fine in the pocket or as a AIWB practice rig.

Many years ago, I attended a Dale Carnegie seminar that included video tape analysis of your public speaking assignments.  I hated it, as I am sure most people do, but there was no denying the powerful impact it has on identifying and correcting bad habits.  The video above is a great example of identifying a bad habit, in this case the lean to the right, that I was not aware of when actually out on the range.  Competitive shooters analyze their hat-cam footage so why shouldn't we follow their lead and analyze our practice footage?  If you have the resources to do it, I think it it might be worth your time.  I know I learned a few things about my shooting this weekend.

On the wardrobe malfunction.  You would think that something as easy as lifting your shirt to access your firearm would be pretty simple and automatic.  As you saw in the video that isn't always the case.  I have no idea why it happened, but my guess is that I was rushing to grab the pistol before the shirt was clear.  One more thing to be cognizant of when practicing.

So now you have my thoughts on AIWB carry.  I see quite a bit of upside potential, but I'm a realist.  The 6 to 8 seconds required to draw and fire twice from the pocket versus the 3 to 4 seconds required for the AIWB carry method.  On paper it looks good, but then the realist in me comes out and realizes that under stress these times could potentially double.  Probably best if I picked one carry method and practice, practice, practice.

Bottom line is don't be afraid to try out a new carry method.  You will never know if it can help you unless you give it a try.


  1. I love my Kel-tec PF9 with the belt clip, I can hide it just about anywhere...

  2. "In reality, I realized that people are usually busy, caught up in their own lives, and have better things to do than give you more than quick fraction of a second glance."

    Or, they'll just think it's a colostomy bag. The benefit of that - they'll look away even faster. Problem solved.

  3. Pocket carry is best for a backup or a situation where you must have a deeper cover. I drill for all and the fastest getting a shot from the pocket is a small revolver. Nearly all of my LEO students have returned to the J Frame with a shrouded hammer for pocket carry. All of them have deliberately wasted a pair of slacks to drill shooting from the pocket, but the good side is you are looking at a 2 second first shot and a 2.5 second next shot. The best small semi autos are fast from an ankle holster. One of my closest friends is a Detective Sergeant who carries a Glock 17 in a IWB strongside, a J frame in his non-dom hand pocket, and a G 27 in an ankle holster.

  4. Maybe I'm missing something here, but for me pocket carry done right is not only fast but deceptively fast. By approaching a tense situation with a shrug of the shoulders and putting BOTH of your hands in your pockets, like you do in more normal situations, you don't seem to be doing anything abnormal. You now have your hand on the gun and if you do the draw smoothly, it just seems to appear from nowhere. If you grimace and tensely thrust ONE hand into your pocket, now everybody nows whats in there.