November 14, 2012

Carry Solutions: Crossdraw, Muzzleback Cant, Appendix

This column is dedicated to the art of carrying a concealed handgun.

This column is dedicated to the art of carrying a concealed handgun. Why do I refer to packing heat to avoid detection as being an art? Because there is no one perfect way to carry a gun. What works in one situation may be useless in another. What fits one body type could be ludicrous on someone else. Probably the most often asked question is which gun I should carry. So, let’s put that to rest right now.

It’s not necessarily which gun but which system. For example, if you can shoot a revolver like a demon then you are probably better off with the five or six shots available from a wheelgun than the highest capacity semi-auto.

The art of carrying a gun concealed is often times ruled by the ten letter word, compromise. Sure, you’d like to carry you favorite hunting revolver or the wheelgun you used to win the Bianchi Cup. But, you can’t go around with an S&W 500 Magnum or a Model 10 revolver with barricade wings hanging off your body.

A carry gun must be smooth and sleek and light enough to live with day in and day out. Then again it may be wise to have more than one gun of the same system available to you in different circumstance. This leads us to consider the different ways in which a gun may be concealed.

An excellent example of the three slot pancake holster is the DeSantis 002 Speed Scabbard, ($62, from It has exceptional detail on the outer panel and a tension adjustment screw. The Speed Scabbard holds its shape and stays open so that you can reholster without looking or having to manually spread the mouth of the holster. Shown with the Glock model G30SF in the crossdraw position which is ideal for carry when seated in a car or at a desk.

There are two primary types of concealment for which a concealed handgun licensee may be held liable. They are control via proximity of a concealed firearm and physical control of a firearm attached directly to the person. Proximity may be fixed or mobile. Fixed concealment could be in the glove box of an automobile or a desk drawer. Mobile concealment may include a briefcase, purse, or device such as a date book with false compartment.

For the first installment of Carry Solutions let’s look at concealment on the person as attached by the common waist belt holster. One of the most versatile holsters that I’ve found is the three slot pancake design. By versatile I mean that it offers the most mounting options making it possible to adapt to a variety of situations and also mode of dress.

Threading the belt through the upper forward loop cants the muzzle back and lowers the gun on the belt. Pushed to the rear this position hides the gun behind the hip and presents the grip to the shooter.

Pancake design refers to a holster constructed of two flat pieces of leather. Mounted on a belt the two halves conform to the radius of the waist line. A basic pancake design attaches by the use of two belt slots one in front of the gun and one behind.

But the three slot system offers two forward belt slots one on top of the other. Threading the belt through the upper slot cants the muzzle towards the rear and lowers the grip along the belt line. Passing the belt through the lower slot produces zero cant, (bore line straight up and down), or on some models negative cant, (muzzle forward). Choosing which forward belt slot produces at least three different mounting positions. Muzzle back cant for carry behind the hip, zero cant for mounting in front of the hip or on the opposite side of the body, (cross draw).

When wearing a jacket or overshirt with the front open placement behind the hip utilizing the upper front belt slot is likely the best choice. The lower front belt slot may also be used to position the gun directly over the point of the hip. This also affords an extra opportunity for retention as the gun will then be directly inside the arm and the elbow can be used to pin the gun tightly to the body.

Appendix carry allows for a natural draw by raking upward with the gun hand while the opposite hand can be used to pull the cover garment out of the way.

When wearing a sweater, sweatshirt or other closed front garment choose the lower front belt slot. With the gun and holster pushed forward this position is often referred to as Appendix carry. This allows for a natural draw by raking upward with the gun hand while the opposite hand pulls the garment out of the way. Mounting the holster just in front of the hip opposite of the shooting hand, (cross draw), is a good choice for carry in the seated position, such as when driving or sitting at a desk. The three slot holster offers the most variations to suit you body type, body position, and what you wear. Next month we’ll talk about concealing a gun in the car and the protocol necessary to keep it safe.