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How did you chose your carry gun/holster?

3843 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  tex45acp
My search or a concealed carry weapon (CCW) weapon that works for me has been going on for at least one year prior to my obtaining a CCW permit. Michigan, at that time, was headed toward a shall issue status with many carry restrictions placed on the person with a CCW. I knew from the onset that whatever combination of handgun and carry device I chose had to be innocuous when viewed by the public. I received my CCW permit in January of 2002.

I had seen a lot of statements by Clint Smith and I believed what he said. Mr. Smith said something like "A carry weapon doesn't have to be comfortable, it has to be comforting. I took this statement to heart.

My CCW weapon was going to be one of my two favorite pistols. I knew I was going to carry a full-sized 1911 or a Browning High-Power (BHP). I am set to look for the proper way to carry these two weapons. Michigan's CCW is a very restrictive law. There are many places you just plain can't carry. Therefore you need a holster that is easy to remove or that doesn't look like a holster. My first choice was a FIST Driving Holster that I would use with my Colt Officer Model. I also ordered one for my Khar K40, which was to be an alternative carry to the 1911s, and BHPs.

This driving holster was the first of many things that didn't work for me. It wasn't easy for me to use while driving and it didn't satisfy me as a carry holster. I sought advice and Rosco Benson, whom I have a great deal of respect for, recommended a Milt Sparks Mirage. The Mirage is a well-designed belt slide and I intended to use it with my full-sized 1911s and BHPs. It didn't take long for me to realize the barrels of these pistols were exposed below my polo shirts and short jackets.

At this point I became enamored with my Smith and Wesson Model 37 and looked for the perfect pocket holster. I bough a Mitch Rosen pocket holster and gave it a test drive. I wasn't a happy camper and asked for help from various boards on the Internet. I was told to try an Uncle Mike's Pocket Holster and guess what? This holster cost a fraction of name brand pocket holsters and it worked for me until I became dissatisfied with the five shots of a Model 37.

I used to tease my friend, Stephen A. Camp, about his Kahr K9. I had done testing and evaluation for a friend's E9 and I was less than impressed. Every magazine produced a jam and the little pistol felt heavy to me. The E-9's owner wanted to dispose of it and offered it to me at a price I couldn't refuse. I kept shooting the E-9 and the jams went away just like the manual said. I liked this little gun for warm weather carry but what would I carry it in?

I bought a like new Rosen Workman Holster off the Internet. This led to a long battle to get the holster to fit the pistol. I took the holster to a distributor who convinced Mitch Rosen to refit the holster. At that time I bought a Workman Express as an interim solution and used this holster for a while but it just wasn't me. The two Workman are now part of a growing collection of holsters.

I still needed a holster that I could use daily without screaming GUN! I asked advice on the Internet was advised to try a Milt Sparks Summer Special (MSSS). I tried this holster with my 1911s and BHPs but it wasn't comfortable to wear while driving but I soon found that the (MSSS) is a very comfortable driving holster in the strong side position. I am not allowed to carry at work and if my shirt came up the empty holster would be visible.

I then discovered that my Milt Sparks Mirage worked perfectly with my Colt Officer, Kimber Custom Compact, and Para-Ordnance P12 LDA. These worked for a while but I decided I liked my Colt Officer and Kimber Custom Compact too much to use for car guns. The Para-Ordnance P12 LDA's weight led me to part company with Mr. Clint Smith's philosophy of comfort/comforting. The P12 with 13 rounds weighed too much for me.

I also found that my Milt Sparks Mirage worked well with my Kahr E-9. The E-9 became my carry gun used with the Mirage until cold weather was in the offing. What to do the seven months of winter in Michigan? My eyes fell on my Smith and Wesson Model 457. Here was a 45acp pistol that I didn't have much money in, was reliable, accurate, and compact. I opted for another Milt Sparks Mirage.

All this time I kept thinking I needed one handgun to carry all year long. I like Kahr pistols and I had a K40 that might work. I tried this pistol and believe it is a very good carry weapon when teamed up with an equally good carry rig. I had the Accurizer Gun shop of Troy, Michigan owned by Marianne Carniak do some alterations. A hard chromed and night sighted jewel sans sharp edges has replaced the blue pistol with a worn finish. The K40 also has 30 lpi checkering on the front of the grip and Hogue grips. It is now candy for the eyes.

I happened upon a group of K40 holsters for sale on Ebay. I won four, like new, items. My bid was $91.00 I received an Alessi CCQ and magazine carrier, Milt Sparks Heritage, and a Milt Sparks Summer Special. I figure the value of these items is close to $300.00. After trying these items with my K40 I am sure I have a great carry package. I have settled on the Milt Sparks Mirage and Summer Special for everyday use.

Since I wrote this in 2003 I have gone on to using a Bersa Thunder 45 in an Alessi CQC-I holster. This holster makes it easy to remove the holster and it is an excellent carry rig.

What is your story?


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I carried a Glock 26 for 8 years. I had prev tried carrying a Glock 19 and a govt sized 1911. It was too hard to conceal those unless it was winter time, so I moved to the glock 26.

I never did shoot a Glock as well as other guns - I always shot low and to the left no matter how much I practiced. I was good enough to hit the target and use it for self defense, but I never hit a bullseye, unless I over aimed.

Last year, I discovered the Walther P99 - and I learned that it had a similiar tennifer finish as the Glock. I liked the fullsize so much, so I ordered a compact, and sold the Glock 26. Now, the black outer coating over the tennifer isn't as scratch resistant on the Walther as it is on the Glock. So, I had the slide hard chromed.

Now, I carry the Walther P99 compact A/S.
My long time favorite Pistol was the Sig P226 in various holsters fitting the need...
Then for summer carry I went to the G26, for size. I still use it in ankle carry and in my camera bag...
My favorite carry now is my Walther P99 9mm in a Comp-Tec IWB Pro holster...
The P99 is light, reliable, accurate, comfortable, comforting and relatively small...
The OSS string holster was my favorite until I discovered the Comp-Tec IWB holster... It's light, thin, strong, not too expensive, and has a quick draw compared to my string... It keeps the moisture off my pistol too...

There are many combinations you can come up with, and most of them will be good... One combination pistol/holster will not do for all occasions, so you will find yourself mixing and matching... But, that, is part of the fun!
The problem I have with expensive car/carry guns is, under Michigan law, you can not carry in many places. Consequently, you leave the handgun hidden or locked in a trunk safe etc. I would rather leave a less expensive firearm in the car than an $800 one. That is what led me to buy a Bersa Thunder 45 for $200 + S&H; I surprised when I discovered I prefered this pistol to my Sig P220. Regards, Richard :-D
I was lucky enough to get quality training early in life. When I was 17, I took defensive handgun courses with Chuck Taylor and Mas Ayoob. In addition to making me a vastly better shooter, this training influenced my gun choices.

My first carry gun was a Colt Commander .45 in a Leather Arsenal IWB holster. Mas told me to carry two spare magazines, so I dutifully did so. I lived in the Northeast at the time, so I also had a J-frame .38 that I'd throw in an overcoat pocket in the cold winter months. I shot the Commander in IDPA-type competitions, and so I stayed very familiar with it. These two guns were my mainstays until I moved to Arizona.

A couple of years ago, I started shooting Glocks. I took some training with a Glock 19, but wasn't terribly fond of it. But the Glocks had gotten their hooks into me! They were lightweight, virtually rustproof, totally reliable, low maintenance, easy to shoot well, and inexpensive. I ended up buying a Glock 26 from a coworker, and it is now my main carry gun. I also bought a 17 for more general shooting, and I took the 17 to Front Sight in Nevada for additional training. Both wear Crimson Trace Lasergrips and tritium sights. Naturally, I use Galco holsters exclusively, mostly preferring the Royal Guard IWB.

I carry the 26 probably 95% of the time. (My wife stole the 17 from me and it typically rides in her holster handbag, replacing her previously favored CZ75B!) With a Pearce grip extender, the 26 works great as an IWB or belt gun. If I replace the mag with one with a flat baseplate, it becomes a pocket gun in my cargo shorts. When I go to bed, I replace the mag with the full-sized 17 rounder that I carry as a spare and put it in my night table. Great versatility!

I also have a couple of Kel-Tec pistols, a P32 and recently-acquired P3AT. I use the P32 when I am dressed lightly (exercise clothing or swim trucks) or when wearing a suit. I will replace the P32 with the P3AT once I have shot the .380 enough to be satisfied with its reliability. I use a Galco Pocket Protector holster for this gun.

So, after half a lifetime, the Commander has been pretty well retired to the gun safe. I sold the J-frame. Now I am always armed with a "plastic fantastic" of some type!

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After I got my CCW Permit I started carrying various guns different ways until I found the gun and holster that worked best for me. Started with the 9MM and wound up with the .45.
You have to find what is best for you. There are so many carry options out there if you are willing to change your dress a little you can find a way to carry most any handgun. I have a friend that carrys a Desert Eagle 50AE. If it is something you have to leave in a car a lot you may not want to carry an H&K or Wilson Combat.
For me it must be light, hi-cap, and above all I must shoot it well. For me size does not matter...........well, in my carry gun.
Unfortunately through expensive trial & error. If I had all the money back that I have spent over the years to get that holster, that is "just right", I would be able to buy another gun. But I did find that holster, several times for different carry weapons.......so I guess the search was worth it.
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