Comfortable Carry

Thinking About The Decision
Of What To Carry And How

Almost as soon as Duke obtained a concealed weapons permit he discovered the
inside-the-pants style of holster was most comfortable for him.

Photos By Yvonne Venturino

As a lifelong cat lover the primary thing I have learned from them is comfort is of prime importance. It is especially important in carrying a concealed handgun. And, be sure of the following: While I am not a training guru or firearms instructor by any stretch of the imagination, I am well versed on comfort.

The simple fact is if carrying a handgun is a nuisance you will soon stop carrying one. Upon first obtaining my concealed weapons permit I experimented with carrying a variety of handguns ranging from a Hungarian PA 63 9mm Makarov to 1911’s and even Colt SAA .45’s. I tried normal belt holsters, inside-the-pants holsters, shoulder holsters, crossdraw, and strong-side draw.

What I came to prefer was the inside-the-pants holsters. Why? Because to understate the matter I am of “plus-size,” so having a 2-1/2 pound handgun hanging on my already stressed belt caused my jeans to habitually head south. With the same pistol stowed in an inside-the-pants holster, the belt bound it to my body so gravity had little effect on it. That holster by the way was a Milt Sparks Summer Special and the pistols ranged from World War II vintage 1911A1’s to Colt Lightweight Commanders .45’s or a Kimber Pro Carry .40 S&W. My only complaint was the holster loops snapped around the belt. Upon coming home I would set the pistol on a shelf but the holster had to stay on my belt. While not exactly a problem, it still felt distracting.

Although most firearms trainers discourage it, during Montana
winters Duke usually carries in a coat pocket.

As always in life, things change. A few years back due to a botched surgery I had to stop wearing belts for a while and therefore quit wearing the Summer Special holster and 1911’s. During this time I switched to J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. First was a Model 442 Airweight and next was a Model 360. The latter one is actually labeled “.357 Magnum” but both of those snubbies are loaded with .38 Specials. At 12 ounces the Model 360 is a bear to shoot but a joy to carry. Clint Smith beat me up fiercely for saying it, but mostly I just stuck those S&W’s in pockets instead of holsters.

There is a contributing factor to practical concealed carry when living here in Montana. Winters are cold, requiring a heavy coat. Furthermore the section of Montana I call home is known for its winds in winter. That requires coats to be buttoned or zipped, which make it nigh on impossible to get to a handgun concealed under it. It seemed far more feasible to me to carry those little 5-shooters in an outside coat pocket rather than on the inside tucked under a couple layers of garments.

Someone right now has to be thinking, “Well tough it out. Leave the coat open.” Like I said it’s a windy area and I mean really windy such as 30 to 40 mph winds being common and 75+ mph winds not being unusual. An open coat would end up wrapped around your ears.
I’ve recovered somewhat from the botched surgery but still only wear a belt on occasion. Furthermore, along the way I discovered those fine little “Pocket Pistols” Colt made and John Browning designed at the beginning of the 20th century. I bought both .32 and .380 ACP versions. I’ve never encountered a thinner handgun of any sort, nor one with edges better rounded. The .380 has become a companion to me.

Duke’s most recent inside-the-pants holster was made for him by
Karla Van Horne of Purdy Gear. It holds his Colt .380 “pocket pistol.”

Before someone gets upset saying I “recommend” a .380 for self-defense, again take note that I do not bill myself as an expert on such matters. I’m not saying people should use .380’s for self-defense. I’m saying I do with the mindset it’s better to have a handgun than not have one because carrying it became a chore.

Which brings us to my latest concealed carry holster. A few years back I met a delightful lady named Karla Van Horne who does leather working under the business name of Purdy Gear. We visited a bit and discovered both of us are fond of the Colt pocket pistols. When she asked if I had a holster for mine I had to admit I did not. She then asked me if I would like one. Yes! And it then came to pass she crafted me another inside the pants one but instead of belt loops it has a belt clip. That way it can snap over my belt when I wear one or just clip over my jeans waistband when I don’t.

It’s handy, comfortable and has never been spotted yet that I know of.

Purdy Gear, 204 Ridgewood Road, Jasper, Georgia 30143, (706) 692-5536,
Mitch Rosen, 540 N. Commercial St., Manchester, New Hampshire 03101, (603) 647-2971,

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