Why I ditched appendix carry


There’s no question that appendix carry is the hotness right now. I personally know a lot of serious, switched on dudes and ladybros using that system as their go-to for CCW. I also know of a lot of Internet derp-artists who are using it without really thinking through how to do it safely or smartly. But that’s none of my business.

If you peruse the archives here on the blog, you’ll see that I’ve spent some time with AIWB carry, experimenting with several different kinds of guns and holsters to see if I can make it work for me. To date, I’ve only ever been able to make it work with small automatics like the S&W Shield or Beretta Nano; or with small frame revolvers like J-Frames or SP101s. When it comes to full size guns like 1911s and Glocks, I’ve never been able to get it to work for me the way other people have.

I have spent a decent amount of money on holsters for AIWB, some of which have worked better than others, but haven’t had any luck with really getting full size guns to conceal well unless I’m willing to make wardrobe compromises. Actually, I think that’s a big part of it. It’s hard to conceal a full size gun under a tight fitting douchebag t-shirt, and I do love d-bag t-shirts more than anything.

So I’ve switched back to tradition 4 o’clock behind the hip carry. There is another good reason for this – it’s how I spend most of my practice time. I am primarily a competition shooter, not a defensive trainer, so the bulk of my practice time is spent training for competition. That means that most of my draws are done from strong side at the 3-4 o’clock position. Using appendix carry on a daily basis would mean spending practice time on another carry position. With my practice time already pretty limited, it’s important to focus good reps on skills that translate across CCW and competition.

The final reason I changed back to traditional behind the hip IWB carry is that for me, it just works better. I carry a full size gun a lot easier behind the hip, it’s more comfortable for all day carry for me, and I don’t have to remember to put my shoes on before I put my gun on.

There is no “one size fits all” carry solution. Different body types, different concealment needs, different tastes in carry guns – all of these will affect how you can carry. I tried AIWB and it didn’t work for me, but what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Carrying a full size gun isn’t hard

There is a huge market for small guns, and it makes sense. There are entire sections of the internet dedicated to telling people how difficult it is to carry a full size gun. A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct a science experiment by carrying a full size Ruger GP100 with a four inch barrel in an OWB leather concealment holster.

ruger gp100 with galco

The holster I chose is a Galco Fletch, which normally has a thumb break, but has been…”customized” by removing the thumb break and snap with a pair of kitchen shears. Classy, I know. I’ve had that holster for a long time, and I figured it would be a perfect choice for my experiment. After selecting the gun and the holster, it was time to select various concealment garments. Over the course of the experiment I used the following: t-shirts over the gun, zip-up hoodies over the gun, and my beloved (and now discontinued) Woolrich fleece tactical vest. All of these worked just fine. I was initially concerned with printing when concealing the whole holster under an untucked shirt, but after wearing that rig in the summer for a while, I remembered that NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION.

It was interesting, because to me, to the people in my office, the lumpy bulge under my shirt was Obviously a Gun. But to people walking down the street? I was just a dude in an ill-fitting t-shirt. Plus, I do live in a pretty permissive state when it comes to guns, so if the tip of my holster peeks out in the grocery store, no one is going to bat an eye.

One of the difficult things about carrying a full size gun was that it made dressing like an adult a little bit more difficult. Owning a business, I get to wear whatever I want, but I don’t always want to wear an untucked t-shirt. An un-tucked polo is a good choice, especially if it’s fitted correctly so that it’s tighter across the chest and shoulders and then baggier near the waist. I used that method to conceal a gun in an OWB holster. Probably the best concealment garment I’ve seen so far is a zip-up hooded sweatshirt. Zip-ups, for whatever reason, look nicer than regular hoodies, and don’t seem to scream “I’m going to the gym/I hate laundry” as much. For me they’re a great choice, especially with fall weather hitting us now in DTSF.

This week, I switched holsters. After carrying in a full size OWB holster, I’ve moved to an IWB. Also a Galco, this time a Summer Comfort which was featured on the blog yesterday. It’s even easier to conceal. The but of the gun rides high enough that with my arms hanging naturally at my sides it hides the gun effectively, and the bulge is even less pronounced than it was with the OWB. The biggest problem with the OWB rig is that the bottom of the holster would pop out pretty frequently. The IWB obviously solves that.

So, the moral of the story? You can carry a full size gun. People won’t notice. Of course, if you’re in an NPE or somewhere where people noticing would have big time negative consequences, make sure your concealment is on lock-down. No untucked t-shirts for NPEs.

What your carry holster says about you

Two years ago I wrote a pair of humor posts called “What your Carry Gun says about you” which were fairly well received. Mostly because I like jokes. There’s nothing quite like hauling a reliable old joke out of the barn for another ride.

What your carry holster says about you

Traditional leather OWB belt holster
What you think it says: “I am a man of taste and distinction. I dress around the gun, and only carry my ivory-stocked 1911 in the finest handcrafted gun leather, made by Serbian pistol-fighting monks one at a time.”

What it actually says: “I think it’s 1957, I hate all pop music, and these damn kids won’t get off my damn lawn. Also, AR15s are Terrorist Rifles.”

ruger gp100 with galco

Strongside leather IWB holster/Summer Comfort
What you think it says: “I am a sensible adult who has purchased a no-nonsense, no gimmicks, carry holster. This style of holster has worked for years.”

What it actually says: “I have basically no imagination, and have chosen the most bland, nondescript holster in the world. I drive a Toyota Camry and eat plain oatmeal.”

Appendix carry IWB
What you think it says: “I’m on the cutting edge of modern carry methods. The top trainers use AIWB because it’s faster to get into the fight, offers better weapon retention, and superior dynamic deployability in a critical incident.”

What it actually says: “I am a mindless follower of trends, completely incapable of evaluating decisions based on need. I bought a .300 BLK when Travis Haley said they were cool, and I put an RDS on my Glock 26 because Gabe Suarez said it was the future of fighting handguns. Also, I will likely shoot my wiener.”

Crossdraw holster
What you think it says: “While not as popular these days, crossdraw holsters are a legitimate option for my carry lifestyle. I have easy access to the gun from a seated position, and with smart wardrobe choices can easily conceal a full size handgun.”

What it actually says: “Oh god Danny Glover was the coolest character in Leathal Weapon. Dat k-frame in dat leather holster tho”

Shoulder Holster
What you think it says: “I use a shoulder holster because it’s a real world option for concealing a full size handgun. Everyday CCW is different from the square range training classes, and I need to be able to conceal a gun in business attire.”

What it actually says: “I wish Miami Vice had never gone off the air. Also, do you know where I can get some Bren 10 mags?”

Kydex pancake light bearing OWB holster
What you think it says: “I need a modern holster to carry my modern firearm. The threat dynamic of the 21st century requires a tactical gunfighter equipped to handle himself when the balloon goes up, no matter the time of the day.”

What it actually says: “I spent 120 dollars on a knock-off of Raven Concealment because I’m not patient enough to wait for the real deal. Also, I ran out of lotion watching Magpul videos.”

Praetor Defense Holster

Blackhawk SERPA!
What you think it says: “As a responsible practitioner of Open Carry, I need a retention holster to protect my gun from criminal surprise attackers playing the Knockout Game.”

What it actually says: “They don’t make an ALS holster for my Taurus Judge, so I bought this SERPA. Plus I can match the grips on my Judge to my fedora!”

$5.00 nylon sausage sack
What you think it says: “I need a holster that is functional, and I am on a budget. As a price conscious shopper it’s important for me to squeeze my dollar as far as it goes.”

What it actually says: “I’m poor and I own a Hi-Point.”

That’s it for our first installment, let me know your suggestions and thoughts in the comments.

Safariland Adds 7TS Holster Fits for Glock and Sig Sauer Firearms

New 7TS fits also now available for light-mounted firearms

ONTARIO, California – Safariland® announced today the expansion of the 7TS™ Holster Series with new fits for the Glock 17/22 and 19/23 with the most popular lights, and new fits for the Sig Sauer P220R/P226R, P227 full-size/compact and the P229R. Quickly gaining popularity since they hit the market in 2013, 7TS holsters boast a proprietary nylon blend called SafariSeven™, which is impervious to extreme heat and cold, is non-abrasive to the firearm’s finish and features a special construction that strengthens the holster body. These new fits are offered in a variety of duty, tactical and concealment models.

7TS 7360 Holster with Light

“With the sales growth in this series since they made their debut last year, there has been an evident demand for 7TS models for firearms with lights,” said James Dawson, Category Director, Safariland Duty Gear. “We will be looking to satisfy the market with more fits for firearms with lights in the future.”

Six Safariland models available for Glock 17/22 and 19/23 accommodate the ITI M3, Streamlight TLR-1, and Surefire X200, X300, or X300U lights. These are the first fits to be introduced for firearms with lights in the 7TS series. Additionally, Safariland is releasing nineteen 7TS Series holster fits for the rail and non-railed Sig Sauer P220R/P226R, P227 full-size/compact and P229R firearms. These are offered in a variety of models with the ALS open-top, ALS/SLS, or SLS-only retention features. Safariland will continue to release fits for the H&K P2000 and P30, and will be available in the coming weeks.

Safariland patent-pending 7TS holsters are injection-molded, highly durable and are operational in extreme weather conditions from -50 degrees to +300 degrees, Fahrenheit. Constructed from a SafariSeven™ nylon blend, the 7TS is completely non-abrasive to the weapon’s finish. SafariSeven is also extremely lightweight and impact-resistant.

Gun Fit

Duty Models
Glock 17/22 w/Light
7280, 7285, 7287
7004, 7005

Tactical Models
7287, 7367, 7377, 7378, 7379
Glock 19/23 w/Light
7280, 7285, 7287
7004, 7005

Concealment Models
7287, 7367, 7377, 7378, 7379
Sig P220R/P226R/P229
7280, 7285, 7360, 7365, 7390, 7395
7004, 7005, 7304, 7305, 7354, 7355, 7384, 7385,
7287, 7367, 7377, 7378, 7379
Sig P227R3/P229R
7280, 7285, 7360, 7365, 7390, 7395
7004, 7005, 7304, 7305, 7354, 7355, 7384, 7385
7287, 7367, 7377, 7378, 7379

The 7TS holster models are priced from $49.50 – $199.00 and are available in Black and FDE Brown. For more information about Safariland holsters and other premium duty gear products, please visit www.safariland.com/dutygear.

About Safariland®
Established in 1964, Safariland® has earned worldwide renown and a leadership position in the industry for its technologically advanced holsters and other gear to the law enforcement, military, concealment and competitive sporting markets. Safariland holsters, belts and accessories provide users with high-quality tools to perform their jobs safely and effectively. Safariland is credited for developing the first Level III retention holster for the uniformed duty market. With a reputation for INNOVATION NOT IMITATION®, the Safariland brand continues its position as the worldwide leader in retention holsters. Safariland is a part of The Safariland Group family of brands. For more information, visit www.safariland.com/dutygear.

About The Safariland Group
The Safariland Group is a premier global provider of trusted, innovative, high-quality law enforcement and security products for the public safety, military and outdoor recreation/personal protection markets. Offering many of the world’s most recognizable names in these markets, principal brands include Safariland®, ABA®, Second Chance®, Bianchi®, Break Free® and Mustang Survival®. Forensics brands include Identicator® and NIK®. The Safariland Group’s mission, Together, We Save Lives™, is inherent in the lifesaving products it delivers. The Safariland Group has its headquarters in Jacksonville, FL.

Safariland 5377 GLS Outside Waist Band holster review

This review is about the Safariland 5377-83 GLS OWB (Outside Waist Band) holster for Glock 17s (Glock 19s and 26s will fit as well).  There is a paddle variant of this holster, denoted as the Safariland 5378 and a clip model, the Model 5379.   This model is also known as the “GLS” or Grip Locking System.  The holster is classified as a Level I retention holster in that it can withstand active attempts to remove it for at least five seconds without the safety/retention device enabled.

This holster was generously provided for review by my friend Chris Abernathy of XS Sights.  Since reviewing this, I made sure to purchase one as a gift for my brother, who is now a full time cattle rancher and prefers a retention OWB holster he can rely upon when a’horseback.

The holster is typical Safariland quality, in that it’s (excuse the pun), nearly bullet proof.  Heavy duty plastic, felt lining (not thick felt though), and a sturdy belt slide which is adjustable for cant, three positions.  You may adjust the tension of how securely the weapon is retained with a hex key.  The holster is compatible with all of the Safariland three hole mounting systems.


Adjustment for cant is accomplished using one of the three holes at the bottom

Safariland bills this as a concealed carry holster but that is most certainly not the case in real life.  This is the holster to have for anyone considering OWB (outside waist band) carry that doesn’t want a slow draw but does want Level I retention.  The GLS is noticeably thinner than the industry standard (and standard for many police and military) ALS.


The GLS and Dark Star Gear OWB compared.  The GLS is much more bulky due to design.  Note the release button on the GLS.

Views showing the weapon inserted and comparison shots.

The silver hex head is how you adjust tension with regards how securely the pistol is held in the holster

Using the GLS is easy and…..instinctive.  Simply bump the button with the knuckle of your middle finger as you draw.  It took me roughly ten dry fire draws before I was drawing and dry firing without thinking about hitting the button.  Reholstering is similarly easy and instinctive but you do have to shove the weapon down into the holster until you feel the retention device engage.

Using sand, Virginia dirt, and talcum powder; I was not able to disable this holster’s locking mechanism (anything can be disabled with enough dirt, I concede).  Adults were not able to wrench the unloaded weapon out of the holster when I was wearing it.  My body was literally pulled and twisted around as folks tried to (in testing) to wrench the pistol out of my holster.

Using my shot timer, I was not able to register a statistical nor perceived difference between the GLS and my “go to” OWB holster; the outstanding Dark Star Gear OWB.  However, using one made me miss the other:

  • Using the GLS made me miss exactly how well the Dark Star Gear OWB hugs my hip.  I really don’t think OWB holsters are “concealed” for the most part but the Dark Star Gear OWB is the best OWB in my “box o’ holsters” for concealment with an untucked shirt.
  • Using the Dark Star Gear OWB made me yearn for the simple, intuitive, and secure GLS retention system.  Once you use it, you “get” the need for it.  You understand WHY? people like retention holsters.

  In the past, I’ve written about a certain trend in the Open Carry movement; that of using the junk SERPA holster or a SERPA knockoff.  Open Carry folks, please consider the GLS.  It’s a whopping fitty bucks or so shipped and at that price, it is worlds better than the SERPA or Uncle Mike’s you normally carry.  It’s even made for the Open Carry movement’s pistol of choice: the Springfield XD.

  Law enforcement personnel, if a Level I retention holster is mandated by your department; This.  Is.  It.  Just get one.  The draw speed is such that you can take your retention duty holster to your local IDPA/USPSA gun games and not miss a beat as you compete with your duty gear.  Hikers, folks who work outdoors, get you one of these.  It’s the ideal retention holster when concealment is not an overriding priority.

  Safariland knocked this one out of the park.  Now if they can follow up on their success and make a true CCW friendly GLS; that would make many gun owners very happy.  Ditch the requirement for the three hole Safariland mounting system capability and just give the holster two belt loops.  It’s OK to make CCW only holsters, Safariland.  Also, Safariland…..please consider working on your website’s layout and navigation.  It’s in desperate need of a refresh. 
I would like to note that I received the GLS holster as a loan and am sending it back to Chris at XS Sights.  The Dark Star Gear OWB was bought and paid for by myself.

Old Faithful Holsters Merges with Alien Gear Holsters

Hayden, ID – Old Faithful Holsters, the makers of quality, concealed carry holsters and accessories, announces that they are merging with Alien Gear Holsters, also a manufacturer of concealed carry holsters, to become the leading hybrid holster manufacturer in the United States.


The merger of Alien Gear Holsters, based in Hayden, Idaho, further increases Old Faithful Holster’s share in the concealed carry holster market. “The acquisition is also expected to result in greater efficiencies and significantly increase our market share,” said Thomas Tedder, president of Tedder Industries.

“A merger was arranged between Old Faithful Holsters and Alien Gear Holsters to strengthen our market position,” commented Tedder. “Our combined assets will allow both companies to continue to create quality products, allowing us to pass the savings on to our customers.”

The combined companies now have 45 employees.

About Old Faithful Holsters
Founded in 2010, Old Faithful Holsters is the maker of the popular Stealth Tuck and High Rider concealed carry holsters. Old Faithful Holsters are an online holster store providing the most comfortable, concealable gun holsters available. For more information about Old Faithful Holsters, visit www.oldfaithfulholsters.com.

About Alien Gear Holsters
Founded in 2013, Alien Gear Holsters manufactures premium, incredibly comfortable holsters for concealed carry. Alien Gear Holsters are the most comfortable holsters on the planet. Any planet. For more information about Alien Gear Holsters, visit www.aliengearholsters.com.

To learn more about this merger, please contact:
Tedder Industries
827 W. Prairie Ave, Hayden, ID 83835
Office: (208) 215-2046
Fax: (208) 545-6903
[email protected]

Photo of the day: Race ready VP9


Since the VP9 isn’t yet on the USPSA Production gun list, if I wanted to shoot it in a match, I’d have to shoot in Limited. So if I’m going to do it, might as well go all out, right? HK VP9 in Blade-Tech DOH Race holster. I have a Taylor freelance magazine extension on the way as well.

HK VP9 Holsters

One of the biggest concerns when a new gun hits the market is “what holsters will fit this gun?” To provide a valuable service for our readers, I’ve been testing the VP9 with various brands of holsters to see what fits and what doesn’t. Here is the complete list of holsters I’ve tested that fit the HK VP9:

1. Safariland 5197 for HK P30 – fits, no adjustment needed
2. Galco Concealable Belt Holster (leather) HK P30 – fits, no adjustment needed.


3. Ready Tactical Glock 21 Holster – fits, no adjustment needed
4. Comp-Tac Paddle Holster, Beretta Px4 Storm: fits, minor adjustments needed.
5. Galco Tac Slide Belt Holster for HK P30, fits no adjustments needed
6. Blade-Tech Race holster for HK P30L, fits, retention tightened to prevent dislodging the gun.

We’re still waiting on samples of the P30 ALS from Safariland to test, but based on my current testing I’d issue a cautious statement that it will probably work. What I’ve seen is that holsters for the P30 standard length appear to work just fine with the VP9, despite the extra 0.20 inches of barrel length on the VP9. I believe it’s because the added length of the VP9’s slide is mostly towards the rear of the trigger; if you look at the two pistols side by side you’ll see that the length of the barrel/slide in front of the trigger guard is fairly similar, but the VP9 is longer in the rear section (phrasing).

My cautious assumption from above is based on the fact that the holsters I’ve tried for the P30 work just fine, and holsters for the P30L have a little bit of extra room near the muzzle. So if you have P30 holsters and you get a VP9, you will PROBABLY be okay. But I can’t guarantee that, because individual holster manufacturers will have different specs.

On my part, I did switch my carry holster out from the Safariland 5197 to the Galco leather holster pictured, because it’s so sweet looking I couldn’t resist.

Weekend shooting: Speed shoots

On the first installment of the Quest for Master Class, I shot the IDPA classifier with a tight focus on accuracy.  This was to establish a baseline level for one component of a successful competition shooter.  This weekend, I’ll be shooting it for speed.  I am going to shoot the classifier as fast as I can physically drive the gun while still being safe.  We’ll do this to establish the other end of the spectrum – pure, raw speed.  Accuracy will be less important than raw times, but I’m also not going to intentionally take bad shots.

After we get the bases established for speed and accuracy, the next couple of installments will focus on combining the two concepts into a holistic approach to shooting the classifier, finding the balance of speed and accuracy necessary to get the hits you need.  To do that, we’ll break down each stage of the classifier and look for places to cut time or improve accuracy on the classifier, all the while providing training tips and drills to do the same.  Check back next Wednesday for the post and video about the next installment in the Quest for Master Class – the speed run!