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My first full day of conceal carry is complete. And it was an eye-opening experience, in more ways than one. Let me explain…

First of all, I was curious to compare the Kimber Crimson Pro Carry II to my “reference gun,” the Springfield Loaded. Wow. The Springfield feels like a steel ingot in the palm of my hand, compared to the relatively feather-light Kimber. That’s no nock against Springfield, mind you. It’s the difference in a steel versus aluminum frame and an extra inch of barrel.

Bringing each gun to bear was interesting too. Even without firing them, I can see how the heavier Springfield will have significantly less recoil than the Kimber. That weight thing will be a trade-off. Still the aphorism holds true – it matters not how great, accurate, or awesome your gun is, if it’s not comfortable to carry (and you leave it at home). If it’s not there when you need it, you’re screwed any way you look at it.

As I mentioned, it’s been over a year and a half since I’ve carried on a daily basis. In that time, I’ve gotten divorced, taken care of a dying parent, and shipped a bunch of stuff to various locations around the country. Apparently, this included my CrossBreed Super Tuck holster, which has (temporarily, I hope) gone AWOL. No worries…I have a perfectly serviceable OWB paddle holster that came with my Springfield. Since Fall/Winter is upon us, there’s no reason I can’t carry outside the waistband, given my preference for wearing sweatshirts or untucked dress shirts.

First concern…my untucked shirt just barely covers the gun’s muzzle. That’s fine for walking, but bending over is going to require some careful attention to detail. That might not be a problem, concealment-wise, but it will be a dead giveaway to anybody who is observing people to see if they are concealing a handgun. Not good. But I decide to press on, anyway.

I decide to head out for dinner. I’m visiting Louisiana (trying to wrap up my late father’s estate), so I’m a little apprehensive. My Texas CHL is valid here, but that still puts me in an out-of-state resident status. I forge ahead. I get in the car to head over to my local pizzeria for a ‘dine-in’ experience. First problem…getting in the car with a gun on my right hip is…a little uncomfortable.

Now I’m a big guy – 6’4″ and at least 245 lbs. Most car seats don’t even start to go back far enough for me to drive comfortably. Not even in a Jeep. But adding a hunk of aluminum and steel pressing into my kidney and it takes the uncomfort up a notch. Gonna have to think about stowing the gun in a car holster.

Arriving at the restaurant is relatively uneventful. I take care to keep the pistol concealed as I exit the vehicle. Not a big deal, but not as natural a bunch of moves as I’d like. I’m a little self-conscious and somewhat paranoid about it to begin with, so I’m probably over-compensating.

The pizza joint is a favorite hangout of a deputy sheriff that I’ve chatted with several times. Nice guy. We’ve talked guns before. I’m wondering if he’s gonna be there, and if he’ll notice I’m carrying. Nope. He’s not. I then discover that getting in and out of a booth without revealing the gun is gonna be tricky. The booths are stacked pretty closely together, making getting in and out a challenge without a gun. WITH the gun, it’s an exercise in acrobatics.

No chance that even a casual observer would overlook me tugging at my shirttail. “That guy’s hiding something,” would be going through my head, if I were watching someone do what I’m doing. Still, if I don’t conceal the gun, I’m violating the law. The OWB thing is NOT working out. It’s certainly more comfortable to carry this way than how I recall the IWB carry, but still.

At the counter, I discover another problem with OWB. I can’t get to my wallet (in my right hip pocket). I can reach it, but the gun barrel is making it all but impossible to fish it out from my pants. I don’t see shifting my wallet to my left side as a viable option, nor will carrying on my left work for me. So I’m a little stymied here. I’m hoping that IWB will alleviate this problem.

When I return to my car, I remove the pistol from the holster and place on the passenger seat. Now realize I carry cocked and locked. Eight plus one in the pipe, safety on. I know that 1911s will not fire without the thumb safety off, the grip safety depressed, and the trigger pulled. I’m still worried about what might happen if I have to hit the brakes. That car holster is now a priority.

And I’m a little apprehensive, too, about removing/holstering the weapon at my car. It’s dark, and I’m fairly certain nobody saw me, but I’m still thinking about it. I’ve yet to be pulled over and had to deal with explaining I’m licensed to carry. And I’m not eager to pop my CHL cherry on that one. Nope, I’d rather stay legal and avoid the necessity to haul out the CHL with my driver’s license and explain  everything. Just because I’m not breaking the law doesn’t mean I won’t have to undergo the same kind of scrutiny some law breaker might.

I get home, holster the gun and head inside. On my property, I don’t have the worries that I would off-site, but I’m still careful. Don’t want any neighbors freaking out. Again, I’m obeying every law, but I’m not sure that my neighbors are all aware of my 2nd Amendment rights on my own property.

I end the day searching for that bloody holster. I’m not sure how one piece of cowhide with a couple of pieces of Kydex can vex me so much, but it’s doin’ a bang-up job. Tomorrow, it’s time to head to the range.

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  1. Relax… a lot! People see almost nothing. My partner spotted someone open carrying in a Home Depot in western Massachusetts. He followed him for 30 minutes to see peoples reaction. No one even saw it.

    Just wear a garment long enough to cover you movements. Restrict yourself from bending over and lifting your right arm high and you will be fine. Cell phones made bulges legal.

  2. Brad I am right there with you on the size issue: 6'5" and well North of 300 pounds. I was fortunate in that my first non-pocket holster worked beautifully and continues to do so. I have an Uncle Mike's Horizontal shoulder holster (I believe it is the Sidekick model). Winter or summer, a t-shirt with an unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt over it (usually in garish colors, I like Hawaiian style shirts) conceals beautifully. You can wear another heavier shirt or jacket over it when it gets cold, you don't have to worry about unholstering and reholstering getting in and out of the car (I have a Crown Vic, but my wife has a Mini Cooper, fun and comfortable to drive but there is no way I can wear any sort of belt holster in it) and G-d forbid the stuff hits the fan, you pretend to be having a heart attack, clutch at your chest and voila! Gun in hand. It is also remarkably easy to draw with your offside hand, and I have a big enough gut that it's about impossible to get my left hand to my right hip.

  3. And the Rabbi is absolutely right about people really not noticing. I frequesntly carry openly (perfectly legal for permit holders in MN) and most people don't appear to notice at all. I was shopping with my wife, her cousin and the cousin's 16 year old daughter once. We'd been walking around the store for the better part of 25 minutes, the teenager gabble-gidgeting away on her cell the whole time, when all of a sudden I hear her say "Oh my GOD! He's got a GUN!" She had not noticed the whole time we were at the house, on the way to the store, and walking around the store.

  4. At the pizza parlor and other eateries, you'll start asking for booth seating, and you can sit with your strong (carry) side on the inside of the booth. You could have Han Solo's laser-blaster strapped to your leg and no one would notice.

  5. I have carried since before Texas allowed it and, I must have gone through a hundred holsters. But over the last month, I carry in a Minotaur Neutral (Appendix Carry) Cant Holster from Comp-Tac. It's very similar to your Super Tuck, but with a vertical cant, but just google appendix carry holster and you'll find a bunch. And one of my guns is the Kimber Compact and it works fine for me. This is easily the most concealable, comfortable holster I have ever worn, and appendix presentation is very fast. And the really nice thing is that it addresses every concern you list above. Try wearing your Super Tuck in the two o'clock position just to see if it is comfortable. The cant would be a little off, but I think you will love it.

  6. I have carried for the last 15 months daily other than a few weekend days painting houses for friends in need (can't be painting your firearm now). I carry to work in a office where guns are on the banned list (small company, I actually share the office with the owner). I carry to church every Sunday (congregation of 3,000) and Wednesday where I work in children s ministries with as many as 100 4th and 5th graders and 15 adult volunteers. I have had one person that I am aware of notice in this time (the secretary at work moved me out of her way by grabbing my waist, she carries in her purse).
    Rabbi has it right, people see nothing. I mean I can bend every direction at home for the mirror and see my pistol and nobody else ever does.
    I am 6' 1" and 175lbs and wear jeans and polo's, short sleeve button shirts and even loose t-shirts. I sit in an office chair most of the day and drive a pickup quite a lot, interacting with the public all the time. I have carried a Ruger SR9 for the first 14 months in a minotaur IWB holster and now for a month the SR9C.
    I love your first post because I went through the same issues of wanting a 1911 but jonesing for a Kimber. I ultimately chose the Ruger for it's thin profile, light weight, low cost, full size and thumb safety. The SR9C is just that much more comfortable ( the grip on the SR9 was leaving indentations on my chair and pickup seat). My brother who got his concealed carry permit the day I got mine bought the Springfield 5" 1911 and has carried 0 days continues to harass me about my plastic 9.

  7. Like was said before, relax. You could open carry a rifle and 50% of folks wouldn’t ever see it.

    I tried to carry the 1911, lord knows I tried. I took a very long road to end up with a Glock 19, and the aforementioned iwb hybrid holster. I make my own, uglier version of the Answer/Supertuck. I do find these holsters the most comfortable way to carry a fighting sized gun.

    If I had discovered this type of holster before I might still be carrying a 1911.

  8. Brad:

    You say "Still, if I don’t conceal the gun, I’m violating the law."

    WRONG It still is illegal to open carry a gun in the great state of Texas; however Louisiana is an Open Carry state.

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