The small, simple, yet satisfying Ruger LCP Custom forms the foundation of my everyday carry (EDC) load-out. I’d carry more firepower, but physiology prevents me from carrying much else without a radical overthrow of my current wardrobe. But hey, thin is always in, regardless of how loud the politically-correct, SJW crowd screeches to the contrary. So I carry the LCP comfortably and discreetly and cope with the reduced capacity and violent muzzle flip.
Now for those skinny folks with shoulders broader than their hips, concealed carry options are nearly limitless – restricted mainly by their tolerance for the weight of the firearm. This probably isn’t the article for you. But some of us skinny dudes don’t fall into the A-framed mold.
“Scrawny” may be the better classification for us. You know who you are. You eat a grape, and everyone knows it. Even the slimmest single-stacks will advertise themselves through our casual wear. Many carry methods will even create bulges visible outside of a jacket or sweatshirt, complicating even cooler weather carry. Let’s take a look at some of the better holsters out there for the petite among us.
The DeSantis Nemesis is one of the most popular pocket carry holsters on the market. The Nemesis is constructed from a soft yet sturdy nylon fabric with a rubberized exterior. This coating, in conjunction with the hook shape of the holster, grabs hold of your pocket lining when drawing the pistol, ensuring the pistol breaks away cleanly.
I certainly wouldn’t want to draw my gun on an assailant only to point a scary nylon holster at him. I have not experienced any retention issues when kicking back in a chair or recliner. The holster grips the gun well, and the rubberized exterior/hook keeps the LCP well planted in the pocket while coins and keys are falling down into the sofa abyss.
However, I do have two gripes with it. First, the taller sights of the LCP Custom versus the classic LCP can snag a bit on draw. Second, the tapered hook portion of the holster can print an L-shaped silhouette through certain fabrics. I have remedied this with taping some additional fabric onto the hook portion, though its appearance suffers. For thicker denim or cargo shorts with overlapping pockets, this is a non-issue. In short, the Nemesis comes highly recommended by the OML Project. The price is right, and it performs well.
Ace Case Ruger LCP Pocket Holster
The Ace Case for the Ruger LCP and similar (e.g. Kel-Tec P3AT or P32) is both a more affordable and practical option than the ever-popular DeSantis Nemesis. The Ace Case is cut with a fabric sheath that covers most of the pistol’s grip. When placed in the front pocket of jeans or dress pants, this sheath helps to break up the profile of the handgun.
The gun and holster more resemble a wallet or phone than the L-shape of a typical pistol left by the Nemesis. This makes the Ace Case my usual choice for carry, unless I am wearing cargo shorts with bottom pockets that obscure the gun’s profile or pants with narrow pockets. The holster is well constructed, though thinner and flimsier than the Nemesis.
It does not have the same degree of “locked in” feeling as the other holsters on this list. Though if you are packing a slightly larger pistol, like the Kahr PM9, this may not be noticeable. The textured band that surrounds the pistol slide has a rubberized texture that will grip the fabric of your pocket (though not to the extreme of a sticky holster like the DeSantis Super Fly). For the money, this holster is hard to beat.
DeSantis Mini Scabbard
While pocket carry is convenient for those grab-n-go scenarios or packing heat in warm weather, drawing from a sitting position can be frustrating and haphazard. My search for a holster option that could be quickly deployed while seated, either in the office or in the car, led me to research Outside The Waistband (OWB) options.
I was disappointed after a survey of the OWB offerings for such a small gun. Typically, folks will be packing their service pistols and revolvers in OWB holsters, not their pocket pistols (if the name wasn’t a clue). I ended up snagging the DeSantis Mini Scabbard on sale during the cold months where I could hide the rig under a jacket. This is a dedicated OWB design (not a hybrid IWB/OWB rig with multiple clips and loops) with all-leather construction. The Mini Scabbard attaches to the belt with a single, sturdy leather loop.
One need not worry about retention. If the durable leather doesn’t keep the LCP planted, the thumb break has you covered. Being made of quality leather, this holster will take some time to break in. The holster feels solid in use, and the forward cant keeps the pistol in a comfortable, easy-to-draw position. However, the single belt loop does allow the pistol to print off my waist, even under a light jacket. I would wager the dual clip designs on the Alien Gear or Crossbreed offerings would mitigate this effect, but they also bring a significant premium over the options discussed here. Save this holster for those cold climates or hikes in the woods. In most scenarios, an Inside The Waistband (IWB) holster will probably serve you better.
Uncle Mike’s Nylon Open Top IWB Holster
Like the Ace Case, the Uncle Mike’s Nylon Open Top IWB Holster (size 10) is another cheap, no-frills option. The holster is made of soft nylon with a simple polymer clip to hook onto a waistband.
The clip is flexible enough to also grab over a thin belt if needed; otherwise the belt can secure and conceal it beneath. This holster’s lack of heft complements the featherweight LCP well, and it’s great for appendix carry with a pair of shorts in the summer months.
Be warned, however. The lack of padding in the holster can cause the back of the pistol’s slide to dig into the hip if kept at the 3:30-5:00 position. It may leave a mark on us bony types.
DeSantis Inside Heat
A more solid option – and I mean that literally – is the DeSantis Inside Heat. With its thick leather construction and strong metal belt clip, the Inside Heat fares better after a long day of use. Typical of the DeSantis offerings I have handled, this is a serious hunk of steer.
The opening on top is double-bound black leather with a rawhide interior. The spring steel clip secures the holster with confidence and hides inconspicuously beneath the belt. This is not a tuckable design, but it disappears under a longer t-shirt or button-up shirt. Appendix carry with the Inside Heat is not as discreet an affair as the Uncle Mike’s option.
The thicker leather on a scrawny frame can leave awkward bulges that may have observers wondering if you’re happy to see them – or packing heat. Neither is fun to explain.
Faults aside, each of these holsters is a solid option in its own right and has its particular niche. Finding the right holster for you can be fraught with trial and tribulation. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a drawer full of holsters as I have. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though. Your clothes certainly don’t take up that much space.
Some final thoughts on the LCP
Without a doubt, pocket pistols have their downsides. But they can be mitigated. I have found that the Wolff Gun Springs 13lb recoil spring tames the muzzle flip ever-so-slightly. The $10 or so investment is well worth it, especially for extended shooting sessions.
Further, I recommend the LCP Custom model over the standard LCP due to the clean, crisp trigger (I have not yet tested the LCP II, so I cannot comment on it, but the reviews make clear its superior trigger). I find that I can group better with the LCP Custom’s sweet trigger than my duty-sized automatics. As for the issue of limited capacity, I pack an extra magazine in my weak side pocket. They’re tiny enough to fit just about anywhere.
Finally, the old adage of “practice makes perfect” holds very true with pocket pistols. They can be mastered just like any other firearm given sufficient time and ammo. Just be prepared for a tender hand after 100+ rounds in a single outing.