Whether you're shopping for your first carry system (a carry system is defined as a gun plus holster), or are looking for something newer, easier, or just different than what you have been wearing, price, quality, and carry style are a few factors to consider. But Accessibility, Concealment, and Comfort are probably the three biggest factors to weigh when considering the holster part of your carry system.
ACCESSIBILITY — how quickly you can get to your gun — is a far more important than the type of gun you carry. Provided you keep control of your firearm, you can’t get to your gun too quickly. When shopping for a carry system, look for a combination that gives you rapid, efficient, controlled and instinctive presentation. That could be an inside-the-waistband (IWB) or outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster positioned on your hip, your center line (a.k.a., “appendix carry”) or your ankle. It might also be a pocket carry holster. Or a holster inside a specially-made garment. There are also options for off-body carry (e.g., in a purse or briefcase), but quick accessibility might be compromised if your firearm is not directly on your body. Of course, not every carry system is suitable for every person, given body shape, dress, skills, etc. The only way you’re going to know what works for you is to try it. Wearing the clothes you are likely to wear when you’re carrying, try as many different types of holsters as you can with your safety-checked firearm.
CONCEALMENT. Plenty of gun people say “concealed means concealed" and in no want do they want anyone to know they’re carrying a gun. If that’s you, choose a carry system that hides your gun without “printing” (revealing itself by making an impression on the cover garment). Again, it’s a process of trial and error, using various carry system with your normal clothes. All your clothes. You may have different clothing for different occasions that require different carry systems. A scrub-wearing medical professional with an ankle holster may switch to an IWB holster when wearing casual clothes. Women wear dresses, skirts, shorts and pants; all of which may require a different carry system.
COMFORT. Do you believe that conceal carrying a gun should be comforting but won't be comfortable? You want BOTH. If your carry system isn’t comfy to wear, there’s less of a chance you’ll wear it consistently. The only way to know if a carry system truly will be comfortable all day, through a range of activities (driving, walking the dog, shopping, sitting at a desk, working in the yard, carrying a kid, etc.) is to try it. And try it again. And again. It may take lots of experiementation before you'll be able to wear any outfit while concealing effectively and comfortably, but it’s worth the trial and error to figure it out.
Since the tragedies took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (December 2012) and at Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (July 2012), there has been a significant increase in the number of concealed carry permit applications. Although you often don’t hear about these types of increases until a major event occurs, such bumps in the number of gun sales, background checks and applications for concealed carry permits have been on the rise for years. Before Barack Obama was elected in 2008, there was a strong rise in gun sales simply due to the fear that new gun legislation would be passed during his presidency.
Following major mass shooting incidents, such as Sandy Hook, the Virginia Tech Massacre (April 2007), Columbine High School (April 1999 in Columbine, Colorado) gun sales have increased. It would seem that the emotional reaction towards purchasing guns and obtaining concealed carry permits during these tragic times reflects the tendency of Americans to be quite protective of their 2nd Amendment rights. It appears that the right to bear arms is important, but perhaps not acted upon until there is a perceived threat to limit its scope. These rises have occurred despite some cities and states instituting new gun control legislation.
While the Second Amendment guarantees the rights of citizens to protect themselves with the use of firearms, it has not stopped many cities and states from trying to pass more legislation to restrict the ability of citizens to buy weapons. In fact, the reaction against such legislation in Colorado has been quite strong and more people are banding together to help protect their Constitutional rights to carry legal firearms. The reaction has not been limited to Colorado, as other states also have seen a rise in the purchase of legal firearms.
Today, many thousands of law-abiding citizens have concealed carry permits and carry a firearm for their personal protection. Rules and regulation vary by state, but in order to get a concealed carry permit anywhere, a thorough background check is completed. Most violent incidents occur without immediate police protection around, so having a weapon for self-defense can save a life or prevent a bad situation from escalating. Deciding to conceal carry is a very personal choice. Whether it’s having a weapon in your holster at all times to defend yourself or your loved ones if need be, or you just want the ability to carry a firearm as guaranteed by the Constitution, more and more men and women are opting to apply for a concealed carry permit. To view each state’s concealed weapons permit information click here.