There is no perfect concealed carry gun or holster. Everything is a trade off and what works well for one person may not work well for another. In choosing the right concealed carry gun and holster combination for your specific circumstances, you need to consider your mission, your capabilities, and your limitations.
Your mission is your purpose for carrying a concealed handgun. If you are not carrying on duty as a law enforcement officer or military operator, your mission is personal defense. Now you have to consider your risk profile. Do you live in or are you traveling through a high crime area? Are you someone whom violent criminal predators might view as easy prey? What kinds of predators are you likely to encounter? Recognize that whatever your risk profile, violent crime can occur anywhere, and anyone can be targeted for victimization—so be prepared.
Your capabilities include your particular skill sets as well as your legal rights and privileges. So, how well trained are you and what is your level of physical fitness? Recognize that you should be thoroughly familiar with whichever gun you choose to carry, and comfortable handling and shooting that gun under stress. Also, recognize that as a civilian, you have the right to employ deadly force as a last resort against an assailant if you truly believe, at the time that the assailant is confronting you, that the assailant is putting you, or someone else under the mantle of your protection, under an imminent and unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm. Self defense is a right. The Second Amendment doesn’t give us that right, it simply affirms it.
Your limitations include what you cannot do as well as what you should not do. Your concealed carry permit rights and privileges do not include police powers. You should focus on staying safe and keeping those under the mantle of your protection safe. This reasonable and legal mission is best served if you keep a low profile, and this is best accomplished by bearing yourself in a confident and unassuming manner and concealing your personal defense weapons well. However, effective concealed carry, which means carrying your pieces well hidden in plain sight, demands that you choose the right equipment (read as guns and holsters) and clothing for you. Proper equipment and clothing selection must take into account your strengths, weaknesses, body type, and the environment in which you are operating.
A good gun needs a good holster
How many people do you know that carry a gun that cost them more than $500. in a holster that cost them less than $40? Does this make good sense? Recognize that you usually get what you pay for.
The purpose of a holster is to provide a secure well concealed place to safely carry your piece. The holster should be comfortable and effectively enclose and protect your carry gun’s trigger guard to prevent unwanted objects from touching the trigger. A good concealment gun holster allows rapid and unimpeded access to your gun so you can present it smoothly and quickly if you should need to, and when it is time to do so, return it to its holster safely. On the other hand, such a holster provides good gun retention so you can move about without worrying about losing your gun.
In my experience, an inside the waist band or “IWB” gun holster made of high quality leather fits the bill. In terms of choice of carry gun, the thinner and lighter the gun, the easier it is to conceal and the more comfortable it is to carry. In addition, the handgun’s ergonomics are important. Stubby, top heavy, and blocky guns tend to be less comfortable to carry and harder to conceal.
I have always found 1911s easier to carry all day, especially inside the waist band, than most other guns. My favorite 1911s are Kimber’s line of light weight custom pistols due to their ease of carry, excellent reliability, shootability, accuracy, and aesthetic beauty. In an IWB holster, such as Kramer Handgun Leather’s (www.kramerleather.com) horsehide IWB #3, a light weight 1911 Government Model, such as a Kimber Super Carry Custom or Custom CDP II, rides very comfortably and is very comforting to have on.
If I prefer to carry a double action only, or DAO, pistol, I often turn to a Kahr. Kahr’s KP and CW line of polymer frame pistols, such as their P9 and CW9, are light weight, thin, ergonomic, reliable, aesthetically pleasing, concealable, and eminently shootable.
Kramer Gun Leather’s IWB #3 fulfill all of my requirements for a perfect concealed carry gun holster for these and other carry guns. The Kramer IWB #3 is comfortable, efficient, conceals well, and is built like a truck—it will last forever. The rig allows for a smooth and rapid gun presentation as well as secure and smooth re-holstering. Even a Glock 17, Glock 22, or a thicker .45 caliber Glock 21 or Glock 30, ride securely and comfortably in a Kramer IWB #3.