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What is the Best Conceal Carry Setup?

There is not one. There, that's the answer, thanks for reading.

The best conceal carry set up depends ultimately on the shooter. What is their skill level, their firearm, their physical ability, their day to day lifestyle, the situation they're going into, etc. If you are legally allowed to carry concealed and do not, the question is why? Generally the response is, "It's too uncomfortable" or "It's a hassle". If you haven't listened already, we had a great discussion on this topic over on our podcast:

The foundation for a comfortable everyday carry/conceal carry (EDC/CC) set up is the firearm. All your gear will be built around this self defense tool, as a reminder, my recommendation for a EDC firearm is whatever firearm you can safely and effectively use. Things to consider when purchasing a EDC firearm:

- Size

- Weight (when loaded)

- Caliber (I do not recommend anything less that .380 or 38 Special)

- Depending on your County, you may be able to have multiple firearms on your permit, consider adding multiple calibers and sizes so you can change your set up for the seasons, events, etc.

Now that you have your EDC gun, you need a way to safely carry and conceal it. There are a ton of different options for conceal carry holsters, not only in style, but in material as well. Generally, a well made Kydex (Kydex is a PVC/plastic hybrid material that is molded to fit your specific firearm). There are also compression fabric holster, suede and leather holsters. However, just like your favorite pair of leather boots, or vintage t-shirt, those leather and fabric holsters wear out.

Things to consider when purchasing a holster:

- Retention, this is the ability of the holster to hold the gun in place. You want a holster with good retention so it does not fall out, but still allows you to draw easily.

- Material, you will need to replace fabric and leather holsters more often (although they still have a long lifespan)

- Versatility, does the holster require you to purchase additional gear, can you only wear it with certain outfits, certain ways, or certain seasons, etc.

An outer waist band (OWB) holster is generally the best place to start. OWB holsters provide more space between the shooter and the firearm essentially providing a bit more space and safety. You can get OWB holsters that can clip onto waist bands, a paddle style that slips between the waistband and skin, and ones that lace through belt loops. Generally OWB holsters are designed to be worn on the hip. The down side to OWB holsters, they are tougher to conceal, especially for many females due to clothing and body structure, and depending on the shooter and firearm, a hip carry may not be the best option.

Inner waist band (IWB) holsters provide more versatility in that they can be worn on the hip, kidney(back) carry, appendix(front) carry. IWB holsters can have several different style of clips to hold them secure to the waist band including many now that do not require the use of a belt (it is important to test the holsters with various clothing and see if the retention and draw will work safely and accurately without a belt).

Other CC holsters include bra , ankle, shoulder, belly bands, thigh holsters, yoga pants, purses and variations of fanny packs. Each of these unique holsters provide quick access and safe carrying for your firearm, but all require dry fire practice to ensure a safe and efficient draw.

Always carry a spare magazine. The mag needs to be as easily accessible as your firearm, which means not just tossing it in your purse or stuffing it in your pocket. There are all inner waist band holster (AIWB) which include a holster for a spare mag, or you can carry a separate mag pouch/holster.

Where's the best place wear your gun? the answer is where you can always maintain control of it. It is also important to note that most attacks happen within 3-5 feet in front of you. Wearing your firearm in front of yourself, on or near your waist band allows you to always be able to see where it is, and access quickly if need be.

I do not recommend CC purses. Too often a purse is the first thing taken in an attack, not to mention it's easy to forget your firearm is in there and all the sudden you have your kids grabbing gum from your purse or you are leaving it in the shopping cart or in your car while you run into the gas station real quick. Again, this all depends on the shooter. Have I seen some incredibly fast and safe draws from back packs? Absolutely. Not everyone can physically carry their firearm on their person, or in front of them, and this goes back to TRAIN.

Remember with dry fire practice, ALL LIVE AMMO IS LOCKED AWAY, check and clear your firearm. Wear your everyday clothes, when you get dressed in the morning take a few minutes to dry fire and check that the outfit, holster and firearm will all work together. Is wearing a firearm on you always going to be the most comfortable thing? No, but neither is wearing a seat belt. You will notice it is there, but it's not terribly uncomfortable, and because it could save you and your loved ones life, the good far outweighs the issues with comfortability.

So bottom line, carry your gun and train with the gear and gun you carry. The industry is saturated with products to make it possible for any person, at any skill level, with any firearm capable of safely and as comfortably as possible, conceal carry. Do not skimp on cheap gear, buy once cry once. Check gear daily for signs of wear and tear, and replace as needed.

Some of my favorite brands include (again, no kicks back for any of these mentions, these are brand I have personal experience with):

Kydex Holsters:

- Greyman Solutions (AIWB/OWB/IWB) use "mamabear" at checkout for 15% off

- Flashbang Holsters (IWB/bra holsters) use "mamabear" at checkout for 20% off

Leather Holsters:

Compression Holsters:

- Can Can Concealment (belly bands, thigh holsters)

Specialty Holsters:

EDC Belts:

- (Don't forget "mamabear" at checkout!)

Mag Pouches/Holsters

- (Don't forget "mamabear" at checkout!)

Do you carry everyday? What are some of the EDC items you never leave home without? Thanks for reading, until next time- train hard, stay safe.

~ Michelle

Mama Bear Defense - Solano County, CA

IG: mama_bear_defense

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