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GUNS Magazine January 2013 Digital Edition - Page 26
the hOlSter WardrOBe guys need moRe BALL cAps, gALs need moRe sHoes, And HAndguns need moRe HoLsteRs. massad aYooB Phoenix, Ariz. Draw was as fast as with a dedicated speed holster. ortHopeDiC Holsters Having occasionally sustained injuries on the road that got in the way of my usual carrying and shooting techniques, I try to have fallbacks in the suitcase. I tore out a shoulder once at the rotator cuff and deltoid, and for some time lost the range of movement needed for a straight hip draw. The arm could come forward, though, making crossdraw possible. My crossdraw rig for the trip was a neutral cant horsehide scabbard by Derry Gallagher. If my dominant arm or hand became compromised—like when I busted my trigger finger on another trip some 30 years ago—a “cavalry draw” done lefthanded with the holster butt forward on my left hip will do in a pinch for carry, though it won’t be allowed in most competition. Darn it again, I didn’t have a concealable left-handed L-frame holster around when I packed for the trip. I usually have a “mirror image” holster for the guns I regularly travel with: Bianchi and High Noon southpaw scabbards for the 1911s, port side Don Hume belt slide and Bianchi Pistol Pocket IWB for K-frame Smith revolvers, and a southpaw Aker Flatsider for the Glocks. In the latter brand, Glock’s own super-cheap plastic Sport Combat holster is an excellent buy for a concealable, ambidextrous holster. The same is true of Glock’s magazine pouches. A shoulder holster can also come in handy. Reaching through the front of a heavy winter coat can make it the most accessible option in really cold or torrentially wet weather. It also takes the weight off the hips if you develop a lumbar spine problem or a pelvic ailment. Shoulder rigs (or cross draw) tend to work well if you end up in a wheelchair for a while, too. Bianchi and Galco make the shoulder rigs I most often wear. Another handy thing to have along is an elastic bellyband holster; Gould & Goodrich makes a very nice one. It’s ambidextrous if necessary, and allows you to hide even a substantial revolver under a tucked-in shirt with no outer garment. They’re slow to reholster, but they sure do pack easily in a suitcase. A DeSantis 2X2X2 cartridge carrier rides inconspicuously on my belt, and a Bianchi Speed Strip in a cargo pocket, with a Safariland Comp III speedloader in the cell phone pocket of my B eing on the road a lot gives me a good sense of how few holsters you can get away with when you’re wearing handguns every day. Airlines have weight limits, and suitcases have finite space. Let’s take a moment to see if what works for me might work for you. I’m writing this in the American West, where a sixgun just seems natural… and besides, I was shooting Stock Service Revolver division at the Washington State IDPA Championships (came in second, darn it). The gun is a substantial one, a 4" S&W 686 .357 Magnum expertly tuned by Bob Lloyd. Like many practical shooting sports, IDPA requires strong-side hip carry, and that’s where I’m accustomed to packing my primary sidearm anyway. A Safariland Model 568 scabbard worked well at the match, and proved handy on the training range. It carries the gun comfortably outside the waistband. I had the optional paddle attached: handy for when the holster has to often come off the belt and then go back on. For concealment, though, I prefer something inside the waistband (IWB). A Ted Blocker Model 12 IWB is with me, its snap-on belt attachment loop giving me the same on-and-off convenience as the paddle-style OWB. When the holster is going to be on all day, I use another IWB, the Mitch Rosen ARG (originally Ayoob Rear Guard, now American Rear Guard). Its permanent belt loop is behind the body of the gun, locking it forward to prevent “printing” under the sport and suit coats I’ve had to wear on part of this trip. When I’ve had to teach without jacket but also without gun visible, the ARG has kept the big service revolver out of sight beneath an un-tucked polo shirt that’s one size larger than what I’d normally wear tucked in. 26 A shoulder rig (above) is ideal for a night of pouring rain. This one, by Bianchi, carries Mas’ 4" S&W 686. Mas draws the same 686 (below) from a Safariland OWB holster at 2012 Washington State IDPA Championships. Some holsters can be more multifunctional than others. Last year, carrying this same revolver in Arizona, I wore it in a Galco Yaqui Slide. Carrying the gun outside the belt, this skeletonized rig holds it tight enough to the body for good concealment, yet is fast enough to compete with. Last year and the year before, the Galco and the S&W won me the Stock Service Revolver Division Championships at the South Mountain IDPA match in W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • JA N UA RY 2 0 1 3