AVB-AMG

CCW on Road Trip Through 6 States

26 posts in this topic

Last weekend I returned to NJ from a 2-week road trip to visit and tour various antique, classic and special interest automobile museums in six (6) different states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, (not including New Jersey, of course).  I thought this trip would be an ideal test run for me to CCW, where allowed.  As you may recall from earlier posts, I had applied for and had received my non-resident CCW permits from Utah, Florida and New Hampshire.  So I could legally CCW in PA, OH, IN, WI, but not in MI or IL.  FWIW, here is my travel log of that road trip and some of my experiences and thoughts.

For this trip for CCW, I decided to use my Sig Sauer P226 MK-25 9mm handgun, holstered in an inside-the-waistband Mitch Rosen custom finished cowhide leather holster, attached to a matching color and finish strapping cowhide leather Mitch Rosen 1 ½” gun belt.  The belt has tapered ends and is harness-stitched around the perimeter and finished like a fine dress belt which contributes to a more normal belt look in front, therefore not really looking like a gun belt. 

The daytime weather was warm (high 70’s) to hot and humid (high 80’s/low 90’s).  I wore shorts and UA/Nike colored tee shirts made from a wicking type of fabric, tucked into my pants along with a cotton sport shirt over it, buttoned, but not tucked in.  This approach covered my handgug and minimized any “printing”.  I also used a well-traveled, small black cowhide Coach leather satchel with shoulder strap that provided convenient accessible storage for my wallet, reading & sun glasses, cash, iPhone, car keys, flashlight and pocket knife, keeping my pants pockets free and flat.  I positioned the holster at the 4 o’clock position on my belt, which was the most comfortable and practical for me from my experimenting with various positions.  The self-defense ammo I chose for my handgun was Speer Gold Dot hollow point rounds, which I have been practicing with at the range, along with the Speer Lawman ball ammo for most paper target shooting. Carrying this satchel on the same side as my handgun contributed to further concealing the fact that I had a handgun inside my waistband.  I also continued to CCW while driving.  Since this was my first time CCW’g I decided that I would have a fully loaded magazine in my gun, but not have a round chambered.  I decided that for this trip that I would not have any additional loaded magazines on me while I was CCW’g, to keep it simple.  This worked for me allowing me to slowly build up my confidence and comfort with carrying a handgun.

Before I embarked on this road trip and based on our back-and-forth discussion in this CCW section, I purchased, read and updated regularly a number of concealed carry iPhone apps, including: CCW, CCA, Posted and LegalHeat.  As was recommended to me by other posters here, studying the gun laws of each of the states I planned to visit was somewhat tedious and laborious, but a necessary task, that was made much easier by using these Apps.  Thank you all again for that recommendation. 

Using the advice from HBecwithFn7, and as a cheat-sheet reminder, I wrote on an index card for each of these states, Y or N for if one is required to inform a LEO that I am conceal carrying, as well as which of my non-resident CCW permits is recognized and honored in that state.  I was consciously aware of what the law was/is, relative to each state, as to whether or not, if stopped, one must voluntarily inform a LEO that you are carrying.  Specifically, the individual state law that dictates that if stopped by a LEO, you are required to immediately and voluntarily notify the LEO that you are carrying, and display not just the usual Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration and Auto Insurance ID Card, but the applicable CCW Permit card.  As one poster noted previously, in some states, you are not required to notify immediately, but only "if asked by" or "upon demand of" the LEO, (i.e. "Are you carrying any weapons?" or, "Are there any weapons in the car?").  Thankfully, I was not stopped by any LEO for any reason on this trip so did not have to deal with that situation.

Initially, once I crossed into PA from NJ, I stopped at the first rest stop and parked in a far corner of the parking lot.  With the back of my SUV facing away from all the other cars I was able to discreetly retrieve and put on my holster, then load and holster my handgun under my sport shirt.  Once back in the vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised that the handgun did not gouge and indent into my abdomen, even with the seatbelt fastened.  But I did find that towards the end of each day, especially when walking around museums and other places for several hours on end, that the feel of the holstered gun became more noticeable and at times a bit uncomfortable due to chaffing.  Part of that may be attributed to the heat and humidity and part that I chose a full-size, all-metal handgun that is heavier than a polymer framed gun.  That was a conscious choice since I am a much more accurate shooter using a full-size handgun and that was/is a very important choice factor for me.  Also, my other polymer handguns have longer than standard barrels and holsters for them are hard to find.

I am fully aware of and was abiding by the current FOPA laws governing interstate transportation of firearms.  So, before I entered either Michigan or Illinois, I would stop at an appropriate location in the neighboring state to remove my handgun, removing the loaded magazine, along with the holster and store them in separate pouches that were in turn, placed inside a locked hard sided attaché case, located in the far back of my SUV, inaccessible to anyone inside.  In the evening, in the states where I was legal to CCW, I would bring my handgun and case into my motel room for the night.  When in MI and IL, I decided to just leave the cased gun and ammo stored in the locked hard-sided attaché case, locked in the back of my SUV, to avoid any potential hassle.

I have to admit that for the first couple of days in PA and OH, I was rather nervous of the fact that I was carrying a firearm, even if it was concealed.  Did I feel safer by doing so…?  Yes, but, I also felt very self-conscious and that I needed to quite frequently and discreetly, ensure that my gun was not clearly visible or even printing.  I learned how to deal with a number of new situations.  For example, in a public restroom when inside a stall doing #2, to make sure that the holstered handgun on the belt does not fall down to my ankles where it may possibly become visible to someone in an adjacent stall.  If it happened, it would not have been the end of the world, but I was trying to be discreet and not shock some folks who could have misunderstood the situation.

The fact that I was doing this road trip by myself was a good way to determine what CCW’g was like, without the added stated or implied, verbal and non-verbal comments and/or body language concerns expressed by my wife, or anyone else. By the end of this trip I appreciated the freedom I enjoyed to CCW in the states where I legally could do so.  It was a vacation that served as a real test and learning experience for me to see what it was like to CCW where I could and everything required and involved to do so.  I was erring on the side of caution and attempting to abide by the letter of the law of each state, even when it was a PITA.  Until (and if), our Congress passes a national uniform CCW law and then the SCOTUS upholds it, these types of precautions will continue to befuddle those who are interested in CCW and do not want to run afoul of different states gun laws.  None of us want to suffer the severe consequences of possibly unknowingly breaking one of them, due to ignorance or misunderstanding.

AVB-AMG

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Did anyone in a free state notice you were carrying? What was their reaction?

 

I pretty much know the answer. They could care less and it didn't bother them at all. Carrying is a way of life in free states. No different than someone wearing sunglasses.

 

I too have the same CCW Permits. I have carried in PA a few times now. Beretta 96 on my hip. Sometimes Tok M/57 IWB in the small of my back too. Very thin pistol and quite accurate. One time I went with both and a Iver Johnson .380 Pony on my ankle just because I could.

 

Beretta had one in the chamber. Other two did not. Beretta is my main carry piece just because I am most comfortable with it. It is the second handgun I bought.

 

The in the back thing is no good for driving. Beretta was plenty comfortable. Ankle holster is fine with long pants but doesn't look good with shorts. Kind of like wearing black socks with shorts. Also ankle holster obviously is not concealed with shorts, which isn't an issue in PA. In fact anyone who can legally own a pistol can open carry in PA (outside Philly). I prefer concealed. I don't think most PA residents would care either way.

 

This past Winter was the first time I carried in years. I had a CCW in South Carolina 20 years ago. At first I was constantly adjusting my shirt and holster, but pretty quickly I stopped worrying about it. States that don't allow open carry I would be more concerned with anything showing just because of the laws.

 

I actually enjoyed the read AVB.

 

What is your wife's feeling about you carrying? Mine isn't really a gun person, but now they don't bother her either. 10 years ago when we drove to Florida and got gas in either VA or NC (don't recall) she freaked out when she saw a guy with a pistol open carried on his hip. She thought he was there to rob the place. I had to laugh and then pointed out the other 2 people carrying as well. Now she is more accustomed to it.

 

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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In the states where I was carrying, nobody on this road trip said anything to me about observing me carrying or asking me if I was because they possibly suspected that I was...

Maybe this was a combination of my semi-paranoid precautions, along with most people not being observant as well as not really caring....

AVB-AMG

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40 minutes ago, AVB-AMG said:

In the states where I was carrying, nobody on this road trip said anything to me about observing me carrying or asking me if I was because they possibly suspected that I was...

Maybe this was a combination of my semi-paranoid precautions, along with most people not being observant as well as not really caring....

AVB-AMG

It's phrased as " normal" and " free America "

you were " observed " and deemed normal.

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Good for you AVB. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

Capt14k, please don't carry in the small of your back (SoB). It's dangerous on a few levels:

• If you fall on your back/ass you can really hurt yourself, I'm talking broken vertebrae hurt yourself.

• Its a slow and very noticible draw stroke.  It offers no covert draw options thus limiting your options during a crisis when it pays to be able to be flexible.

• Every time you draw or reholster you are pointing the muzzle at your torso and hips. Under the stress of a deadly force confrontation you could very well put one into your own body, thereby doing the bad guys job for him.

There are dozens of legitimate modern options to carry a handgun. Something else out there will suit your needs, avoid SoB carry if at all possible. 

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"I also used a well-traveled, small black cowhide Coach leather satchel with shoulder strap that provided convenient accessible storage for my wallet, reading & sun glasses, cash, iPhone, car keys," 

my wife has a bunch of these she uses to carry the same items ..I believe she calls them pocketbooks, purses, and hand bags.....did yours match your shoes? Lol just busting your balls .... carry your European men's carryall with pride:whatever:

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Talking about carry positions, I like the 4-4:30 position. Can nudge it to the 3:00 easily when getting in a vehicle for long periods for comfort and an easier draw. Also not a bad position if you are only driving for a short period.

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16 hours ago, capt14k said:

I actually enjoyed the read AVB.

What is your wife's feeling about you carrying? Mine isn't really a gun person, but now they don't bother her either. 10 years ago when we drove to Florida and got gas in either VA or NC (don't recall) she freaked out when she saw a guy with a pistol open carried on his hip. She thought he was there to rob the place. I had to laugh and then pointed out the other 2 people carrying as well. Now she is more accustomed to it.

Thank you capt14k.....
She is not too keen on the idea of me CCW'g.  If she was traveling with me on this trip it would have provoked much discussions and headaches.  So I am taking it very slowly with her and if she strongly objects then I will not CCW if she is joining me "riding shotgun" (sorry, could not resist.....)

15 hours ago, Zeke said:

It's phrased as " normal" and " free America "

you were " observed " and deemed normal.

You of all people know from all my prior posts that I am anything but normal........ 
I just think it is all around better and more acceptable to conceal carry than open carry for obvious reasons.

3 hours ago, oldguysrule649 said:

AVG, I read your post with great interest, having cc'd for the first time myself earlier this year.  Thank you for the detailed writeup of your ccw experience.  

You are most welcome.  I, along with some others here, would be very interested to hear your thoughts and experiences carrying for the first time as well.  For us newbies, I acknowledge I have much to learn from others who have been doing this for some time and to make some choices based on their trial and error experience.

2 hours ago, pjd832 said:

"I also used a well-traveled, small black cowhide Coach leather satchel with shoulder strap that provided convenient accessible storage for my wallet, reading & sun glasses, cash, iPhone, car keys," 

my wife has a bunch of these she uses to carry the same items ..I believe she calls them pocketbooks, purses, and hand bags.....did yours match your shoes? Lol just busting your balls .... carry your European men's carryall with pride:whatever:

I have had this "European Men's Carryall" shoulder bag for just under 20 years.
It has served me well when we have toured around Europe, but  definitely look like a tourist when I am using it.  If I did not want to have all of that stuff in it and with me when I am traveling, there would be room in it for my holstered handgun.

To your point, my wife initially kidded me about my, as she referred to it: "fag-goot bag".  But then when we are traveling, many times she will ask me if I have room in it for her phone....

AVB-AMG

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Good for you AVB. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Capt14k, please don't carry in the small of your back (SoB). It's dangerous on a few levels: • If you fall on your back/ass you can really hurt yourself, I'm talking broken vertebrae hurt yourself. • Its a slow and very noticible draw stroke.  It offers no covert draw options thus limiting your options during a crisis when it pays to be able to be flexible. • Every time you draw or reholster you are pointing the muzzle at your torso and hips. Under the stress of a deadly force confrontation you could very well put one into your own body, thereby doing the bad guys job for him. There are dozens of legitimate modern options to carry a handgun. Something else out there will suit your needs, avoid SoB carry if at all possible. 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree. It isn't very comfortable. It was also a backup. Just did it because I could. Also as I noted didn't have one in the chamber. I don't think I would trust a Tok period with one in the chamber. This is one that had the safety added. Ankle Holster is a lot better for backup.    

One situation I did see where small of the back was helpful was the off duty cop who shot the guys at the gas station. He slowly said he was reaching for his wallet with gun pointed at him and quickly pulled his pistol and started firing. I would have to train a heck of a lot more to be comfortable doing that, and find a SA/DA that is thin like the Tok.

 

As a backup Tok's have their advantages. It is one of only two pistols I know of that will consistently and easily defeat Type II Bodyarm. 7.62x25 goes right through a Kevlar Helmet where .45ACP bounces off of it. The other is 5and7 but you need to make a lot of holes for it to be as effective. With body armor being accessible to all you never know when the bad guy will be wearing a vest.

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One of the toughest guys I know carries either a gray and blue or ERDL Camo Coach Leather satchel. We do tease him bout it, but we tease because it's Coach, not because he carries a bag.

I often carry a Sneakybag SUB or SOTech Mission Go Bag when out with the family. Especially if we will be away from home or the car for awhile.

AVB, rereading your original post I just caught that we're wearing your bag on the same side as your pistol.  Try to avoid that brother. Makes your drawstroke much more complicated and you run the risk of getting your arms tangled in the bags straps. This is especially true if you are carrying condition 3 (empty chamber and full mag) and have to manipulate the gun to make it hot. 

 

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On ‎8‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 0:19 PM, AVB-AMG said:

Thank you capt14k.....
She is not too keen on the idea of me CCW'g.  If she was traveling with me on this trip it would have provoked much discussions and headaches.  So I am taking it very slowly with her and if she strongly objects then I will not CCW if she is joining me "riding shotgun" (sorry, could not resist.....)

God forbid your wife ever needs to be armed.  My wife was very lax about carrying until the day she needed to and wasn't.

Now she never forgets her pistol even when she's out doing volunteer work.  And she has had to fire it recently.

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7 hours ago, Nickjc said:

what?!  she ok?

Yep she's OK now. But you know she was involved in a serious dog bite incident.  But when she was approached by another aggressive dog she had to fire a deterrent shot before it got into her safety zone.

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If anyone wants to know what it feels like before they actually carry on a trip I would suggest carrying around your house all the time. You have similar issues to contend with including the bathroom. It will let you know which firearm feels comfortable and the best way to carry it. Just remember to remove it (and any spare magazines before leaving your property). The first time you leave it in your own bathroom on the back of the tank, will be your last!

One suggestion about dealing with holstering up in a free state and also bathrooms is to carry a small backpack for these times. It allows you to holster up in a bathroom and also to temporarily place it in the backpack on the door hook (or on your back if there is no hook). A small lockable backpack works well for travel.

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Most incredible post ever.  Thank you.  

 

Since I was already beat to the Coach bag jokes.  I will submit this:  how were the #2s in the public restrooms?   Which were the cleanest?  Did you have to turn any places down for say lack of a lock on the door?  Do you bring your own TP?

PS: I could only wish that some day my life would entail visiting historic car locations.   I'm jealous.  

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I carry pretty much everyday at this point and it's funny how paranoid you are in the beginning.  Now I have my M&P Shield pretty much everywhere I can legally carry.  I was at the park with the kids yesterday with just a T-shirt and shorts (I carry at the 3 o'clock in a Crossbreed mini-tuck) with no concerns.

Speaking of which, I can't imagine carrying a full sized, steel framed pistol, though I have considered moving to a compact.  I figure better to have a small pistol and a reload than no pistol.

When I lived in NJ and was able to carry in PA I wore my pistol around town and when I get back to my in-laws I asked my wife if she saw my handgun.  She asked "what do you mean?", and I replied that I'm carrying my handgun now and I've been carrying it all day.  She had no idea and was floored.

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Indeed a great post. I've done a few long distance trips out west, notably in and through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. While OC is not as common as I thought it would be at first, the communities and law enforcement had a much deeper understanding and appreciation for firearms. The times I would see someone walking around open carry, nobody was dropping babies and running-- or even batting an eye at that. With that said, I did see my fair share of pretty shoddy carrying techniques (mostly pistols jammed into a pocket, and either printing or looking like it was about to fall out). I even saw a gentleman who's pistol straight dropped out of their pocket onto the floor-- and didn't notice until someone else tapped him on the shoulder. Living in CA though, while I was fortunate enough to get my CCW (there's been a huge resurgence as of late with many county sheriffs issuing), I still am very much about deep concealment.

I plan on some more trips this winter, and potentially a cross-country. While I carry probably 75% of the time (work has me at a lot of gov facilities and universities where I can't), I've become much more use to it. Still, I haven't winter carried yet, and while its usually cool enough to wear a light hoodie or jacket at the least year-round, I'm interested how that will change things.

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It still amazes me how ridiculous this all is. Makes me thankful for not having to worry about all this. I really hope the national concealed carry passes. Too many innocent people get jammed up. I am driving from NJ to SC tomorrow and I will be carrying the whole way down and while I am there. 

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1 hour ago, BlueLineFish said:

It still amazes me how ridiculous this all is. Makes me thankful for not having to worry about all this. I really hope the national concealed carry passes. Too many innocent people get jammed up. I am driving from NJ to SC tomorrow and I will be carrying the whole way down and while I am there. 

Well, not "National Concealed Carry..." but "National Reciprocity" of other States licenses/permits, including the "non-resident" variety.  This should help out NJ folks.  We don't want the feds dictating standards/regs/policies for carrying at that level. It should remain at the state level, as any new federal policy might be more restrictive than some current states.  

 

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AVB, thanks for posting this.  I have a lot of the same concerns that you had as you set out for your trip.  When the permits are issued I plan to carry a Walther PPS M2 when I travel to states where my permits allow.  To help with the varying laws, I think the apps and cheat sheets you wrote about will help a lot.  

The issues I am looking for insight on are how to safely and legally go from fopa transport to carry, best way to deal with bathroom stops and what will be the best holster type and position to use. 

As far as all of this ergonomic stuff, I wasn't sure how well any particular IWB would work while driving. I've seen a couple very soft leather IWB holsters with some sort of lambskin interior.  Maybe this isn't a real concern but something as soft as that might allow the trigger to be pressed while in the holster. Or create some sort of crappy, unsafe draw stroke in a hurry if the weapon shifts around.  It looks comfortable but my uninformed innitial thought was something more like a Kydex molded holster with some soft leather on the outside.  Something that keeps the weapon in the same place every time my hand goes to draw it.

I think bringing a bag along is helpful.  HE...I was going with Michael Kors.... but now you got me considering Coach.... :D

I wouldn't do SoB.  I'd probably duct tape it between my shoulder blades first.  Can't remember what tv show or movie I saw that in.....

And then after I sort this basic operational stuff out out and get comfortable ...and not paranoid about carrying, there's the important issue of how well will I perform / react if a situation arises where I need to use the weapon?  Gun games are fun and help with the mechanics I suppose.  But none of them help with the decision process leading up to drawing and firing the weapon.  At least, I don't believe they do. Different type of training. Different mindset.  I believe.  A conversation for a different thread.

Again, excellent thread AVB.  Thanks for starting it and drawing in a lot of excellent comments from others.

 

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Kevin125:

Thank you for your positive and complimentary post on this thread topic. 

One of my handguns is a Walther PPQ M2 5" 9mm.  I had considered using it for my CCW handgun. The reasoning was that as a polymer handgun it would be lighter and therefore more comfortable carrying all day and into the evening, compared to my Sig Sauer P226 MK25, an all metal handgun.  Unfortunately, I found it very challenging to locate and purchase off-the-shelf holsters for the Walther PPQ since it has the slightly extended barrel size.   At the time, I did not want to have to send that handgun to a custom leather holster maker to use as the mold for a new custom holster.  That is why I ultimately chose to go with my Sig Sauer 9mm for my CCW.

I do think having some sort of satchel bag to put all of the things you usually put in your pants pockets makes sense.  I found that was actually more comfortable and made drawing my handgun just much smoother and easier.  Especially during the warm summer months when we all are wearing minimal clothing consisting of shorts and polo/tee shirts.

Just before my road trip and now subsequently afterwards, when I go to my range to practice shooting my handgun(s), I also bring my holsters and with alerting and then permission from the RSO,I practice drawing and firing at paper targets at 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 yards.  I usually do double taps, aiming for center of body mass, trying to improve my smoothness and speed of drawing and firing.  I realize that in a potential case where I ever may need to draw my handgun in self-defense, the craziness of adrenaline-fueled anxiousness, excitement, concern and yes fear, will all be variables that will affect the speed and accuracy of my shooting.  But I am trying to create some basic muscle memory for my drawing.

For me psychologically, CCW'g is a big step in one's mindset.  Concern, if not paranoia about safety, concealment, abiding by all applicable state and federal laws in transit, as well as comfort while carrying, are issues that all of us new to this must address.  FYI, here is a link to some articles on CCW written by the well-known and admired handgun expert Massad Ayoob that you may find helpful, titled: "10 Concealed Carry Articles by Massad Ayoob You MUST Read" that appeared in GUN DIGEST magazine back in 2014:

https://gundigest.com/10-concealed-carry-articles-massad-ayoob-must-read/

Ultimately and eventually, if or when we do get national reciprocity for CCW, I probably do not see myself CCW'g on a daily basis.  Instead, I would selectively determine when it may make sense to do so, based on the specific circumstances of where I am going, who I am with, length of trip, whom I plan to see and recognizing where CCW may not be allowed.  Good luck with embarking on your CCW journey...

AVB-AMG

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16 hours ago, Kevin125 said:

AVB, thanks for posting this.  I have a lot of the same concerns that you had as you set out for your trip.  When the permits are issued I plan to carry a Walther PPS M2 when I travel to states where my permits allow.  To help with the varying laws, I think the apps and cheat sheets you wrote about will help a lot.  

The issues I am looking for insight on are how to safely and legally go from fopa transport to carry, best way to deal with bathroom stops and what will be the best holster type and position to use. 

As far as all of this ergonomic stuff, I wasn't sure how well any particular IWB would work while driving. I've seen a couple very soft leather IWB holsters with some sort of lambskin interior.  Maybe this isn't a real concern but something as soft as that might allow the trigger to be pressed while in the holster. Or create some sort of crappy, unsafe draw stroke in a hurry if the weapon shifts around.  It looks comfortable but my uninformed innitial thought was something more like a Kydex molded holster with some soft leather on the outside.  Something that keeps the weapon in the same place every time my hand goes to draw it.

I think bringing a bag along is helpful.  HE...I was going with Michael Kors.... but now you got me considering Coach.... :D

I wouldn't do SoB.  I'd probably duct tape it between my shoulder blades first.  Can't remember what tv show or movie I saw that in.....

And then after I sort this basic operational stuff out out and get comfortable ...and not paranoid about carrying, there's the important issue of how well will I perform / react if a situation arises where I need to use the weapon?  Gun games are fun and help with the mechanics I suppose.  But none of them help with the decision process leading up to drawing and firing the weapon.  At least, I don't believe they do. Different type of training. Different mindset.  I believe.  A conversation for a different thread.

Again, excellent thread AVB.  Thanks for starting it and drawing in a lot of excellent comments from others.

 

I want to try your PPS m2. 

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Kevin125-

"I wouldn't do SoB.  I'd probably duct tape it between my shoulder blades first.  Can't remember what tv show or movie I saw that in....."

Bruce Willis in Die Hard. :) 

 

I would like to try your PPS M2 also. 

I have IWB and OWB holsters. It all depends on how you dress and your body type. IWB you have to have pants at least 2 sizes bigger for the holster. I have a OWB leather holster for my Sig that pulls it tight towards my body. When I have practiced carried or taken a live fire shooting class I carry at the 4 o'clock position. I also have a Kydex OWB BladeTech for my Glock. Both work equally well for each gun. 

 

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