Monday, July 17, 2017

An Alien Encounter in the Desert

When I moved to the desert southwest, I had heard of all kinds of alien encounters. I had mine while on a quest to find a better daily carry option. 

One of the things that has always been a dilemma for me when carrying concealed day is how to keep a weapon concealed in warm weather. A move to the desert southwest has led to several different carry styles and, yes, even though I’m several hundred miles from Area 51, an “alien” encounter.

For years I lived in the Midwest, where I experienced both extremes of temperature- Hot and cold- each with their own set of challenges for carrying. If the temperature is below 40 or so, a jacket or parka can hide just about anything.
Some are even specifically designed to do so, with special pockets and integral holsters “built in” to the system. Alternately, in the winter a weapon carried inside the waistband under a coat required too much effort to reach. However, when the temperature climbs, we shed layers of clothing, exposing our previously well-concealed firearm.
In the summer I most often carried a smaller weapon in order to minimize its profile, as I believe that the best concealed weapon is:
a. The one you CARRY, and,
b. The one nobody else, but especially the bad guy, knows is there.

 With the increasing wisdom that age brings, I recently moved my family from the upper Midwest to a place where removal of snow in any form is a conscious choice, requiring the drive of approximately 100 miles to do so, but also for several months of the year allows you the convenience of baking cookies on your car dashboard and frying eggs on your sidewalk.

We simply don’t wear a lot of clothes when it’s hot.

This led me on an entirely new search and an encounter with an “Alien” that has become my daily companion.
Having carried a firearm almost daily for the better part of two decades, I have learned a few things in the way of Carry and comfort. (and, If you don't think  carrying in comfort is a big deal, look back at the previous article I wrote regarding an incident where I was forced to brandish my carry weapon – and that I would not have had, had it not been comfortable.)

Because of this, my preferred weapon for every day carry had been a subcompact .380. I alternate between my Taurus 738 and a new Glock model 42. Both have an extremely small profile with the Taurus being slightly slimmer and the Glock a bit more comfortable for me to shoot.
Both are also what some in the industry refer to as “Ballistically Challenged,” meaning any larger caliber has a great deal more stopping power.
 Much of my day is spent wearing slacks and dress clothes, with the occasional jacket worn for client meetings. Obviously, a suit coat makes concealed carry a breeze. However, when I carry in the summertime in the desert, I was previously relegated to 3 methods of carry: pocket, ankle, and "tucked."


This method is my preferred when carrying micro-compact firearms. A sleeve for your weapon that is made out of a material that grabs the material of the pocket around it keeps your weapon concealed, clean, and away from loose change or other items that may interfere with your draw. An additional benefit- having your hand n your pocket is a "normal" and non-threatening position. 


 Anyone that watched a television show "Miami Vice" in the 80s is familiar with the ankle holster, As it appeared seemingly in just about every episode. When carrying for "ultra-concealment" in warmer climates, this is a preferred method. It is almost impossible to detect, and you can carry even a "Midsized" compact firearm. Wearing shorts with this method is really not an option, though.
 Pocket carry.
 One of the easiest methods of carry for small sub-compacts is in a "pocket holster" designed to hide the profile of your weapon while tucked into the front pocket of your pants. When carrying a micro or sub compact, this is also one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to be prepared with your weapon. People tend to ignore when you reach into your pocket, as it is a very common movement. Lifting your leg or grabbing at your ankle is not.
The main drawback is that it limits the size weapon you can carry to something rather small in the .22 to .380 calibers.


 Many people like to wear their concealed weapon on their waist between three and 5 o'clock on their person, and, due to the genetics of our population, most wear them on the right hip.
 I have never been that comfortable when carrying this way, and, due to a few too many good meals at meetings and home, don't want to go buy all new pants to accommodate the additional thickness of a holster in addition to my own.  Because of this, and especially when I carry one of my larger size compacts, I prefer to carry just to the right of midline in the small of my back.
Until recently, I used a very simple holster from Blackhawk that is essentially a “pocket” for your gun with a clip to hold it to your pants to prevent the gun from sliding down while you have it tucked in your waist band. The up and downside to this method is that the gun can slide out relatively easily- good when a situation arises and bad when you are exiting your vehicle and the gun slips out!

Ace Luciano is a brand ambassador and product evaluator for hundreds of companies in the outdoor space

My “Alien Encounter.” 

Ever on the search for a better option, and after reading hundreds of reviews, I recently acquired an Alien Gear “Cloak Tuck 3.0” holster. This holster is rated highly in just about every review for its extreme comfort, and I agree. Most of this is due to the material used against your skin – neoprene  – one of the softest and most comfortable-yet-durable (and rather breathable) materials  out there.
In warm weather a gun against your skin can be rather irritating and your sweat and body oils can do it great harm. Alternately, a holster not fit properly to your firearm can cause issues with unintentional un-holstering and dropped on the floor – a bad, and according to some regulations, possibly illegal, scenario.
Alien Gear solves this by combining a custom ballistic nylon shell fit to many popular handguns.
As I stated above, I am a believer that the best concealed weapon is the one that is truly concealed – that way the bad guy can never tell who's in the fight. My concern with a “tuckable” holster was that it would be evident without a jacket, so I put this holster to what I referred to as the "white dress shirt test."

 If a holster can hide a weapon under a tucked in, white dress shirt, I consider it "fully concealed."
 While not as completely invisible as an ankle or pocket holster, the only sign that I am carrying a weapon with a tucked in shirt is two small clips that, when positioned the right way, can blend with your belt loops quite nicely.

 The best news? This was the same whether carrying a micro-compact or my mid-sized Taurus millennium 40 caliber.

Ace Luciano is a firearms enthusiast and outdoor writer that has over two decades of elite-level sales and marketing performance
If you can hide a black gun under a white dress shirt, consider it concealed!

Every Alien Gear product includes their “Iron Clad Triple Guarantee.” Try their holster, risk free, for 30 days and if you’re not satisfied with it for any reason, they’ll buy it back. In addition, all of their concealed carry holsters feature fully swap-able shells for use with inside the waistband or outside the waistband holsters. If you ever decide to carry a different handgun, you can simply trade your shell for a new one.

Last, but not least, every holster is covered Alien Gear’s “Forever Warranty.” If any part of your holster breaks for any reason, they will repair or replace it for free.
 Alien gear makes holsters to fit most makes and models, and sometimes can even accommodate a newer weapon if you give them a call. After several weeks of daily wear, I highly recommend it.

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