Off-duty concealed carry is something you should all do (and you should do it all the time). You may stumble upon an armed robbery or terrorist attack. Don’t let your last thought be, “If only I’d had a gun with me.”
Though retired from active policing, I carry every day under the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA — HR218). My situation frequently requires me to use “deep” concealment techniques to carry a small pistol well hidden under clothing, which precludes a quick draw. So I must be very conscious of my surroundings, hoping to buy a few seconds of warning to access my pistol.
Having quicker access to your sidearm — and carrying a bigger gun to start with — is a much better plan those in covert clothing. In my youth, the “cool” carry mode was a semi-auto pistol stuffed in your pants, without a holster, just behind the hip in the 4:30 o’clock position.
From Mexican to Appendix
I’m not sure where the term came from, but it was commonly referred to as “Mexican carry.” We were mostly carrying either double-action auto pistols or 1911’s with a locked manual safety. Now that striker-fired pistols without a manual safety are the norm, you should NEVER carry one of these pistols without a holster or some other form of trigger-guard protection.
In those days I was working in the “wild west” and my moustache was still a flaming shade of “Ragnar red.” Now that white hair prevails, I never carry without a holster, even if all I have is a mini .380 in my pocket.
The newest fad in concealed carry is the appendix position, from about 12:30 to 1:30 o’clock position, under an untucked shirt. This spot on the body can conceal a surprisingly large, capable pistol and be very comfortable once you sort out the depth and angle where the pistol naturally fits. Several makers are building holsters specifically designed for appendix carry and most sit pretty much straight up and down. I find leather designs the most comfortable for my body type (full-figured), but Kydex designs are becoming ever more comfortable and sophisticated.
Gearing Up for Appendix Carry
My most-commonly carried holster is a simple pocket-style designed by Sticky Holsters. This amazing and very inexpensive holster works great for inside-the-waistband carry in any position, either behind the hip or behind the belt buckle. The same holster will also work perfectly under a shirt against your body armor or on the ankle with an adapter wrap.
An alternative safety device (I don’t really consider them a holster) is a trigger-guard protector like the ones pioneered by MIC Holster Systems (formerly known as Glocktech). Available from countless Kydex builders, the molded devices snap over the trigger guard and include a nylon cord you loop around your belt or belt loop. When the pistol is drawn, the cord draws tight and pops the MIC holster off the weapon allowing access to the trigger. A polymer/striker pistol can be carried safely without a holster when a MIC is used, but I still recommend at least a Sticky Holster be used to keep the pistol in place.
Final Word of Warning
I like to think I’m too professional to resort to crude jokes, but a device like the MIC could prevent the biggest threat from the appendix carry position, perforation of a femoral artery or … other precious groin-area anatomical assets. I can’t resist the MIC holster motto: “Don’t shoot your d*&%, carry a MIC!"