First, for those people that opt to carry a small gun on a regular or semi-regular basis. Maybe you prefer that Glock 26, snub-revolver, M&P Shield, Kahr, or other such small gun. Maybe this is what you carry all the time, or maybe it’s what you carry in the summer because you wear less clothing and it’s easier to conceal a small gun. Or maybe it’s an infrequent thing, like you just slip a snub into your pocket when you run down to the corner store. Either way, smaller guns are harder to shoot – they really are an “advanced/expert” gun, not a beginner gun. Being able to learn some practical skills and techniques for using that small gun is quite useful.
Second, for those people that carry a small gun as a back-up to their primary gun (hence the “BUG” acronym). Carrying two guns isn’t paranoia, it’s preparation, it’s acknowledgment that mechanical objects can and will fail (probably when you least want them to). It’s a way to quickly arm an unarmed other person. There’s utility in having a BUG, and utility in knowing how to transition to it and skillfully use it.
One of the masters of the snub revolver, Claude Werner recently posted an article on the different modes of carrying a snub revolver. The snub gives different options than a traditional full-sized service pistol, and Claude enumerates options and the pros and cons of each.
He talks about:
- DeSantis Clip Grip (or other methods, like a Barami Hip-Grip coupled with a Tyler T-Grip)
- Belly Bands
- Shoulder holsters
- Ankle holsters
Of course, there are other modes of carry, but those are the ones he covers.
For me, I admit it varies depending upon circumstance.
I never do ankle. I wear shorts in the summer, and often when I wear long pants I have footwear that covers my ankles (e.g. boots). I know some that use this method, and it’s especially useful for folks that have to sit all day (especially in a vehicle).
I’ve never done a proper shoulder holster. One time on a long road trip I did wear my snub inside the inner shirt pocket of a 5.11 concealment shirt; it was my secondary, because it’d be faster to get to from a seated position. But I didn’t like that too much because it was imbalanced, and made the shirt ride abnormally — the fabric didn’t move like a normal shirt would, the shirt hung awkwardly off me. It was OK for the ride, but I’m unlikely to do that again. But a proper shoulder rig I’m not against, if I can conceal it properly (but I rarely wear coats… it’s Texas, and it’s hot).
Never done a belly band, but I do own a SmartCarry. Tried it for a while, will use it on the rare occasion when it’s the best/right option, but honestly? It makes going to the bathroom a cumbersome event, so I save using it for when there’s no other option.
OWB is fine, if you can support it. I’ve got a C-Rusty Sherrick U.S. High Ride, which is perfect for the application. I like the high ride and the fact nothing descends below the belt. Thus, you could wear OWB with just a shirt and have no concealment problems, or at least, it’s the same problems you’d have with IWB, without the IWB annoyances.
IWB for me tends to be with my Kolbeson Leatherworks leather AIWB. Honestly, I can’t remember the model name (and Josh doesn’t make them any more), but it was designed specifically for snubs and AIWB carry, with a reverse 5º cant, which makes a big difference in ride and draw (vs. say no cant). I prefer this method for my snub, but AIWB doesn’t work so well for me when I’ve got a gut going. See all my postings about weight lifting. 😉
The DeSantis ClipGrip is what I’ve had on my snub for a few years now, and it’s my preferred grip. I’ve been trying other things, but it just hasn’t worked out. What set me down this road was Claude’s combination of Barami & Tyler grips, but they just didn’t work for me. The DeSantis has worked quite well. I don’t use the cip portion much any more, but it’s there and an option.
Most often, when I carry the snub, it’s in a pocket. It’s a matter of my body these days, enough stuff on my belt, and so it works. But it does really suck on the draw.
Anyways, that’s my experience. Read Claude’s article for a good discussion on the pros and cons of each method. There is no one perfect method, as you can see. It’s all trade-offs and sometimes you have to go with what the situation dictates. While I grant the importance of consistency, of “same way every time”, well… as Hogel likes to say, “you can’t play golf with only one club in the bag”. 🙂