CCW Weekend: Important Tips For Car Carry
By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Concealing is easy when you’re on foot, but car carry is a bit trickier. Sitting makes access more difficult for pistol concealed on the waistband, if not impossible depending on exactly how one carries. Small of the back carry, for instance; good luck trying to draw from that carry position whilst seated.
Restricted access is also counterintuitive; the point of concealed carry is to have a gun you can get to if you need it. It’s not like you can ask a carjacker to “hold on for just a moment while I draw my gun.”
Additionally, a holstered firearm may be perfectly comfortable while standing, but can become quite uncomfortable upon sitting. As you recline, the grip, slide or sights can go from not sticking into your side to digging in like a tick on a hound, and all of a sudden you don’t like this concealed carry thing as much as you thought you did. Add the fact that you can’t adjust as much and are restrained by the seat belt – it’s not much fun.
However, there are some car carry tips that may make your experience a little more bearable, as well as ensuring faster access to your gun in case you need to draw while in your car.
One of the first tips, and this may be among the most obvious, is to carry a compact or subcompact firearm. Full-size or service pistols project further out – whether tucked inside the waistband for easy concealment or worn on a belt holster for concealment under layers – and can make sitting and driving more difficult. As you sit, the muzzle and barrel can contact the seat, pushing the gun into you.
A gun with a shorter barrel won’t have this problem or at least won’t have this issue to the same extent. As a result, you can sit more comfortably and may be able to adjust yourself to a point where access is easier.
Next is to change your holster cant angle.
Part of the reason for a forward cant angle such as the “FBI cant” angle of 15 to 25 degrees to the positive (it depends on whom you ask; some sources say 15 degrees, some say 18 degrees, others say 22.5 degrees, but the reality is it just means a forward cant) is this balances comfort while carrying afoot and while sitting.
A forward cant keeps the grip from digging into one’s side as much while seated, and puts the grip in a position to be accessed more easily from a seated position.
However, this isn’t a perfect solution. While walking, this holster cant angle can put the grip into your side more than a straight drop does, which can be annoying. Drawing from this position is still not a walk in the park, but is less difficult than if carrying a straight-drop holster inside or outside the waistband.
Another good tip, and probably the best advice if one is honest, is to just get a car holster. This can take several forms. First, some people will use a generic nylon pouch holster and place their pistol in the door sill compartment, between the seats, or some other location where the gun is accessible but secure enough. It isn’t an elegant solution and so long as the trigger is free from interference and the pistol isn’t subjected to undue jostling about, can certainly work.
Then there are dedicated car holsters, which are mounted to a surface inside the vehicle. A common form is a strap-mounted holster that fits on the front of the seat, on the center console or under the steering wheel.
There are also holster mounting systems that allow a person to dock their carry holster inside their vehicle. One merely takes off their holster, docks it with the holster mount and has a concealed pistol that’s secure and accessible.
These options require taking one’s gun out of one’s holster, or taking out one’s holster AND pistol off or out of the waistband to secure inside one’s vehicle. Some may find this awkward, especially in a parking lot in broad daylight. However, it is also the most convenient as this carry method solves the problems of discomfort AND ease of access.
Be aware, though, that state laws differ on how one may carry in one’s vehicle. Carrying a loaded pistol may be prohibited unless one holds a permit, or may be prohibited altogether. A loaded handgun may be required to be in plain sight regardless of whether or not a person holds a permit. Make sure you are in compliance with relevant state and municipal laws.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.