Notes on Handgun Concealed Carry

Published: ‘Patriot Rising: The Unbroken’
December 29, 2015
Kindle Version: ‘Patriot Rising: The Unbroken’
December 30, 2015

Handgun concealed carry (CCW) is not an area into which MVT has made much of a foray. However, we have just scheduled our first Active Shooter CCW Class on February 20-21 2016, and as such we have begun to create the class page and put in place safety rules and recommendations.

One of our stipulations is that for the class, there is to be no ‘Appendix Inside The Waistband’ (AIWB) carry. This has caused some wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is not the intent of this post to kick off some sort of ‘appendix vs. hip’ carry debate / argument / fistfight. We also do not permit crossdraw and shoulder holster carry in the class. Think of AIWB as front of the belt line carry, so that if your belt buckle is at 12 o’clock viewed from above the handgun (for a right handed carry) would be approximately at the 1 o’clock position. A right handed hip carry would be approximately at the 3 o’clock position.

The reason for the rule is simply safety. During the class there will be a lot of repeated presentation of the weapon, and instructors cannot see what a student is doing to the front of the body. This is simply the reason. It is tied in with the fact that any negligent discharge of the weapon, while holstering or unholstering to the appendix position, is likely to result in far greater (life threatening) damage to the student, from the location of the femoral artery at the front of the thigh, not to mention the genital area.

This does not mean that MVT is ‘anti-AIWB.’ Far from it; whatever means of carry works for you, if you can do it competently and safely, please go ahead (outside of class). It has been said that appendix carry is an advanced form of carry, and I would agree in terms of safety and competency requirements, but I don’t agree with it in terms of appendix carriers being inherently ‘more advanced’ or ‘better trained’ than hip carriers. I also hesitate to say that this ruling is because the MVT Active Shooter CCW class is ‘a basic class.’ Well, it is a basic class designed for those with some familiarity with their handgun to progress to be competent concealed carriers with a higher chance of surviving / stopping the threat in an active shooter scenario. However, in the tradition of all MVT classes, we will start with the basics and move forward on a ‘crawl – walk – run’ methodology and take you as far as we can competently get you in two days. Remember, it all comes down to good solid basics anyway.

Now that has been said, in terms of ‘official policy,’ I’ll take a moment to give some of my personal opinion. This is not all embracing, but some thoughts on the matter.

  • I do not use ‘thug carry’ i.e. unholstered carry in the belt in the appendix / groin area, as a standard to base my own carry decisions upon.
  • I carry concealed all the time. I carry at the 3 o’clock position, Glock 26, in an Alien Gear holster (Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster-Glock – 26-RH-Standard Nylon Clips), with a double mag pouch on my support side. I only recently got this holster, because I wanted a smaller one after having moved from a Glock 23 holster, which fit the 26 but was unnecessarily long/bulky for it. I love the holster. It is comfortable, sits solidly without shifting, and is remarkably low profile with a great presentation on the handgun.
  • I personally do not do appendix carry, although this is not the reason for the MVT policy (which is purely safety). I find that with constant carry, hip carry at the 3 o’clock is comfortable and practical all the time. In the summer, I wear a tucked in t-shirt with an untucked shirt over the belt line. Because I also carry at the 2:30 to 3 o’clock position on my battle belt, it means that in terms of muscle memory, my hand goes to the same place any time I want to go for the handgun.
  • There is talk that in certain hand  to hand fighting positions, such as being on your back with a mounted assailant, appendix carry would be easier to reach. That may well be true and is a case of weighing up the pros and cons. It is not such a move of the hand between a 1 o’clock and a 3 o’clock position, with the elbow being turned more to the rear for a hip carry draw – and remember, I am not advocating seating the holster back past the hip, at 4 o’clock, but on the hip. It is not a hundred miles between the two positions, 1 and 3 o’clock.
  • Alternatively, for more standing situations, if the gun is situated to the front on the center line, it presents it to an attacker to interfere with the draw, if he is close enough. If he is close enough for that, it is a fistfight anyway, or he is trying to take you to the floor. There is an advantage in this situation in being able to block with the support arm, while turning off slightly to create space to draw with the firing hand from the hip. Either way, don’t forget that this is likely to be a hand to hand fight until one of you is able to draw, and if you do draw, better be certain you have justification in using deadly force. The bottom line here is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and that you cannot discount the necessity of being able to actually fight, because you might have to do so to get to the gun. If it is on your hip, and you are on your back, you will need to create space to free your strong hand to draw. (Note: not all hand to hand fight situations justify deadly force, and if you are able to stop the threat with lesser force, you avoid potential arrest, expensive court cases etc. That is a risk for your own judgement, situationally based.  If I don’t have to shoot someone, I won’t. Flip side: if in doubt, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!).
  • For situations such as driving, appendix carry is an advantage over hip carry. I find it effective, if my hackles go up, to uncover the concealment garment from the hip carried handgun, facilitating access – the seat belt buckle is also in the way and may go, depending on the situation. If you road rage me and continue to harass, you will not know that my handgun is ready to go. The next step, assuming warning, is to unholster the handgun and tuck it under the thigh. If you road rage me and I am blocked in for some reason, then as I am assessing the situation I am escalating my posture, with the handgun more and more accessible. Remember, at this time, the vehicle is my primary weapon, which I will use to stop the threat and exit the area, unless I cannot for some reason, and have to use the handgun. Here, avoidance is the key, if possible, because if I have my kids in the car, I do not want to be a sitting duck as rounds are incoming. All of the above has to go hand in hand with solid judgement of the appropriate response. Just because someone is shouting at me and waving their arms around, I’m not going to shoot them. I might want to, but I won’t.
  • I say all this to say: Outside of class, make your own assessment and decision on how you will carry your concealed handgun. There are some very competent trainers out there with different opinions, some favor appendix, others hip carry. Also remember, that depending on your situation or work dress, you may have to adopt your carry to something else, such as in a briefcase or backpack. Whatever you have to do is better than nothing – it won’t be as quick on the draw, but if you have some warning, you will have a handgun to go to, rather than nothing.

Max

 

 

 

You should also note that we strongly recommend a quality inside or outside the waistband belt holster specifically designed for your handgun. We do not recommend any floppy ‘Uncle Mikes’ or ‘Walmart Specials,’ both for this class and for your normal carry. It is a gear investment into the comfort and practicality of your everyday concealed carry.

7 Comments

  1. Sam Brady says:

    I carry 24 x 7 utilizing the “Appendix Carry.” I train with it and I am comfortable with it.

    I will take this class and cheerfully use the strong side carry because it is a class requirement. No one should be upset by this. All instructors have different ideas about procedures and safety, etc. It is important to remember that Max and his staff have to tailor their training to a wide variety of students. Strong side carry should not interfere with anyone’s “learning curve.”

    When I take a class, I look for information I can load into my own hard drive or tool box. Take the information provided, use what will work for you and carry and practice with your handgun the way you want after you finish the class.

  2. Von says:

    Max,

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you are cutting across the grain of the likely future (and IMHO, correct) norm in conceal carry. Whether or not it is more advanced, it is demonstratively superior in the sorts of situations and parameters wherein a civilian conceal carry gunfight occurs and courses like yours should be training in the TTPs the students ought to use every day. If you want it left to the student, so be it; if you can’t trust them with this, don’t have them and/or sequester those students to one portion of the line and push the (assistant?) instructor slightly forward of said line. You’re going cookie-cutter, “Big Army” on us and it kinda shocked me. Still love your material and fresh outlook on light infantry.

    • Max Velocity says:

      No, you are wrong, and this class is not compulsory. It didn’t exist a week ago and you don’t have to attend it now that it does.
      I see appendix is the new ‘cool guy thing.’ No doubt this will take on the idiocy of the ‘caliber debate.’
      You may want to check out some other classes that have a lot more class time on the handgun than MVT (not run our first class yet) and check their policy on appendix. Check Larry Vickers for a start.
      What you are doing is expressing your opinion, as truth. In my article I was clear about what was my opinion, what are considerations, and what are necessary safety rules for our classes.
      If you are disappointed in MVT for this rule, given the quality of our training, perhaps you should ask why?
      I did not write the article to kick off more whining about the appendix safety rule. I have little patience for it and further comments will be moderated out.

  3. HiDesertRat says:

    Max, question concerning the following:

    “The next step, assuming warning, is to unholster the handgun and tuck it under the thigh. If you road rage me and I am blocked in for some reason, then as I am assessing the situation I am escalating my posture, with the handgun more and more accessible.”

    I seem to remember that during the infamous Miami FBI shootout in 1986, 2 of the agents lost their sidearms when their car impacted the suspects vehicle. Having unholstered their weapons, one had it in his lap, the other under his thigh, apparently an attempt to have them at the ready but the physics of the collision negated those preparations.

    Nothing is ever perfect of course, what’s your thoughts?

    Addendum: just ordered your book. Congratulations!

    • Max Velocity says:

      Perhaps a jumble, the way I wrote it. Good clarification, thanks. If I think I am going to have to possibly imminently use the handgun, let’s say I have just been stopped in some fashion, then under the thigh is an option. But this specifically doesn’t work if you are using the vehicle as a weapon to bust out of said stop, perhaps by pushing through a blocking vehicle. Then it needs to stay in the holster. So, am I stopped and having to go for the gun? Or am I going to have to use the vehicle? If I am still moving, then the clearing of the concealment garment is as far as I would go – and I would never try and drive while holding the gun against the steering wheel, for example.

      let’s think of an example, out of thin air: Let’s say I get into some sort of minor fender bender RTA. I pull over, he pulls over. Suddenly, he gets out and rather than being interested in exchanging insurance information, he is in full road rage, blaming me, approaching aggressively. I now have options. If there is a threat to me/mine the best thing is to drive the hell out of there, manliness aside. But perhaps I can’t. Perhaps the accident actually stopped my vehicle. If he is aggressive and coming towards me, it is not necessarily a shoot situation, but as I assess the situation, maybe I do clear the garment and perhaps even pull, it out and put it under my thigh. It’s a judgment call. It can be described as an option in the escalation of force / readiness. Does that make sense?

      (Of course, this all goes into the realm of CP, and assume I am the only shooter in the car. If there are more, and I am the driver, I drive, and anyone else has the handgun ready).

  4. Diz says:

    Kinda getting out in the weeds here, guys. I don’t know of any other trainer that allows anything other than strong side carry at beginner classes. Calling this “Big Army” is a bit disingenuous.

    On the “get it out and prepped” thing. Terrain and situation. No one technique is gonna fit every occasion. Yeah the fibbers fucked up their sit, but that is not to say it isn’t a viable technique for other, static situations.

    I think the point is, MVT is getting into the every day realm of concealed carry and close quarters combat, which is very good news.

  5. JtothaK says:

    Max,

    One comment. I used to appendix carry my Glock 19 with a Vanguard 2 “holster”. I stopped appendix carrying due to the problem with sitting in a vehicle. When bending at the waist, the barrel dug into my pelvis. Not too mention the uncomfortable feeling of a chambered weapon pointed directly at my femoral artery.

    3 o’clock hip carry is far more comfortable and inherently safer, especially when sitting in a vehicle, or walking or running or jogging or laying prone. In fact, appendix carry is rather useless speaking from experience.

    I never appendix carry any longer due to the above but the only real advantage of appendix carrying is the better concealibility (i.e. less printing) which can be mitigated by clothing and holster selection.

    I carry OWB using the $14 Glock branded holster that I have slightly modified. Great holster surprisingly.