Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It's hard to be both fashionable and heavily armed.

"Your carry gun should be comforting, not comfortable." -Clint Smith

A couple of years back I decided to make a commitment to practicing what I preached and carrying a Serious Pistol all the time. Picking the gun was the easy part: For me, few pistols are as comforting as a full-size Government Model, since I shoot it as well as any other handgun I've ever tried. I went with inside-the-waistband carry, since the flat shape of the 1911 lends itself well to this method of toting, and even a big pistol like the "Guv'mint .45" can be concealed in this manner with nothing but an untucked shirttail.

Thus ended my future as a fashion plate.

Jeans, especially women's jeans, are just not cut with carrying a pistol in mind. Forget low-cut styles; there's just not enough room between crotch and waistband to accomodate the 5" barrel of a full-size 1911. As far as the waistband itself goes, if you allow enough room for your pistol and its Galco Royal Guard holster, then the rest of the jeans are going to sag like the sails of a Sargasso-becalmed schooner. Conversely, if you wear jeans that fit right in the seat and legs, you'll wear a pistol-shaped divot in your kidney by noon.

The belt poses another problem. Every time I go to the mall, I look wistfully at all manner of cute and fashionable belts. None of which, of course, are up to the task of rigidly supporting two-plus pounds of steel on your hip without collapsing or letting the holster slip and slide all over the place. A good leather belt from Milt Sparks or a reinforced nylon instructor's belt, while designed to do just that, is unlikely to draw appreciative comments from your style-conscious friends. (Although if worn with panache, the rigger-type instructor's belt does make a certain outdoorsy, rock-climby, mountain-bikie statement, especially if it's in a color other than black...)

So, you know, I compensate where I can. ("Hey, is that a sharkskin holster?" has become a running gag at work.) Since I can carry openly at the shop, I use the gun itself as an accessory. Y'all gun nuts probably know that one: "Today just felt like a stainless Delta Elite day," or "It's Sunday; of course I wore my pretty blued Colt." Somewhere down this road lies the path to a seriously blingin' Barbecue Gun. Someday, though, when I'm rich and famous, I'm gonna hire somebody to do something about that little jeans fit issue...

15 comments:

DirtCrashr said...

Detonics? I saw a MKI at a shop nearby...

Tam said...

Had one.

I prefer guns that run. ;)


(Also, I'd rather dress around a gun I can shoot like a house afire than carry I gun I can't shoot well and wear low-cut jeans.)

Jay G said...

How's about one of the S&W scandium J-frames? I've got the 360 (should have listened to the folks at the gun shop and got the hammerless 340, but...) and I just love it for summer carry...

Granted, men's jeans are cut different than womens' jeans, but I can make that little gun disappear in an ankle holster. Five rounds of 158 gr. .357 Magnum JHP goodness at the ready, 12 more in Bianchi speed strips, good to go...

gmcraff said...

Tam,

I don't have much trouble at all concealing a P14-45, plus spare magazine, on my person in a Smartcarry holster, whether I wear jeans, shorts or a suit. Have you tried it?

Then again, the cut of men's fashionable clothes are just a bit different than women's. And the bulge of a weapon that size is less, ahem, out of place on a fella.

DirtCrashr said...

Thanks for the advisory - good thing I can't afford to buy the thing! ;-) However stuff like that and the Para Warthog look cute to me.

Les Jones said...

Concealed carry is definitely harder for women. Lots of women's pants don't have pockets, for Pete's sake.

Ben said...

>>Also, I'd rather dress around a gun I can shoot like a house afire than carry I gun I can't shoot well and wear low-cut jeans.<<

Here's hoping you soon master the derringer ;-)

phlegmfatale said...

Well, send me one of those instructor's belts and I'll bead it for you. :o)

Mulliga said...

Well, I'm certain Tam's tried all the options any of us could ever come up with. I agree with Clint Smith's view, but I think having a gun you could slip into a pocket at short notice is useful, too.

BoxStockRacer said...

Tam:

Find yourself a GOOD western-wear store - a place that sells top-of-the-line boots and hats. They will also have VERY stylish heavy-duty belts that will easily handle anything you can imagine carrying, and some. Both my brother and I got 1.5 inch wide belts that are easily 3/16 of an inch thick. They carry wider belts, but 1.5 inches was the widest we could squeeze through our belt loops. We use them for everyday (and night) IWB carry, and for the occasional IPSC meet.

They're definitely not cheap, but they'll last a good long while.

Trebor said...

Kudos to you for making the choice. I'm amazed at how many people aren't willing to compromise on their wardrobe in order to carry a gun. There's a reason that P-32's and J frame Smith's sell so well.

I'm just lucky in that I've NEVER been fashionable or stylish in my whole life. Granted, I'm a guy, but even for a male I'm remarkably fashion blind. My daily "uniform" is jeans and a T-shirt and I've been wearing variations on that for 25 years. God forbid I ever work another job that requires me to wear tucked-in dress shirts.

I love that my Smith Model 65 hides right under my T-shirt. It's small enough to conceal and big enough to be effective.

pax said...

Tam,

Sorry I missed this when you wrote it. (Do you even see comments on such old entries?)

For the jeans, go shop in the guy's section. Men's jeans are smaller in the butt and bigger in the waist -- exactly whatcha need in order to make room for an IWB pistola while avoiding the baggy-butt look.

pax

Tam said...

pax,

"Sorry I missed this when you wrote it. (Do you even see comments on such old entries?)"

Yes, I do. :)

Thanks for the jeans tip; I hadn't even thought of that.

Considering that I buy my jeans from The Gap, this may be the time to jokingly mention the guy friend I had who would always enlist my help when venturing to The Gap because the layout of the store confused him, and he was mortally a'feared of winding up browsing on the wrong side of the shop.

"Boy, the colors on these tee shirts are awful fruity. Who expects a guy to wear..? Oh, no... Wait a minute..."

:D

Debbie said...

Hmm, I took the easy compromise. The 1911 stays in my purse, and the Keltec 380 goes in the pocket fort hose few times the purse is not on me.

It is not so much a fashion statement for me as a comfort thing. I have not found anything concealed that does not leave a bruise the size of a baseball on my hip after a full day.

James J. Na said...

But do you have the right footwear to go with that nice leather holster?

Behold!