Blackhawk CCW Holster – Inside the Waistband – great for appendix carry

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View of adjustable retention system and rotating belt snap

A good CCW holster is truly something to be cherished.  I can’t tell you how many holsters I’ve gone through in my pursuit of finding what works for me.  First, let’s take a minute to discuss what will make a good holster for one person will make a lousy holster for another person. Your style of training is going to determine how you carry your firearm.

I may be so bold to assume that if you are searching the internets for opinions on CCW holsters, then you are most likely at the formative stages of your practical defensive handgun learning curve.  If this is the case, you are indeed in luck, as I will attempt to save you the trouble of acquiring a bucket of holsters in the pursuit of CCW holster perfection.

Let us assume that you have already completed the critical first step in this process and have attended a defensive handgun course offered by a variety of reputable training outfits around the country (I recommend Frontsight for those new to firearms or formal CIVILIAN firearms training and Suarez for your second time around).  Not only will this instill some good administrative gunhandling and marksmanship skills, but most importantly, you will get LOTS of practice safely and smoothly presenting your pistol from the holster to the target.

Bucket of holsters, crossbreed galco, tagua, comp-tac, etc

Bucket of holsters, crossbreed, galco, tagua, Blackhawk, comp-tac, etc

By attending a class, not only will you learn about yourself and your equipment, but you will learn by watching others succeed (or struggle) with theirs.  If something looks cool, but doesn’t work well, it won’t do you any good once the targets start turning.  Additionally, throughout the course, you will begin to notice the position where the holster fits best on your body and also the position where you are able to present the gun to the target most rapidly…  for some people this is not the same location…   For instance…  I can present to the target most rapidly when the holster is worn on the point of my hip (3′ o’clock for a righty), but it is most comfortable for me to carry for long periods of time when my holster is positioned just to the rear of my hip (4 o’clock).

Appendix Carry - Standing

This of course varies depending on what type of holster (inside the waistband or outside the waistband) I am wearing. While this Blackhawk CCW holster can be worn in a variety of ways, I feel that it is best suited to carrying a G-26/27/33 inside the waistband (IWB) over either the appendix or crossdraw at around 11 o’clock.  Here are some reasons why…  but first, lets talk about why you would want to carry AIWB.

  1. AIWB is very comfortable if you sit for long periods of time.
  2. This style of carry is good for warmer summer months due to the fact that a gun carried AIWB “prints” less than one carried on or behind the hip.
  3. Some claim that AIWB carry allows for faster presentation than standard IWB, but I would assert that training is the most important factor here.
  4. AIWB carry keeps the firearm in the front half of your body… where your eyes are… hence, if you are printing and someone is “scoping out your gun” you have a better likely hood of seeing them and checking your garments.

Seated Appendix Carry - Note muzzle covers femoral region of leg

So, with all this, what is the disadvantage of AIWB carry…  well, if you stand all day and never sit down… there is no disadvantage…   As soon as you sit down, however, the disadvantage is glaring…  While seated, a gun carried AIWB will generally cover your femur, genitalia, or somewhere in between.  This is an area rich in blood vessels arteries and a negligent discharge could be fatal.  For me, this is a dealbreaker, but I can understand why some who carry a Glock or other double-action style firearm would weigh the risk vs going unarmed.

With that being said, here are some features to look for on an AIWB holster

  1. You’ll need a good belt… The weight of a firearm on the front of your trousers needs to be managed by a sturdy belt.  You may be able to manage to control it if you walk at a very slow pace, but move faster than a saunter and you will be made.
  2. The holster needs to be molded specifically for your model of firearm…  You don’t want to slip your pistol into a neoprene sleeve and carry it AIWB.  That trigger guard needs to be secured in a holster made specifically for it. The consequences of  negligent discharge with firearms carried AIWB make this feature of paramount importance.
  3. Look for a good mix of materials…  kydex, leather, or some mix will suit your needs, but make sure that the holster supports the firearm without being too bulky.
  4. If you’ll be wearing the holster next to your skin how does the material react to sweat (does it absorb and manage the sweat, or does it just hold the moisture their and get all nasty)
So, how does this Blackhawk CCW holster stack up to these requirements?

Detail view of Blackhawk holster

  1. The holster is thin and light, and it has only one attachment point for a belt.  The single belt loop is a poor performer for IWB hip carry, but perfect for AIWB
  2. The holster is molded for the G26/27/33 frame, and it has adjustable retention on the trigger guard
  3. There is a molded-in front sight groove to eliminate hang ups during presentation
  4. The velcro on the strap is not weight bearing, it only holds the angle of the strap.

This holster was one of my first purchases for CCW.  I was sold on the adjustable features and the perceived utility of a multitude of carry styles.  While the craftsmanship and materials which compose this holster are impeccable, the fact of the matter is that the design just doesn’t excel in any one style of carry.

Galco Summer Comfort comes in both tan and black leather

I also really like the Galco Summer comfort series of holster.  This holster is a little more expensive, but in my opinion, the Galco summer comfort gives you a bit more versatility and is slightly more stable when positioned at the 3 O’clock position on the point of the hip.  Either way, both options are a great way to add versatility to your CCW collection.

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