Carrying a pistol is a big responsibility and a constant struggle. I say struggle because there are considerations and comfort levels that need acknowledgement.
Safety is paramount, and it is your responsibility. Your safety and the safety of others around you are both concerns.
We carry concealed to enhance our safety, the safety of loved ones, and the safety of those in our immediate presence. If you're a natural-born protector like me, you carry for everyone, no matter who or where they are.
Being a protector is genetic. Protectors are born, not made. You already know if you are one. Protectors run toward trouble without fear for your person. You’re embodied with the instinct to stop the suffering of others.
I’ve been carrying a gun for 30 years. The struggle is real because I've been religiously carrying concealed for the past 20 years.
When I use the word “struggle,” you wonder what I mean. I struggle with what it takes to remain covert, comfortable, and alert. These words should be on your mind every day when you arm up with your EDC (everyday carry) kit.
There are benefits and detractors to being a protector. Allow me to explain.
When you are a protector, chances are you exude an air of confidence. You probably look like a protector. It is my kryptonite. No matter how hard I try to blend in, I still get asked if I'm a COP (Citizen on Patrol). That’s how the term COP came about. Jeez, it's the cops!
You see, I like my hair short and manageable. My physique is athletic, and the older I get, the more I attempt to maintain body and mind. My clothing choice is generally functional and comfortable, often seen as “tactical/operator.” Additionally, I am constantly scanning my environment. People usually notice someone who is “aware” of their surroundings. My head is up and eyes constantly scanning. It’s a rare occurrence you’ll see me with my head buried in my phone while I’m out and about.
"He has the look of both predator… and prey." One of the many famous lines from the movie Tombstone. These words spoken when a character saw Wyatt Earp standing in the street, surveying his surroundings. A blessing and a curse. How so?
When viewed as a predator, you are most likely to be passed over as an easy target. True, but it backfires on occasion. Undoubtedly, some A-hole always feels the need to pick out the Alpha and challenge him/her.
Conversely, when you look weak or mild, you are, again, a target. However, now you’re a target to even the weakest of miscreants.
There is a line between looking overly confident or like a complacent victim. Either makes you target number one. You can be targeted for your appearance of over competence or your lack thereof.
It was General James Mattis who said, "Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet." I've been working on this for years.
At one point in my law-enforcement career, I was a Federal Air Marshal. This happened right after 9-11 and like many protectors, I answered the call to fight those who would do us harm. During this time, I learned that I didn't want to be target number one.
You want to be fast but don't want to tip a bad guy to your predator status. It would be best if you were covert and surprisingly deadly. I had to re-evaluate my desires and my tactics.
I won’t rehash all the methods of carry and holsters I experimented with to accomplish this. I still have the boxes of holsters to corroborate my endeavors. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be the only guy on an airplane sitting in a sportscoat sweating profusely. No one sits in an airplane seat in a suitcoat unnecessarily. Telltale cue number one.
Many would poo-poo appendix or upfront IWB (inside waistband) carry. They have their reasons and are welcome to indulge those fears, no matter how irrational. This was, and still is, my chosen method of concealed carry for various reasons.
When I carry IWB, it's right up front, with the barrel/slide, directly over my pubis bone. With this method, I could conceal a full-sized pistol easily and comfortably enough to do my daily duties, including sitting in a seat for as many as 18 hours a day.
The benefits are many. Concealment, I tuck my shirt over it and use the belt buckle to pull the gun in tight. My belly acted as some level of retention. Directly up front at high noon, I can access the gun with either hand. Most importantly, I could draw and present the pistol without any should movement. If I'm scanning a crowd for threats and see your shoulder raise like you're trying to draw a pistol, you’ve got my attention!
Over the years, I have searched and continue to search for the best holster for this type of concealed carry. The search continues, but I have favorites. My best answer? It's a personal preference.
The latest holster to catch my eye is the Safariland, IncogX. The IncogX is a revamped version of Travis Haley’s popular Incog holster. After 10 years of production and success, Safariland brought Haley back to make changes. Hence the "X."
The IncogX is robust and well thought out. This falls in line with everything Safariland does. It’s an ergonomic, RDS-compatible, multi-positional, deep concealment IWB hybrid thermoformed holster. The holster body is constructed from a microfiber suede-wrapped Boltaron thermoplastic, which is soft, sweat-wicking against the body, has exceptional impact strength, and is resistant to chemicals/abrasions for rigorous conditions.
I didn't write this to be an infomercial. Instead, it's a concealed carry tactics eye-opener. Knowing what I do and why I do it is vital for those interested. Knowing your available options helps you to make good decisions, shorten the learning curve and save money.
Like I said before, concealed carry holsters, especially IWB style, are not one-size-fits-all and a very personal choice. From my training with the IncogX and after witnessing others use it, I have to ask the true trainer question. Do you like it because you can make it work? Or do you like it because you can get others to make it work? This holster seems to be an everyone holster, and I like it for my EDC Sig Sauer P365.
Grip, sights & trigger. ~ Chris
Chris Cerino is a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, with experience as a SWAT member and federal agent. He is primarily known for his role as a trainer, providing instruction internationally and regularly participating in shooting competitions. Chris holds various positions within the firearms industry and currently serves as the Producer of Training Content at Gun Talk Media while maintaining Double C Farms.