Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top 5 Ways to Carry Concealed When Dressed Up
- Top Five Every Day Carry Essentials
- Top Five Reasons to Carry a Revolver
- Top Five Keychain Tools for EDC
- Shooting in the Dark? The Top Five Low Light Fixes
If you carry a small handgun as a concealed carry weapon, it’s difficult to beat carrying it in your pocket. What’s really great about pocket carry is that — depending on a few variables — you can put your hand in your pocket, around the stocks of your gun and be ready to draw… And, to the unsuspecting, it looks like you’re just standing there with your hand in your pocket. To those who might know better, such as a thug checking you out and wondering if you’re an easy target, you might look like you’re willing and able to defend yourself should the situation degenerate to that level.
With pocket carry, there may be some issues with printing, yes, but with the right holster, it’s just a bulge in your pocket perhaps caused by a phone or a wallet or whatever. It might be more difficult to draw when seated, yes, but you could move your gun to a more accessible pocket. As with any form of concealed carry, there are pros and cons you’ll have to work through.
A couple pointers about pocket carry:
1. Don’t carry a gun in your pocket without a holster. It’s unsafe and the gun will print easily, defeating the whole purpose of pocket carry.
2. If you carry a holstered gun in your pocket, don’t carry anything else in that same pocket as it will get in the way when you need to draw your gun.
3. Wear a gun belt. Even though the pocket holster is not attached to your belt, it will be attached to your pants or shorts and will put weight on it. Besides, your other pockets will likely be holding a folding knife, wallet, phone and, of course, a reload. All that stuff can get heavy!
Pocket carry is not for every gun and it’s not for everyone. But if you’ve got a small gun and the right pockets, carry it in a high-quality holster such as one of these — my Top 5 Pocket Holsters.
1. DeSantis Nemesis
At first glance, the Nemesis sized for a J-frame revolver looks too big. While it does take up some space, that’s the whole point of the design — to be the item in your pocket holding your gun in a way that you can grab and easily draw it.
The inside of the holster is pack cloth, which protects your gun and allows for a smooth draw. The outside of the holster is a tacky material that sticks to the inside of your pocket, keeping the holster steady and in place.
Nemesis is stiff at first but conforms to your gun and your pocket over time. I’ve only carried the Nemesis sized for the revolver and, while I’ve had it in the pockets of numerous pants, it excels as a cargo pocket holster or a winter coat pocket holster, as long as said pockets have a top flap.
The Nemesis retails for around $25.
2. Don Hume Pocket 001
The Don Hume’s hook is the most pronounced and, in conjunction with the holster’s overall stiffness, indeed serves the purpose for which it is intended — and you can use it right- or left-handed.
The Don Hume holster does break in a bit over time, but its stiff leather construction and design do a great job of keeping a J-frame safely and securely stored in a pocket. It’s a versatile, all-around type of pocket holster that does well in jeans, dress pants, shorts or jacket pockets.
Don Hume’s pricing depends on what style you choose. Visit the website to learn more.
3. Galco Front Pocket Horsehide
Similar to the Don Hume, the Galco sports a stiff and durable leather construction. This horsehide unit will likely outlast you and is a great match for a small gun, allowing just enough space to get a couple fingers wrapped around the stocks prior to drawing.
In addition to a pronounced pocket hook at the bottom of the holster, the Galco also sports a smaller hook at the top of the holster. On the occasion that the first hook doesn’t keep the holster in place, the top hook will engage the top of your pocket and help the holster off your gun. Similar to the Don Hume, the Galco does very well in most pockets.
The Galco Font Pocket Horsehide retails for $65.95.
4. Recluse Two-Sided
Two panels of leather on either side of your gun do the job of breaking up the outline of the gun and creating a barrier between your thigh and the weapon.
This is a stable rig because of its width and custom fit, though depending on the gun and the style of shorts or pants you’re wearing, the pocket bulge can be significant. As such, Recluse excels in winter jacket pockets and pants with heavier, baggier construction.
Recluse two-sided holsters retail for approximately $60.
5. Uncle Mike’s Inside the Pocket
While the picture shows pointed corners at the bottom of the holster, it doesn’t take long before these round off as they form to your pocket. Not only does the holster conform nicely to your gun and pocket, it is also very comfortable but still holds a gun upright, securely, and stays in your pocket when drawing thanks to a fabric-grabbing band.
The Uncle Mike’s holster performs best in a pair of jeans (not tight!) or other cotton outerwear where the pocket is skinnier or taller as opposed to wider.
You can pick up an Uncle Mike’s holster for $10-15, depending on the retailer.
Keep in mind that holsters like these change over time, conforming to your pocket shape, leg shape and gun shape, so they’ll generally get more comfortable. As with any carry gun and holstering system, be sure to safely practice drawing and be sure to understand both your and your gun’s limitations.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.