Most concealed carriers need two carry handguns: a primary carry option, and a deep concealment option. If you are an avid outdoorsman who spends time in bear country, you might need three: a primary, a deep concealment, and a woods gun in the form of a magnum revolver or auto loader. Most, however, are well served with the two. A primary pistol should be a capable handgun, either a full-size, compact, or sub-compact version thereof. A deep concealment handgun needs to be something small that can be worn in almost any clothing, in almost any environment. The pocket autos and small frame revolvers are the go-to options here.
The two guns are intended for different roles, and as such, consider the following:
1. It is likely that your deep concealment gun will be worn in a different body location than your primary gun. For example, if you carry your primary strong side or AIWB, maybe your deep concealment gun goes in a pocket or on the ankle.
2. You might wear your deep concealment gun in the same body location that you wear your primary, however, you will likely wear it with a different method. For example, maybe you wear your primary handgun in a kydex holster in the AIWB position, but you wear your deep concealment gun in a belly band in the same position.
3. You may wear both in the exact same location, in the same method, but simply use the smaller gun when you need more discreet carry. This is also a possibility, though I have always found that I need to embrace a deeper method of concealment as well as a smaller gun to truly have “deep concealment.”
Here is a consistent theme that I have also found among many gun carriers: the primary carry gun is likely carried consistently in the same mode all the time, but the deep concealment gun may be carried in a variety of different ways to suit the circumstance. For example, your deep concealment gun may go in a belly band when you exercise, and might also go in an ankle holster as a backup gun, etc…, Which leads me to this point:
The deep concealment gun is much more versatile than the primary, and such versatility should be factored into your choice of gun for this role. As an example, my deep concealment gun (a Ruger LCR revolver) is most often used in a deeply concealed belly band (now a Phlster Enigma) under athletic wear when I exercise, or in sweatpants around the home, or under tucked shirts when I need to dress formally. It does, however, occasionally live in an ankle holster when I travel and want to wear a backup gun. It also spends a lot of time in a clipless pocket holster so that it is a quickly donned companion for trips to the mailbox or taking out the trash, or just worn around the house.
The clipless Sticky holster that I use for the small revolver is, perhaps, the most versatile single defensive package I have as it works good for pocket carry and can also ride adequately in the waistband. As a vacation gun at the beach, this is my companion. It can go in the cargo pocket of shorts at the beach, then slip into the appendix position when walking the street. This is also the package I often use for home carry, if I am not wearing my primary gun, and it is the option I put in a pocket or in the waistband for the trip to the mailbox and the like.
If a deep concealment gun rides only in a standard belt holster you lose such versatility and it becomes no more than a smaller counterpart to your primary gun; smaller, but no more convenient to wear, no quicker to put on, and no more comfortable to wear around the house than is the primary gun. Pocket holsters are excellent accoutrements for deep concealment guns as they ensure the perpetual ease of use that will foster always carrying the smaller gun even when not inclined to strap on your primary.
I don’t even have a standard belt holster for my deep concealment gun because I find that I can carry a Glock 26 just as easily in that mode, so why would I want to carry a five-shot small revolver in my standard carry mode? However, for deep concealment, the smaller and lighter-weight gun works much better than the small, yet fat, Glock 26, or other similar auto loaders.
I have always been adamantly against a carry rotation of guns, which is the use of multiple handguns to serve the same role. I believe you should maximize your familiarity and training on one gun. However, to stay armed at all times possible, you likely need at least the two guns referenced here (primary and deep concealment). Settle on your choices and prioritize your training with these two defensive tools and wear at least one of them at all times possible.
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