I guess I am like a lot of people: .38 snubnose revolver in my pocket. One of the most popular concealed carry handguns is the small frame revolver, and one of the most popular places to carry one is in a pocket.
Pocket carry offers a lot of advantages. I personally like the fact that I can slip the gun into a pants pocket with virtually any wardrobe choice and the revolver will always be close at hand.
Even if you don’t like the wheelgun option, there are a lot of semi-auto pistols suitable for riding in a pocket. The popularity of the Ruger LCP, SIG SAUER P238 and Kel-Tec P3AT certainly seem to suggest that.
No matter what tool you choose, you need to carry that weapon in a holster.
Why a Holster?
As compared to carrying a naked gun in a pocket, using a pocket holster make sense for several reasons.
First, a holster helps keep debris out of your gun. Bits of lint and dirt frequently reside in even the cleanest of pockets. This foreign debris can mix with your gun’s lubricant to gum up the action. Do I even need to mention how bad that can be?
Second, the holster can help prevent a gun from snagging inside the pocket during a draw. Semi-autos have levers that can grab the inside of the pocket, while many revolvers have a hammer spur that likes to catch the inside edge of the pocket. Having a pocket holster can prevent these problems.
Third, a pocket holster can break up the outline of your gun. With tailored pants, the gun may show through your pocket quite plainly. A holster breaks up that outline, showing (at worst) a nondescript bulge.
Finally, an unholstered gun leaves a trigger exposed. Do you really want a firearm with an unprotected trigger in that area of your body?
Over the years, I have tried several different pocket holsters and found a few that I really like.
DeSantis Nemesis – The Nemesis is a synthetic holster with a rubberized exterior and smooth nylon interior. The exterior helps grip the pocket, meaning the holster is more likely to stay in the pocket when you draw the gun.
The Nemesis for my J-frame has a “wing” that provides excellent stability in the pocket. When I slide the Nemesis into a pocket, it doesn’t move around much.
This holster is easy to draw from, and comfortable to wear all day long. The bonus is the Nemesis is very inexpensive (about $24) and comes in a wide range of sizes.
DeSantis also offers several other pocket holsters such as the Super Fly (with a very sticky exterior) and the Cargo Nemesis (includes an integral magazine holder for use in cargo pockets.) http://www.desantisholster.com/
RKBA Holsters – My favorite leather pocket holster is made by RKBA Holsters. I purchased my first RKBA pocket holster about three years ago, and have been extremely happy with it.
I ordered my holster with a rough, unfinished exterior and a natural color. It arrived, and I immediately put it to work, carrying a S&W 642 in pockets from cargo shorts to jeans to dress slacks. It always worked very well for me.
The holster has little tabs on either end of the mouth that snag the inside of the pocket, preventing the holster from coming out with the gun during a draw. They work very effectively.
Although synthetic materials have other advantages, the benefit of the leather RKBA over synthetic holsters is thinness. The exterior facing leather on the RKBA is smooth, without an imprint of the gun. Only with a stiff material, like leather, can you prevent printing with a thin piece of material.
It is impossible to print the shape of the gun with the RKBA. Yes, like other holsters, you may get a bulge. However, you will not get an obvious gun shape, and the bulge is thinner than other options.
RKBA Holsters is a small shop with a real focus on customer service. Delivery, even with custom options, is quick and the prices are reasonable. A basic pocket holster for a J-frame will set you back only $36 + $2.50 shipping. http://rkbaholsters.com/
BLACKHAWK! – The least expensive option of this bunch is the BLACKHAWK! pocket holster (about $13). The holster is a soft, synthetic holster that comes in four generic sizes covering most small revolvers and pistols.
The BLACKHAWK! holster is a fairly simple design. Unlike the DeSantis, the exterior of the holster is mostly smooth, with a single, wide strip of rubber-like material running around the middle. This material provides a grip on the inside of the pocket for the holster.
The BLACKHAWK! holster is slightly thinner and lighter than the DeSantis.
I experienced very few problems while drawing a gun from this holster. The holster rarely came out with the gun during a draw. However, that contrasts to the Nemesis and RKBA, neither of which ever came out of the pocket while drawing.
The BLACKHAWK! is a good holster for the price. If budget is an absolute driver, the BLACKHAWK! is a good choice, and certainly beats not using a holster.
Right Tool for the Job
Carrying a concealed firearm for self defense is serious business. All too often, I think we spend more time talking about all of the guns rather than on the importance of training with whatever gun we have.
However, a finding a good holster is really an important decision. A bad holster can be uncomfortable, unsecured or hinder our draw when we need the gun in an emergency. Whatever you pick, make sure you practice with it and understand its limitations.