Saturday, November 04, 2017

Appendix Carry for USPSA/IPSC

It was cold, with moments of  "chilly"(46 degrees with wind and occasional sprinkles of rain) at the range today when I conducted my monthly Introduction to USPSA class.

I had only two students, which is approximately two more than I had expected to show up because of the "iffy" weather. 

But I think I may have learned as much as my 'students' did, although I haven't had time to think through the lesson.   I'll call them "Arnold Appendix" and "Kevin Kydex" for convenience.

One ("Arnold") was using an "Appendix Carry" holster, concealed carry ... his t-shirt covered his pistol.  The other ("Kevin") had a 'standard" belt-mounted Kydex holster which he had fastened to his belt at the hip ... not 'concealed' at all.

Arnold was very subtly concealed, and Kevin was open-carry.  Both seemed to be familiar with their firearms and performed adequately in terms of being accurate and 'fast' shooters.

But neither of them were able to re-holster their pistols without actually looking to see where their holster was at.

I had mentioned to Arnold that his holster was not particularly "competitive", in terms of being able to get it into action quickly, but both shooters managed to get their first-shot on the target with some consistency, even at targets placed at 20 yards distance, in about a 3 second draw-time.   So I guess the difference between "concealed" and "convenient" was dependent on how they had become accustomed to accessing their guns  (I doubt that Kevin went "open carry" as much as Arnold went "concealed carry", which speaks well for Arnold.)

Most of the targets I set up for them were at 7-10 yard distance, so it was perhaps a learning moment when they realized that they had to take more time to get hits at longer distances.  (Both were shooting DAO firearms.)

It was rewarding to me to process shooters who were experienced (although not in competitive pistol shooting) and familiar with their handguns.  Often, I find that I spend more time on 'weapons familiarity' than teaching competitive tactics.

The only criticism I can suggest is that both participants demonstrated difficulty in finding their holster when they had completed the stage and needed to re-holster their pistols.  They often had to look down to find their holster.  And of course Arnold had to pull his t-shirt up to reveal his holster.

Which is why I made the "not particularly competitive" comment to Arnold.  It was not a criticism, because both shooters were competent, and I didn't get the feeling that I had to teach them the basics of gun-handling, but only focus on the competition factors.   And to be entirely honest, Arnold managed to draw and fire from his appendix carry as quickly as Kevin did from his side-holster.

(Observation #1: it's curious that I seem to be 'teaching' experienced shooters who are familiar with their firearms during the cold months more often than during the clement periods.)

(Observation  #2: It was especially educational when they were faced with the "Mandatory Reload" exercises ... I don't think that they had actually contemplated that performing a reload during a shooting exercise might be a valuable part of their skill-set.  Nice that I could teach them something.)

The Best part was that they were having fun. 

I cut them off short at 4pm because of cold, rain, and I was running out of new challenges for them.  Also, in The Great "Northwet" at this time of year the light fades quickly after that hour.   They were not exactly 'happy' about having to stop playing, but they were almost as ready to get in the truck and crank up the heater.

We were all chilling, and we didn't do enough "shoot and move" exercises to keep all of us warm; when you're one of only two shooters, it's uncomfortable to just stand and watch your partner get the run&gun play.

I was happy to award both of them with their Certificate of Completion for the class.  They already had the skills, needing only the occasional tweak in technique to accommodate bizarre Competition requirements.   And I think that is ... or should be ... the point of this class.  I don't mind teaching students the basics of gun handling, but that isn't really my job.

See: Teaching Nubies:


Cade Rarick said...

I'm curious about the emphasis you put on being able to re-holster without looking. While I can get my gun back into the holster without looking I do prefer to take the time to at least glance at the opening to make sure that it hasn't become fouled with part of my cover garment or other debris that may catch on the trigger and cause an ND. This seems particularly important in an appendix carry situation. Aside from needing to be able to use both hands during/after a defensive gun use it seems foolish to me to re-holster the weapon if there is still the potential for a threat. If there are no threats than a look at the holster should not be a problem.

Is the ability to re-holster quickly and without looking something peculiar to a competition environment or am I entirely missing the point?

ahmadqureshi said...

I’ve carried a Glock 19 for 5 years for my job as armed security and bodyguard work. I like the appendix carry if I’m never going to sit down. I have a rail rider attachment that allows me to Mexican carry there but it does not cover the trigger. I carry it in condition 3 and practice an Israeli draw. I did that for a while but now I use a combination of holsters depending on the weather and what I may be wearing.

I use a shoulder holster when I am wearing a jacket or a suit because it is very comfortable and great for a driver. The pistol is in the right position for the driver to draw quickly. I also use a paddle OWB holster and go untucked. I also use a IWB holster at the small of the back.

My three favorite ways to carry are with a shoulder bag, a custom elastic belly holster, and a custom covert drop leg holster.

1.The bag is a UTG shoulder bag with a covert pocket. Its kind of a tactical man purse. Its great to carry anywhere and holds a blow out kit.

2. I took 3″ elastic and sewed pockets for my Glock and my DB 380 and mags. It works great and is very comfortable but it is deep concealment and is not a quick draw.

3. is a custom drop leg holster. I use an IWB clip attached to a nylon web strap that then is sewed to 3″ elastic that goes around my thigh and holds a simple sport holster. I use this with cargo shorts or with cargo pants. Lift the shorts leg and you have quick access. The cargo pants need a modification which is just to slice an access inside the pocket. Hope this gives you some ideas.
Appendix Carry Kydex Holster