I've had my IL CCL in hand since March, and in those two months I've already made some changes. More on that in some other posts; this post belongs to the future! Also the present.
Today, I'm wearing my present solution, a Blade-Tech Phantom IWB. This is the injection-molded mass-market offering that PDB raved about; he considers it "better than" the more expensive holsters he's tried. I don't have the breadth of experience to make that claim, but it's certainly a lot of value for a little money. It's cheap--Fobus/SERPA cheap--and I suspect others may be more comfortable. But it's a solid, safe holster with firm, positive retention and a surprisingly strong mouth that stays open despite my preference for a very tight belt. Its rubber pull-the-dot snap loops grip the belt and hold it securely and consistently, but they make it much easier to put on and take off again, which may be a bigger deal to me than it is to you. I've been semi-forced to use the B-T Phantom with only one snap loop, which has actually worked better and allowed a more concealable cant; I might make that its own post, given the enormous length this has already reached, but suffice it to say that I'm pretty happy with the B-T Phantom overall. But that's where the Box 'O Holsters gets you, isn't it? When you're pretty happy with the holster you have, but you just know you can do better? I agree with PDB on the value the B-T Phantom delivers for the money, but I do think there's probably a better (albeit more costly) balance of cost and performance out there.
The next thing coming my way is another Phantom, but this one will be coming from Raven Concealment Systems.
I hear almost all good things about RCS, and I want to experiment with OWB carry a bit this summer. I thought I would want a tuckable solution for summer, but in practice, what I've begun to do is to wear short-sleeved, untucked shirts over thin undershirts as the weather has gotten hot. It's not the sloppy fat-kid look that I remember from 100 pounds ago; I just needed smaller shirts. Specifically, while I have worn shirts as large as XXXXL and still own a few XXXL shirts, I'm wearing an XL over a Glock 17 right now. The thing is . . . if you're going to wear a reasonably loose, untucked shirt all summer over jeans, slacks and shorts with 1.5" belt loops, why not go all out on comfort and keep your holster outside your waistband most days? I like that the RCS Phantom appears to keep the grip tucked in close, which the B-T Phantom doesn't seem to do well, and I like the promise of modularity in the mounting systems--it can be adapted to IWB if I change my mind, including tuckable options, and there's also more than one OWB mounting option, although I've started by selecting "standard OWB loops." If the promise pays off, I may have a single holster that works well for most of my daily carry needs, but also makes training and gun school classes simpler.
There are two big questions to be answered about OWB concealed carry in general and the RCS Phantom in particular, in my mind:
- How much difference is it going to make to have the bottom of the holster hang down near the bottom of the shirt? Am I going to find that I keep raising the hem of my shirt and exposing this holster, so it becomes relegated to jacket/coat/open carry duty? With the B-T Phantom and other IWB holsters, as long as the shirt doesn't come up above my belt, no part of a holster or gun is visible.
- With no cant and a Glock 17 that can't be trusted ('cause you should never trust a big butt and a smile) to be all that discreet, can the RCS Phantom tuck the butt in close enough to avoid looking like I'm trying to show off, under a thin cotton blend button-down shirt?
I dunno, but I'm looking forward to trying out my new holster.
*It's kind of a long story, but I'm a school teacher by trade. Schools in Illinois cannot bar CCL holders from storing their firearms in their vehicles on school grounds--they have "safe harbor" as long as they don't carry the firearms outside their vehicles, with the exception of unloaded carry to lock a firearm in a trunk. However, I can be fired for bringing a firearm onto the campus without regard for whether it's legal for me to do so, so I choose to disarm down the street and have a couple of pleasant walks per day. I do not choose to draw a loaded gun, unload it, walk it around to the trunk, and then get it out when I'm done, sit in a car and load the gun, and holster it, because that seems like a recipe for an AD in public to me.