Throughout the years, I have tried a fair number of products and really wish I wouldn’t have spent money on certain items. I think we all have a junk shelf in our gun room with old holsters or parts we thought would be a great addition to a concealed carry loadout, but ended up being a letdown. After carrying a concealed handgun for a while, it becomes clear what’s important to spend money on and what’s better to go cheap. I was rummaging in my gun room and there were a few different categories that stood out to me. After looking through all the leftover gear, I decided to put together a list of the top 4 things it pays to spend extra on the first time. Keep in mind, this is for people who are beginning their journey in the concealed carry world, so let’s dive into it.
1. A Good Sturdy Carry Belt
Probably the one thing that will influence your daily comfort for better or worse is a good carry belt. I started off by using a regular dress belt with an IWB holster. It was so uncomfortable and moving around, I actually refused to carry an IWB holster for the first two years. After a while, I became a little smarter by picking up a stiff leather belt from Carhartt. Having a stiff belt will help keep the overall position of your carry gun in a consistent spot.
The one problem with leather belts is the fact they lose their rigidity over time with use. I went through a few different leather belts and each one wore out over time. I decided to try out a Mini Hybrid EDC belt from Blue Alpha Gear. They have a number of different belts with either mini cobra latches or minimalist velcro. Having a dedicated carry belt will make your life much easier and makes carrying a firearm infinitely more comfortable.
For me, the most money wasted over the years was on different holsters in the pursuit of finding the perfect holster for daily carry. I tried nearly everything from cheap plastic Fobus holsters to leather Galco belt holsters. All of the holsters I have used in the past served their purpose but I was never overly happy with how they carried my gun on a daily basis. Ordering a custom holster for yourself will be more expensive but will be well worth the money in the long run. If I could go back and save money on one thing it would be spending more money the first time around for a quality hand fit holster one time and using it rather than ordering 12-14 holsters trying to find the perfect one.
I have personally gone with ANR Design LLC for my holster needs but there are plenty of companies that sell custom Kydex holsters. Other companies like T-Rex Arms, Tier One Concealed, and TxHolsters are all great options as well if you’re looking for different styles. I would encourage everyone to do a little research before buying their first holster. Finding a quality holster rather than settling one at the local shop will save you money and time in the long run.
3. Carry Ammo
Buying cheap carry ammo is a definite no-no when you are looking for ammo to potentially protect your life. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people either carry with FMJ rounds or take some “just as good” homemade rounds because buying one box of self-defense ammo is too expensive. I know most of you will sit in your chair and say “Matt, there’s no way people really do this.” and as crazy as it sounds I guarantee it’s more than anyone can believe.
To be safe it’s always important to buy quality self-defense ammo. Whether that’s getting boxes of Federal HST or Hydra Shock to SIG V-Crown ammo, there are a number of reputable self-defense rounds that will do the job really well. When it’s a fairly inexpensive item that will save your life it’s not worth saving a few dollars for the peace of mind you will get knowing you have reliable defensive ammo in your gun.
4. Your Carry Gun
Buying a quality carry gun can be tricky at times depending on your financial position. I know it may not be entirely possible to buy a brand new Glock or Smith & Wesson for $500 in certain budgets, and that’s ok. Often times, buyers forget about the used handgun market where you can pick up a fantastic carry gun for sometimes half or even a third of what a brand new model would cost.
I have done Pawn Shop Find articles on used Glocks I have bought for a fraction of the cost of a brand new model. The biggest issue I see people do when they head to the gun store is getting gun fever and buying whatever the guy behind the counter puts into your hands. It happens so much and people will often change their carry gun over time because they didn’t research before their purchase.
I really do wish I could go back and return some of the items I picked up over the years. It may have costed me a good amount of money in the long run, but over time I learned what I liked and didn’t which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the TFB readers will know this info but there are plenty of people out there who will need guidance with their first purchases for concealed carry. Let me know what you think is worth spending extra money on out of the gate in the comments below. if you have questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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