Concealed Carry Corner: Accessory Guide For Summer Carry

Matt E
by Matt E

Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about how to carry a concealed firearm no matter what. If you happened to miss that article, be sure to click the link here to check it out. This week, I wanted to go over a subject I have tried to tackle for the last couple of years. With the market of aftermarket concealed carry lights, lasers, and red dots exploding, it can be overwhelming to decide what’s right for you. Over the last few years, I have gone from various setups to my setup currently and learned things along the way. Let’s go over an accessory guide for summer carry.

Concealed Carry Corner @ TFB:

Less is More

when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm, the old term less is more really does apply. A firearm with as few accessories as possible will not only be easier to carry but your overall risk of printing will also go down. The two biggest things to consider when carrying a handgun are the overall size and weight of the pistol. Carrying something like a Glock 43 is going to be lightyears easier than a full-size metal-framed handgun with a weapon-mounted flashlight and magazine extension.

Of course, you can justify certain accessories and deal with the bulk if they are worth the extra hassle and bulk. I carried a spare magazine and weapon-mounted light but after a while of dealing with the extra weight, it just became really old dealing with the extra bulk during the hot summer months. Even something like a weapon-mounted light or magazine well can rub wrong and make carrying hot and uncomfortable throughout the day. Throughout my time carrying over the last 15 years, I have gone through different products and setups just trying to find a perfect combination and have developed some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to gun accessories for the hot summer months.

Lights/ Laser Attachments

One of the biggest culprits to extra weight and bulk for people who carry concealed is the weapon mounted light or laser. The idea of having a weapon-mounted light in an emergency situation at night time is a really convincing argument when you start to look at the logic behind it. It gives you an instant advantage in the dark and when looking at lights and lasers as options, you may think it’s worth the extra bulk and weight. Over the last few years, new products for the micro/small carry guns have come out which makes life easier, but it still adds weight. Products like the Streamlight TLR7 and other options are an improvement but the fundamental problem of added bulk and weight are still present.

The addition of lights and lasers means switching out to a custom Kydex holster to have the gun secure in a holster. For most models, lights will usually add a decent amount of width to the gun which sometimes leads to the gun changing carrying position which has led to hot spots on my side from the gun rubbing on my skin. Having accessories installed can create odd hot spots that become extremely uncomfortable in a short amount of time. With enough consistency, these hot spots will go away but in the beginning, they can be very uncomfortable. Over the last year or so, I have stripped anything off of the bottom accessory rail of my pistols and carried them as stock as possible. There are a few things I still think give you an advantage though.

Red Dots

One of the only accessories I think is absolutely worth the extra bulk and weight is a quality red dot optic. I was the type to only use iron sights for a very long time. Iron sights can’t have a dead battery or malfunction but a red dot does speed up the process of finding your sight with a bit of practice. It keeps things consistent and if you use the same style of red dot between your range guns and carry guns, the transition and muscle memory transfer is easier creating some common ground between the two types of training. Personally, I like the Trijicon RMR style of optics so I have a regular RMR on my range gun and will often times carry an RMRcc on my carry guns.

Although these optics are different sizes, the overall feel and sight picture remain the same and training with the larger RMR and switching to the CC version does offer some common ground. Having a red dot on your pistol every single day allows the carrier to consistently find their sight and put an accurate first shot on target faster than most who use iron sights. Some of you may not believe me, but with enough practice, finding your dot and lining up everything on target becomes easier with fewer steps than a traditional iron sight picture. With technology advancing, the battery life and durability of red dots have increased drastically over the last decade making long-term use of a red dot certainly possible and a valid option.

Magazine Extensions

Carrying magazine extensions on your gun can seem like a really attractive idea to most people in the beginning. Having more rounds in your gun just makes logical sense when you want to be as prepared as possible. In reality, though, carrying magazine extensions can make it way more difficult to conceal your handgun with just a shirt as a cover garment. That extra frame length from a mag extension is usually the difference between carrying your gun absolutely concealed or carrying with a printing mark from the extension. Different positions like appendix carry can sometimes help with printing depending on your body type but overall it’s tricky to carry with magazine extensions but not impossible. For some, it may be worth the extra hassle, but in my experience, it just isn’t worth the trouble for a few extra rounds in your magazine.

Overall Thoughts

Certainly, there are other options whether it’s holster selection or upgraded triggers, magwells, and sights. I may hop in and do a second part but these are the important accessories that most struggle over in the hot summer months. Certain accessories like lights and lasers may seem like a logical choice but the extra bulk especially during hot summer days just isn’t worth it to me. Other things like a red dot are worth the extra hassle because of the benefits they offer but it may not be the same feeling for all of you.

These decisions are all personal and some may carry one accessory over another for their own reasons. What are some accessories you carry on your gun? Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you have a question about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week for another edition of Concealed Carry Corner.

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Matt E
Matt E

I'm an avid shooter and love educating whether it's at my job or in the shooting community. I'm an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.I'm active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Jim Jim on May 15, 2024

    For CCW, there is always the trade-off of what to carry, how many accessories and how to carry them DISCREETLY. The whole idea of CCW is not to be obvious that you are carrying a gun on your person. For people living in areas where the seasons change, it requires clothing adaptations to fit the climate. Usually, cold weather clothing allows for more gear to be worn discreetly. You don't want to be walking around in 90 degree weather wearing a full-length leather duster or a field jacket. Warm weather clothing can be loose-fitting and fashionable enough to cover up your gun/holster and extra-mag without looking like Rambo, Clint Eastwood or Pancho Villa. Like everything else in life, that is an individual choice made by you that fits your personal preferences. Just carry something -- all the time.

  • Grumpy Grumpy on May 15, 2024

    I prefer the option of run away first. If not, Wait till they almost upon you, take a well placed round. Because that is the best way to stop the shooter. I carry a Ruger LCR, thank the good Lord above, it only has 5 rounds and I have never needed it. The best option is run away.