May 25, 2018 at 12:00am
By Mike B.
While the rest of the country is just transitioning to warmer weather, here in Arizona we get a jump on summer. This always makes me think about hot-weather carry options. When I moved to Arizona from Connecticut, I really had no idea how hot it gets in Phoenix, and that first summer was a definite wake-up call. I’ve since adapted, and here are a few carry methods I’ve had good success using in the brutal Phoenix summers.
The Underwraps belly band is a seriously underrated carry method. Yes, the elasticized nylon band will hold a little extra heat and moisture against the body – no carry method is perfect, guys – but it also allows the carry of a big pistol under lightweight summer clothes. I’m not a big man (5’8”) but I carried a Colt Commander, even under a tucked in dress shirt, pretty easily like this. The Underwraps also offers the handy option of carrying accessories like spare ammo or a flashlight in the built-in pocket.
Ankle holsters work great if you’re wearing pants in the summer. Not everyone likes shorts, and many prefer lightweight chinos or similar, even in the hottest weather. I carried a Glock 26 for a year in both the Ankle Glove and Cop Ankle Band, including through the summer. (If I’m going to promote them, I should have experience with them.) Obviously they’re not going to work in shorts, or as Mas Ayoob once wrote, “’Don’t wear ankle holsters with Bermuda shorts’ is up there with other basic rules of life like ‘Don’t eat the yellow snow.’”
Pocket holsters are a great solution to hot weather carry. And don’t assume you need to carry a tiny, ineffectual gun when carrying in the pocket. I carried a Glock 26 in a Pocket Protector holster for several summers. It was almost effortlessly concealed in Columbia-brand pleated cargo shorts. Again, nothing is perfect, so you have to accept the limitations of pocket carry (like the gun being inaccessible to the support-side hand). But as long as you choose the shorts/pants intelligently, pocket carry frees you up to dress in very comfortable hot-weather clothes.
Inside the waistband holsters are probably the once and future king of hot-weather concealed carry. Bruce Nelson didn’t call his seminal design the “Summer Special” for nothing, right? It remains a great way to carry an effective defensive handgun at the waistline, and with the advent of tuckable IWB designs, doesn’t even require an untucked shirt anymore. I’ve carried IWB with that Commander and several different Glocks in 9mm and .40 on the hottest Phoenix days. Choosing a shirt with a looser fit also helps to conceal the handgun, so stay away from things like slim-fits unless you’re REALLY slender. IWBs are going to hold some heat and moisture against the body, but there are now solutions for that, like Galco’s ventilated KingTuk Air design (pictured).
What works for me might not work for everyone. In fact, I guarantee it. But that’s why Galco offers so many options. The hotter it gets, the harder it is to comfortably conceal your handgun, but it’s a challenge that can be successfully managed with some forethought and good equipment selection. Take it from a Yankee transplant to the desert!
PS…It’s a good move to start looking for summer carry holsters sooner rather than later. You never know when you’ll run into a backorder, no matter where you’re shopping, and you don’t want to be left without a proper holster when the triple digits roll around. Failure to plan is planning to fail!