Fit for female cops: Belly band holsters and positioning
Be careful and recognize when 'enough is enough'
By Tom Marx
Continuing our discussion from last time about belly bands, in this installment we’ll look at how the gun is held in place and where it is worn around the body.
Other manufacturers take a different approach and actually sew what amounts to a holster onto the band. Still others attach what in essence is “half a holster” onto the band, which traps the carried firearm between it and the band itself. Both methods work well if done correctly, and they look very professional. What must be watched out for, however, is that they are be cut to allow for a complete purchase of the handgun before it is drawn from the band and that the gun is carried at the correct angle and position.
Other bands form pockets by double layering the elastic, and some companies stitch shaped compartments into multiple layers or onto the band's surface. The issues of the gun sitting too deeply to be gripped properly or not sitting at the proper angle to be drawn conveniently can be greater with these methods of containment. Again, this is not something that has to be a problem, but it can be a problem — one that can be avoided as such if you look carefully enough ahead of time.
Such an orientation would also allow the gun to be carried at any location from there (just ahead of the non-dominant hip), across the front of the body, to a location just in front of the dominant (or strong side) hip. Most men will probably skip a true frontal (center of the body) position unless the rake of the holster, the officer’s physical structure and the covering garment allow it. They would tend to favor either the crossdraw or an appendix carry (strong side) carry location. Some women might find, however, that in addition to the crossbody and appendix positions, if their breast size is large enough, their belly is flat enough, and their blouse is cut loosely enough, the carried firearm (if of the right size) can be located here (or at least closer to here) as well.
I know that was a lot of “ifs,” but in my teaching over the years in various parts of the country, I have been amazed at the number of women I've met who have carried a small firearm in exactly this centrally located position.
It should be noted that going past the vicinity of the appendix and all the way to the strong side/dominant hip would create the sight line problems we discussed in earlier sections of this series. Moving to an area behind the dominant hip — a location most times not generally employed with a belly band due to issues involving the movement and clearance of the covering garments in regard to the draw — would require the weapon to now be positioned in either a vertical or true “butt forward” to allow for a more natural and unencumbered draw.
The “Executive Protection Waistband Holster” from Elite Survival Systems is such a shoulder-strap model that while perhaps a bit bulky, is designed with an eye for use while running or performing under physically exertive tasks — hence the emphasis on the stability provided by the straps. Perfectly exemplifying my oft-repeated mantra of “not getting something for nothing”, this model appears that it will do what it promises, but at the expense of compatibility to different body types and clothing. Like so many of the things in this series, depending on your needs and application, it might bear looking into.
In order for this idea to “work”, the shirt itself must fit rather snugly to prevent sagging, movement, irritation, and visibility. Therefore, it must be cut correctly and made from a material that will not lose its shape through wearing or cleaning. The user must also be objective upfront and realize that because of how it is worn and cleaned, such a device might not have the lifespan that they are used to getting from other “holsters” they have owned. (Note that this might also be true of all the Bands we’ve discussed so far.) Therefore, the owners must be realistic in regard as to when such “shirts” have reached their limit and need to be replaced.
Additionally, the prospective owner must also be realistic about their body type and whether or not such a carrying means will fit them properly and fit them comfortably. These shirts are not for everyone, nor are they for every gun; size and weight becomes very important when carrying in this manner.
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