M-A1 Carry Question

Discussion in 'Holsters' started by posterboy7, May 1, 2007.

  1. posterboy7

    posterboy7 New Member

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    I just got my IN life-time CCW last Wed and the next day I carried my M40-A1 for most of the day in a Galco Fletch holster under a medium weight fleece jacket. I was not happy with the experience.

    I have had a CCW before but barely carried and I could use some advice.

    I had two problems with my M-A1:

    1) It felt rather heavy (hence uncomfortable)

    2) It didn't conceal as well as I would have liked

    I have mentioned both problems in various threads and have waffled between getting a smaller, lighter gun or getting a good IWB holster. Selfdefense suggested that my plan to get a FIST hybrid IWB holster would improve carrying the M-A1 and Syntax vouched for the Bersa Thunder 380 which was one of my other plans.

    I am going to try to be a bit more deliberate approaching the problem. Instead of here is the plan, I'll try here is the situation.

    So, here is the situation:

    I am 5'11" @ 170 lbs w/ broad shoulders. I have a Bianchi 1.5" belt that is less than a year old, which is to say it is in good shape. I have a broken in Galco Fletch holster.

    I want to carry my M40-A1 comfortably under a T-shirt. Is this realistic? In years past I have carried my S&W 66 in SOB in a non-molded clip holster, but I would not describe that as ideal.

    So, will a FIST IWB holster solve my two problems or do I need to find myself a smaller, lighter piece for warm weather carry and get a IWB hoster for that gun?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Thunderbear

    Thunderbear Member

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    Sounds like you're a bit broader than me, so an IWB for the M40A1 would definitely work.

    Understand that the FLETCH is primarily a duty holster. It's not going to conceal very well, except perhaps under a suit jacket. Even then, the butt rides high and away from the body, pushing out the jacket every step.

    If you're looking for concealment under a T-shirt, you need an IWB. My favorite IWB is the AKJ Readyline Concealco IWB.. Blade-Tech's UCH is nice, too, but it works better with the smaller S9A1.
     

  3. posterboy7

    posterboy7 New Member

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    Thanks Thunderbear. You described the problem with the Fletch exactly. I got it because I needed a decent holster immediately and I was under the impression from Galco's description that it pulled the gun in close to the body.

    I am going to look into the two holsters you recommend.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. SELFDEFENSE

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

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    On the hardware front, I would be loathe to drop below 9x19 mm in my prime CCW gun.
    A lot of the comfort and concelability considerations can be broken down into two items: mindset and clothing.
    The mindset factors are how much difference in feel from not carrying a gun you are willing to tolerate; and how "perfectly" concealed you need to be to feel comfortable. In my experience, and that of others I know, most people are hyper-sensitive about the possibility of printing or exposing when they first start to carry (you think everyone is staring right at the spot where your gun is holstered). After a while you realize that half the people woudn't notice if you were carrying openly (actually this has been true when I have carried openly in resturants).
    Different people have different sensibilities to the added weight of the gun (and I'm not sure it has much to do with height or weight), but the Steyr M guns are squarely within the size/weight zone for easy carry. IWB holsters can make the gun virtually disappear, but the fit of the given holster for your body contours has to be a better match than for most OWB holsters. My particular mindset is that I want to carry the gun that I am best shooting in combat rapid fire, and I make whatever comfort and clothing/fashion compromises I must in order to carry that gun (for almost 7 years I carried a 6" Glock 17L in a Milt Sparks MMX IWB). The M Steyr is a small tyke compared to the 17L (or the Colt 1991-A1 I have carried a little also; and I am not huge - 6'0"/215 lbs.).
    Regarding clothes, a light open covering garment over a tee shirt or other basic shirt gives best access to the gun. Any setup that requires pulling out a tucked garment before getting access to the gun is deep concealment and results in a significant slowdown in your combat draw. Dark clothes are best for concealment, as well as those that have somewhat randomized colors or prints like Hawaiian shirts (I told you fashion might have to take a back seat 8) ).
    We all wind up with the Drawer 'O Holsters on our way to getting the right setup; but when you do get it you're good to go.
    See if you can try a friend's holster that may meet your needs; otherwise you might just have to take the plunge and get a setup based on references of others.
    Good luck.
     
  5. posterboy7

    posterboy7 New Member

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    Thanks a lot Selfdefense. I took Thunderbear's advice and ordered an AKJ Concealco holster. Based on the pics in his holster post we have the same build and what works for him I figure will probably work for me. And as you point out, you have to start somewhere. Also, the AKJ holster and flashlight holder I ordered, combined, are half the price of the FIST hybrid I was planning on ordering.

    You are also right about being self-conscious about carrying for the first time. In the mirror the bulge from the butt of my gun was too obvious but my partner didn't know I was carrying and didn't notice.

    I want to make my Steyr work because I bought it as *the gun* for carry and training and I don't really have the $$ to buy a smaller gun. (I also want to keep my Hi-Power and at some point have Robar work its magic on it.)

    Lucky for me, I like Hawaiian shirts!
     
  6. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    Where are you carrying the gun (what position, clockwise)? This made all the difference for me...

    I would definitely try a Blade-Tech UCH before getting the Bersa. I find my M9A1 to be extremely comfortable when carrying - the most comfortable of any of the pistols I own, in fact. The Steyr's aren't very heavy, either... I wonder if you are going through the phase we all go through when we start carrying - you will likely never be just as comfortable wearing a gun as without (pocket carry aside), but you can get close.
     
  7. bigtaco

    bigtaco Active Member

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    what they said...

    IWB for sure for a tee.


    i notice much less printing with a STEEP cant. this puts the grip in a more vertical position so it lines up with your body instead of poking out the back of your shirt.

    i also notice less printing with a clock position closer to 3. (right side hip) it's still behind my hip, but definitely not 4 o clock. this way, you're hiding a little of the gun's thickness under your arm. this is great for driving too as you're not sitting on your gun and keeps the grip from printing even if you bend over at the waste.

    sounds like you've got a good belt, might be two or three tries to get the best holster. i thought my c-tac was he worst $90 i ever spent until i got the cant and the position just right. took about a week to sort that out. then two weeks later, the weight, pulling, discomfort and aggravtaion vanished much like the weight of the cell phone. you just get used to it.

    the s series conceals better. shorter grip. but m works as well.

    just stay baggy. dark colors, prints. double t-shirt can help too. white tee under another tee. keeps the shirt from following your body and pronouncing the gun's bulge.
     
  8. SELFDEFENSE

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

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    I carry my M9 IWB at 2:00 o'clock
     
  9. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    BigTaco has some great suggestions. I have also found cant to be the key to making pistols disappear. I started out trying to carry SOB, which sucked all around. I moved it to 8 o'clockish and that sorta worked, but I've settled on carrying at 9 now. Almost all of the hassles of carrying go away when the gun is on your hip, and if your pants fit you and your rig, your belt will do all of the work and you should almost forget you're even wearing it.