We’re all a little different. We’re built differently in height, weight, body-type, etc. We have different wardrobe preferences and needs (work), different things we can carry with us without drawing attention, and, in general, different areas of relative strength. Sometimes finding that Goldilocks “just right” piece of gear can be tough. For example, John and I have both discussed in the past how many people have that box or drawer full of holsters. Doing the dance where we buy something, try it out, find something we think will be better, try that out, etc., gets old (and expensive) fast. At least it did for me. I’ve reached the point where I do not mind modifying some gear in order to make it work for me. I thought I would share some examples here on the blog.
Readers of this blog know that John and I are both strongly in favor of appendix (AIWB) carry (see here and here). It’s fast, it works for us, etc. Readers may also recall that neither one of us is “big”. Real estate on my beltline comes at a premium, and when I’m trying to conceal a pistol, a spare magazine, a knife, etc., my waistline can look a little lumpy under my cover garment(s). Although I have almost invariably used a Glock 19 for training classes, I have generally found that I have trouble concealing it under just a shirt. The length of the grip when the gun was in its Blade-Tech Nano holster–worn at the appendix position–tended to stick out toward my right side a little too much. Thus, I tended to instead carry my Glock 26 with its flush-fit, 10 round magazine. The slightly shorter grip made all the difference for me in the concealment department. I also tend to shoot the Glock 26 as accurately as my 19, so I never felt like I was giving up much besides magazine capacity.
Nevertheless, I felt I would prefer carrying the 19 for its increase in capacity and also the full grip I can attain on the draw. So I set out trying to figure out why the 19 would NOT conceal well on me. I wore it in its AIWB holster, with cover garment, and stood in front of a full-length mirror. I could see the outline of the grip way too easily, and felt I needed some way to snuggle it up against my belly. I pushed, pulled, and adjusted different parts of it to try to get it to conceal better.
I’m no inventor, but I can do some research! I saw how a few relatively recent holster designs utilize a “wedge” in their design. The basic concept is the wedge goes on the body side of the holster, down near the muzzle. A wedge here can then lever the grip into your belly, making it much more concealable. Some holsters utilize a wedge made of foam, while others have it integral to the design of the kydex holster.
Down to my basement workshop I went. I dug out a piece of foam that was part of the packing material around some electronic gizmo. This was not Styrofoam, but more of a plastic-based foam. I cut it to an appropriate size and then used some duct tape to attach it to my holster in the appropriate spot. This was in no way meant to be a permanent solution, just a “proof of concept” test. I put the holster on my belt, holstered my Glock 19, and:
For those of you who are metaphorically challenged, it worked. I checked out my glue selection and found something that looked like it could more permanently affix the foam wedge to the back of the holster:
So I glued it on and left it to dry for a day. I wore it for a few days but discovered that, over time, the foam would get compressed to a new, smaller size which no longer levered the pistol back as much as it had. I started the process over, this time with a much thicker piece of foam, and, though it felt bulky the first few days maneuvering it underneath my belt, once the foam compressed down it was perfect. I maintained a piece of duct tape on the skin side of the foam, both as security in case the glue failed and also to keep the foam itself from touching my skin (I was concerned that the roughish texture of the foam on either my skin or my underwear would create too much friction and wear the foam away).
I have since purchased a Dale Fricke Archangel holster (barely used from a “gun” forum classified ad, cheaper and with a shorter wait than ordering direct from Fricke), and though a better holster for AIWB carry than the Blade-Tech (it positions the pistol a little lower), I felt like it would also benefit from a wedge. So, as per my Buy Once, Cry Once (?) article, I removed the wedge from the Blade-Tech holster, cleaned up the back where the glue was, and sold it. I then made a new wedge for the Fricke holster, this time from the denser packing foam that comes inside the box containing an Aimpoint micro red dot sight, and at this point I am VERY satisfied with the way in which the Glock 19 carries on my body.
Thus, a simple (and super cheap!) modification to a holster has, in my opinion, greatly increased my capability, as I can now comfortably carry a Glock 19 with its added capacity, sight radius, and the ability to attain a full grip on the draw. In the near future I will provide more examples of modifications I have made to my gear that have increased their effectiveness for me.
Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts or your own experiences on doing similar things to your gear.