Last week, I talked about my first experience with a Gen 4 Glock 21 .45 ACP pistol.
When I initially made the trade for the G21, I did not intend to carry it concealed as an off-duty gun. I figured that it would make a good test mule for new .45 loads, weapons lights, lasers, etc. But the more I handled and worked with this newest version of a gun I once considered about as appealing (in terms of feel) as a 2×4, I began to see its potential for a wider range of use.
With 13+1 rounds of .45 ammo on tap, I knew the G21 would be a great home defender, but is it a realistic concealed carry piece? Well, the answer is yes—and no.
I decided to do a full-day carry test, just for this article. For me, the most comfortable mode of carry for any full-sized service type pistol when in plainclothes is an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster. To find one that would work, I turned to Gould & Goodrich.
G&G manufactures an extensive holster line that runs the gamut from police duty gear to off-duty gear and concealment rigs. Materials used are traditional leather as well as nylon. Styles available include simple belt slide models, paddle rigs, ankle rigs, pocket holsters, inside-the-waistband holsters, bellyband holsters, shoulder holsters, and the style that I chose for the test: a leather pancake belt holster.
I obtained a sample Gold Line B803 Three Slot Pancake holster in black. I am a stickler for weapon retention and have a preference for thumb breaks on my concealed carry holsters, which the B830 has.
Although listed as a pancake holster, the B803 is a cut above the traditional pancake design in that the traditional pancake normally has no molding or boning in the leather to conform to the shape of the pistol. The B803 does have molding—which I like from both an aesthetic and an identification standpoint. It is much easier to pick out the correct holster for the correct gun from a pile of holsters when the shape of the gun is imprinted in the holster. There is no tensioning screw built into the B803 and I’ve found that with G&G pancake holsters, it isn’t needed.
The three-slot design of the B803 gives the user more flexibility in terms of comfort. The presence of the third slot allows the user to wear their gun in a muzzle neutral position or slightly canted in a muzzle rearward position. For a gun the size of the G21, the muzzle rear carry will help keep the butt of the gun from pushing into the car seat when you’re driving.
Fortunately for me, the carry test occurred in bitterly cold weather, which is a plus because of clothing options. While a large sweater would work for concealing the B803, I wanted to prevent “printing” of the gun against my side so I decided to wear a Blackhawk Concealment Hoodie over the gun and holster.
I prepped the B803 with a shot of silicon spray on the inside. There was no break-in time required. The G21 fit snugly but not tightly, and I was able to draw smoothly. I have never had to put a Gould & Goodrich holster through any sort of long break-in period.
The Blackhawk Hoodie worked like a charm when teamed with the B803. The holster kept the G21 pulled in firmly against my side, thus reducing the chance of printing, and the baggy fit of the Blackhawk Hoodie did the rest. The G21 was not the least bit visible.
I wore the G21 in the Gould & Goodrich rig for more than an 8-hour day. Comfort was excellent for a handgun this large, and the heavy belt I wore with it supported the gun and holster solidly.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that yes, indeed, with the right holster and clothing, the G21 could be carried concealed. Would I want to carry it everyday? No. I would have to do too much “dressing for the gun.” However, on days and times where the threat level is high, then yes, the G21 is coming with me in the B803. With a covering garment such as a vest, it will also be a great combo while hiking in “big mean animal country,” and will be both comforting and comfortable.
Check out the entire line of Gould & Goodrich holsters at www.gouldusa.com. There should be something there to meet your needs, no matter how specialized. And for more on Blackhawk concealment clothing, see www.blackhawk.com.