Concealed Carry

What I’ve Learned after Carrying a Glock 19 for 4,992 Hours

Glock 19 in an appendix carry holster

I’d estimate that I’ve got right around 5,000 hours of experience carrying a Glock 19, almost all of it in the appendix position. That’s an average of 8 hours a day, 4 days a week, for 3 years.

Glock 19 in an appendix carry holster
The G19 with Defoor tactical sights and a much-loved Raven Vanguard II holster.

I’m not former (or current) military. I’ve never been a police officer, and have no real interest in working in private security. I’m just an average person that carries a gun most of the time, and here’s the gear I use, and what I’ve learned along the way.

A Good Belt Makes the Difference

I have committed a tactical sin here… I use a regular belt. And by regular belt, I mean a regular belt that’s unusually stiff. It’s stiffer than many so-called “gun belts” that I’ve tried. I don’t remember where I bought it, but I know it was made in China (it says so, right on the back face).

It’s outlasted many other leather gun belts that I’ve owned. Normally, I find that the adjustment holes are the first thing to go on a belt, followed by the buckle attachment point. Everything on this one is still holding strong, after 3 years.

I can’t kill this stupid belt. It just works. I’m sorry.

Also, I found that carrying a gun and spare ammo in the appendix position is far more secure and comfortable with the belt buckle positioned at 10 or 11 o’clock, instead of on the body centerline. This presents a smooth, interruption-free surface for the gun stuff to ride on.

Spare Ammunition

Statistically, you’re never going to need more than the 16 rounds packed into your Glock 19. I’m a big believer in statistics, and don’t walk around under any

Glock 19, brown leather gun belt and mag holder
It’s not a fancy rig, but it works amazingly well.

delusions that I’m going to solve any major problem with a G19 while carrying four spare magazines. That being said, I do carry one spare mag… because of statistics.

Guns jam. Even Glock pistols. It’s just a fact of life—if you shoot long enough, you’ll experience some type of weapon malfunction. And the vast majority of semiautomatic stoppages are ammo or magazine related. I minimize the first problem by carrying good self-defense rounds. The second is taken into account with a backup magazine.

So, I don’t carry a spare mag because I think I’ll need the extra ammo. I carry it because magazines are a common failure point, and I try to plan for common catastrophes. As a side note, it’s a 17-round magazine originally designed for the Glock 17. It’s no trouble to conceal, and gives me more ammo. What’s not to like?

Home-Brewed Magazine Pouch

I didn’t always carry spare ammunition. I just couldn’t find a good way to tote a spare mag while concealing a handgun in the appendix position. Then, one day it hit me.

Homemade magazine pouch
My homemade mag pouch with and without bicycle inner tube padding.

Looking down, I saw that the pistol created a small gap in my waistband, right along the top of the slide. It seemed like a great place to stow a magazine…but where to find a pouch? I didn’t have to look far.

I’ve made a handful of mag pouches from heavy Kydex sheeting (0.125 inch) available for some informal IDPA-style matches at my local gun club, and had a Safariland ELS belt full of them. Taking one off and flipping it 180 degrees into my waistband was a perfect solution to my spare-mag needs. I simply made a mirror image pouch so that the ammo would face the correct way for a weak-hand reload (to the right).

After a month or so of carrying spare ammo this way, I noticed that the gap at the bottom of the pouch would occasionally pinch me. I solved the problem with a short section of bicycle inner tube stretched around the mag pouch. As a bonus, this material proved to be very slip-resistant, and kept everything nicely in place.

Did I mention that it only cost a couple of bucks to make?

You Need a Good Holster

After careful consideration, I chose to carry with the Raven Vanguard II. This is anything but a traditional holster; rather than encapsulating the entire firearm, in seats around the trigger guard. A soft loop with a “pull-the-dot” snap button keeps everything secure.

It’s unbelievably thin—thinner than the gun, in fact—and is relatively inexpensive. Retention is strong enough to keep the pistol under control while running and jumping, but not strong enough to impede a quick draw.

It’s a great, comfortable and secure way to appendix carry a gun. But here’s the one bad thing about the Raven Vanguard II—you can’t quickly reholster. Well, I mean, you could, but then you’d be trying to clip a loaded handgun back into a tiny holster, while it’s pointed at some very important anatomy.

Raven Vanguard II snap holser and a Glock 19 pistol
The Raven Vanguard II simply snaps into place over the trigger guard.

Proper use of the Vanguard II dictates that you first remove the holster from your belt, install it on the pistol, then clip the whole thing back in place. In theory, you should be able to sheath your handgun quickly and safely, and with one hand. You may need your mitts for other tasks, while the presence of a threat still exists outside of your immediate vicinity.

I’m willing to sacrifice that capability in order to take advantage of the low profile and comfortable use that the Vanguard II provides. Everything is a trade-off in the end. It’s a carry holster, not a going-to-the-range-and-doing-tactical-drills holster.

Pros of the Raven Vanguard II

One thing that I really, really like about the Raven Vanguard II is the fact that I can load and unload the pistol while the trigger is still completely covered. Try that with a standard-style holster.

Raven Vanguard II holster on a Glock 19 pistol
The brass snap closure on the Vanguard II is black from the factory, but over time, the enamel finish wears off.

I firmly believe that dry firing should be a part of every serious shooter’s daily routine. There are far too many examples on how correctly dry firing improves your gun handling skills to ignore it as a training tool.

But, if you want to dry fire daily with a pistol that also happens to be your carry gun, you’re faced with having to load and unload that pistol…all the time. Mistakes happen. Increase the number of times that you perform a task—such as handling a loaded firearm—and the chances of a mishap occurring—negligent discharge—increase proportionally.

The fact that all basic administrative tasks can be performed with the trigger totally protected by the Raven Vanguard II is incredibly valuable to me.


I can’t think of a better general-purpose handgun than the Glock 19. Small enough to conceal, yet big enough to fight and compete with, it’s been my near-constant companion on many adventures. It’s been completely and naturally absorbed into my everyday carry kit over the months and years, and is no more noticeable to me than a set of keys or smartphone.

You learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t when you’ve had 30 ounces of steel strapped to your body for 3 years. And I’ve found a way that works for me.

How long have you carried a concealed handgun? Tell us about what you’ve found works (as well as what flat out doesn’t) in the comment section.

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Comments (49)

    1. An update; Because I purchased the holster over a year ago I apparently forgot the original name and manufacturer. It is a Boraii Eagle pocket holster, not Bora ll or Bora lol as autocorrect listed it. Whoops!

  1. I’ve been carrying a G26 with a Clip Draw IWB at the 4 O’clock position for the last 10 years.
    I love it. It’s far less bulky than with any type of holster I have tried to date.
    However, that Raven Vanguard does look appealing and I may just give that a try.

  2. This is exactly my normal edc… i carry this way 90 percent of the time. In fact I can wear it tucked in with dress clothes as well and can be very quickly deployed. I work in personal security and this doesn’t leave my side. At the gym I carry in a fanny pack (go ahead and laugh but I won’t go anywhere without being prepaired) I need to find something similar to the vanguard ii that I can carry with my x300 mounted on it too though…

  3. I have not been able to imagine a scenario in which I would draw my weapon and have a need to quickly reholster it one handed.

    The author mentioned a threat outside your immediate vicinity. If there IS a threat, why would you reholster? If I draw and the threat still exists, I want my weapon in my hand.

    I’m not being critical, just asking for some education.

    1. In a crisis situation, when someone yells out “he’s got a gun”, chaos pursues. If you’re not ready to use your gun it’s best to reholstered as you may be thought of as the threat and shot at by police or another armed civilian.

      You may also be aiding someone that’s injured and only have one hand available to reholster.

      These are just a couple of scenarios.

    2. Another scenario is practice drills. It is best to practice with the equipment that you will actually use. With this style holster you are not going to be able to practice draw-fire-reholster-repeat type drills quickly and safely. I have seen the belt clip and holster portions of these separated, then reconnected by a short string. When drawn, the string pulls tight and pops the holster off, leaving it hanging from the belt loop. The holster can then be clipped back on easily and tucked back in. However the belt clip no longer helps secure the firearm in place. It serves solely to detach the holster upon draw when used this way.

  4. I’ve carried a Glock 19 for 5 years for my job as armed security and bodyguard work. I like the appendix carry if I’m never going to sit down. I have a rail rider attachment that allows me to Mexican carry there but it does not cover the trigger. I carry it in condition 3 and practice an Israeli draw. I did that for a while but now I use a combination of holsters depending on the weather and what I may be wearing.

    I use a shoulder holster when I am wearing a jacket or a suit because it is very comfortable and great for a driver. The pistol is in the right position for the driver to draw quickly. I also use a paddle OWB holster and go untucked. I also use a IWB holster at the small of the back.

    My three favorite ways to carry are with a shoulder bag, a custom elastic belly holster, and a custom covert drop leg holster.

    1.The bag is a UTG shoulder bag with a covert pocket. Its kind of a tactical man purse. Its great to carry anywhere and holds a blow out kit.

    2. I took 3″ elastic and sewed pockets for my Glock and my DB 380 and mags. It works great and is very comfortable but it is deep concealment and is not a quick draw.

    3. is a custom drop leg holster. I use an IWB clip attached to a nylon web strap that then is sewed to 3″ elastic that goes around my thigh and holds a simple sport holster. I use this with cargo shorts or with cargo pants. Lift the shorts leg and you have quick access. The cargo pants need a modification which is just to slice an access inside the pocket. Hope this gives you some ideas.

    1. @Rafterman

      Great comment.

      It is evident from the things you bring up that you have been there. That’s so refreshing on these blogs.

      Guys who gained all their opinions and “experience” as private individuals who got their training from DVDS and magazines don’t understand that you do what you need to do in order to accomplish the mission. I have done security that ranged from full-on OCONUS PSD at events in Afghanistan and Iraq that had ambassadors attending and where you were in full kit in Lvl 4 armor, M4s and drop leg holsters, to coverts with whatever weapon you could successfully carry while wearing whatever fit in at the event. I even learned how to conceal an MP5 under my jacket.

      My preferred EDC is a G21, but there are days when I have to carry a PF9 and even a P32. You do what you have to do.

    2. Because if we’re civilians we can’t possibly have a dog in the show. We are all meaningless tools in the world who are at the mercy and require the approval of people who have “been there”.

      Please validate me! Pleeeeeeese!

    3. @Dan the Man

      Not what I’m saying at all, and sorry you were so easily offended. I don’t look down on anybody. But there are a lot of keyboard ninjas out there who really haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. If you don’t fit into that category, then obviously I wasn’t referring to you.

      Plenty of people work hard to gain the training and experience to be effective with their equipment even though they have never been in the military, law enforcement or private security. There are a lot of great schools and courses out there, and many people have done very well learning how to move, shoot and survive in life and death scenarios.

      No one made an attack on you but you certainly seemed to take it very personally and seemed to get offended pretty easily, so I will simply paraphrase the great Mae West when she said people who are offended easily should be offended more often.

  5. My EDC here in SW Florida is a tiny KelTec P3-AT (.380) in an inexpensive Uncle Mikes IWB holster on a good leather belt, appendix carry position. I normally cover it with just a regular t-shirt. It’s very light, comfortable and easily accessible….even when driving, if I first release the seatbelt. I do just as the author suggests….slip the belt so the buckle is at 11:00 position and the holster clip is at 1:00.

    If I’m going to be in what I feel is more hostile territory, I switch to a KelTec PF-9 (9mm) or my XDs .45 in Nate squared IWB holsters, which are also very comfortable in appendix carry. They have a nice soft flap which totally covers the gun against your skin and protects the gun from perspiration.

    1. @Oldawg

      I carry a PF9 as my BUG, and occasionally as my primary if I’m in a very non-permissive carry environment. It fits well into a Sneaky Pete cell phone holster. People seem to dis Kel Tecs, but I have several and they all work great.

      My normal EDC is either an XD45 or Glock 21. I like the Glock better because (for me) it’s more accurate. I have a great under-the-steering-column holster for driving that keeps my EDC ready for immediate use if the need arises.

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