There are many ways to carry your concealed handguns, which brings up the argument of appendix carry vs the four o’clock, small of back or under the armpit position, etc.
Appendix carry has grown in popularity, whether that’s by watching too many Hollywood movies or experimenting with the different position. Another thing that’s talked about is the carrier body composition as a factor. Seems like the thinner folks have an easier time concealing the handguns versus another who’s a little on the heavier side.
Whoa, lets put the brakes on here, in the video below Rob Leatham(Team Springfield) is talking with Rob Pincus (Personal Defense World) on the subject.
As you know Leatham isn’t fat by obesity standard, but pudgy. As you can see with the correct body posture and technique, its easy to get the pistol out without pointing it at yourself, its quick and efficient.
Appendix carry’s concept is straight forward: The handgun is holstered at the front of the body where the hands are at most of the time. The advantages are many: a fast, intuitive, and easy to draw from nearly any body position; provides excellent retention and some comfort.
Some experts like Massad Ayoob of Personal Defense World have stated, “our hands are more likely to be in front of our torsos instead of down by our sides most in the time in everyday life,” which means “in real life,” our hands may be closer to the gun if the weapon is also at the front of the body.
For the weapon retention minded, “an attempt by a criminal to snatch your gun out of its holster from behind will probably be harder if your sidearm is in the appendix position.”
So how effective is the carry?
One way is to implement it through a course of fire, but is that adequate for a gun fight?
Maybe, run the test while going through a force on force test with air guns or simunitions. The results may vary based on your training and experience level.
Now if you want to see somebody really quick, take a look at this fellow below.
Ever Heard of Teddy Medina?
Appendix carry have been around for a very long time. Appendix carry is and was a common thing among criminals for many years. Teddy Medina was a hit man with the infamous Sparrow street gang in the Philippines. The Sparrows were a Filipino gang known for carrying out assassinations/hits for pay throughout the islands.
Medina was picked up by Navy Investigative Services (the org that became NCIS). While in custody, he bragged about the multiple assassinations that he had taken part in (upwards of 50) and of his ability with the handgun.
1. Medina, though not “formally” trained, he is extremely proficient at what he does; drawing from total concealment in less than a second and putting a bullet in someone’s head.
2. Notice how efficient he is from his crotch carried place of concealment without a holster and using a full size 1911.
Nowadays, there are appendix holster at the crotch position such as the “.Five-O holster” from JJ Racaza Frema, which may have been inspired from this video. Here’s the video below on this holster.
Here are some sentiments on the subject from Reddit, USACarry and Glock Talk:
Nodpete: I prefer the appendix carry. It just feels better with my body shape and I think that you get less printing at this position. It’s also comfortable when your sitting/driving and doesn’t show when you bend forward. I use an Aliengear Tuck 2.0 and love it. It comes stock with a 15 degree FBI carry but I modified it to the straight up position.
bofh: I carry a Glock 26 (and sometimes a Glock 19 or Glock 20) at 4 o’clock, but that shouldn’t influence your decision at all. There are pros and cons for both. You need to try it out. In any case, a good belt and holster make the difference.
mudshark100: I find 4:00 more comfortable, especially when sitting. But more importantly, consider where the barrel is pointing in both positions. An accidental discharge at 4:00, you maybe loose a little of your backside. At appendix, particularly while sitting, an accidental discharge means major damage into the upper thigh, possibly hitting an artery……or worse yet, the family jewels. Just my thoughts.
grantar2: the answer will be based on feel. I personally carry at 3 0’clock, but I carry a full size M&P. It’s also the position I carry when I compete in IDPA. Appendix position is the stronger position If you are attacked your arms, movement and hands will work best close to center of body. You can bring the gun straight up, roll the wrist for a shot from retention. If the bad guy is driving on you, having your primary weapon behind you even slightly puts your arm in a weaker position. This is true even if your blading into the threat.
At the 4 0’clock position clearing a garment may be harder as well. Practice is what you normally wear will help you decide. The appendix position is easy, grasp and lift shirt, draw weapons. The act of lifting the shirt keeps the free hand out of the way until you drive the gun our and the hand joins up. If you clawing one hand well engaging with the other, being up front is easier as well.
tcox4freedom: I’ve personally seen a close family member shoot himself; severing his femoral artery and almost all the other blood vessels in his upper mangled leg. It took us over 4hr to get him to the hospital because we were so far out in the boonies. He never lost consciousness. (Known other people that have had similar damage and survived as well.) I carry appendix because it’s more comfortable, provides the fastest access (even while sitting & buckled up) and it affords you better retention should you ever find your self in a grappling match with a drunk MMA fighter.
SR9: I carry with more of a 5:00 O’clock position and with the cant of my holster, I see not major problem. If my gun should accidently fire, and considering my age, and build, I don’t have a lot of butt to lose, if any.
Appendix carry with Glock19
Damn_Yankee: Very comfortable even while seated and driving. I am 5′ 7″ and 160 lbs and I can conceal my G19 in just about anything I want to wear.
F14Scott: This $16 holster is thin and perfect. I wear it with a leather gun belt, and it keeps the G19 tight against my belly. It is very comfortable.
ken grant: Tried several different AIWB holsters but then decided on a trigger guard type and it hit the sweet spot for me.
I tried several different lanyard lengths and found one that lets the pistol ride where wanted and also lets it float a little with my movements.
The guard is pulled off as soon as the pistol clears the belt and pointed forward away from my body.
OutWest: I carry a G19 AIWB. My preference is for a low carry. On my body this conceals the best. I’ve tried several kydex holsters and they tend to carry the gun higher than I like. This results in obvious and goofy printing from the grip frame. What I’ve found to work best for me is a cheap Uncle Mike’s cloth holster. It rides low and disappears.
The disadvantage of the low ride is getting a good grip when drawing. As with any holster, practice makes perfect.
Some complaints with carry at small of back
MichaelsPerHour: My issue with SOB is that you’re placing a hard metal object in a place where your body has basically no padding of your spine, which means if you slip and fall on your back, bad things can happen. There are other advantages to AIWB like draw speed, retention, easier to see if your shirt is riding up, etc. But the fear of slipping on ice and making myself a paraplegic is number one.
LumberCockSucker: I never thought of that, I don’t like SOB because you don’t have eyes on the back of your head and it seems like it would be easier for someone to sneak up behind you and snag your firearm.
crazyScott90: I avoid small of back. It’s the slowest draw stroke on the waist, has increased chances of printing/your shirt riding up, and it’s not very comfortable when sitting. Also, if you have to draw while sitting, it’s going to be fairly difficult.
Daraholsters: I carry appendix and 4:30-5 o’clock. I’m female, so I have wider hips than a guy would and these positions are easier to conceal than the hip. I carry with a mid ride & straight draw so I can switch back and forth.
crazyScott90: If you check out our FAQ section, you’ll see I’ve made a point to include some holster options for women. Theres bra holsters and inside thigh holsters to name a couple. Maybe one of those would work.
AnonomyousFemale: I’ve tried the bra holsters but I don’t like looking like I am at Mardi Gras to grab my gun LOL
PincersofPower: It would create a moment of “WTF? Is this woman seriously gonna… Oh shit!” Tactical advantage.
Bottom line is if its for tactical reason, appendix may rule as the position to carry. For comfort and concealing your print, try a different position. What do you all think?
Source: Reddit, USACarry, GlockTalk, Springfield Armory Youtube, Personal Defense World
Photos from Google Image
The decision to carry a concealed firearm is a personal choice that can either be a lifesaver or a “life taker.” It is a choice that may leave you taking the life of a fellow human being or disfiguring them. Therefore, how you conduct yourself will determine whether you protect yourself or put others in danger. Whatever you do, you should never make these mistakes while carrying a concealed gun.
How many cop or detective movies have you watched where the hero had a .38 revolver?
Damn near all of them, right?
That’s because the .38 revolver is a ridiculously reliable gun. You won’t be winning any long distance sharpshooting challenges with it, but you will feel safe carrying one. Just look how confident those old-timey cops and private dicks were.
First off, let’s talk about what makes the .38 caliber and a revolver worth carrying. Some people might consider the .38 and even the .38+p ammo to be outdated.
The .38 ammo is pretty much the same size as a 9mm. Where it IS different is the actual weight: a .38 is heavier than a 9mm.
Both have their benefits. The .38 is a little slower-moving but has more mass. The 9mm has more punch to it and travels faster.
One of the main reasons you’d want to carry a .38 this because it predominantly comes as a revolver. Revolvers, as we know, are very reliable. There are less moving parts and there’s less to go wrong. That’s why a lot of the police and other agencies used it in great quantities before the advent of reliable semi-automatic pistols.
Agencies eventually moved to the more common use of semi-automatic pistols but it wasn’t necessarily because of a lack of confidence in the caliber, it was more because of the greater number of rounds in each gun that semi-autos provide.
If you have the option of carrying five rounds vs 15 rounds, there’s little choice as to which one is better to have in a gunfight.
Do you carry extra mags for your CCW?
Better question, do you know about all the options available to help carry extra ammunition?
Even better question, do you understand the differences between the different styles and brands of CCW mag holders?
If you don’t know, I have good news…
We are going to explore the idea of carrying extra ammo and the practical considerations of a concealed carry magazine holder, including what features a mag holder has to have to be a great addition to your carry lineup.
We are also going to suggest a few of our favorite methods of carrying an extra mag or two, and where to buy them to best save your hard-earned dollars
Now, you six gun guys and gals may be feeling a little left out, but don’t worry!
I get it, I really do, but today we are focusing on the folks who carry automatics. Your time will come, and we’ll discuss practical carry of extra ammunition for six gunners soon, but for now, let’s see talk about mag holders.
Carrying a semi-automatic is generally the more popular option for concealed carriers. With little effort, you can carry a relatively substantial amount of ammunition in a tiny package.
One of the other main benefits of this is, of course, the ability to rapidly reload should you need to
Now, to be completely realistic the likelihood of ever needing to reload your firearm in a defensive situation is very, very low. Clear statistics aren’t really out there, but there is a general consensus that the majority of defensive firearms uses do not involve extensive gunfights.
However, the likelihood of ever really having to pull your firearm is low in the first place.
With this in mind, we all still conceal carry – correct? We carry because it’s a right, and because if we ever fall into that statistical outlier of being in a violent situation we want a means to defend ourselves.
With that in mind, I’ve always found it bizarre that half the gun community seems to think to carry an extra magazine makes you are a mall ninja.
Yes, it is superbly unlikely I’ll ever need an extra magazine. However, it’s superbly unlikely that I, a normal, law-abiding, reluctantly-tax-paying citizen will ever need my gun, but I carry it anyways.
The same goes for an extra magazine. Maybe it’s just from my time as a Machine Gunner in the Marine Corps, but more ammo is always better than less ammo in my simple grunt mind.
The other big reason to carry an extra magazine is in case of malfunctions.
First and foremost, magazines fail. Some more than others, but it can and does happen. In a situation where you have a magazine malfunction, you don’t have time to try and fix the magazine.
Drop it and reload with your spare.
An extra magazine makes it easier to recover from a malfunction and to get back into the fight and can aid in clearing nearly any complicated malfunction.
If you get a complicated malfunction like a double feed, the best thing to do to remedy the situation is to remove the magazine to clear the malfunction.
It’s quicker to drop the magazine, clear the malfunction, and then reload with a fresh mag. Plus you now have more rounds on tap.
Carrying an extra magazine isn’t hard, it’s much easier than trying to carrying a gun, and not that much different than carrying a pocket knife. Since most guns come with two or more mags anyway it just seems like common sense to carry one extra.
Concealed carry mag holders, like holsters, are available at really any quality and price point. Some out there are better suited for range use, or to use when shooting airsoft guns. Others are better suited for tactical use.
In the middle somewhere we have CCW mag holders designed for concealed carry. There are 5 features I think every CCW mag holder needs to have to be effective and worth the money.
The key to a CCW mag holder is the big C in CCW. C being concealed of course. Your magazine pouch needs to be easy to conceal.
There are a few options for concealed carry and follow most holster configurations. This includes IWB, OWB, and pocket carry methods. Some systems are more suited for duty belts and are often wider, and easier to access for sure.
However, when worn on the belt they tend to print a helluva lot more than a purpose-built concealed carry magazine pouch. Typically a pocket or IWB option is naturally very easy to conceal carry.
A concealable OWB option is typically designed to be held tight to the body and can ride high if worn vertically. Horizontal is another concealed carry option with OWB that’s a bit odd, but extremely effective.
The last thing you want to happen while carrying an extra mag is for the pouch to break. Especially if you spent hard earned money on it. Concealed carry mag pouches are exposed to everything you are exposed to.
This includes your sweat, rain, varying temperatures, as well as tons of movement, vibration, and stress. So you want to buy one that’s made to last, from a material that’s resistant to these stressors.
The best materials are generally leather and polymers, but a few high-quality synthetic cloth materials options out there.
Ease of use generally refers to how easy it is to draw the magazine from the pouch. This has to do more with what standard the user is willing to train to. If you want an active retention device you’ll have to train to overcome it.
You’ll need a model that is appropriately sized for your handguns magazine. Take a look at these Glock magazines. They are the same width, but of course, one is way longer than the other.
If your magazine is too long the weight of the ammunition will make it unstable, and easily fall out of the pouch. If it’s too short it will be nearly impossible to remove the magazine with ease. So remember to find an appropriately sized magazine pouch.
We mentioned retention a little above, and there are two types of retention, active and passive. Active retention means there is a physical device you have to defeat to access your magazine. Passive retention means the magazine is retained without an active device.
With CCW mag holders the only real retention device is an overhead flap. These are typically secured via a button and hold the magazine in place effortlessly. The mag is highly unlikely to accidentally fall out of this style pouch.
The downsides to active retention holsters are they are slower to utilize and take more training time to learn to effectively use.
Passive retention is most often friction based. The magazine pouches are slightly smaller than the magazine, but can still fit the magazine. The tension and friction from the magazine pouch keep it in place.
Passive retention devices are easier to use and are often sufficient to retain the magazine. It is more likely you’ll drop a magazine, but still unlikely with a well-made mag pouch.
When it comes to passive retention it’s critical you choose a magazine pouch designed for the magazine you are using. Glock 19 magazines, for example, are wider than CZ 75 magazines. So you need to pay attention to the width of the magazine the mag pouch is aimed at, or passive retention is useless.
Lastly, like any gun holster, a mag pouch needs to be comfortable while being carried concealed. Sharp corners and abrasive materials are a big no-go, as are ill-placed seams. You need something comfortable if you are going to be carrying it tight to your body.
If it’s not comfortable then you won’t carry it. If you don’t carry it, it’s worthless.
So there are three main ways to carry an extra magazine. Just like a firearm, you can carry it inside the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB) and Pocket carry. There are additional options, like the mag pouches built into certain shoulder holsters or attached to IWB Appendix holsters.
Today, however, we are going to talk about the magazine pouches that are independent of holsters. The most common CCW Mag holders are the styles listed above.
IWB magazine holders offer the most concealment, especially mag pouches that can be worn with a tucked in shirt. These are called tuckable options. Since they sit in the waistband they often have incredibly effective passive retention devices.
The downsides to IWB carry is a lot of people find it uncomfortable in general. I’m incredibly picky about IWB carry and only trust a few companies to really give me a comfortable option. That might just be the price I pay for a tactical fat guy.
Your mileage may vary.
OWB is my preferred style of concealing an extra ammo pouch, and my gun, and my knife. I find it to be the most comfortable and quickest to access. Of course, to do so I have to say goodbye to a tucked in shirt.
Outside the waistband, carry is the most popular option for magazine pouches and what you’ll traditionally find the most options in. OWB options need to be made to conceal since many are made for tactical applications.
You’ll also find both active and passive retention choices in this category. As far as I’m aware this is the only category that features active retention options.
Like a handgun, you don’t want to throw a magazine in your pocket and call it a day. The dirt, grime, and lint in your pocket will make you instantly regret that decision. It’ll gum a magazine up pretty fast without a popper pocket carry mag pouch.
This method of carrying is gaining steam due to convenience. Unlike a handgun, almost all magazines can be pocket carried. There are a wide variety of pocket carry options and it’s a very comfortable way to carry.
The downside being reaching into your pocket is not as always possible in some positions. Trying to dig into my left-hand pocket while kneeling simply isn’t gonna happen.
If you are looking to for a concealed carry mag holder I have a few suggestions. I’ll suggest specific models, but the companies I’m suggesting in general produce very high-quality mag pouches, so feel free to explore the other options they produce.
If you are a classic leather lover you can’t go wrong with Gould and Goodrich. They produce awesome holsters and awesome magazine pouches. They do have a focus on OWB mag pouches and offer models with both active and passive retention.
For Concealed carry, I’d suggest the Gold Line Single Mag case. This leather mag pouch is very versatile and comes with an adjustable tension device that will allow you to carry almost any double stack magazine. This is an OWB device and is cut low enough to access a compact magazine.
This simple little case is quite affordable, easy to use, and simplistic.
I as a rule generally stay away from most synthetic cloth based anything when it comes to concealed carry. I’m not a big fan of universal nylon gear. However, Blue Force Gear does it right with just about everything they do, so I trust them.
Their Ten Speed Single Mag pouch is made from a combination of ULTRAcomp and ten speed elastic. The Elastic front allows you to utilize nearly any magazine, be it a single stack, or a double stack.
It’s an OWB option and can be worn vertically or horizontally. Horizontal carry is very easy to conceal, and quite intuitive once you train with it. Blue Force Gear makes great stuff and this CCW Mag holder is no different.
Desantis makes some pretty awesome pocket holsters for guns. When in my day job work attire I utilize one to conceal carry my little Walther. The Desantis Mag pack is made from the same synthetic material they make their holsters from.
This material is textured to keep it in the pocket when you draw the magazine from. This mag pouch fills your front pocket and presents the magazines at an excellent angle for easy drawing. The Desantis Mag pouch is also quite affordable, and the design naturally breaks up the outline of the magazine.
Carrying a little extra ammunition isn’t a difficult thing to do. With the right mag pouch, it’s comfortable, easy to do, and concealable. Just remember, like a holster you want a quality option, not the cheapest option.
If you’re want to learn more about CCW, take a look at our Definitive CCW Guide for all of our reviews and recommendations.
We want to hear from you, do you carry spare ammunition? If not why? If you do, how do you carry it?
Choosing a spot to carry your gun is almost as important as the gun you carry. When it comes to choosing a concealed carry location, the ideal place for you is where ever you have easy access to at the time.
I know that kind of sounds confusing, but one location isn’t an end all be all for carrying a gun.
Being able to access your gun quickly depends on the situation, the place you’re in, and what you are wearing. What I mean is, if you are in a vehicle and have to draw your weapon, would it be easier to access your CCW if it was on your hip versus at the 6 position?
If you are wearing clothing that’s more form-fitting, it’s harder to hide a concealed carry weapon. In these cases, you might want to look into an off body carry. While the most common place is on your hip or by your kidney, take a look at some of the other options as we go through and see if they may be better for you depending on your day-to-day activities.
We’re going to cover 9 of the most essential carrying positions and our favorite holster for each. If you’d like more choices once you narrow down your position, check out Best Holsters.
Carry positions around the waist are usually referred to by the location on a clock face. For example, if you’re carrying on a hip, this would be referred to as the 3 o’clock position. That being said, all of these positions have two options.
There different levels of holsters for your OWB carry depending on where along your body you are going to carry. The 3-9 o’clock positions are where you’ll usually see an OWB holster.
IWB is probably the most common concealed carry choice. Because it’s inside your waistband, you can get holsters that allow for you to tuck in your shirt which hides the weapon even more.
Placing the holster and weapon inside your waistband lets you carry at pretty much any position around your waist. This opens up the door for an appendix carry, which is in front of your hips and off to one side. The appendix carry offers a very quick draw, but if you have a larger weapon, it can make it uncomfortable to sit or squat.
A belly band is an ideal carry option for those of you who don’t have a belt. This could be your wearing basketball shorts, or you are out running and don’t have the option for a belt or off-body carry.
At first, I wasn’t too sold on a belly band. To be honest, it kind of reminded me of a girdle. However, they’re surprisingly comfortable especially if you have a smaller concealed carry gun. If your gun is a little heavier, like a compact or a subcompact with a double stack magazine, it might not be the easiest weapon of choice to wear when being active.
If you have a smaller gun, like a bodyguard 380 or an LCP, you can easily wear a belly band and have your full range of motion and an easily accessible CCW in case your life is threatened.
To ankle carry your CCW, you’ll need a specialized holster. Typically these holsters have some sort of fur inside, often rabbit fur. The holster is securely attached is around your ankle and lower calf. Obviously, you’ll have to wear pants that are a little looser fitting when choosing an ankle carry.
The ankle carry option offers you a unique opportunity. It frees up your shirt choice to anything you’d like, and you don’t have to have a belt either.
Another benefit of an ankle carry is that if somebody comes up from behind and knocks you down, it’s much easier to reach for your ankle in many cases than it is to grab a gun that’s behind you in the 4 or 5 o’clock position. It’s also less likely that someone will try and grab your gun from you if they see it.
Carrying your CCW in your pocket is another common option. Many of the smaller guns like a .380 or .22 will fit easily along with a holster into a front pocket. Well, the draw it is a little trickier, you can carry a weapon in many more circumstances than you might have with an IWB carry.
If you think a pocket carry option is right for you, look into some of the holsters available. Many times there are generic holsters that fit a specific caliber or shape weapon.
These holsters have a stickier material on the outside of the holster and a slicker material on the inside to make the draw quicker. Something to practice with a pocket draw is pulling out just the gun and not the holster and the gun then needing to remove it from the holster before you can use it.
I’m sure you’ve seen a shoulder harness before on TV. Many times detectives, police, and government agents will have a single or dual shoulder rig. This puts the weapon on the opposing side of your body because you’ll have to draw across your body.
So if you’re right handed your shoulder rig will put the gun on the left side of your body that way you reach into your coat or shirt or whatever the case, and draw the weapon. This can be an extremely quick draw, but it’s very obvious draw as well.
Some bras are made with holsters built in. Some fit more like a standard bra with the holster typically situated between and under the breasts, while others fit like a sports bra with the holster on the side, under the arm. There are also specialty holsters that can be affixed to most regular bras, though many multipurpose holsters with loops will also work with most bras.
The quickest access holsters have the gun horizontal below the bra. This allows you to pull up your shirt a little, reach up, and draw the weapon quickly. There are videos from manufacturers showing a pretty consistent 1.6-second draw and shoot times from under various style shirts.
This carry option is predominantly used by women but is an underrated choice for men as well. While most people think of thigh carry with skirts or dresses, it can also work with loose shorts.
A thigh carry holster is meant for a smaller weapon like a 380. You could probably get away with small 9mm, but it would depend on the weapon. In most cases, thigh holsters are used because there’s no pockets or firm waistband. Using a thigh holster also keeps the weapon on you, unlike an off the body carry in a purse or something similar.
Off the body carry options are plentiful and have their own set of considerations and training needed to use them successfully. When you have a weapon in something like a backpack, you need to keep that backpack on or near you at all times. Otherwise, it’s like setting your gun on a counter and walking away.
Some of the off the body carry options are:
For me, I consider having a gun in your center console or glove box to be in off the body carry as well. You don’t want to just toss a non-holstered weapon in your glove box because you never know what will happen. If you have some way to mount a holster into your glove box or console, it’s much more preferable.
Choosing where to carry is a personal preference. If you like an ankle carry or OWB, go for it. There’s no need to be uncomfortable just to make sure you have a gun on you, there are a lot of options. You can try a few to see what works best for your daily activities.
Are you a jogger? Then I’d recommend a belly band and a small 9mm or 380. They are light and comfortable. Do you wear a suit with a jacket all day? How about out a shoulder harness, ankle holster or a horizontal OWB holster at the 6 o’clock position?
The place you carry isn’t as important as the fact that you are carrying.
Check out our full recommendations of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters.
So, where do you carry? What do you carry? How often do you carry? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Sooner or later concealed carry would find its way into the women’s fashion world for self-defense. Leggings with a holster sewn into the waist combine the current fashion trend with function.
One of the biggest complaints about women’s design is the lack of pockets. Where’s a they supposed to hide her pistol? What if she’s not the kind to carry a purse while headed out for errands?
Enter Undertech Undercover, they have developed not only a solution to the problem of pockets, but has developed pockets designed for concealed carry into the popular leggings.
Word has it from the Glock store that some of their employees had a chance to try out Undertech Undercover’s concealment legging for testing. The testers stated, “the leggings were comfortable, breathable and there wasn’t any discomfort in the wear”.
What’s cool about leggings is that it can be worn seasonally in the warmer climate or and cold climate. Obviously, the leggings can be integrated into any wardrobe, can be worn with dresses or casual pants, leggings are functional for concealed carry.
Source: UnderTech Undercover, Randall Bonner
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]M[/su_dropcap]y story begins in October 2006 when I became the target of a ruthless stalker – Michael D. McClellan. In March 2012, he was ultimately convicted of two felony counts of stalking, and sentenced to 10 years in prison – not eligible for parole until February 2017. This was the first felony stalking conviction in Indiana, and the events leading up to it were terrible. Over five years my life was uprooted. I was let go at work and filled with uncertainty and fear, living in seclusion, hiding from my tormentor.
During this time, all of my online presence was under the name HidingHilda – Hiding, because I was hiding and Hilda, which is a combination of my full name, Dawn Hillyer. At the time guns were not a part of my world. Hiding was my natural instinct, and I just wanted to crawl under a rock. The humiliation, the fear – and not only for myself, but everyone around me – was just too much. Once McClellan was incarcerated I decided I wasn’t going to live that way when he got out, so I took charge of my own safety. I took gun classes, got my concealed-carry permit and purchased a Glock .380 that I named Hilda.
Now, I am always and literally hiding Hilda.
HIDINGHILDA, LLC WAS BORN January 1, 2015 out of the need for peace of mind and the love of style. Carrying concealed firearms is not something to take lightly. Safety and protection are of the utmost importance, and being a business professional I also had an image to maintain. Fringe and studs weren’t going to cut it.
HidingHilda offers some of the top brands of CCW handbags and accessories designed to safely conceal a weapon, self-defense items, holsters, books, jewelry and CCW clothing. I even just recently came out with a line of HidingHilda CCW handbags (or purses) that are manufactured in Fort Wayne, Ind.
WOMEN ARE BECOMING their own heroes and refusing to be victims. We are seeing the numbers of women who are obtaining their concealed-carry permit grow substantially. There is a strange and amazing confidence that comes with knowing you’ve got this, whatever “this” may be.
Last April, my stalker was recently and unexpectedly released two years earlier than expected, and with no notice to me. Apparently, if you get your college degree while incarcerated, you can not only shorten your sentence, you can skip the parole board as well. He ended up serving just three years of his 10-year sentence. It was time to put my money where my mouth was. I was determined never to live afraid or in hiding again. I will continue to talk about it, live out loud and, if need be, I will be my own hero.
LAST NOVEMBER I got a call letting me know about the stalker’s release and that I could possibly be in danger. The caller stressed that I needed to be vigilant. Indeed, McClellan was arrested for violating his parole the Monday after Thanksgiving. Found guilty of violating his parole on two counts, he was released with time served. I’m not running or hiding. I’m going about my life with Hilda at my side.
During the initial trial, it was determined that McClellan had stalked his ex-wife before me, as well as someone after me. Since the trial, I have been contacted by a number of people across the country going through similar experiences and who are afraid for their lives. I am now speaking for a lot of people. HidingHilda is personal. It’s a part of who I am.
THIS EXPERIENCE has been part of a national conversation on Cam and Co., a series on NRA News, regarding women obtaining their licenses, guns, protection and how it relates to domestic violence. I speak at stalking/domestic violence conferences and training seminars, as well as offer support and resources to other stalking victims. HidingHilda also donates proceeds to provide scholarships for training those who work with stalking victims.
My business isn’t the only positive outcome stemming from a devastating beginning. I am also an advocate for stronger stalking laws, which included adding stalking to the 45day victim notification requirement that went into effect July 1, 2015. In an interview with Katie Couric, the story of my experience with a stalker aired nationally on Investigation Discovery’s Stalked: Someone’s Watching in their season-four opener in December 2013. I am now the chapter leader for the Hilda Fort Wayne Chapter of The Well Armed Women. I have also been on The Gun Guy, as well as several local stations.
IT IS AMAZING WHERE all of this has taken me. I never would have thought that in my 40s I would go back to retail or work gun shows on the weekends, not to mention drive a pickup truck just so I can haul around my purses. I couldn’t do this without the support of my family and friends, in particular Chris, my children and my parents. They have been at my side through this journey. They provide strength, support, love and motivation through it all.
It has been God with runway lights – I couldn’t have ever dreamed this is where I would be. I love putting women’s departments in gun stores, holding Ways For Women To Carry classes, seeing a first-time shooter hit their target and empowering women in general. I love providing a source of strength to those who need it. ASJ
Editor’s note: If you would like more information about HidingHilda, you can visit them at hidinghilda.com or Facebook.com/hidinghilda.