Tag Archives: Gear

Female Conceal Carry for Fall/Winter

Cassie Larsen submitted this article.

The “Female Conceal Carry for Summer” article has been very popular. I know there is a lot of interest and a need, for more conceal carry information for women. I have found there is not a lot of information out there and I have had to do a lot of trial and error for this article.  In this article you will see several Appendix Inside Waist Band (AIWB) holsters and Outside Waist Band (OWB) holsters. These holsters and companies are as follows;  a Dark Star Gear holster, a custom AIWB kydex holster, a Raven Concealment Vanguard2 holster and Kinetic Concepts Tactical (KCT) holsters. Also, an I.C.E. Belly Band and Volund Gearworks Atlas Belt will be used. I will be showing you outfits that conceal a Glock 42, Sig P238, Glock 19, and a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

Sweaters with detail and skirts:

I’ve noticed when wearing a skirt and conceal carrying I have two options I can wear a looser waist skirt with the I.C.E. Belly Band and carry IWB or I can wear a skirt with loops, belt and carry OWB. It does become a bit tricky with high waist skirts. I have yet to find a comfortable carry option for those.

The great thing about this black sweater that you can’t see well in the pictures is that it has a fake wrap look with buttons on the front and side. With that extra detail on the front it hides any bulges from the firearm really well. I like to wear darker sweaters I find they hide the print of the firearm better. I also look for shirts or sweaters with added details; buttons, wrap, bunching, gathers, patterns.

I.C.E. Belly Band/holster with Glock 42
I.C.E. Belly Band/holster with Glock 42

Long Sweaters with leggings:

I love wearing a Belly Band with my leggings. It is very comfortable and with the I.C.E. Belly Band I have multiple options of what firearm I can carry. With this outfit a basic long sweater, leggings and tall boots I can wear my Sig P238, Glock 42, Glock 19 or Glock 26. With the Glock 19 or Glock 26 I use the  I.C.E Glock open bottom holster, attach it to the Velcro on the Belly Band and carry at the 4 o’clock position. I.C.E store carries several holster to accommodate firearms you may carry.

I have many different long sweater legging combos and I love being able to just throw on a comfy outfit and still be protected. Most long sweaters have a fly away in the front. I like having the break away in the front so I can access my firearm quicker if needs be. I wear an under shirt, then my belly band with firearm, then an over shirt or tank top, then my sweater. It really adds no more bulk since my under shirt is basically a top slip. The main use of the undershirt is so I don’t have the firearm resting on my skin for long periods of time.

I.C.E. Belly Band,  G26 or Glock 19
I.C.E. Belly Band, G26 or Glock 19

Work out clothing:

When I go for a walk with my kids or jog by myself, I like to bring along some protection. With the Belly Band and my Sig p238 or Glock 42 I can do that and I don’t have to wear a big bulky shirt or extra layers. If it’s cold I do add my workout hoodie, which only adds to the concealment. I usually wear yoga pants or shorts which I feel keeps my firearm more secure since the waist is tight.

I.C.E. Belly Band with Sig P238 and Glock 42
I.C.E. Belly Band with Sig P238 and Glock 42

Break away sweaters:

I use the same idea as the leggings with this breakaway front sweater, but use my kydex holsters. I prefer to appendix carry. It is the most comfortable for me. I can easily access my firearm with my kids, or holding shopping bags. I don’t have to worry about bending over to pick up my kids at the park or store and having my weapon print. I wear Silver jeans or Vigoss jeans and capris. I buy my regular size and have no problem carrying IWB. My carry belt is Volund Gearworks Atlas belt (Volund Gearworks Atlas Belt for Women). I’ve been wearing it almost daily for over a year and I still love it.

Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster and Glock 19 with Raven Vanguard 2
Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster and Glock 19 with Raven Vanguard 2

Flowy shirts:

I really like wearing flowy light tops. This is a peasant type top, the fabric is light and not fitted at the bottom. Which conceals firearms really well for me. I have no problem with printing or the shirt getting stuck on the gun with appendix carry. The pattern on this shirt also helps with the concealment.

Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster
Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster

Banded bottom:

Banded bottom tops also work well for me to conceal carry with. They have more give to the middle of the shirt but with a fitted bottom. Some banded bottom shirts can be trickier if the band is at the same height as the holster. I like the tight bottom on banded shirts because I know the shirt isn’t going to move and expose my firearm.  This particular top also has a low back so appendix carry or side carry work well. When it’s colder out I can still wear this tank top with a black jacket or cardigan which just adds to the concealment.

Sig P238 with Dark Star Gear OWB Kydex holster, Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster
Sig P238 with Dark Star Gear OWB Kydex holster, Glock 42 with AIWB kydex holster

Combination Shirts:

This is a great home-run shirt for me. It has pattern, detail and a banded bottom. The upper back detail is great to draw eyes up and away from my waist wear my firearm is. The diagonal stripe helps camouflage printing and the banded bottom helps the shirt stay in place. I really like to find combo tops I think they work great for most of my firearms. With this shirt I can carry any of my firearms with any holster at either the small of my back or at appendix. With small of the back carry I do have to be careful with bending over or picking something up because the firearm will print. Which is another reason why I love appendix carry.

M&P Shield & Glock 42 in Kinetic Concepts Tactical holsters
M&P Shield & Glock 42 in Kinetic Concepts Tactical holsters

Light weight Jackets:

A great thing about colder weather is you can throw on a jacket to any of your outfits which adds warmth and another layer of concealability. I’m wearing a simple long sleeve shirt which is not skin tight. With summer capris that work great with knee high boots, no need to fold and tuck the bottom of your jeans. I can wear this shirt alone and conceal the Shield fine or add the extra layer of a jacket. Since I’m appendix carrying I will still be able to quickly draw my firearm if needed. If you are carrying in the small of the back with a jacket on I recommend practicing drawing your firearm so you don’t get hung up on the extra material. This jacket snaps closed so if I did get cold and wanted to snap up I could still quickly undo my jacket if needed.  Of course, cardigans and heavy jackets will work just the same.

M&P Shield with Kinetic Concepts Tactical appendix holster
M&P Shield with Kinetic Concepts Tactical appendix holster


There is no reason to lose your style just to carry a firearm. I suggest carrying on the body whenever possible. I recommend when shopping for new clothing to wear your firearm, that way you will know if it will conceal well and not print. Remember, darker colored clothing will conceal better than lighter colors. If you don’t have a good carry belt or holster, I recommend getting one. Having a quality holster and carry belt will help you conceal your firearm. If you have a good foundation in place you will be able to conceal with comfort, ease and style. A good foundation consists of a good holster, belt, firearm and clothing. Without all (4) of these key elements, you will have a harder time concealing your firearm.

Don't forget, You can still be Sexy & Carry a Firearm
Don’t forget, You can still be Sexy & Carry a Firearm

I’ve showed you many different firearms, holsters and carrying positions as examples for you to find what works best for you. I don’t carry multiple firearms. Some days I do need to change my holster, belt or firearm to accommodate my outfit. Occasionally, I must change carrying positions between appendix, strong side traditional and 4 o’clock, based on the outfit I’m wearing.  Appendix carry is where I consistently carry and consistency in your carry position is what you want. Like I said above, the appendix position works best for my daily life and my body type. The key is to find what works best for you most of the time and what you are the most comfortable carrying.


How to install a KAC M4 or M5 RAS.

The U.S. Military uses the Knights Armament Corp.’s M4 and M5 rail systems on the M4 and M16 respectively.  These rails are good heavy duty products.  That said, they are an aging design and there are newer lighter cheaper nicer designs.  MSRP on the M4 and M5 RAS run about 320 dollars which is rather high.  Factory seconds can often be found for around $150 which is a good deal and far more reasonable.

Installation should be pretty straightforward, yet sometimes people mess it up, so here is a guide.

The RAS has a top and bottom section.  On the rear of the top section, there is a single screw.  This may be for an allen or a flat screwdriver blade.  This needs to be unscrewed allowing a clamp to be released.  Newer KAC RAS rails will have a little bracket keeping this screw captured.

On the front of the top rail section there is a little spring tab.  This needs to be installed under the front hand guard cap.  Earlier versions are flat are were sometimes improperly installed over the front handguard cap, so this spring was changed to be U shaped so it could not be installed incorrectly.


First remove the old clam shell hand guards.  The slip ring or delta ring near the upper receiver needs to be pulled back allowing the plastic handguards to be removed.  Sometimes the spring will be very stiff and it will help to have another person.  There is a tool made for removing and installing these hand guards but unless you do it all the time it is not worth spending the money on it.

Second you need to unscrew the screw on the top rear of the top section of the RAS.  Ensure that the clamp is loose and completely hinged down.



Insert the front tab under the front handguard cap, pull back on your rifles slip ring or delta ring, and lower the rear of the RAS in place.  Make sure that the clamp is sitting under the barrel nut.

KAC M5 RASThe above picture shows the old style front spring tab.

Note:  The M5 RAS for the M16 Rifle has an optional accessory piece sometimes used when mounting a M203.  If you are using this piece it goes inbetween the front of the top rail section, and the front handguard cap.

KAC M5 RASWhen installed, this piece sits under the handguard cap and interfaces with the rail like this:



Make sure that the clamp on the back rear of the top rail is sitting below the barrel nut.

KAC M5 RASOnce you know everything is lined up, press the rail down into place and screw the screw in.

Make sure you snug up the screw, but don’t over torque it.  Excessive force can lead to the rail cracking.

Finally pull back the slip ring or delta ring once more and side the lower rail section into place.  Then you are done.





Quick thoughts on the Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig

Haley Strategic D3CR


When the D3CR was announced I didn’t think much of it.  However later I grew to like the idea of having a few mags, along with the ability to carry a pistol and pistol mags all in one small rig.  So I went to order one and found it was out of stock.

Quite a while later they finally got back in stock and I was able to get one.

Initially the mag pouches were very tight.  After a little use they have loosened up a bit and have not been an issue.  I find USGI mags slip out the best, but it can sometimes be a pain in the ass to get PMags in there.  While the rig isn’t slow, it is no where near as fast as something like a set of FastMags.  I would not want to use non-AR15 mags in those 4 main pockets.

The two General Purpose pouches are rather small.  Putting in a bandage and a tourniquet filled one up completely.  They are much smaller then I expected.

Construction appears excellent, well assembled and well thought out.

The Stuff-It pouch is awesome for holding odds and ends.  A single Saiga12/Vepr 12 mag, water bottle, Surefire 60 round mag, or SR25 mag all fit in it well and were easy to extract from it.  Inserting items was slower as they often caught on the elastic cord that makes up the sides of the pouch.

The pistol mag pouches appear to be designed for a full sized double stack mag.  My Glock 30 mags sat low in it and were slower to extract and the 1911 10 round mags high enough that using the retention elastic didn’t seem practical.  A magnet in the pouch held a lone single stack 1911 mag in place well and the pouch could fit two single stack 1911 mags in it easily.

I tried carrying a pistol(G19, G26, M1911, and an aluminium trainer as shown above) in a cheap holster in one of the side pockets.  I liked the draw and the accessibility of the pistol in that location, however I found that it flopped around too much and got in the way of using a rifle.  This set up using that cheap leather holster would not work for me.  I do not know if the recommend INCOG holster would make a difference there.

I like and would recommend the D3CR with the caveat that it is not the do every thing rig or the fastest gear available.  However if its capabilities fit your needs, it is rather nice and well made.

My Top Favorite Buys from 2013

I wish you all a very happy New Year filled with joy, good health, and success. 2013 was an amazing and busy year for me.  I worked, traveled and hunted a lot.  Although I didn’t have a successful hunting year, I am so grateful for the opportunities I received and the memories I made from each trip.  One of my resolutions for the New Year is to continue to push my boundaries, improve, and keep my positive cheerful attitude.  I’m a strong believer that hard work does pay off, but I will admit there are times I get frustrated from the miles and mountains I’ve hiked public land hunting (not to mention all the gas dollars), but I have to remind myself…  stay focused and be thankful for the journey.  Find happiness even in the simple things in life.  After all, at least I’m burning calories!  :)

I purchased several new items in 2013 for shooting, archery, and hunting.  Below are my personal top picks that I wanted to share with you.

The Remington Versa Max Sportsman shotgun, built on the same platform as the Remington Versa Max, is extremely comfortable, shoots very smooth, and costs $200-300 less (all you give up is the extra choke set and some rubber over-molding on the stock).  In the past I’ve shot shotguns which left my shoulder sore.  With this gun, I have yet to feel any pain.  The Supercell recoil pad is a shoulder saver making shooting clays even more enjoyable.

Remington Versa Max Sportsman

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is fun and inexpensive.  It breaks down into one small pack, it’s lightweight, and it comes in multi-cam.  If you have kids, this is a great rifle to have them hunt small game.

Ruger 10/22 Take Down

I installed Trijicon HD Night Sights on my Sig Sauer P226 which is my main home defense handgun.  The Tritium-phosphor lamp lights up brightly in low-light or no-light environments for fast and accurate target acquisition.

Trijicon HD Night Sights

During Shot Show, I picked up some Manta Rail Guards and I love the way the grip feels.  It’s very similar to silicone material and it can endure high temperatures.  It comes in black, fde, and od green.

Manta AR-15 Rail Guard

Depending on the season, hunting in the California mountains can range from 15-110 degrees.  From hiking in the snow trying to climb steep mountains looking like I was on the NordicTrack, to blistering heat boiling water in my pack, if there is one thing I have learned is dressing properly.  I don’t mind the heat too much because I can wear light layers, but the cold is one thing I cannot stand if I am not moving around.  Hunting still in a tree stand or blind early in the morning I am miserable.  I hate the cold.  For females our core body temperature is approximately 10 degrees or so colder than a male.  I have purchased a lot of different hunting clothes, and one thing I will never go without hunting in the stand/blind is a PrimaLoft jacket.  I purchased a Russell Outdoors APXG2 L4 Primaloft Lightning Jacket for $40 because the brand was discontinued.  I had no idea I ran into such a gem of an item.  Although for me it is a little on the heavier side as far as weight is concerned for hiking, it has kept my upper body snug and warm while waiting in the stand/blind for deer to pass by.


I’d love to hear what products our readers enjoyed.  Please feel free to share and happy shooting!

Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group, Grip-23

Several months ago Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group (www.ucwrg.com) provided us with a few of their Grip-23 AR15 grips. I was very happy to have the opportunity to get my hands on them as they are hard to get. Jaime, at UCWRG was a pleasure to deal with and you could tell their customer service was a top priority.

UCWRG Grip-23
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black

First impressions:

Several things interested me in the Grip-23. Our friends at Tactical Link (www.tacticallink.com) got me interested in UCWRG. I saw the Grip-23 showing up on rifles, in a lot of Tactical Link’s pictures, on their Facebook page. I wanted to try some of the new grips that were coming out with a more vertical grip. I have had some wrist issues and felt that the more vertical grip would help me with those issues. At just twenty dollars,  the Grip-23 is a lot less than other big name grips. After receiving two Grip-23’s from UCWRG, one in FDE and another in Black, I mounted them on two of my rifles.

Initially I was worried about liking the grip. Magpul Design Group was consulted about AR15 grip design and several prototypes resulted from this information. I have never been a fan of the Magpul grips and was apprehensive about any influence the consulting had in the Design of the Grip-23. Once I mounted the Grip-23, I immediately felt the benefits of the more vertical angle of the grip. It is a no frills, simple, no B.S. design.

UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black.
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black.
USWRG Grip-23 FDE, Magpul FDE L-Plate, Tactical Link Z-360 Patriot Brown.
USWRG Grip-23 FDE, Magpul FDE L-Plate, Tactical Link Z-360 Patriot Brown.

Grip-23 Ergonomics:

When you look at the Grip-23, you notice it has an extended beaver tail or (Tang) on the grip, much like the Magpul grips but the Grip-23’s is larger.  This larger, thicker tang pushes the web of the hand down farther than other grips. The benefit to this is a straight pull in the trigger.  The index finger/trigger finger is parallel to the bore of the rifle and this allows a straight to the rear pull on the trigger.  This index helps with accuracy and quicker follow up shots. With traditional angled grips, I find that my trigger finger is coming down at a slight angle. If you have some kind of match trigger like a Geissele in your AR, you will definitely see the benefits to the improved  ergonomics.

Another thing I noticed with the better index, was the reach on the magazine release. The lower hand grip, more vertical angle and parallel index  allows you to get a full finger pad on the magazine release. This gave a positive no doubt press to release the magazine, on a reload.

UCWRG Grip-23, Grip.
UCWRG Grip-23, Grip.
UCWRG Grip-23,  Grip Width.
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black, Grip Width.

The vertical angle of the Grip-23 also lends itself to an elbow down shooting position with the fire control hand/arm.  This helps you avoid (Chicken Wing) with your strong side arm. With the more vertical  grip and elbow down hold, you can get the rifle closer into your body and control recoil better. I have had several injuries involving my wrist. With a tradition angled grips, my wrist hurts or becomes fatigued when I have to remove my support hand from the rifle.  I found with the Grip-23 I was able to support the weapon, with one hand, for longer periods of time, without my wrist hurting or forcing me to lower the rifle. This made working the charging handle and doing magazine exchanges much easier. One area that you really notice a difference in the angle of the grip, is in a low ready or hanging position. Much like if you were patrolling or doing perimeter security. It feels much more natural when holding the grip in low ready as you don’t have your wrist kinked like on a standard grip.

UCWRG Grip-23, Black, Colt LE6940.
UCWRG Grip-23 Black, on Colt LE6940.


As I stated in the beginning, the Grip-23 is a simple, no B.S. design. Having said that, the no fills simplicity but well thought out design is what this grip is all about.  I have never used the storage compartments in other grips and the Grip-23 happens to have no storage feature. It has a hollow open bottom like a standard A2 grip. There is no trigger gap extension, to cover up the infamous gap at the trigger guard, that you find on other grips. UCWRG understands that most users are replacing the standard trigger guard with a Magpul trigger guard or other similar manufacturer enhanced trigger guard.  The Magpul trigger guards come on most of the big name (Colt, Daniel Defense, BCM) rifle manufactures now, so the gap extension is not needed. The Grip-23 has a smooth, none aggressive texture.  After market stippling is common for those who want a more aggressive surface.

By focusing on the angle and placement of the fire control hand, in relation to the trigger and controls of the AR15 platform, UCWRG has created a grip that enhances AR15 handling performance at a very low cost. In most cases $15.00 to $20.00 less than other aftermarket grips.

UCWRG Grip-23, Black on Colt LE6920.
UCWRG Grip-23 Black, on Colt LE6920.

Overall Impressions:

I really like the UCWRG Grip-23. I think it enhances overall weapon handling and manipulation. The Grip-23 is competing heavily with my favorite go to grip at half the price. One thing you will notice in all of my pictures, there is a Tactical Link Z-360 sling mount on all of the rifles. The Grip-23 gives good separation between the grip and mount. If you like the Z-360 mounts the Grip-23 is a very nice addition in combination with the Z-360 mount.  As I continue to mess around with the Grip-23, I like the benefits of the Grip-23 more and more.  In my opinion, for the price, you will not get another grip that gives you more ergonomic and weapon handling performance than the UCWRG Grip-23. Personally, the UCWRG Grip-23 is also just damn sexy looking on a rifle. I think the Grip-23 will find it’s way on to more of my AR15’s in the future.


Review: HSGI Woosatch

Article submitted by Daniel Martin.


I had a chance to get out the past couple weekends and put a few miles on a new plate carrier I picked up from High Speed Gear Inc. (http://www.highspeedgearinc.com ).

Ive been searching around a while to find a carrier that was comfortable enough to wear for a period of time in the summer without roasting you in the hot temperature’s and humidity.

I came across the HSGI Woosatch-A so I pulled the trigger and ordered one. The initial impressions when I pulled the rig out of the box was it seemed about like any other carrier I have tried so I gave it a look over inspecting the construction. I will admit I was impressed with the stitching and the redundancy of the stitching, im very picky about things like this as well as where the buckles are placed and the amount of adjustability without the rig seeming deformed at its extreme points of adjustment.

I threw some pouches on it in my normal configuration with a set of large SAPI plates  and went out to give it a test run.


HSGI Woosatch


Everything worked as expected, and felt a lot like some of the other rigs I have ran in the past.

One note I will make is I also purchased the shoulder pads which are absolutely essential if you intend to run plates in these rigs as the shoulder straps are very thin. The added padding helped a lot but didn’t bunch up my shoulders when shouldering a rifle.


This carrier does have an internal bladder pouch for running a hydration bladder but I prefer to run one on the back as opposed to putting it in the rig. There is PLENTY of room to run the largest bladder you can find in the internal pouch.

Here is a side profile shot, This was one of the reasons that sold me on the Woosatch-A. It does not wrap around the sides like a lot of other carriers allowing breathing room in hot weather. Those looking for a little more realestate on the rig can look into the Woosatch-E which adds another couple molle loops on the sides.


HSGI Woosatch


Below is a good shot of the pouches where you can drop the plates in. I tested this rig with large SAPI plates and fitment was no issue, Also when looking at these rigs you may find some at different online retailers. If you have a chance to handle one make sure to look on the inside part that sits against your chest.

Only real HSGI carriers sport the leather patch, so you know it’s the real deal.


HSGI Woosatch


Now on to my gripes with this setup.

As I stated earlier if you run plates with this rig spend the money on the shoulder pads, they are well worth it and in my opinion should be included with the rig anyway. Even if you consider loading it down with 6-8 AR mags it will be uncomfortable to wear for more than a couple hours without them.

Also in addition there is zero padding  in the plate pouches, after a few hours in the rig it became uncomfortable on my shoulder blades moving in different positions rubbing against a hard plate, so I took an old excersize matt and cut out the dimensions of my plate to make a pad.


HSGI Woosatch


This added enough padding to wear the carrier without discomfort for longer periods of time.

To wrap things up with the price of the carrier being considerably cheaper (roughly $180 shipped) than a lot of the other rigs on the market. its very comfortable with the added padding and breathes well in summer heat. Also take into account that these are hand made by HSGI in North Carolina and the fact that they have a lifetime warranty on their gear makes this a great rig for summer or any other situation where side armor plates are not required.