If you have read The WON for the past year, you might recognize the name Tom McHale, proprietor and publisher of the gun blog titled “My Gun Culture.”
We like to banter with Tom about holsters, power washers and turkey decoys. He is a huge supporter of women in the shooting sports and if we need help regarding holsters, he’s the guy to turn to for advice. In fact, he knows so much about holster selection that he wrote a book about them for his series titled “Insanely Practical Guides.” The book, “The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters,” also contains a chapter devoted to women and holster choices.
Fortunately, Tom took the time to answer our questions regarding the book and his personal decision to model ankle holsters.
The WON: Why should someone read this book?
Tom: Oh, great. We’re starting off with tough, probing questions are we? What, is this 60 Minutes or Dateline? I’m outta here.
The WON: Relax. Just consider this experience as if you were in an interview by all the women at “The View,” minus the conservative one, Elizabeth, plus Rosie O’Donnell.
Tom: Well, OK. There are three good reasons someone should read this book. First, there are dozens of ways to safely carry a gun. The book goes through concealed carry options by style. The book is categorized by area such as belt carry, pocket carry, off-body carry, and even underwear carry! For each style, we cover pros and cons along with tips gained from hard-earned personal experience.
Second, it’s hard to buy a holster. Local stores rarely carry many styles or brands. That leaves the Internet, which can be somewhat bewildering. By covering over 120 holsters in detail, we hope to help people find the right one so they don’t waste a lot of money on unused holsters.
Last, but not least, it’s an entertaining read. If you want to learn with a laugh, this book is for you. We had a lot of fun putting this together – from the Half-Cocked cartoons to somewhat silly anecdotes. If you don’t think Mayor Bloomberg, Cher and Lindsay Lohan could be mentioned in a book about gun holsters, you might want to read this one.
The WON: How many years’ worth of experience of trying holsters is included in this book? Approximately, how many holsters have you tried? (I know, there are 120 in the book.)
Tom: I’ve actually been a holster geek since my early childhood. I have vague, early memories of rigging a thigh holster below my Pampers to carry a spare apple juice and three reloads of Animal Crackers. Accessibility was good, but sogginess could be a problem.
But when it comes to gun holsters, my experience is a little more recent. I started collecting them in about 2001. Since that time I’ve acquired, borrowed or played with several hundred models. I’m surprised the folks at Galco and BlackHawk! haven’t set up a dedicated 800 number for me yet!
The WON: You give a piece of sage advice, based on your experience with the flying GLOCK, and that’s always to bend over when testing a holster. Please elaborate.
Tom: Who knew GLOCKs could fly! I tell ya, it’s an engineering marvel! Before you know it, we’ll have other modern miracles like blankets with arm sleeves in them!
With this particular story, I was using an undershirt holster, where the gun was secured in a pocket on the left side of my chest. When you’re standing upright, gravity is your friend, as it helps keep the gun planted securely in the fabric pocket – the opening is at the top. When you bend over and get sideways, the holster pocket is oriented with the opening toward the ground.
The grip of the gun, with all that heavy ammunition in it, tends to want to exit the premises and bring the rest of the gun with it. And therein lies the potential problem. At the time, this particular holster shirt was made with a small, single Velcro tab to keep the pocket closed. And that was no match to contain a rapidly accelerating GLOCK. So testing some everyday motions, like bending over, can save you a lot of embarrassment – or worse.
The WON: But then, after giving that advice, you tell people to avoid bending over if they need to pick something up when wearing a holster and gun. Shouldn’t you feel confident in your holster? I thought you were supposed to bend over? I’m confused.
Tom: Aha! I KNEW this was one of those interviews where you show up at my office with a camera crew and try to trap me! I should refer you to my attorney, but just this once, I’ll answer the question. But I’m not commenting on that “alleged” roller skating outing with Senator Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg. They key word is “alleged” after all.
The WON: You digress. Please will you get back to the point?
In this section, I was talking about belt holsters and the issue of your gun “printing” (showing its outline against your shirt or jacket) if you bend over. You’ve got a fixed object mounted at your belt line and when you bend over and hinge at the waist, the metal gun stays rigid and in place in a vertical position, causing the grip to stick out a bit. If you bend at the knees, your torso stays in line with the gun and there it no telltale bulge in the shirt. As I found out the hard way, bending at the knees would have also prevented my flying GLOCK incident.
Regardless, even though many carry methods are safer and more invisible if you use your knees, it’s a good idea to try all (normal) ranges of motion with a new holster and a double-checked unloaded gun just to get an idea of how well it will stay put – and, if any particular movements will cause it to print against your clothing. Again, with an unloaded gun, do a quick Samba dance, hug a significant other, sit in some chairs and get in and out of a car. Just to see how your holster will function through your daily activities.
The WON: Where did you find research that supports your claims about William Wallace and Napoleon’s holsters?
Tom: Our team of trained historians watched the movie “Braveheart” at least several times. Using advanced “pause and rewind” techniques with a sophisticated piece of electronic equipment known in engineering circles as a “remote,” we were able to spot one end of a roll of Mentos sticking out of Mel Gibson’s sporran.
The Napoleon investigation was even tougher. Plowing through late 18th and early 19th century Gendarme burglary reports, we stumbled across repeated complaints from one Joséphine de Beauharnais Bonaparte reporting stolen brassieres. Given the security at the Bonaparte residence, there could only be one suspect: her husband. Hence, our discovery of his budding man-bra-holster manufacturing business. Simple deduction in both cases, Dr. Watson!
The WON: Have you ever truly mistaken a Crimson Trace laser being activated in someone’s inner waistband holster as a urinary tract infection? Were you referring to the red or green model?
Tom: I can’t really comment on personal matters, but identifying the type depends the, umm, severity of the issue. Green glows indicate mild to moderate symptoms, but when you see the red glow, run, don’t walk, to your nearest emergency room!
The WON: IWB (Inside Waistband) section –the “Love Handle Quotient.” How did you arrive at that number, and now that Twinkies are not being manufactured, is there another tasteless, sugar, cream-filled pastry you might recommend?
Tom: The love handle quotient formula is not really my original work. As it involves comparison of one’s waist size to the diameter of the moon, you can probably imagine the original source of the algorithm. That’s right. NASA. Back in the early ’60s, during planning for the moon mission, NASA engineers were faced with a problem. Unsure as to whether to pack three fit astronauts into the Apollo capsule, or just Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell, they had to do some waist-size calculation for space suit fitting. I simply repurposed some great work by those geeky guys with narrow ties. Who says that space program investments don’t result in real-life technology applications?
It’s a good thing that the “Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters” will be updated annually. Since Twinkies are no longer available, we’ll have to find a new love handle generation food. Stay tuned for the final answer, but we’re considering Deep Fried Butter.
The WON: Let’s talk about the importance of dressing for concealment. I’ve never read the tip about stapling your blazer to your thigh to prevent flashing of your gun. Do you recommend silver or gray trousers?
Tom: Well you have to think about blending in first and foremost. If you’re using anodized staples for better corrosion resistance, then I would go with a medium shade of grey for the pants.
The WON: You declare that skinny jeans and ankle holsters do not mix well. Where would you wear skinny jeans?
Tom: Obviously … I only wear skinny jeans on the weekends.
Tom: That was a new experience for me. I made a promise to myself early in my career that I would never do nude scenes – even for the part of a lifetime. So when I had the opportunity to raise my pants legs to show off the ankle holsters I faced a bit of a moral dilemma. After several seconds of intense soul searching, I decided that sex might help sell more books, so I ditched my principles and showed some skin.
As for the underwear holster shots, I have to confess that was a body double. Remember the part about love handles and Twinkies earlier?
Tom: I’ve been put away in a home for years now so I love to get visitors! But only weekdays from 5 to 6 p.m. or Nurse Ratched gets a little cranky. On second thought, visiting at the home might not be such a great idea, so I would encourage people to join me on social media sites.
I’m on Facebook daily at facebook.com/mygunculture. Feel free to submit comments, photos or interesting shooting links!
Don’t like to read? Find me on Pinterest at pinterest.com/mygunculture. We’re always posting photos of products, gear and other interesting things there.
I’m easy to find on Twitter. Just look for the person who is continually being tormented and unfairly harassed by Women’s Outdoor News. Or you can just go direct and find me at twitter.com/mygunculture. I drop by there once in a blue moon, as in about 2,374 times per day.
If anyone is one of the 12 folks using Google+, I can be found there as well at gplus.to/tommchale
The WON: What’s next in the “Insanely Practical Guides” line? May we recommend one on Congress?
Tom: I think it’s a violation of the Patriot Act to use the words “practical” and “Congress” in the same sentence isn’t it?
I’m glad you asked about the next Insanely Practical Guides editions. We’re almost finished with the second in the series and it will be an insanely practical introduction to guns and shooting. As for Congress? Well, close. “The Insanely Practical Guide to the Second Amendment” will be available right after that. Both will be out by late spring or early summer.
“The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters,” is available at Amazon [Kindle Edition] for $9.99.
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