Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we looked at the new tools available for dry fire practice. If you happened to miss that article, be sure to check it out here. When it comes to carry gear, most people don’t think about the overall life of certain items. Whether it’s your favorite holster, carry ammo or other tools, it’s important to know when it’s time to refresh certain items and how often you should consider each item. It’s easy to overlook these items but for the best performance out of your gear, it’s a good idea to refresh everything. Let’s take a closer look at consumable carry items.
For the vast majority of people, holsters have a long service life and will typically last people year after year when properly used and looked after. However, even with proper care, both Kydex and leather holsters start to wear out and break down over time. Let’s take a closer look at some things to watch out for when it comes to Kydex and leather holsters.
Kydex holsters are some of the toughest holsters you can have in terms of protection and durability. Unlike leather holsters, Kydex doesn’t require much maintenance to keep everything working well. The biggest thing to watch with Kydex holsters is the amount of dirt and debris inside the actual channels of the holster. If debris and dirt get into the holster, there’s a chance you can damage the finish of your gun. This debris starts to wear the finish of your gun leaving “holster wear” which is actually debris, not the Kydex rubbing on your handgun’s finish. It’s never a bad idea to mark your screw locations to make sure the retention screws don’t back out over time causing you to lose that audible click retention.
By far the easiest way to track this is simply putting a line across the screw with a paint marker or permanent marker to give you a reference point. If you live in areas with cold winter months, you’ll want to keep an eye on your holsters for potential stress cracks. Kydex holsters can occasionally crack or become brittle if you spend a prolonged time outside in cold winter temps. It’s rare but I’ve had a few things break over the last few years during winter months due to Kydex parts becoming brittle. It’s rare but definitely something to consider.
Leather holsters are a comfortable fantastic option in certain situations but do take some more maintenance than other holster options. Typically I like to condition my leather holsters at least twice a year to help keep their form and not dry out prematurely. This is especially important on older holsters that start to lose their overall shape. If the holster starts to become brittle or floppy, it can become dangerous at a certain point. There are a number of articles online about people using worn-out holsters that lose their rigidity and as a result, they end up allowing the handgun to discharge while still inside the holster.
People have been shot by their own handguns from worn-out leather holsters activating the trigger. Again, it’s a rare occurrence but there’s no reason to risk it with the relatively low cost of purchasing a new holster. It’s always good to have quality equipment rather than cutting corners and trying to use items past their effective life span.
Probably the number one neglected piece of gear for concealed carriers has to be their self-defense ammo. Depending on your climate and how often you carry, you should be changing your carry ammo out every 6-12 months. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked to people with the same carry ammo in their gun for 5 or 6 years which shouldn’t ever happen.
People think carry ammo is good but over time depending on your location carry ammo can be the victim of bullet setback or moisture. Ammo for your carry gun is one of the cheapest and easiest accessories to regularly replace so there’s no reason to go years without swapping it out. Oftentimes, I will take my older carry ammo and use it for the first or last rep of a range trip. This allows me to understand its reliability in my handgun as well as train with the actual recoil from my self-defense ammunition.
One thing that doesn’t get talked about often is the actual maintenance and parts replacement on your carry handgun. For the overwhelming majority of people reading this, you won’t have to replace the internal parts of your firearm but some will eventually have to do it. There’s only been a couple of handguns in my collection that I needed to change out springs and parts to ensure they stay 100% reliable. My SIG P226 has over 16,000 rounds through it and as a result, I’ve had to change the internal springs as well as the recoil springs a few times now. When a pistol starts to have such a high round count like this, it’s incredibly important to look at your springs to keep the overall reliability at 100%. Most of you won’t have to worry about it, but it’s absolutely something to consider over time.
In the craziness of daily life, it’s easy to forget about inspecting your gear since you already invested in the initial purchase. Throughout your daily life, things start to degrade and get worn out just from everyday use. It’s absolutely normal and things just hit their replacement point. Ammo is typically the first thing to need replacing, but given enough time holsters will wear out and eventually, your actual firearm will need maintenance if you shoot it enough. It’s not something to stress about but it’s definitely important to check your equipment regularly as well as keep it clean.
What do you guys think? Do you replace certain parts of your carry loadout as often as you should or do you try to get as much life out of them as possible? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below but remember to keep things classy. If you have questions about carry gear or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week for another edition of Concealed Carry Corner.