I have trained with Craig Douglas of Shivworks a few times and learned about appendix carry in an Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ECQC) course in Missouri in 2013. www.shivworks.com describes ECQC as: “…a two and a half day (20 hours) block of instruction which focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach to building functional, combative handgun skills at zero to five feet.” For those of you who have done ECQC, you know that that description is no exaggeration.
At my first ECQC I carried IWB, strong side. This worked pretty well but I could definitely tell a difference in my performance relative to the performance of others that were carrying Appendix IWB (AIWB). One of the principles of gun fighting from zero to five feet is to keep your hands and arms inside your shoulders and hips. This helps to prevent getting limbs “caught up” by your opponent/aggressor/guy-that-needs-to-be-shot and also serves to draw and retain your weapon more effectively.
By keeping your weapon closer to the center-line of your body you keep your arms and hands inside the hips and shoulders and can draw much more effectively. This is particularly true when you are entangled and don’t have the ability to sweep a cover garment and draw from a strong side IWB holster that’s behind your hip.
At ECQC 2013 I noticed that most of the AIWB holsters were from Keepers Concealment. Craig Douglas had a lot of positive things to say about Keepers Concealment. I decided to take ECQC again (once is never enough), and wanted to run AIWB.
I contacted Spencer Keepers and he provided me a left-handed “The Keeper” for a G19/G23 to try at ECQC in exchange for an honest review. Spencer is a great guy to deal with and I had The Keeper in just a few days.
I was impressed with the out-of-box experience right away. Keepers Concealment provided the holster, detailed instructions, foam wedges of various sizes, a morale patch, a rubber bracelet, and a business card. Aside from the list of items above, what I was most impressed with was the quality of the holster and attention to detail in its construction and manufacture. I’ve tried to capture this in the pictures but they just don’t do the workmanship justice.
With my new AIWB holster in hand I signed up for ECQC in Chino Valley, AZ in June of 2015 and was joined by long time CD Community member John Murphy. As expected, ECQC did not disappoint and we were doing Combatives on Friday night almost immediately. Saturday morning had the first shooting module and my first opportunity to draw from the Keepers AIWB with live fire.
The holster fit my G19 very well from the beginning. In fact, I did not have to do any adjustment at all. The pistol slipped flawlessly into the holster and “snapped” into place as the well-crafted Kydex closed around the trigger guard.
Keepers also provide different sized triangular foam shims that are attached via hook and loop to the distal area of the holster. These shims adjust the cant of the pistol to move the pistol grip closer to or further away from the waistline above the belt. I needed to try a few of these to get the right fit. I did not find wearing the holster while driving terribly comfortable until I put on the smallest shim. I would still not say that sitting down with this holster is comfortable, but I’ll take the increased utility over the discomfort.
Saturday afternoon we began ECQC training evolutions where we managed unknown contacts. This was a two on one scenario and used Simmunitions FX in Glock 17 T-guns. The G17 fit well enough into my Keepers AIWB for me to run the evo’s and proved very capable. I really appreciated the AIWB over the IWB.
Sunday morning was the second shooting portion of the course and it grouped learned skills together from zero to about five feet. The Keepers Holster continued to shine through this phase of ECQC as well as the rest.
Overall I’m quite happy with “The Keeper” and am using it for concealed carry regularly. I’m still not terribly comfortable sitting down with it, but that’s just more motivation to get into the gym. The Keeper lists for $169.99, which is not on the inexpensive end of the holster scale. However, I think that the quality and craftsmanship put into The Keeper warrant this price. I think I will be buying one for my Glock 17 soon.
If you have any additional questions of feedback please let me know. Jeff@Compettion-Dynamics.com