Review: Versacarry Single Ply Leather Belt for Concealed Carry


On a mission to prove or disprove the controversy of belts specifically designed for concealed carry, I tested the Versacarry Single Ply Leather Belt for concealed carry. While there are no one size fits all solutions when it comes to anything as it relates to firearms or concealed carry, should you consider the Versacarry Concealed Carry Belt as part of your every day carry?

This particular belt is a single ply of leather. Versacarry also makes double ply leather as well as some other companies which may insert steel or kydex into the belt. The belt is available in either black or brown with a nickle plated buckle.

At .2″ thick the belt is thicker than the average belt you would buy from a clothing store. Having said that, the belt didn’t seem to offer much more support that the typical clothing store belts I had been previously wearing.

The nickle plated buckle simply snaps onto the leather belt. I did have a concern that it would become unsnapped. However this concern never became a reality. During my months of wearing the versa carry single ply concealed carry belt  the belt remained secure, and stayed together.

Versacarry Concealed Carry Single Ply Leather Belt Black
Versacarry Concealed Carry Single Ply Leather Belt Black

With all belts, it’s a good idea to purchase a size or two larger than your pant size. That is especially true when purchasing a belt for inside the waistband concealed carry.  The firearm will add inches to your waist line. The Versacarry website has sizing directions on their website.

In summary, the Versacarry single ply leather belt was a minor improvement over a typical clothing store belt. Because the versacarry single ply leather belt was on sale, making it about the same price as a typical clothing store belt, it was absolutely worth the price.  In future articles I will test and review thicker double ply belts, and see if that makes any difference.

Be armed. Be trained. Be Alpha.


Are finger prints required for an Illinois Concealed Carry License?


A fairly common question, and one that has received alot of disinformation from various sources, is the question “Are finger prints required for an Illinois concealed carry license?”

The short and simple answer is probably not.  That’s kind of vague though. In most cases finger prints are not required, however the Illinois FCCL Licensing Review Board may request finger prints on a case by case basis. This request likely would only happen if you have a very common name.  Students who CHOOSE to submit finger prints with their application may receive their License approvals up to 30 days quicker than those who choose to submit their license application without finger prints.

Even though finger prints are optional, some instructors are insisting their students must get finger printed.  While there is nothing wrong with getting finger printed before applying for your Illinois Concealed Carry license, it simply is not true that it is a requirement for every applicant. Infact the added fees for the live scan finger printing service only serves to drive up the price to exercise a freedom, the right to bear arms.

So why are some unscrupulous persons insisting that applicants must be finger printed?  I can’t answer for all, but it’s probably about money.  Some instructors have gotten setup with the very costly Live Scan finger print scanners, and are now trying to recoup that investment. Other live scan finger print vendors whom have been setup scanning for other purposes are offering instructors kick backs.

But don’t take my word for it. The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act (FCCL) states the following in regards to finger prints:

The Board shall issue a decision within 30 days of receipt of the objection from the Department. However, the Board need not issue a decision within 30 days if:
(1) the Board requests information from the applicant, including but not limited to electronic fingerprints to be submitted to the Department, in accordance with subsection (e) of this Section, in which case the Board shall make a decision within 30 days of receipt of the required information from the applicant;

(8) a full set of fingerprints submitted to the Department in electronic format, provided the Department may accept an application submitted without a set of in which case the Department shall be granted 30 days in addition to the 90 days provided under subsection (e) of Section 10 of this Act to issue or deny a license;

Sec. 50. License renewal. Applications for renewal of a license shall be made to the Department. A license shall be renewed for a period of 5 years upon receipt of a completed renewal application, completion of 3 hours of training required under Section 75 of this Act, payment of the applicable renewal fee, and completion of an investigation under Section 35 of this Act. The renewal application shall contain the information required in Section 30 of this Act, except that the applicant need not resubmit a full set of fingerprints.

In considering an objection of a law enforcement agency or the Department, the Board shall review the materials received with the objection from the law enforcement agency or the Department. By a vote of at least 4 commissioners, the Board may request additional information from the law enforcement agency, Department, or the applicant, or the testimony of the law enforcement agency, Department, or the applicant. The Board may require that the applicant submit electronic fingerprints to the Department for an updated background check where the Board determines it lacks sufficient information to determine eligibility. The Board may only consider information submitted by the Department, a law enforcement agency, or the applicant. The Board shall review each objection and determine by a majority of commissioners whether an applicant is eligible for a license.

(1) the Board requests information from the applicant, including but not limited to electronic fingerprints, to be submitted to the Department, in accordance with subsection (e) of this Section, in which case the Board shall make a decision within 30 days of receipt of the required information from the applicant;


Read the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act here:

Now that you have the facts, if you are considering an instructor who is telling you that fingerprints are mandatory one of two things is happening; Either the instructor has not read the law, or the instructor is intentionally misleading you. Ask yourself, “Either way is this the right instructor for me?”


Update September 8th, 2016

It has come to my attention that some finger print vendors are claiming that it may take 150 days for the Illinois State Police to process your Illinois Concealed Carry License Application if submitted without prints. I have heard this vendor state twice that the ISP is sending out extension letters for applications without prints.

THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is a scare tactic to trick you into getting finger prints. Currently applications without fingerprints are taking about 110 days on average while applications with finger prints are taking about 45 days, based on conversations with my students and other licensees. Yes your application will be processed quicker if you get finger prints done, but I can not stand lies and scare tactics!

The following is a correspondence from the Illinois State Police on this subject…

ISP FSB has not sent any extension letters out. Only the CCLRB has requested additional time and it does not matter if prints are submitted or not. If you apply without fingerprints it is processed in 120 days.

Illinois State Police
Firearms Services Bureau
Concealed Carry Unit


Magpul’s Art of the Dynamic Handgun DVD set: Gear Review


The Art of the Dynamic Handgun by Magpul Dynamics is a DVD set recorded during a multi-day class as instructed by Travis Haley and Chris Costa.

Though this video is several years old, released in 2010, the information contained in the Art of the Dynamic Handgun DVD set is very valid. Also, it is important to note that no DVD really can replace hands on instruction from a qualified instructor, this DVD set is one of the better DIY at home training DVD’s.

Topics of discussion in the Art of the Dynamic Handgun include:

  • The shooting fundamentals broken down into the “Core Three” as Haley and Costa teach it.
  • Deploying the firearm from the strong side holster in a smooth fashion.
  • Reloading techniques including administrative, slide lock and tactical.  When to use each reloading method and how to do it.
  • Shooting Drills to find your failure points, self diagnose, and push past them to become a better shooter.
  • Travis Haley also discusses concealed carry and the mindset necessary to be able to effectively carry a concealed firearm.

As the instructors are doing their thing, they are teaching the why in addition to the how. In my life, understanding why I do something is critical to mastering that skill.  It’s one thing for an instructor to say “Do it this way.” It’s another thing for the instructor to say, “This is one way it can be done, and these are the reasons this is the preferred method.” This is a teaching style I use in my own classes and I am glad to see nationally recognized instructors utilizing the same techniques.

The 1st DVD focuses on the fundamentals, stance, grip, sight picture, sight alignment, trigger control, hold control and follow through. The instructors do a good job breaking this down into what they call the core three, and then explain and demonstrate shooting using only 2 of the core principals.

Also on the 1st DVD Haley and Costa explain reloads and malfunction clearing.  Further the explain training techniques you can do either with a shooting buddy or alone to self diagnose shooting flaws and force malfunction drills. The first DVD finishes with instruction on various unorthodox handgun shooting positions


The 2nd DVD takes the fundamentals learned on the first DVD and begins to introduce dynamic movement based on reality then builds from there. Approximately half way through the DVD scenario based training begins. This scenario based training is similar to what you may experience in a defensive pistol competition or force on force training class.

Shooting on the Move - Art of Dynamic Handgun - Travis Haley
Shooting on the Move – Art of Dynamic Handgun – Travis Haley

The 3rd DVD in the set is the concealed carry DVD. Within this DVD the instructors build the previously learned fundamentals and skills around every day life and clothing. Also, the instructors explain that carrying a concealed firearm is a life style choice. Topics of discussion surrounds public perception, liability, wardrobe selection and more.

Also discussed is holster selection and the draw backs of purchasing a cheap holster. Later the instructors demonstrate one-handed shooting, reloading, and malfunction techniques.


The 4th DVD provides the viewer with a number of drills that the shooter can try on their home range, or utilizing dry practice in their home.

One Hand Malfunction Techniques - Art of Dynamic Handgun - Costa
One Hand Malfunction Techniques – Art of Dynamic Handgun – Costa

Overall Magpul’s Art of the Dynamic Handgun is one of the better DIY at home training DVD’s on the market and recommended as a introduction for new shooters before taking a defensive pistol class, or for intermediate level shooters as a refresher and to utilize shooting drills. The DVD’s are worth watching twice.