There are two basic ways to clear a closed front cover garment. One is to use the support hand to clear the garment, leaving the shooting hand to only grab the handgun and go, picking up the support hand on the way. The second option is to clear the cover garment with the shooting hand, use the support hand to back it up if available, then grab the gun and go. The argument generally made for option one is that it is faster, and maybe keeps the garment clear and little better. The argument for option two is that within a defensive context, there are not guarantees my support hand will be free, and is option 2 really and slower than option 1.
I fall in the option 2 group. Since I carry strong side IWB, I think option 2 definitely works better. It allows me to clear the garment better regardless of its construction (materials, etc.) and not get caught up on the butt of the pistol, which I have seen happen. Even if it is a slightly slower technique, I am willing to give up a tiny bit of speed for better clearance, but I think that is overblown anyway. I also like having my support hand free. Throughout my day, I would say my support hand is more often than not occupied doing something. Holding something, moving something, whatever. Sticking with option 2 also simplifies my training and learning process, but I think that is just a bonus. To illustrate some of my points, here is some video.
First video is me (I am the fat dude closest to the camera), and you can see how well the cover garment clears the handgun, even just using one hand. Also note the dude at the opposite end of the firing line, using primarily his support hand to clear the garment, and how much trouble he has.
In the above video if you watch the second dude, you will also not some of the speed advantages of appendix carry, and this is where I think the use the shooting hand to clear the cover garment or use the support hand to clear the cover garment really is an argument worth having. With the gun being close to center line, it is easier to clear the cover garment with the support hand now. You don’t have to bring the support hand all the way across the body to clear the gun like you do if carrying strong side IWB. So now the argument boils down to if carrying AIWB, which clearance method is fastest, and is there enough value in keeping my support hand free to give up a little speed.
Well let me tell you, there isn’t much speed advantage, if any. In this next video the guy on the right is Mike Seeklander. He uses his shooting hand to clear his cover garment, and as you can see, he is smoking me from (the guy on the left), and I am running from an OWB holster.
I don’t have video of it, but another experience with Mike was in a heads up shoot off, the drill being to fire 1 round in an 8″ circle from 7-ish yards. Mike started facing away from the target, and would pivot, draw, and get his hit before the guy he was shooting against could get a hit even though that person didn’t have to pivot. It just goes to illustrate that using the shooting hand to clear the cover garment doesn’t have to be any slower than using the support hand, and it comes with the benefit of keeping the support hand free for other task, and simplifies the training process. Just my 2 cents.