Complete Guide to Concealed Carry Positions

Complete Guide to Concealed Carry Positions

Finding the best concealed carry position is all about striking that perfect balance between feeling comfortable, keeping things under wraps, and being able to reach for your firearm smoothly and swiftly when needed.

If you’re new to the concealed carry world or thinking about changing your current method, we’ve got your back as you sift through the possibilities. We’re diving deep into concealed carry positions to simplify your journey, helping you find that sweet spot for carrying your firearm with confidence.

Read the following articles to help with your concealed carry position:

Waistband Concealed Carry Position Names Explained

Waistband Concealed Carry Position Names Explained

Waistband concealed carry positions are often described using a clock face analogy, where the wearer’s front center is 12 o’clock, and the back center is 6 o’clock.

Positions around the waist are referred to based on their “time” location. For example, an appendix carry, which sits directly in front or slightly off to the side, might be considered at 1 or 2 o’clock for right-handed individuals.

This method helps quickly convey and understand where on the body the firearm is positioned, facilitating clearer communication among carriers.

Inside the Waistband (IWB) Carry Positions

Inside the Waistband (IWB) Carry Positions

Read How To Carry AIWB

Inside the Waistband (IWB) carry is a preferred method for most concealed carriers, offering a blend of concealability, comfort, and accessibility that’s hard to match.

This versatile carrying style, nestled between your body and pants, keeps your firearm discreetly hidden while ensuring it’s within easy reach. Whether you’re going about your daily routine or in situations that demand quick response, IWB carry positions cater to a wide range of personal preferences and body types, making it a go-to choice for personal defense.

Let’s explore the various IWB positions and their unique benefits to help you find your ideal carry setup.

Appendix Carry

Appendix carry is swiftly rising in popularity among concealed carry methods due to its blend of quick access and concealability. This position allows for an efficient and natural draw, making it highly favored in situations where speed is critical.

Its placement at the front of the waistband enables carriers to maintain better control over their firearm throughout the day, enhancing both comfort and safety.

As people look for more discreet and effective ways to carry, the appendix position stands out for its practicality and ease of access, appealing to a wide range of gun owners seeking a reliable carry method.

Strong Side Carry IWB

Strong side carry is appreciated for its balance of comfort, especially while standing or walking, and the ease with which the firearm can be concealed under a variety of clothing. It’s a reliable choice for those seeking a practical and efficient carry position that integrates seamlessly into daily life.

While Strong Side Carry IWB is a popular choice for its natural draw and ease of concealment, it’s important to note that comfort can vary significantly depending on the individual’s body type. Some people might find this position less comfortable, particularly when sitting or driving for extended periods, as the firearm can press against the body or the seat.

It highlights the necessity of selecting the right holster and clothing to maximize comfort and ensure the firearm remains discreetly concealed, underscoring the personal nature of finding the optimal carry position.

Kidney Carry

The Kidney carry method positions the firearm slightly behind the hip. It excels in reducing the visibility of the weapon, making it a preferred choice for those seeking to minimize printing through clothing.

Its popularity stems not only from its discreet nature but also from its adaptability to various body types and clothing styles. While accessibility may be slightly reduced compared to more frontal carry positions, many find the balance between concealment and comfort it offers to be ideal.

The Kidney Carry method requires thoughtful selection of holsters and attire to maximize its benefits, ensuring the firearm is both secure and accessible. Many people who carry here choose to use a holster like the Crossbreed SuperTuck or the Independence IWB Leather Holster. Both can be found in our Recommended Holsters page with coupon codes to save money.

Its widespread adoption reflects its effectiveness for daily carry, particularly among those who prioritize a more concealed approach.

Small of the Back Carry

The Small of the Back carry, situated directly in the middle of the back, offers deep concealment but is often discouraged for safety reasons. The primary concerns include the risk of injury to the spine or kidneys during a fall and the potential difficulty in accessing the firearm quickly, especially while seated.

Additionally, drawing from this position can be awkward and increases the risk of flagging oneself or bystanders. Due to these safety and accessibility issues, many in the concealed carry community recommend exploring alternative carry methods that offer a safer balance of concealment and quick access.

Cross Draw Carry

Cross Draw carry offers certain advantages like comfort while driving or sitting. However, its popularity has waned due to concerns over muzzle control and drawing in close quarters, as it requires the carrier to sweep the gun across the body, potentially pointing it at unintended targets.

These safety considerations, along with the increased risk of disarmament during a confrontation, have led many to prefer carry positions that allow for a more direct and controlled draw.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) Carry Positions

Outside the Waistband (OWB) Carry Positions

Outside the Waistband (OWB) carry is a method where the firearm is holstered outside the pants and attached to the belt, offering a blend of comfort and easy access.

This style is preferred for its quick draw capability and less intrusive feel, especially when moving or sitting, as it doesn’t press against the body as much as Inside the Waistband (IWB) carry. However, it poses a greater challenge in terms of concealment, requiring more thoughtful clothing choices to ensure the firearm remains hidden.

Despite the potential concealment issues, OWB carry remains a popular choice for many, especially in scenarios where open carry is legal or when the individual prioritizes comfort and ease of access over stealth.

Strong Side OWB Concealed Carry

Strong Side OWB Concealed Carry places the firearm on the carrier’s dominant side hip, offering a natural and quick draw. It is preferred for its ease of access and comfort, especially when standing or walking. However, concealing the firearm effectively under clothing can be more challenging compared to IWB carry.

Strong Side Open Carry

Strong Side Open Carry, also positioned on the dominant side hip, is similar in placement to its concealed counterpart but without the need for concealment under clothing.

This method is chosen for its straightforward access and ease of holstering. While it offers the advantage of deterrence in certain situations, it also requires heightened awareness of local laws and the potential for attracting unwanted attention.

Both carry methods emphasize the importance of a quality holster that secures the firearm while allowing for a smooth draw and reholstering, making them popular choices for those who prioritize accessibility and comfort in their carry method.

Pocket Carry

This method of carrying is favored for its discretion and ease of access, allowing individuals to blend into civilian life without drawing attention to the fact that they are armed. Pocket carry is particularly popular among those who wear clothing that does not easily accommodate traditional belt or shoulder holsters, or for situations where a more concealed approach to carrying a firearm is desired.

To effectively and safely pocket carry, it is essential to use a holster specifically designed for pocket use. These holsters typically have features that prevent the firearm from firing accidentally, keep the firearm in the correct orientation for quick drawing, and obscure the outline of the gun to prevent “printing” through the clothing.

Pocket carry’s downside is the speed in which you can draw your firearm. Be sure to train with pocket carry if you plan to use it.

The choice of firearm for pocket carry often leans towards smaller, compact models that are lightweight and less likely to cause discomfort or be overly conspicuous.

Off Body Carry

Off Body Carry

Off-body carry offers a unique set of advantages and challenges for those who choose to carry a concealed firearm. This method involves carrying a firearm in an item not attached to the wearer’s clothing, such as a backpack, purse, fanny pack, or belt bag.

While off-body carry can provide more flexibility and comfort, especially for individuals who may not wear clothing conducive to traditional on-body holsters, it also requires a higher degree of awareness and responsibility to ensure safety and accessibility.


Carrying a concealed firearm in a backpack is a popular choice for many, especially students, commuters, and travelers. Backpacks designed for concealed carry often feature dedicated compartments that allow for quick access to the firearm while keeping it securely holstered and separate from other items.

When choosing a backpack for off-body carry, look for features such as lockable zippers and discreet designs that do not advertise the presence of a weapon. The primary consideration with backpack carry is the need to maintain control of the backpack at all times to prevent unauthorized access.


Purses are a common method for off-body carry among women, offering the convenience of blending seamlessly with everyday attire. Concealed carry purses are specifically designed with dedicated compartments for firearms, providing both security and ease of access.

When selecting a purse for concealed carry, it’s important to consider the purse’s size, the ease of drawing from it, and how securely it can be carried to prevent theft. Like with backpacks, the challenge lies in maintaining constant control over the purse to ensure the firearm is always within reach and cannot be easily taken by an assailant.

Our article on Best Concealed Carry Purses

Fanny Packs & Belt Bags

Fanny packs and belt bags have seen a resurgence in popularity and are an excellent option for off-body carry, especially during physical activities or in casual settings. These carry methods offer the advantage of keeping the firearm close to the body while providing more accessibility and control than a backpack or purse might.

Many fanny packs and belt bags designed for concealed carry feature discreet compartments with quick-access mechanisms. It’s crucial to choose a design that allows for a smooth draw and to practice accessing the firearm to ensure proficiency in potentially high-stress situations.

Off-body carry, regardless of the method chosen, requires diligent practice, situational awareness, and an understanding of the unique challenges posed by not having the firearm directly on the body. Always prioritize safety features in any off-body carry option and regularly train with your chosen method to ensure confidence and competence in your ability to defend yourself.

Other Concealed Carry Position Options

In addition to traditional waistband positions and off-body carry methods, there are several other concealed carry options that cater to different clothing styles, body types, and personal preferences. These options include ankle holsters, belly bands, thigh holsters, and bra holsters, each offering unique advantages and considerations.

Ankle Holsters

Ankle holsters provide a discreet way to carry a small firearm or backup weapon, making them a popular choice for those who sit for long periods or prefer the lower body for concealment. Ideal for compact and subcompact firearms, ankle holsters are typically worn on the inside of the leg opposite the dominant hand.

They are most effective under pants with a looser fit and require practice for efficient drawing. Comfort and secure fit are critical when selecting an ankle holster, as is ensuring that the holster stays concealed during all types of movement.

Belly Bands

Belly bands offer a versatile and comfortable carry option that accommodates a wide range of clothing styles, including activewear, professional attire, and casual outfits. These bands wrap around the midsection and can be positioned anywhere from under the chest to the hips, providing a snug fit that secures the firearm close to the body.

Belly bands often have multiple pockets for a firearm, magazines, and even personal items. Their flexibility makes them a favorite for those seeking a concealment option that adapts to different activities and outfits.

Thigh Holsters

Thigh holsters are specifically designed for women’s concealment needs, particularly when wearing dresses or skirts. These holsters wrap around the thigh and are secured with straps, offering a hidden carry method that is both accessible and discreet. Thigh holsters must fit snugly to prevent slipping and ensure the firearm remains securely in place. Choosing a thigh holster with a silicone grip can enhance stability and comfort. As with other carry methods, practice drawing from a thigh holster is essential to ensure quick and safe access to the firearm.

Bra Holsters

Bra holsters provide an innovative solution for women, allowing for a firearm to be concealed directly under the arm or in the center chest area, depending on the design. These holsters attach to the bra or are incorporated into special concealment garments.

Bra holsters are ideal for small, lightweight firearms and offer the advantage of keeping the weapon highly concealed yet readily accessible. It’s important to select a bra holster that is compatible with your bra size and style to ensure comfort and concealment. Proper training and practice are crucial to become proficient in drawing from a bra holster safely.

Each of these concealed carry positions offers unique advantages and challenges, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right carry method for your lifestyle, clothing preferences, and the specific firearm you intend to carry. Regardless of the option chosen, prioritizing safety, comfort, and accessibility will ensure the most effective and responsible concealed carry experience.

Shoulder Holsters

Shoulder holsters provide a classic and sophisticated option for concealed carry, favored by those who prefer to carry their firearm under a jacket or coat. This carry method involves a harness worn over the shoulders, with the firearm positioned under the arm opposite the dominant hand.

Shoulder holsters are ideal for medium to large-sized firearms and are particularly suited for individuals who spend a lot of time sitting or driving, as they offer comfortable access in seated positions.

One of the key benefits of shoulder holsters is their ability to distribute the weight of the firearm across the shoulders, making them a comfortable choice for all-day wear.

They also facilitate the concealment of larger firearms that might be difficult to hide in waistband or ankle holsters. However, it’s important to choose a shoulder holster that is adjustable for a proper fit and to wear clothing that adequately conceals the holster and firearm.

When using a shoulder holster, practice and training are essential to ensure a safe and efficient draw. Drawing from a shoulder holster can be more complex than from waist-level holsters, requiring practice to master the motion and to ensure the muzzle does not sweep across the body or bystanders during the draw.


Read our Ultimate Guide to Concealed Carry

So, What is the Best Concealed Carry Position? The best concealed carry position is the one that works best for you and suits your comfort and lifestyle.

Choosing the right concealed carry position is a deeply personal decision that should be influenced by your lifestyle, clothing preferences, body type, and the specific circumstances in which you plan to carry. Whether you opt for traditional waistband positions, off-body carry, or explore other options like ankle holsters, belly bands, thigh holsters, bra holsters, or shoulder holsters, the key to effective concealed carry lies in finding a balance between comfort, concealment, and accessibility.

Each carry position has its unique set of advantages and challenges, emphasizing the importance of not only selecting the right holster and firearm but also dedicating time to practice drawing and handling your weapon safely. Regular training ensures that, should the need arise, you can confidently and efficiently defend yourself and those around you.

Check out our Recommended Holsters page and be sure to use our coupon codes listed there to save!

Similar Posts