Find The Concealed Carry Position That Is Best For You
Choosing the concealed carry position that is best for you is very important. It could mean the difference between carrying every day or choosing to leave your firearm at home due to discomfort. As a concealed carrier, your goal should be for everyday carry. So lets look at the options you have for a concealed carry position that works for you.
Before we get into the positions, let’s briefly cover some of the basics about holsters.
The first acronym you may see when looking at holsters is IWB. This means “inside the waistband”. These holsters commonly attach to your belt somehow, and are worn between your pants and your shirt. The weapon will be inside your waistband.
As I’m sure you could imagine, OWB means “outside the waistband”. These also attach to the belt, but the weapon is obviously outside the waistband. When carrying concealed with an outside the waistband holster, you will need a jacket, sweater, large shirt, or something similar to cover the weapon. Otherwise it is called Open Carry if the gun if visible.
There are leather holsters and synthetic holsters. Synthetic holsters, such as kydex holsters, are commonly custom-fit for your specific weapon and are very popular. If you carry more than one weapon, this could get pricey. Both holster materials are more than acceptable though.
A belly band isn’t exactly a holster, but it is a large piece of elastic that wraps around your body. The weapon will fit in some sort of pouch or holster-shaped elastic on the band somewhere.
Now that we’ve covered a little bit about holsters, let’s get into the concealed carry positions. We will start with on body positions.
Concealed Carry Body Positions
Below are the different positions in which people typically carry. You can find holsters for most of these positions in our Best Holsters For Concealed Carry article.
One of the most common carry positions is to have the weapon right against your appendix. In case you aren’t that familiar with your human anatomy, this means that the weapon would be at about the 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock position, if your waist were a clock. If you are left handed, it would be around 10 to 11 o’clock.
These holsters are almost always inside the waistband and extremely easy to conceal. As long as you don’t wear ultra-tight clothing, you will be able to conceal very easily. The holsters are also usually made out of a synthetic material, so your weapon will fit very snug.
This position is very quick to draw, but it does require a ton of precision. After all, your weapon will be pointed directly at your femoral artery and genital region. With a quality holster, carrying appendix can be very comfortable, even while sitting down. The one draw back is if you are carrying a little extra weight, appendix carry can be a little more difficult, but not out of the question.
Behind the Hip
Going back to your waist being a clock, this would place the weapon at about 4 to 5 o’clock, or right above your back pocket. If you’re left handed, go ahead and reverse that to 7 to 8 o’clock. Due to the natural indentation of the body, it is extremely easy to conceal here.
These holsters are also commonly inside the waistband and synthetic. One great example of this is the StealthGearUSA Ventcore IWB Mini or a Tulster Holster. This is typically where I carry due to the fact that I incorporate tactical love-handles into my everyday carry, so this tends to be the most comfortable. Easily accessible and comfortable…just how I like it!
If we return to the clock, one last time, this would put your weapon at the 3 o’clock position. When you’re carrying like this, it could be either inside or outside the waistband. This is usually where I carry if carrying outside the waistband. If carrying inside, then it tends to be a little uncomfortable due to the hip bone digging into the holster.
Carrying on your hip is extremely natural, but depending on the shape of your body, it may be very difficult for you to conceal. If you are able to conceal here easily, it’s an excellent option. The draw will be very fast and natural. There are also thousands of different holsters available. I like the Bravo Concealment OWB BCA and IWB/OWB Two Pack.
This isn’t as common as the others already mentioned, but there are some cross draw holsters. Basically, if you are right handed, the weapon would ride on the left side of your body.
Like I said, these aren’t as common anymore, but the ones that are still made are usually outside the waistband and leather, but there are some inside the waistband holsters available.
This method of carrying is very comfortable, because the weapon is sort of horizontal as opposed to vertical. For this reason, it’s very comfortable, especially if you are going to be sitting for long periods of time. Drawing is pretty natural, and concealing is not too difficult, from what I’ve seen.
Pocket holsters are basically just a little pouch that is usually for a subcompact .380 or other similarly tiny weapon. Essentially, it is just a little sleeve more or less that is only meant to break up the shape of the weapon in your pocket.
Some people carry a tiny .380 in their pocket in the summer months, because they find it easier to conceal in shorts. Additionally, drawing out of the holster is very easy, because putting your hand in your pocket is a completely natural thing. The outside of the holster has some kind of rubber on it, so it will sort of stick in your pocket.
If you are interested in pocket carry, check out our article Best Pocket Holsters: A Guide to Pocket Carry.
We briefly mentioned belly band holsters before, but a belly band is an elastic band that you wear around your entire body. The band will have some type of pouch for the weapon and potentially one for a spare magazine.
Belly bands are very easy to conceal, since you can rotate them around your body and make sure the weapon is flat. However, they are very hot and are pretty slow to draw. Rather than just exposing your belt, you would have to lift your shirt a good bit higher to successfully draw out of a belly band.
Another carry position that has more or less gone away. Most people who carry on their ankle now only carry a secondary weapon there. However, an ankle holster uses elastic to secure the weapon to your leg.
While it is very easy to conceal underneath your pants, it is a very difficult place to draw from, because you don’t usually put your hand there and you can’t really get there all that fast. The holsters also tend to slide down your leg pretty frequently.
You know, like the old cop movies. Once again, this is a carry style that has more or less gone away. If you work all day in a jacket, it may be worth looking into for you, but keep in mind that you will have to keep the jacket on all day, no matter what.
Drawing from here is pretty easy, and concealing should be a breeze.
I’m not a lady, and I never have been. However, there are a few options for women that carry. I’m not going to act like I can speak intelligently about them. However, there are thigh rigs, bra holsters, and other options for the women.
With women becomeing concealed carriers at record numbers, the options are only going to continue to grow.
Off Body Carry
Off body carry isn’t exactly limited to just one thing. You could carry in a briefcase, a fanny pack, a purse, and any other bag or accessory you may commonly have with you.
Carrying in a backpack or sling pack is becoming more and more popular, especially now that they are designing bags specifically for that purpose. If you are interested in backpack options be sure to check out our article on Best Concealed Carry Backpacks.
While it is always recommended to carry on body, off body offers options for a second firearm or in cases where on body may be more difficult.
Which Position Is Right For You?
With so many options, how do you know which one to pick? I would go with the one that you feel most comfortable with, while at the same time, still remaining able to quickly and safely draw your firearm. Generally this tends to be inside or outside the waistband, but try out different positions and see what works for you. Whichever you choose be sure to PRACTICE!
Be sure to check out our Recommended Gear page for our recommendations for all things concealed carry!