If you already have your Concealed Carry permit, and is now ready to go out of the house with handgun on you, one problem you might have encounter is finding the best method of concealed carrying. There are a few accessories that can help you to best conceal your handgun including the Inside-the-Waistband (IWB), Outside-the-Waistband (OWB), bra, briefcase and belly bands, but there is no perfect way of concealed carrying. The best method of carrying depends upon the gun owner’s preference. But if you are choosing the method that will work for you, there are two important factors that you should consider; comfort and the amount of concealment of the method you will use.
You should not just focus on how comfortable you will be on the cloth style and position of the gun, you should also make sure that you provide enough concealment to your weapon at all times. At times, this can be very difficult and challenging, particularly when it’s summer, but you should get yourself to adapt to this, even when it means putting on baggy clothes and getting out of your fashion style.
The different positions of handgun are referred to as the clock’s time like 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock. Of course, every concealed carrier must know that. You would imagine yourself in the middle of the clock facing the 12 o’clock and having the 6 o’clock at the back. Three o’clock refers to your right hip, while 9 o’clock is your left hip. This is one of the fundamental knowledge a shooters must possess. Right-handed carriers often prefer to use the 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions.
There are times when you will need to change your method of carry according to a particular activity or occasion. But if you have already find the best one that makes you feel comfortable while adequately concealing your handgun, you will notice that after a few weeks, your body will get used to it and it will now become a part of your daily habit. You won’t even feel like you are carrying and you’ll want to carry it with you every time you leave the house.
Finding the best method is like a trial-and-error process, it takes time and experimentation to finally choose one. There are many things you have to consider including the usual type of clothes you use, your daily activities, sport events that you do, special occasion like beach parties, formal parties, church wedding and business meetings. Another important things is the temperature on the place you live at which will affect your choice of clothing style. Most concealed carriers would like to carry their guns on the strong side, but choosing where to carry your gun doesn’t just end there. You also have to select if you will be carrying it outside the waistband or inside the waistband.
Therefore, you must expand your knowledge on the different methods of carrying you can choose from. In any method you choose, you should remember that it will take a lot of practice when it comes to drawing and reholstering of your gun easily. Listed below are 13 ways of carrying concealed guns that you may want to check out:
In an Inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster fastened to the belt
With this method, you can have the gun concealed by your t-shirt or other cover garments like vest and jacket. This is one of the most recommended methods of carrying a concealed pistol because it provides enough concealment while keeping the gun close to the body. When you have an IWB holster, you can avoid all problems that are related to keeping the gun tucked on your pants. One of the disadvantages of this method is that it can be a bit uncomfortable. Because of the added width to your waist, you may need to use pants that are larger by one or two sizes. This means that you may look baggy and not stylish whenever you are using this method. Another thing is that it takes time for you to get used to the bulk of the gun and holster pressing on your side.
In an Inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster clipped to the belt
This is almost the same as the first one, the only difference is that you’ll have the holster clipped instead. You can use cover garments like vest and sweater for concealment. Many carriers also use this method, but securing the IWB holster on the belt is better than just clipping it. This is because there is a possibility that when you draw the gun, the holster may come out with it, making it very risky and dangerous for you especially when you’re in the middle of an encounter. But then, it just need regular practice for you to master this method.
In a Outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster attached on a belt
With this method, you have to carry on your firing side hip behind your back. Again, cover garments are required for concealment. This way of carrying is often used by off-duty law enforcers and by most shooters. This carrying method makes your concealed gun easier for people to spot as the gun is outside the belt and can be bulky on your side. If the carrier bends over or lifts his arms when reaching out for a luggage or getting something from the top of the shelf, the barrel of the gun will possibly be exposed. That’s just a few of the disadvantages. But among the advantages of this method is its comfort. If you choose to carry your handgun this way, you also have to choose your garments and gun model properly.
In an underarm/shoulder holster with straps secured by the belt and covered by a jacket
You have probably seen this carrying method on action movies and other TV shows. If you do not want to carry your handgun on the waist, this can be a good idea for you. This provides more concealment and easy accessibility to your weapon. You can simply adjust the straps so that it could fit your body. Wearing a jacket cut may be needed for this because the gun and holster may create a bulk. This may be very cool, but you should put attention into getting the perfect jacket design fitted for you. One of the disadvantages of this method is that it can become uncomfortable because of the weight distribution over the shoulders. The strap on the underarm part may also touch the skin from time to time and may cut into it, so you need to have an off-side retention strap to keep the holster’s strap from moving. Another one is that the sudden body movement or the wind may unexpectedly expose the gun.
In a holster secured over the ankle
This is an effective method of carrying only for a backup gun. This is because it takes time to roll the pants up and access the gun unlike the other methods. This is recommended for those whose activities or jobs require sitting most of the time like drivers. You will find this useful when you are knocked on the ground and you have with you a backup gun. Most women use this when they wear pants. The materials of which the ankle holsters are made are the same as the inside-the-waistband holsters. Drawbacks – the gun is difficult to access while standing and it may affect your balance while walking.
Inside a Fanny Pack
This is also known as the “Off Body Carry” (OBC). This method is common among women. Other devices can be used like day planners, purses, pouches and briefcases and they are all considered as OBC. It provides complete concealment for your handgun. Oftentimes, criminals and police would know that you are carrying a gun if you use this method. But if you choose to carry this way, make sure that you secure your OBC with a lock. You should also keep it close to the body by adjusting properly the strap to avoid someone from grabbing it away from you. Some of the disadvantages of this method include the difficulty in accessing the handgun especially when the OBC device is locked. There is also a possibility that you will leave your OBC device somewhere or it may be stolen from you. When choosing a fanny pack, make sure that there are Velcro straps for additional security and that it is specifically designed and perfectly fitted for your handgun.
Inside your bag, briefcase, or purse
Such method of carrying can be useful when it is not possible for you to carry on your person a handgun. There should be a holster inside the bag or briefcase which designed for the handgun to make sure that it always stays on place. A secured gun will make it easier for you to draw and reholster it and would avoid accidentally pulling of the gun’s trigger. If you are the kind of person who often misplaces your things particularly your purse or bag, then this method is not recommended for you.
In a belly band around the waist
A belly band is an elastic belt-like band fitted around your waist with Velcro. This can be wrapped at the belt line or below it. It comes with multiple pockets where you can put your gun, magazines and other accessories. There are different sizes that you can choose from depending on the shape and type of your body. This is a recommended carry method for carriers who participate in different sports activities. It can provide quick access since the gun is carried in the owner’s body. One of the disadvantages of the belly band is that it does not absorb body sweat and may actually contribute more to sweating. This does not do well with a rusty gun. Another disadvantage is the danger of the direction where the barrel is pointing. But still, this method of carrying is comfortable and will allow you to carry any size of gun.
Small of the Back (SOB)
With this method of carrying, the holster is on the middle part at the back of the body, usually on a 6 o’clock position. This is comfortable and can give complete concealment when you are just standing, otherwise, this feels awkward especially for drivers. If you spend most of your time sitting, then the idea of having your gun attached on your back is not a good one. There are a lot of disadvantages for this method; it can cause you spinal injury when you accidentally fall on your back; it can print on your shirt when you bend down; someone can grab it from you easily and you will have a hard time protecting your gun. While some may hate the SOB carrying method, others also love it. Your personal preferences will be your basis on deciding whether you will use this method or not.
Appendix Carrying Method
This method is named after where the gun is situated, the appendix. This is on the right side of the body inside a waistband. Right-handed carriers use the 2 o’clock position. This is recommended for small to medium-sized guns only. WIth this method, you should note that practice of proper drawing and reholstering is very essential because the gun is pointed towards the femoral artery, a vital artery that contains a large supply blood. When hit, this could cause severe bleeding and death. Others who have tried this method complain that this can become uncomfortable when sitting, so you should use a holster that is appropriate for this method.
In a holster secured in thigh
This is a popular method of carrying for women. A dress or a skirt can provide concealment for the gun,which can also give an easy access in case of emergency. Elastic band with velcro is used to hold the holster. There are silicon grippers on the edges of the band that help keep it in place while you move, so you won’t need additional straps or belt. But still, others like to have them. Small guns are a perfect fit for thigh holsters. This is very comfortable to wear, but some carriers complain that the belt is slipping down their legs. This is also not recommended when wearing pants, because you will need to remove your pants before you can access your gun, which can be risky and a hassle. Another disadvantage of this method is the awkwardness during drawing and reholstering, but nevertheless, it provides good concealment of your carry.
12. In a bra holster
Obviously, this method is for women. Women with large chests are the ones who can benefit from this way of carrying. The bust gives more space underneath that can be used in hiding the gun. Dress, blouse and t-shirt can be used to cover the gun, and you can access it by simply reaching under. The gun should be pointed on the side and in a holster. This can be very risky when a person does not practice well. There is a possibility of accidentally pressing the trigger while reaching for the gun, especially when you are in the middle of a defensive encounter. There is this recent story of a woman who is a former military officer in Michigan that accidentally shot her eye while making an adjustment on her bra holster.
Tucked on the pants without the holster
Other people call this as the “Mexican carry.” This provides a very good concealment of your gun, but this is only recommended for highly experienced shooters. Some may associated this carrying method with “gangsters”. This can pose dangers, so you should not consider this at all if you have just obtain your carry permit. A gun without a holster will expose the trigger, and an accidentally pulling of the trigger can cause serious injuries and death.
Most shooters who are fond of using this method do not know yet the dangers of doing such until they shoot themselves and learn that tucking a gun without a holster in your body is really risky. Without the holster, the gun can fall or slide down with sudden movement. Another disadvantage is that the shirt or cover garments may interfere on your gun. An unholstered gun will also rub on your skin and may cause it to become rusty.
When choosing the most convenient method of carrying that you can use daily, you should consider the different factors like your personal preferences, cloth style, temperature, your body build, your work and other activities or events that you engage yourself into. The methods given above are just few of the most commonly used way of carrying concealed guns. Try and practice at home the different methods with your gun unloaded to know which one is best according to the size and model of your gun. A comfortable carrying method will make you want to have your concealed gun with you always. Thus, you can defend yourself at all times.