When deciding on the position you are going to carry your concealed firearm, there are several things to consider. You need to think about things like where you are going to wear it, what you are going to be wearing when you carry, what you are going to be doing, and what kind of access you need.
As long as you are wearing clothes with a solid belt, your most versatile choice will be to pick up a holster that is an inside waistband (IWB) model. This one holster gives you a lot of choices for almost every need. If you don’t have a specific need for a holster that fits in your pocket or straps to your shoulder, thigh, or ankle, the IWB holster is probably your best choice.
Unless you are in a position where you need to draw your firearm regularly, a lot of everyday concealed carry will come down to comfort. Try out a few of these common positions to see which one works best for you. The versatility of a holster that attaches to the waistband is that you can use the same holster for all these positions, and you can even switch throughout the day.
The Hip Carry
The 3 o’clock carry is a comfortable position and is useful for most any gunslinger. It is one of the first positions we think of when we are considering a concealed carry. The gun sits snugly right at your hip and is ready to be drawn by your dominant hand at a moment’s notice. Holding the firearm at the three assumes that you are right hand dominant. If you are a left-handed shooter, that will switch to the 9 o’clock position.
It’s very versatile for both open and concealed carry. This will work best with your shirt untucked. However, if you buy a specific tuckable inside the waistband holster, your shirt can tuck with your weapon concealed.
If you have a gun with a longer grip, it will be easier to see with this position. People who are slim or have a smaller stature, the weapon will be more obvious. Having a heavier build will help to sell the concealment.
You’ll have one of the easiest draws with this position. It will be limited to your dominant hand, though, and it’s pretty obvious what you are doing.
It’s comfortable for the most part, but that depends on your gun. The hammer may dig into your side when you are sitting, particularly if you are carrying a 1911. That is why you can buy holsters with extra material to cover the hammer guard.
Another option is to carry your gun in front of your appendix. The holster sits at the 2 o’clock position, right about where your front pocket sits. The appendix carry is very comfortable when standing, while still allowing you to draw quickly. You’ll need a bigger shirt or jacket to completely conceal the bulk on your front.
This position lends itself to a cross draw. The cross draw is nice because it is quick, fluid motion, and the elbow won’t give away your intent, which is an advantage. Both hands have access to the weapon, giving you more options.
The appendix carry favors people with slimmer builds and smaller pistols. Full-size pistols will be easier to spot, so subcompacts are usually recommended. If you have a belly, it can be awkward to get the firearm comfortable.
This is one of the few positions where you can comfortably draw while seated. Sitting down will require you to adjust the holster and twist it into a comfortable position. The barrel will always be pointed at your legs, feet, or even your privates, so being comfortable with your safety mechanism is a must. Avoid pistols with light trigger pulls and look for a manual safety that you can always keep engaged.
Small of Back Carry
For the most concealment possible, look to carry your weapon at the small of the back. You can easily conceal even full-sized firearms, no matter your size or build. Once you sit down, it’s a little easier to see the firearm if you have your shirt tucked over the weapon.
The biggest drawback to the small of the back carry is the draw. It will be more difficult and take more time, but it is still manageable. You’ll want the grip of the gun to be facing your strong side here. There is also the possibility of a belt slide holster that holds the barrel parallel to the ground. This would allow for a more natural draw.
Sitting down in a chair with a back will be uncomfortable. Drawing while seated is not going to go over well.
Having the firearm sitting over your spine puts you at risk of injury if you were to fall or get pushed into a wall. It’s also easy for someone to sneak up behind you and grab your gun.
Carrying your weapon over your kidneys places the gun at the 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock position if you are right hand dominant. The concealment works similarly to the hip carry, being positioned between the hip and the small of the back, but it’s a little easier to conceal.
The kidney carry sits in between the small of the back carry and the 3 o’clock carry in most respects. It is in the middle with regards to concealment, comfort, and ease of draw. With professional attire, you have more options, and you can easily tuck your shirt over the holster. Drawing while seated will be more difficult but not impossible.
Holsters for Every Carry Position
Once you find a position that works for you, practice it. Taking the time to practice drawing your firearm every day will mean that the motion will be fluid when it counts.
When you are doing concealed carry, commit to it. You need to carry consistently because you don’t get to choose when you will need to defend yourself. With being prepared in mind, always keep a round in the chamber. If your life is in danger, you won’t have time to cycle one. Finally, always use a proper holster. Skipping a holster is a safety hazard, exposed triggers should be taken seriously, and unsecured guns are more likely to get dropped.
No matter where on your body you wear your holster, we have options for every carry position. Browse our selection of IWB holsters for top gun makes and models.