Dearest Black Hills,
I saw a question arise on a popular firearms forum about the best way to concealed carry. This question comes up often, especially among new shooters, and it’s not surprising given the range of options.
You have OWB (outside the waistband) strong side at various “o’clock” positions, IWB (inside waistband) with similar variations, AIWB (appendix position, or “intestinal carry” for us poor lefties”), pocket carry, belly bands, shoulder holsters, ankle holsters, deep concealment holsters, thigh holsters, carry bras, shirts, off-body options etc… .
That’s a lot to evaluate for a choice that allows only one “best” option. Never fear, I’m about to give you the definitive answer:
There is no best way to concealed carry. It is a contextually-dependent, tactical decision that will be a little bit different for every person.
There are, however, stronger and weaker carry positions, tactically speaking. But it all comes down to your context; the variables and considerations you face every day.
- Body: Your body type and proportions play a huge role in how you CAN carry, so this can help narrow things down. If carrying in a certain position means you physically can’t access the firearm, it’s not a real option for you.
- Clothing: Unless you are willing to change your wardrobe to “dress around the gun,” (which I encourage to a point), your clothing choices can severely limit your ability to carry concealed in any position. you may have to make some fashion concessions to find your best option.
- Vocation: Where do you spend most of your time? Home? At a desk? Factory floor? Vehicle? This can heavily influence your decision on how to carry concealed.
- Firearm: Maybe you received a pistol as a gift, or just bought what you could afford or thought was “best” at the time. How you carry it can depend on its size and accessories, so that might just dictate your “best” choice.
Each person is going to have to evaluate their daily routine and insert their own specific considerations that I wouldn’t even think to cover here. This kind of decision involves part analytical, part creative thinking – with tactics in mind.
Regardless of what position you choose to carry concealed, there are two things that apply to everyone universally:
- Training: You typically don’t learn a new skill without training of some kind, even if it’s watching a how-to video on Rumble. There are plenty of great firearms instructors out there who will help you learn the concealed-carry skills specific to your choice and context.
- Practice: If you can’t get the gun out of the holster and into the fight efficiently while concentrating on what is happening around you, then your best choice is home-safe carry. So whatever position you choose to carry, practice! You have to practice your drawstroke from that position and in the most likely situations for you, or face a greater risk of screwing up when you need a flawless draw the most.
It’s true that some people will need to train and practice in a couple different ways of carrying, which invites its own sort of challenges and risks. Whether you have one context to train or three, put in the work so you don’t become a liability to yourself and others.
Photo credit: Cody Walz @urkillinmewalz