For many of us, one of the first pieces of advice we hear after obtaining our carry permits is to invest in a good carrying belt. The truth is that a good belt is a good idea. I’ve found that there’s really nothing like a solid gun belt for keeping your gun exactly where you need it when it counts the most. That’s why a gun belt is generally my top pick for keeping my gun safe and accessible.
However, it’s not always going to be necessary or ideal to use a belt in every situation. It’s really important to have some alternatives up your sleeve to ensure that you’re still safely and legally carrying even when you either can’t or don’t want to wear a concealment belt.
Can you actually conceal carry if you’re not wearing a belt? Yes, there are many secure strategies if you want to conceal carry without a belt. Going beltless never means going without a plan. Before I get into my list of the best ways to conceal carry without a belt, I’ll throw up the disclaimer that you’ll need to take a look at the rules and laws in place at whatever place you’ll be traveling to with your gun.
While you should generally be okay with using any of the methods on my list, being a responsible gun owner always means putting in that extra few minutes to do your homework before just assuming that what’s acceptable in one place is going to be acceptable wherever you’re headed. Take a look at some of the comfortable and secure configurations that don’t involve belts that I’ll be covering:
Top Methods To Concealed Carry Without A Belt
- Beltless IWB holster
- Kydex with fabriclip
- Ulticlip holster with no belt required
- Pocket carry
- Belly band holster
- Sticky holster
Beltless IWB Holster
I like a beltless inside the waistband (IWB) holster as the default alternative to belts for a number of reasons. This is really the best option for achieving genuine discreet concealment while also keeping your gun close at hand for an easy draw. A good IWB holder is going to be lightweight enough to stay in place without shifting or slipping. It also shouldn’t feel cumbersome or bulky. Holsters that attach using sturdy clips are ideal because they sync up with the top hem of your pants pretty seamlessly.
As the name implies, an inside the waistband holster rests inside the waistband of your pants. The big advantage here is that you’re not boxed into any particular pant style when going with this option. That’s why people like IWB holsters for use with athletic pants when they’re out on trails.
Kydex With Fabriclip
Kydex is a synthetic material that is increasingly being used as an alternative to leather among holster manufacturers. Personally, I like kydex for its durability and rigidity. That’s why I’m pretty enthusiastic about the kydex fabriclip holster as an option for enjoying good structure that delivers peace of mind. This design locks onto clothing directly using a fairly large clip. For me, being able to feel the weight of kydex holsters staying clipped in allows me to keep an awareness of my gun at the forefront of my mind.
Ulticlip Holster With No Belt Required
I’m sharing a second option for anyone who’s locking into kydex holsters when trying to find their preferred option. This time, I’m highlighting something called the Ulticlip IWB holster design that covers you if you’re worried about the weight of your gun “dragging” at your pants. The Ulticlip IWB holder design offers what adds up to be the strongest weight-bearing retention available on the market at the moment.
This holster does an impeccable job of staying in place to ensure that it’s right where you expect it to be if you need to make a quick draw at any point. There’s also an element of versatility that increases the appeal of this option. You can actually use the Ulticlip with purses or bags when you’re not “wearing” it.
Yes, pocket carrying is on the table. However, it’s not everyone’s first choice. The big caveat is that you need to have a good pocket holster if you’ll be pocket carrying. You really want to have a pocket holster as a buffer that protects your trigger from an accidental discharge that can lead to a very scary and dangerous situation. When pocket carrying, you’ll want to carry in the front pocket of your pants if possible.
Trying to “wallet” carry in a back pocket can be awkward both when it’s time to sit and if you need to draw hastily. If necessary, you can also pocket carry in a jacket pocket or cargo pocket. The general downside to pocket carrying is that this is one of the more difficult configurations for grabbing for your gun quickly. In addition, a gun inside a pocket simply has more opportunities to come into contact with seats, furniture and other things that can jostle things around.
Belly Band Holster
If you’re determined to carry without a belt, it’s worth giving a belly band holster a look. This is a popular option that does a great job of concealing your gun without putting it out of reach. Typically, a band holster is used as a replacement for a belt when you’re wearing clothing or participating in activities that simply aren’t compatible with wearing a belt. Belly band holsters are pretty commonly used by people who are jogging, biking, running on trails and doing other activities that require sports gear or workout clothing.
You’ll find that most high-quality belly band holsters are made from neoprene or similar materials that actually protect your gun from scratches. The big benefit of a belly band for concealed carrying is that it offers a stable and secure way to hold your gun that won’t cause it to be jostled or pushed out of place. What’s more, this is a great option if one of your goals is to make it more difficult for potential attackers to try to get their hands on your gun.
FAQs: Common Questions About How to Conceal Carry Without a Belt
Can You Carry IWB Without a Belt?
Yes, it is possible to carry inside the waistband even if you’re not using a belt. However, you’ll have to shop strategically for a holster option that utilizes sturdy clips that will ensure that your gun stays in place. It’s important to become familiar and comfortable with the configuration you’re using on an intuitive level if you make the decision to carry without a belt.
It is especially important to practice your draw to ensure that whatever carrying method you’re using allows you to access your gun quickly. It’s also important to ensure that you’re protecting your trigger guard from exposure at all times. This is especially prudent if you’ll be carrying a pistol that has a notoriously light trigger.
How to Carry a Gun Without a Holster
While I don’t formally recommend carrying without a holster, I’ll say that I think it’s important for everyone to know about some holster alternatives to ensure that they’re still safely and responsibly carrying if a holster becomes misplaced or left behind for some reason. I’ll be the first to say that carrying without a holster can be problematic simply because it increases the odds of jostling your gun, having an accidental discharge or having your gun taken from you. You have several options for carrying a gun without a holster. Some popular options for holster-free carrying are fanny packs, concealed-carry apparel (tactical undershirt) and concealed-carry bags. Always make sure you’re using a trigger guard if you’ll be carrying without a holster.