When starting off with concealed carry, don’t settle for a fit that doesn’t feel natural. This is a common mistake that ultimately causes many people to simply give up on carrying because it feels too awkward. How you carry your gun is going to determine how confident and comfortable you feel.
What is the most comfortable way to concealed carry? You have a few options to consider that should all create a very unobtrusive fit that still allows you to be aware of your gun. A gun can be positioned in several areas of your body without significantly reducing your draw time. In some cases, using extra carrying aids that help your gun to fit securely against your body may be necessary. Take a look at six ways to make concealed carry more comfortable.
Six Ways to Conceal Carry Comfortably
The first thing to consider before getting into the specifics of how to carry your gun in the most comfortable manner is placement. Most people find that carrying at the 4 o’clock (hip carry) or 12 o’clock (appendix carry) positions will create the most natural and secure fits.
In general, carrying at the hip gives you the easiest option for combining strong concealment with quick access. If you opt for appendix carry, it’s important to make sure you have a specialized holster in place that will create a sturdy fit. Carrying in the side or front is greatly preferred over trying to carry in the back. In fact, back carrying can be very dangerous due to lack of access and fall risks.
It’s also important to note that carrying a gun on your body is highly preferred over carrying a gun using a bag. While this option may be appropriate in some very select cases, you’re increasing risk any time you put distance between your body and your gun because it opens up possibilities for more “wild cards.”
For most people, a gun belt is the best option for creating a safe and ergonomic concealed carry situation. This does not mean simply tucking a gun into an ordinary belt. Standard belts are built for fashion. This means that most belts simply do not have the ability to hold up the weight of a gun.
This can result in a gun moving around or slipping from your body. In addition to being dangerous, this is very uncomfortable. Purchase a gun belt that is specifically designed for concealed carry. A proper, trustworthy gun belt should have an insert that is capable of holding the weight of your gun. When trying on a gun belt, ensure that it provides an even fit that doesn’t make you feel like it’s being dragged down by the weight of the gun on one side. You’ll also want to confirm that your gun stays in place without shifting before wearing the belt in public.
Inside the Waistband (IWB)
Carrying inside the waistband with help from an IWB holster is an easy way to do a strong side hip carry that allows you to access your gun easily using your dominant hand. Of course, your fit and comfort level are only going to be as good as the holster you choose. Cheaper, flimsier holsters made of materials like nylon can be both uncomfortable and dangerous because they simply don’t have the structure to hold up guns for long periods of time. Look for holsters made of KYDEX® or comparable materials to allow for a more custom, secure fit that gives you confidence about your gun staying in place as you move around.
Outside the Waistband (OWB)
Some people find that they simply can’t get comfortable with a concealed gun directly against their bodies. If this is the case, wearing a gun outside the waistband is an option. You’ll typically want to do a strong side hip carry with this option to allow for easy draw. When carrying outside the waistband, it’s important to have an appropriate OWB holster. You may also need to be conscious of wardrobe choices to make sure that the hem of a shirt or jacket falls below the gun.
Shoulder Holster Carry
If the thought of the weight from your gun being concentrated near your hips or abdomen is simply too uncomfortable, you can get away from belts and harnesses completely by using a shoulder-carry method. This may be a good option for people who will be carrying while sitting for long periods.
The preferred way to shoulder carry is by using a shoulder holster or rig. When using a rig, you’ll place the gun on the opposite side of your drawing hand. The downside to this is that you’re going to make an obvious draw that requires you to draw across your body. However, there are ways to practice making a very clean draw by reaching into your coach or shirt.
It’s worth considering an ankle carry if you’re looking for an option that gives you the sensation of carrying “off” of your body while still ensuring that your gun is attached to you. To ankle carry, you’ll need to use a specialized ankle holster. While ankle carrying takes the weight off of your hips and shoulders, you will still be very much aware of the presence of your gun. An ankle holster attaches around your ankle and lower-calf area.
One potential downside is that this carrying method can add extra weight that can lead to ankle fatigue if you’re hiking or walking long distances. When ankle carrying, special attention must be given to the style of pants you choose. Pants with loose or flared ankles are preferred to ensure that your gun can remain concealed without bunching. It may also be necessary to purchase slightly longer pants to account for the extra bulk of the holster and gun.
If you’re looking for comfort with some extra flexibility, a belly band can be a good option. A belly band is essentially a type of holster that is large enough to wrap around the hips. Typically, belly bands are secured into place with Velcro. The big benefit of a belly band is that it’s fairly simply to reach under your shirt to access your gun using this carrying method. Many people use belly bands in place of gun belts when they are wearing leisure clothing. However, the downside of a belly band is that the “looseness” of this design can pose issues for shifting if you’re being active while carrying your gun.
Final Thoughts: What Is the Most Comfortable Way to Concealed Carry?
Overall, many people find that an option like a belly band or gun belt can provide the most comfortable way to conceal carry when you’re looking to keep your gun at your hips or abdomen. If you’d like to keep your gun away from your middle section, shoulder carrying can be a way to have more freedom while still maintaining awareness of your gun. Ultimately, all six of the methods shared above are going to provide comfort while allowing you to keep your gun concealed.
It really takes an analysis of factors that include what you’ll be wearing, how you’ll be moving, and how quickly you anticipate needing to draw when determining the best carrying option for any situation.