Wanting to carry a concealed handgun to protect yourself is a good thing to do. But once you’ve gotten your concealed carry permit you actually have to figure out how to carry the gun, and how to do so without drawing attention to yourself. Here are some of the best ways to carry a concealed handgun.
Concealed Carry for Men
Inside the Waist Band (IWB) Holsters
IWB holsters are one of the most popular ways to carry a pistol. For right-handed shooters, the gun is carried around the 4 or 5 o’clock position. For lefties, the gun is carried at about 8 or 7 o’clock. The pistol can be covered underneath a sports coat, a sweater, or an untucked shirt. Be sure to wear loose-fitting shirts so that the outline of the gun isn’t visible underneath your shirt. Darker colored shirts work better than lighter colored shirts so that the dark gun isn’t visible through the shirt’s cloth. Make sure your pants have an inch or more of give, especially if you’re concealing a full-sized pistol, otherwise they’ll feel very tight and uncomfortable around your waist.
Pocket carry is popular, but it’s really only feasible with really small pistols. That limits the range of calibers to those used in popular blowback pistols, such as .32 ACP, .380 ACP, and 9mm Makarov. If you’re going to carry with a round in the chamber, you’ll need to make sure that you have a holster that is designed for pocket carry, otherwise you run the risk of snagging your trigger on something in your pocket and shooting yourself. You also want to make sure that the outline of the gun doesn’t show against the outside of your pocket.
Again, you’ll need a holster that’s designed for ankle carry and a small handgun. Even with a small, light handgun, though, carrying a gun against your leg may start to feel uncomfortable after a while, particularly if you’re doing a lot of walking or moving around. Ankle carry is best suited for and easiest to draw the gun from a seated position.
Under the Shoulder Carry
Another popular form of carry that requires a special holster under the arm and harness that goes over the shoulders is the shoulder holster. The gun is carried on the weak side of the body and requires drawing across the body. The danger with cross draw is the likelihood of pulling the trigger too quickly while drawing the gun, before the muzzle is pointed away from you. Shoulder holsters may also come with magazine pouches that can be attached under the opposite arm. In order to keep your gun out of sight, you’ll need a jacket or sport coat to cover the holster and harness system.
Concealed Carry for Women
In general, women will want to carry a smaller pistol than men. Because they are smaller in size, it’s more difficult to conceal a full-sized pistol on their bodies. All the types of concealed carry that are available to men are available to women too. But women have some additional options that men don’t have.
Purses and Fanny Packs
While men could carry fanny packs with a concealed pistol, the sight of a man carrying a fanny pack just screams “I’m carrying a gun!” No one bats an eye when women carry fanny packs, and there are plenty on the market designed to carry both a concealed pistol and cash, credit cards, keys, etc.
Purse carry is a popular option too. As with pocket carry, putting the gun in a holster that’s designed for purse carry is the safest option, to keep the trigger from snagging on other items in the purse. You also have to remember that purses are a prime target for thieves, so that makes purse carry a less secure method of carry than keeping a gun on your body.
Garter or Thigh Holsters
For women who prefer to wear dresses and skirts, the garter holster can be a good option for concealed carry. There are numerous options available, most relying on some sort of spandex or elastic to keep the gun tight against the leg.
Bra and Belly Band Carry
More and more manufacturers are coming up with options for women to carry under their clothing. Holsters such as the Flashbang bra holster allow women to carry a small pistol on the underside of a bra, maintaining concealment under clothing such as T-shirts.
Other holsters act as a kind of extended sports bra, allowing a pistol to be carried a little lower, between the sternum and belly button. And others function almost as a kind of corset holster, allowing a gun to be carried against the stomach. With more and more women deciding to carry concealed, the options available to them are greater than ever.