Owning a firearm comes with plenty of responsibility. It also comes with a number of questions needing answers. What do you intend to use the weapon for? What caliber firearm do you need? What type of firearm do you need?
For many people, these extend to more complicated questions like what is the best concealed carry position? There are several factors that need to be considered when determining how you want to conceal carry. Let’s take a look at what you need to think about and some of the reasons you may, or may not, want to use a specific concealed carry position.
Factors to Consider
Just as there are numerous firearms to own, and a plethora of reasons to use them, concealed carry positions have just as many options. Each way to carry has its pros and cons. Before you decide on one, you’ll want to think about some of the following:
Before considering where to conceal a firearm, make sure that it’s legal to do so where you are. There are many states that now allow ‘permitless’ carry (also known as ‘Constitutional Carry’), but many more states where a permit is required to conceal a firearm. Nevada, for example, allows anyone who can legally possess a firearm to carry openly, but requires a Concealed Firearms Permit for concealed carry. If you reside in Clark County, Nevada, you can qualify for your Concealed Firearms Permit at one of our Las Vegas CCW classes, or renew your permit with our CCW renewal class.
Your Body Type
Everyone’s body is different. Some of us are tall or short, skinny or husky, agile or stiff. Most of the popular concealed carry positions consider these body type factors.
If you are tall and want quick access to your firearm, stowing it at your ankles might not be ideal. If you are burly, you might not want to conceal your firearm at the one o’clock position (more on this style later). If flexibility isn’t your thing, a kidney concealed carry wouldn’t be the choice for you.
Another major factor to consider when thinking about concealed carry positions is the type of firearm you will be carrying. Its size and shape will greatly impact how and where you’ll be able to carry and conceal your firearm comfortably. If you have a specific place you intend to carry, make sure you purchase a weapon that allows you to carry it there.
There are a number of ways we’ll explore to carry, some of which have greater ease of access than others. The different access points will be associated with different areas of your body.
Concealing around the ankles will have a different ease of accessibility than the shoulders or hips. Also, the amount of clothing needed to conceal the weapon will also impact how accessible it is.
Different Ways of Concealed Carry
Now that you have a general understanding of what factors contribute to how and where you’ll carry, it’s time to look at the different concealed carry positions. Some of the popular concealed carry positions would be:
- Around the Waist
- 3 o’clock position
- 1 o’clock position
- 6 o’clock position
- 4 o’clock position
- Inside the waistband
- Outside the waistband
- Bra Carry
- Shoulder Carry
- Ankle Carry
- Pocket Carry
- Purse Carry
Each position has its own upsides. So let’s take a closer look at which might work best for you.
Around the Waist
The most popular place for concealed carry is around the waist. Sometimes known as “around the clock,” this style of concealed carry is depicted as looking down at your waist as a clock face. Carrying in this fashion places your firearm at an easy-to-grab location. There are a variety of different ways to carry around the waist.
3 O’Clock Position
Arguably the most iconic way to carry a weapon, the 3 o’clock position places the firearm on your right hip. It is common for people who open carry to also place their firearms in this location.
- Comfortable way to carry
- Any body type can easily make this location work
- Extremely easy access to firearm from a standing position
- Most firearms can be carried in this position
- Not easy to access from a sitting position
- Might require additional clothing to conceal
- Smaller individuals might experience printing (visibility of weapon)
1 O’Clock Position
Another popular area to carry is at the 1 o’clock position or the appendix carry. Here, the firearm is placed on your waist’s front, right side. This is most often an inside-waistband (iwb) carry.
- Drawing your weapon from this position is less obvious than others
- A strong-side or cross-draw can both be used
- This position lends itself to smaller weapons
- Body type is important. People with a larger midsection will have difficulty carrying at this position
- The firearm is always pointed at sensitive areas of your body while carrying
- Sitting can be uncomfortable as the firearm will often press into the stomach
6 O’Clock Position
The small of the back is another name for the 6 o’clock position. This is where the firearm rests in the center of your waist on your backside. Many people use this as a place to carry a second weapon.
- Excellent coverage for the firearm
- Most firearms will comfortably fit here
- Printing is negligible
- Drawing can be slowing than other positions
- Often requires a noticeable draw
- Sitting can be awkward
4 O’Clock Position
This position is known as the kidney carry. Firearms are placed behind the hip and to the right side of the small of the back.
- Doesn’t depend on specific clothing to conceal carry
- Most body types can easily carry from this position
- Drawing can be more exaggerated
- You are almost sitting on the firearm
Inside the Waistband
When carrying around the waist, there are two styles to do so. The first of which is the inside the waistband (iwb) carry. Firearms are placed on the interior of your pants when carrying in this manner.
- Less dependant on clothing to conceal the firearm
- Limits printing
- Often better at fully concealing a weapon
- Firearm size is often a major factor
- Places the firearm closer to sensitive personal areas
- Body type places a role
Outside the Waistband
The other way to carry around the waist is outside the waistband. The firearm is carried in a holster on the outside of the pants. Also, this is the most obvious way to carry a weapon. Finally, this is how to conceal carry with a tucked-in shirt.
- One of the more comfortable ways to carry
- Offers easy access to your firearm
- Often dependant on larger/bulky clothing to make it concealed
- Sometimes need both hands to draw
- Drawing while sitting down is typically difficult
This carrying is done using a holster made for a bra or a bra with a built-in holster. Typically, the firearm is located horizontally below the breasts. The weapon is sometimes located under the arm when using a bra carry. This is often how to conceal carry as a woman.
- Offers excellent concealment
- Secure location
- Dependant on clothing
- Requires an exaggerated draw technique
When carrying from the shoulder, the firearm is placed in a holster that rests near the breast or under the arm. This type of carry is synonymous with early 1900s detectives.
- The holster often provides extra storage space for additional rounds
- Comfortable way to carry
- Can be used with a wide array of weapons
- Dependent on large bulky clothing to conceal a weapon
- Often the most visible way to carry even with jackets and other larger clothing
Another one of the popular concealed carry positions is at the ankle. This time the firearm is secured around the calf or ankle. This requires a specialized holster to work.
- Shirt and belt choices don’t impact this carry style
- Reaching for this area is often not associated with a firearm
- Requires a specific holster to work
- Must wear long, loose-fitting pants
- Not easily accessible
Concealing your firearm in a pocket is another popular choice. This conceals the weapon just as it sounds, in the pocket.
- A comfortable way to conceal
- Easy access to a firearm
- Quick draw from most positions
- Printing can be an issue with tighter pants
- Only smaller firearms will work
- Only one hand can access the firearm
The final way to store your firearm is with a concealed carry purse. This is a small satchel in which you keep your firearm. They can be worn over the shoulder, back, or hip.
- Inconspicuous way to carry
- High level of comfort
- Puts the firearm off the body
- Long draw times
- Not easily accessible
Practice with Your Firearm
Now that you have a better understanding of the reasons you might want to carry in a certain way, you should try them out. Taking CCW classes or signing up for individual firearms training near you is the perfect way to do this. Instructors and classmates can offer tips and insights into what would help you the most.
Furthermore, you’ll want to practice using your firearm from where you intend to carry it. This requires time on the shooting range. Doing so will give you a clear idea of how easy it is to access your firearm as well as fire rounds from where you carry it.
See You on the Range
Hopefully, this gives you a basic understanding of the many concealed carry positions. There are various styles and places to carry, all of which have pros and cons.
Be sure to practice wearing the clothing and firearms you intend to conceal carry with, especially after completing a concealed carry class.
The training received in a concealed carry class will provide valuable insights and techniques to help you carry concealed safely and confidently. Additionally, finding what works best for you in terms of comfort and concealment is crucial for a successful concealed carry experience.
Visit your local range!