Comfort is as important as concealment when buying a new holster for your pistol or revolver. It has to do with how comfortable you’ll be when concealed carrying especially if you’re wearing your gun holster for hours.
After all, effective concealment might be insufficient if you’re going to suffer from pain or discomfort, particularly if you constantly move or sit while wearing it.
In this blog, we’ll tackle the different carry positions and their pros and cons as well as discuss the important factors when choosing the concealed carry position for your needs, lifestyle, body type, and so on.
Different Concealed Carry Positions
Below are the most common concealed carry positions and some of their advantages and disadvantages for your reference.
1. Waistband Carry: Pros and cons
One of the most popular, if not the most popular, ways of concealed carry is waistband carry position, either outside the waistband (OWB) or inside the waistband (IWB).
Inside the waistband (IWB)
Your gun is hidden under your pants, with the grip only visible, and can be kept out of sight from anyone. This eliminates any worry that someone or the people around you would even notice you’re carrying a gun.
An IWB is also stable because your gun and holster remain in place and doesn’t jitter or make unnecessary movements as you go on with your day.
An inside the pants carry position also allows for more flexibility for changing positions – appendix carry, small of the back, or strong side hip carry.
However, depending on your body size, an IWB can feel uncomfortable because it’s worn inside your pants. You might also have to buy a size larger pair of jeans or loose clothing than you’d normally wear for effective concealment.
An inside the waistband holster might also feel tight for some people and it tends to dig higher into one’s body, something could be more obvious when sitting down.
Skin rashes and marks can also be a concern because the pistol sits directly up against one’s skin.
- Effective concealment
- Not the most comfortable, depending on clothing
- Might not be for bigger shooters
Outside the waistband (OWB)
Next to IWB, we have OWB carry position holsters that are meant for wearing outside one’s pants. They’re more comfortable than IWB carry positions because the gun isn’t sitting directly against your body.
Easy access to your gun is also better with an OWB than an IWB, but it depends on the type of holster you’re using and your level of skills.
However, OWB holsters are not easy to conceal if you plan on concealing it, depending again on the type of holster you use. You can wear a long shirt to keep your gun out of sight.
- More comfortable than IWB
- Easy access to the gun
- Quick draw
- Easy re-holstering
- Not easily concealable
- Can have printing issues
2. Small of the back carry: Pros and cons
Small of the back requires that a holster is positioned at a 5 or 6 o’clock position. For the lefties, it should be between six and seven o’clock positions.
It’s the least preferred carry style for many. One of its pros is the comfort it can give to users who are standing most of their time while carrying their weapon, but the opposite for those sitting for long hours.
It can also be good for users who are leaning a bit while sitting when cycling, for instance.
However, this type of carry will have the gun pressing against the wearer’s spine, and it might lead to nerve damage if you fall on it.
- Comfortable to carry for those standing while wearing it
- Can be good for those leaning a bit while sitting like when cycling
- Can be uncomfortable if you spend most of the time sitting or driving
- Slow draw and uneasy gun access
3. Cross-draw carry: Pros and cons
This carry style is the opposite of strong side carry. Here, the holster is positioned on the opposite side of your body instead of it in your dominant hand.
This carry position, which is a popular defensive carry method, involves wearing an angled belt holster on the body’s weak side with the pistol butt canted forward.
For its pros, this method allows for longer pistols or revolvers for carrying and is also a preferred choice of style for users who are target shooting with their large handgun.
The holster, however, is worn too far on one’s opposite hip, so a user might not be able to reach their gun easily, or their pistol would be sticking too far out.
Draw speed is also an issue except if you position your gun into the belt’s 10 or 11 o’clock. More practice is needed to improve your draw speed.
- Good for longer barrel length at least four inches if the gun’s directly on the body’s opposite side
- Ideal for competition shooting and situational use
- Not very concealable unless one is dressing like a cowboy
- A bit awkward holster positioning
- Difficult access to the gun
4. Shoulder Carry: Pros and cons
This carry style involves carrying one’s gun around their shoulders, hence the name. It lets gun owners hang their gun off the shoulder while keeping it close and tight to the body.
This style can be ideal for wearing in the winter months when you’re layering clothes and long jackets.
Another advantage is it allows for carrying additional speedloaders, magazines, or any other gun accessories with the holster.
However, this carry method is not always practical because gun access and draw speed aren’t that good unlike with OWB styles. But then, it can offer a quick draw when sitting down.
On the downside, you’ll have to wear loose clothing and longer jackets if you need to conceal your gun better.
- Additional space for gun gear
- Can be ideal for winter wearing
- Easy access to the gun when sitting down
- Least gun concealment
- Needs longer jackets and outerwear
5. Ankle Carry: Pros and Cons
This is another standard method of carry especially for people using a backup gun. In this style, the ankle holster is worn around the ankle and is typically the style of wearing among duty officers using a backup weapon.
For civilians, the ankle carry method can be their primary or secondary carry style particularly among those who are seated most of their day.
The gun can be worn on the outside or inside of one’s ankle depending on where the holster is positioned or which hand will be drawing the gun.
One of its advantages is it allows the user to wear their firearm in a position or area that they’re not using.
Printing is also minimal. It also offers better concealment especially that it can keep the gun totally out of sight.
It offers better access to one’s secondary gun and allows the individual to reach their ankle from different angles.
On the downside, there can be complexities regarding a speedy draw because access to the weapon is not that easy when compared to other carry styles. To reach the gun, one should also do some squatting.
Access to the gun can also be harder, as one has to ensure that their pant leg is somewhat cleared in order to access their holster.
This type of carry is also only suitable for small frame revolvers and micro compact pistols.
Ankle straining can also be a concern because of the additional weight of the gun and holster. Some users might also suffer from an ankle injury.
- Ideal for use when backup pistol is needed
- Better access to a backup gun
- Allows the user to reach their ankle from different angles
- Good concealment when wearing pants
- Only for small frame revolvers and small guns
- Only ideal for backup weapons
- One should kneel or squat to access the gun
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Most Comfortable Concealed Carry Position
Below are the essential factors to consider when selecting a comfortable concealed carry weapon.
Clothing and personal style
When considering comfort when choosing a concealed carry method, one must consider their personal style and clothing.
They should be wearing a compatible belt for their holster and to support their gun’s weight.
Some users also prefer tucking their shirt to avoid unnecessary movement that might expose the gun. Alternatively, others wear a longer t-shirt or a longer coat for effective concealment.
One must also consider not wearing tight pants or low ride pants to conceal comfortably and to avoid printing issues.
Body type and physical abilities
One’s body type, a small, medium, or large frame, must also be considered when choosing a concealed carry position as well as one’s physical abilities and activities, like carrying a gun in unusual situations or having an active lifestyle.
For people who are mostly active during the day, they must select a concealed carry holster that features a retention device to keep the firearm in place.
For the body type, people who are on the larger side of life might want to consider buying larger pants to minimize the discomfort of wearing a holster like an inside the waistband holster.
Weapon size and type
The type and size of the gun also has to do with the level of comfort that concealed carry can give. Remember that it can be harder to conceal a large firearm and easier for a smaller one.
Small to medium sized pistols are more preferred because they’re in between a small and large handgun.
One’s body size may also influence how comfortable it would be to carry comfortably. It may be harder for those with smaller frame bodies to conceal a larger gun.
People in warm climates should choose a conceal carry method that would still make them feel comfortable even when wearing a holster for many hours.
Holsters with a full sweat guard may be a good choice to protect the shooter and the gun by serving as a buffer and spacer between the two.
Comfort during daily activities
For ultimate comfort, one should also consider their lifestyle and job.
For instance, a belly band holster may work if you’re driving for many hours, particularly those made with breathable neoprene.
On the other hand, an appendix carry style may be for you if you’re not sitting for many hours because it can offer you easier access to the gun.
Your clothing, body size, weapon, environment, and lifestyle impact the level of comfort you’ll achieve in concealed carry.
Its level may be higher or lower depending on certain factors that also include your practice, skill level, and personal preference.
That is why it pays off to try different concealed carry style positions to help you determine which one offers you with the most comfort.
And when choosing a carry style for your needs, determine your daily activities, job, usual movements (sitting for long hours, driving, standing, running, cycling, etc.), and preferred style of wearing a gun holster.