There’s a learning curve when it comes to concealed carry, and even though I’ve carried different firearms over the years in different holsters and in different positions I’m always seeking the best carry combo for my own personal use. A firearm that is inaccessible is of little value, and if your holster is uncomfortable then there’s a good chance you won’t carry your pistol every day. Here’s a look at five key factors to consider when purchasing a carry gun, holster, and when finding the best carry position for your personal defense firearm.
1. Is The Gun Safe and Secure?
This should always be your primary concern. While most new CCW permit holders focus on concealability and comfort, safety and security are the most critical factors when choosing a carry setup. The gun should fit snugly and securely in the holster and should ride close to your body (which is why carrying loose in a pocket is generally a bad idea), and the firearm should only exit the holster when you intentionally draw. Be certain that your firearm’s trigger is covered and that the holster holds the gun securely in place in any position. Always be certain your holster properly fits your specific firearm.
2. Does the Holster Position Allow You to Comfortably Sit, Stand and Kneel?
Some carry positions severely limit your range of motion and impede natural movements. If you’re constantly repositioning the firearm throughout the day, or are forced to keep your body in a certain position you’ll be uncomfortable…and there’s a good chance you won’t carry the gun every day. Whether you opt to position your firearm at the 3 o’clock position on your hip, on the small of your back or in the appendix position in the front of the body, take the time to determine which position offers you the most comfort and widest range of natural motion.
3. Is the Firearm Accessible?
This is critically important. A comfortable, secure carry position is of little value if the firearm is located where you’ll have to dig through your outer garments to reach the gun. This is an easy one to test—with an unloaded firearm, practice reaching for and drawing the gun with the type of clothes you’ll be wearing every day. The best carry positions will allow you to reach the firearm with either hand should the need arise.
4. Is The Firearm Concealable?
If your firearm is positioned so that it prints every time you move, then you aren’t really concealing your concealment gun. It’s very important to find a carry position that allows you to carry year-round, during the hottest summer months and in the dead of winter. Garment selection also plays a role in concealability, and having an open cover garment that works with the ambient temperature is essential for year-round carry. In the warm months I’ve found that a lightweight, breathable short-sleeved shirt left unbuttoned works particularly well with most carry options, especially if the shirt has a heavy hem (so it doesn’t blow open in the wind) and a “busy” pattern that disrupts the outline of a carry gun.
5. Will a Single Carry Position/Style Work for You?
Maybe not. For example, you may find that an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster with the gun at the 3 o’clock position is best for times when you’ll be on your feet during the day, but that a crossdraw rig is better when you are sitting or driving. Ideally, you can find one carry setup that checks every box for your daily routine, but be prepared to adjust as-needed so that you have multiple options for certain circumstances.