Different Locations to Carry a Gun

Different Locations to Carry a Gun

Different Locations to Carry a Gun

For many people, the holster is their favorite gun accessory. There are a nearly infinite number of options when it comes to holster design, material, shapes, comfort, and so on. However, we all know that the kind of holster you use is fully dependent on the kind of firearm that you have. If your gun is less common than others, you will likely have a more limited number of holster options to choose from, especially when it comes to concealed carry holsters.

Despite that, the overwhelming majority of pistols still have at least a handful of holsters made for each of the nine locations to conceal carry a gun on your person (with the exception of one off body carry example) that we will go over in this article.

While the official definition of concealed carry does vary state by state, it essentially means that you are carrying your pistol out of sight. Almost all states require you to conceal with a CCW permit.

Regardless of what state you live in, each of these locations to carry your gun will work. Which carry location you settle on is up to you based on your preference. Ideally, your carry location of choice should meet the right balance between concealment, access to your weapon, and comfort.

Without any further ado, let’s get started:


This kind of holster is held outside your waistband and either loops over your belt or a paddle is secured inside your pants with the holster outside. OWB options are excellent for when open carry is allowed but concealed carry isn’t, or for police work. However, with a coat or jacket over it in cold weather, it can also be worn concealed. OWB holsters are available in a variety of different materials including nylon, leather, or polymer. The disadvantage to them is that they are the least easily concealed out of your options; the advantage is that it’s almost always faster to draw from an OWB holster than an IWB one.


In this carry option, you wear your gun on your right or left hip in the same position you would in an OWB holster only this time the gun is carried inside your waistband. A shirt or jacket is then worn over the top of your pants to hide the exposed grip of the handgun. This is easily one of the most popular carry options because it keeps your pistol fully concealed and permits you to get a full firing grip on your gun before drawing; the drawback is it’s difficult to draw your weapon with your other hand if your gun hand is down. Almost all strong side hip IWB holsters will either have loops or clips that securely fasten to a belt, and like OWB holsters, they are made with a wide range of materials.


This is often abbreviated as an SOB holster. The handgun is worn in an IWB holster that is tucked into the small of the back, most of the time in the six o’clock position. This is definitely a highly concealable option available to you if you desire, but nonetheless many firearms instructors will not recommend this carry option as a first choice. For one thing, it’s very uncomfortable when sitting down or driving. In addition, if you are thrown against or fall to the ground on your back and the concealed gun is pressed against your spine, it can cause damage to your vertebrae. This is why cops and detectives generally avoid SOB holsters even for their backup guns. But as long as you are willing to take the risk you won’t fall hard enough on your back and don’t mind the discomfort when driving, it is certainly an option to consider.


This carry location also makes use of an IWB holster that clips or loops to your belt. The firearm rests in the two o’clock position (for right handed shooters) in front of you about where your appendix is located. This is a more uncomfortable carry location for large or medium frame guns but works great for smaller ones. The advantage that carrying appendix has vs. strong side hip is that you can easily draw your firearm with either hand.


If you are against the idea of wearing your handgun around your waist, but still need your firearm and spare magazines or speed loaders to be easily accessible, then you should probably consider a shoulder holster. Granted, most kinds of shoulder holsters require a jacket to be worn concealed, but there are some smaller and lighter designs that can be worn under a normal T-shirt. Shoulder holsters are easily adjustable so any model can fit most body types. Your handgun can also be drawn with either hand and your spare ammunition is easily accessible.


An ankle holster is strapped right on or above either ankle and then concealed with your pant leg; it is obviously not an option for concealment if you are wearing shorts or a skirt. It’s also generally not an option for medium to large handguns, but for small firearms it works great. Ankle holsters can be uncomfortable for some but most people get used to them after extended use. The primary drawback to the ankle holster is it takes a slower amount of time to draw; for this reason, they are often preferred for a backup gun rather than a primary carry gun.


Obviously this carry location is with women in mind; the holster secures to the thigh for when wearing skirts or dresses. Like ankle holsters, medium to large frame handguns generally do not work well with thigh holsters as they can weigh it down, but smaller framed and lighter handguns work just fine for it.


This is obviously another holster location option with ladies in mind. Bra holsters attach directly to the middle of the bra and make the firearm totally concealed. Again, only smaller pistols work well for this carry option. In addition, there are generally a lesser number of bra holsters out there, meaning if your chosen CCW isn’t exactly a popular gun, there may not be a bra holster for it.


This one is more popular with women to carry in their purse, but men can also carry a gun in their suitcase or messenger bag. Nonetheless, like SOB holsters, off body carry in general is not recommended as a first carry option by most experts. The reason is simple: your purse, bag, suitcase, or whatever must be with you at all times and you can’t ever let it out of your hands. But if you are forced to carry off body for whatever reason, there are a number of special purses and messenger bags that have concealed compartments for your gun.


  • Phillip says:

    Yes. I agree that On Body Carry is the best..

    Here is my Situation:
    I am a Paraplegic of 33 Years.. Carrying On Body Concealment can really cause some bodily injury to SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) people whom carry concealed.. Due to the lack of feeling, depending on level of SCI level of the Cord.. Like myself, I am a T3 Para with no feeling from high chest down.. With the issue of not being able to feel, leaves the problem of Skin Ulcers from pressure and the gun and holster can cause these kind of problems.

    Being confined to wheelchair, I have found a pouch that zips from both directions and in the corner it has a tab that will hang out to grasp to pull and it pulls flap open, while un-zipping both zippers to reveal compartment that contains a Holster with Velcro to hold Holster in Place.. The pouch has two 2″ Loops of Webbing Straps.. I use the two Loops to attach this to the frame of my chair.. In doing this I use the Heavy Tie Wraps to mount this to the Frame on the side of my choice..

    This is the best method I could come up with to carry Off Body Concealed.. If anyone has anything better for Wheelchair users, Please send comments..


  • Brian P. says:

    For the shoulder holster method, I would also mention that the draw stroke required to present your weapon from this position is awkward. That is, if you care at all about not sweeping yourself, or others you don’t want to shoot, with the muzzle. Basic gun safety rule, never point the muzzle at anyone or anything you don’t want to kill or destroy.

    For appendix carry, your gun may be just the right size, but your stomach might not be. Those of us with a little ‘extra stuffing’ in the mid section would push the grip of the gun away from our body and ‘print’ some.

    For small of the back carry, it wasn’t mentioned that it is harder to get to and it makes it easier to get your gun taken away or foul your draw stroke with someone attacking you from behind. This position really only offers concealment and no other benefit. If you’re going to put it there and never touch it, it works great. I really wish this method of carry would stop being talked about and never brought up again in my opinion.

  • Owen McCullen says:

    I routinely carry a .45 ACP and, when weather permits, I carry in a vest made for the purpose. It is comfortable, is just a vest, a common garment where I live, allows a draw with either hand, allows the gun to be easily accessible when sitting, can be used in a car and yet can easily be left in the locked car if I must enter a gun free zone. Works very well for me. I have used this method for at least 8 years and generally buy a new vest each fall, as the others get to looking rather ratty due to regular wear for months on end. Pistol on one side and two or 3 extra magazines on the other pretty well balances. I have a number of holsters and the vest is my favorite method of carry.

  • Paul Foreman says:

    Wow! In the above picture posted with this article, I highly recommend the model take a gun safety course!
    She is about to shoot a hole in her leg! KEEP YOUR BUGGER HOOK OFF THE BANG SWITCH!

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