THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO CARRY A HANDGUN, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW THE PROS AND CONS
There are lots of ways to carry a handgun, but you need to know the pros and cons.
Various methods of carrying a firearm are not created equal.
I have my personal preference— strong-side hip carry. And while I believe you should build some consistency in where you carry your defensive handgun, there are times when you might want to use an alternative method.
That’s fine as long as you understand that where you carry your handgun can affect your overall self-defense strategy.
So, beyond the typical strong-side hip carry, let’s take a look at some of the tactical advantages and disadvantages—the pros and cons—of specific methods of carry.
Pros: Cross-draw carry is especially comfortable when riding in a car and access is good. It’s also easier to access your handgun with either hand, an important consideration if one arm becomes disabled during a conflict. Cross-draw carry was particularly popular with Old West lawmen because this method made it more difficult for someone to come up behind them and snatch their guns from their holsters.
Cons: A good tactic is to turn your gun side away from your attacker while you fight him off, so that it’s more difficult for him to grab your gun if he spots it. But picture this: You’re right-handed and carrying in a cross-draw holster on your left side. If you keep your gun side away from the bad guy, that means you’re fending him off primarily with your right hand.
What started with a push and a shove suddenly escalates to a deadly situation when the bad guy pulls a knife. If the situation escalates further and you have to reach for your gun, doing so the way you’d prefer, with your right hand, means dropping your guard and possibly having your right arm pinned against your body in the struggle. Of course, creating space between your opponent and yourself is preferred, but that isn’t always possible.
Pros: I always found shoulder holsters a good choice when, in my wild and crazy days, I was riding a motorcycle regularly. Horizontal shoulder holsters are especially good when you’re carrying a large revolver.
Cons: With a shoulder holster, you have to take great care not to cross the muzzle of your handgun across your arm as you draw. If the straps aren’t adjusted properly, the holster can strain the muscles of your neck, shoulders and back. You also need a significant cover garment that opens in the front to conceal a weapon yet still have access to it, making other options better in extremely hot weather.
Pros: Pocket holsters can be a convenient way to carry a handgun, especially when wearing light clothing. In the summer, when wearing just a t-shirt and a pair of cargo shorts, a pocket holster seems like a natural choice. Today, there are plenty of slim handguns in effective calibers that will fit in a pocket.
A pocket holster helps to break up the outline of gun so it doesn’t “print” on the outside of your pants. A good one should cover the trigger guard for an added measure of safety and should be textured to prevent it from coming
When choosing how you will carry your gun, you must weigh ease of access against concealability. If you decide to carry off of the body, it’s best if there is a dedicated pocket for your gun.
Above: A shoulder holster is especially good for carrying large revolvers such as this Ruger GP100. The holster is an old model from Bianchi.
Below: A pocket holster is a great way to carry a small handgun. Here a Ruger LCP rides in a DeSantis Nemesis holster.