Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Steven Paul Bar­low

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.

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