The position you carry your gun in is as personal as the gun you carry. Not every gun carrier uses the same methods, and when you’re new to carrying a concealed weapon, it can be hard to figure out which way is best for you.
We figured it’d be a good idea to highlight some of the more popular concealed carry positions, show you some pluses and minuses to each, and hopefully help give you the ammo needed to figure out which position to carry in.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there are other positions besides the ones we’ve listed here. Also, keep in mind that these are the most popular concealed carry positions, and what follows is geared more for beginners.
Let’s get started…
Strong Side Hip, IWB:
This is by far one of the most popular methods of carrying. IWB, or inside the waistband, on the strong side affords you one of the quickest draws, while not sacrificing much concealability. The reason why it’s quick is because your gun sits there right next to the hand that’s going to be shooting it. Furthermore, it requires zero to minimal reaching across your body to access your firearm.
Having said that, the minus to this method is that when compared to others on this list, it isn’t as easy to get a positive, combat grip on your handgun.
If you were looking at a clock and imagined that the front of your body was the 12 o’clock position, strong side hip sits right at 3 o’clock for right-handed shooters and 9 o’clock for left. Many people also consider 4 and 5 o’clock (right-hand) or 6 and 7 o’clock (left-hand) to be strong side hip, as well, and even prefer the gun to sit there because it offers greater concealability.
Strong Side Hip, OWB:
OWB, or outside the waistband carry on the strong side hip is another popular method of carrying a gun that allows for a quick draw but gives up the concealability that its IWB counterpart offers. The main reason why is because your handgun will usually sit a little further away from your body, allowing you a more positive, combat grip in a quicker manner.
Because the gun sits further off your body than, say, an inside the waistband holster allows, the outline of your gun can be seen through your shirt, also known as printing. Strongside hip, OWB generally takes place in the 3 o’clock position if you are a right-handed shooter, and 9 o’clock if on the left.
Appendix is concealed carry inside the waistband that takes place under your belly, usually just to either side of your belly button. It offers great concealability and quick access to your firearm.
The downside to it is if you’ve got a beer belly like most Americans do, it could get in the way of your draw. This method of concealed carry is largely dependent upon your body type and where your waistline sits.
If you’re right-handed, your appendix position would be at about 1 o’clock, whereas if you were a lefty, your gun would sit at about 11 o’clock.
Small Of Back:
The small back carry is that which sits right at your spine, or the 6 o’clock position, and offers up great concealability. This comes at the cost of a slower draw and less comfort while sitting.
If you stand for long periods of time with minimal time in a chair, this may be a good option. Just remember that you must reach around your body to get your hand in the grip of your gun.
This is much like an appendix carry, in that your gun sits on the front of your body. However, instead of sitting on your strong side, it sits on your weak side. This offers up good concealability, and, although not belly-friendly, may be a more natural draw than appendix for some with a certain range of motion difficulties.
If you’re a right-handed shooter, your cross-draw position would be at approximately 11 o’clock. While, if you’re a left-handed shooter, your cross-draw position would be about 1 o’clock.
A word on training:
Whichever position you choose to carry your gun in, just make sure you practice drawing an unloaded firearm from the holster, so you actually know how to do it if you ever need to defend yourself with it. Even better, make sure you take a class on how to operate a firearm if you’ve never done so.
And finally, always remember to treat every weapon like it is loaded.
Hopefully this helped shine some light on figuring out the most popular positions to carry a gun. If you haven’t yet chosen a self-defense firearm, make sure you check out this article outlining which 9mm handguns are the best on the market, right now.