After choosing a handgun, the next most frequent question I get is how to carry the handgun concealed. This can be a frustrating process, because everyone has different body shapes, priorities about carrying, sizes and shapes of handguns, and then we add to that different seasons with different temperatures.
There is no one way to carry that works for everyone in all situations. I have carried for over 40 years now, pretty much all the time, and I have learned a few things over that time. I have carried in shoulder holsters, inside the waistband holsters middle of the back, kidney, and appendix, in fanny packs, and in belt packs. Let’s go over some of the most popular ways to carry and I can provide some advice for each.
Shoulder holsters The main disadvantage here is wearing cover clothing that allows access but is not hot. That’s very hard to do. A baggy button-up shirt can work. Jackets and coats are too hot in many situations. Balancing the load by having extra loaded magazines in holders attached to the opposite side from the handgun helps keep things in place.
Inside the waistband holsters These need to be comfortable. Which holsters are comfortable? That is determined by you. Generally speaking, if you pay more, the holsters tend to be more comfortable. I like Milt Sparks holsters, but there are many newer brands and designs that are excellent, too. In the small of the back is very concealable, but can hurt you if you fall back on the handgun. Kidney carry can be uncomfortable and hard to draw while seated in a car. Appendix carry depends on, well, uh, how much the abdomen protrudes in the front. If the abdomen is not flat, don’t bother to try that option.
Fanny packs These are versatile and can be comfortably used in just about any temperature. You can wear one at the beach, while gardening, while hiking in the summer, while jogging, and while bicycling. They are a pain to take on and off when entering and leaving cars. Removing and replacing your handgun requires two hands unless you do plenty of practicing. A variant of fanny packs are belt packs that look like innocuous holders of such things as power packs or cell phones.
Purses Purses can be problematic. Who has not known of a woman who left her purse in a bathroom or a restaurant? Purse snatching is a career for some in the cities. If a woman can commit to keeping the purse attached to her body, these problems can be minimized. Purses are like fanny packs in that they require two hands to remove and replace the handgun unless you do plenty of practicing.
How fast you can respond to a threat This is a popular consideration when choosing how to carry. In reality, no means of carry is fast if you do not practice drawing and shooting. Having stated that, fanny packs and purses are slower than waist and shoulder holsters. That’s a fact. But don’t forget that what you are doing while you are drawing your handgun is just as important, if not more so. Moving while drawing greatly increases your odds of avoiding injury. Taking an intermediate level class that covers this concept is a great idea after learning the basics in a concealed carry or personal protection class. Here is a link to my course.