I\'m not going to discuss the kind of gun used. There are way too many opinions to spark up that kind of discussion. What I do want to talk about is the mode of concealing you weapon. There are many different ways to conceal a handgun and several different reasons why one should choose a certain way of carrying concealed. First lets talk about things to think about while deciding your preferred mode of carry.
There are four main things to think of when considering your mode of CCW: Comfort, Security, Speed, and Concealability. Each one of this works again another and you will have to give up some of one to gain more of another.
: You don\'t want carrying a handgun to be uncomfortable. You may find that wearing your handgun on your belt is the most comfortable but it may not be the most concealable. Comfort is still something that should be heavily considered because of that fact that if something you wear is uncomfortable then eventually you will not want to wear it, which defeats the purpose of CCW. What good is you gun going to do you when the stuff hits the fan if its in your sock drawer? Also consider what is more comforting that comfortable. I know a two shot .22 derringer would be very comfortable but I would feel alot better about have something a bit more substantial if the stuff really hits the fan.
: Obviously you don\'t want your handgun to fall on the floor while your eating at a fancy restaurant. You also don\'t need for someone else(badguy) to have immediate access to it in a scuffle. Security, though works against speed. You can have your handgun secured so well on your body that you can\'t get to in the heat of the moment. Security can also work against comfort.
: You definitely need to be able to bring you handgun into play as quickly as you possibly can. Remember that the time that it takes you to draw your handgun may be your last moment. So make it as quickly as possible. Scary thought, I know, but you have to consider that as a factor. Any situation in which you will have to use a handgun in defense is a VERY VERY scary thought.
: Obviously CCW(Concealed Carry Weapon) was designed for the weapon to be concealed. I don\'t think even printing is acceptable. All its going to do is draw unwanted attention and scare people. As much as I hate it, some people are afraid of firearms. Why frighten people if you don\'t need to?
Now onto the different ways you can carry concealed.
: (Inside the Waist Band) Generally when carrying like this it will be in a holster that has loops the over the top of the waistband and around the belt holding it in place. When using an IWB I would suggest a reinforced opening so when you draw the pistol, you holster doesn\'t collapse. I won\'t lie, some people don\'t use a holster and just shove the handgun own their pants and call it good. While it may work for them, I don\'t recommend this as it looks like the trigger could catch on something on the way in and discharge. This is called \'Mexican Carry\'. I don\'t know why, it just is,
: (Outside the Waist Band) This is generally how you see cops/detectives carrying on TV. There are several different holster for OWB.(pancake, slide, paddle, etc.) I have a pancake holster that has three belt loops for different cants. I like this way of carrying during the winter as it is hard(almost impossible) to conceal an OWB holstered handgun in just a t-shirt.
: (Small of Back) This requires a holster that holds the gun almost horizontal and it is to be worn right int he small of you back. This is argued at times whether or not it is very smart to carry like this. If you get in a fight and get knocked flat on your back it is not ideal for you to have a chunk of steel right up against your spine. Also if you drive much this is not recommended. Getting rearended is a common occurance and a firearm in the small of your back is no ideal in a rearend collision. Still, it works for many folks.
: (Bond, James Bond) This is pretty self explanatory. If you have ever seen any James Bond movie you know where his gun is. This does require a jacket of some sort to be worn constantly. Unless you get one of the types that goes under a shirt. I don\'t really like the ones that go under a shirt because not only do you have to go across you body to get to the handgun but also lifting up you shirt. It takes to long for me. But, many people find themselves in situations that call for \'deep concealment\'. These kinds of holster work great for that.
: This one is also pretty self explanatory. Alot of companies make holsters that go around you ankle an hold a very compact handgun. These look awkward to get too. Conversely this would work really well while driving a car where most holster wouldn\'t.
: Many holster makers make holster that fit into a pocket and hold the gun upright for easier draw and to keep things for getting to the trigger until you want them to. Pocket Carry should not be done without a holster. There are also holsters for spare magazines that fit into pockets as well. Pocket holster have up swept points that grab on the pocket while drawing you gun an keeps the holster in the pocket. If you have big enough pockets I think pocket carry can be great for smaller handguns. Another thing that I will consider \'Pocket Carry'is secret compartments in some vests and jackets. Places like Royal Robbins and the like make vests that have a specail pocket with velcro to hold a holster. I would think the jacket versions of these would be better than vests because, like fanny packs, vests generally \'scream'gun.
: Smart carry is probably the most interesting carry method. It is a holster that from the front looks like underwear. In fact the other company that makes the smart carry type rig calls it \'Thunderwear\'. I get a really big kick out of this one. It doesn\'t work for me but really does for alot of people. Basically is is a band that you wrap around your waist that has two pocket in the front to accommodate a handgun and mag or speed loader. It amazes me but it does really work for alot of people.
: The belly band is just that. It is a band that goes around your belly and has a holster area that holds the gun. This works really well for certain types of people. It may not but the quickest to get to but it does conceal very very well.
Fanny pack holster
: Many companies have quick access fanny pack holsters that look alot like regular fanny packs. This would by far be a very comfortable way to carry. Some will argue that a fanny pack \'screams'gun. I have to disagree to a point. While to you and I it may \'scream'gun, I highly doubt the average citizen even realizes that this is a possible or even popular method of concealed carry. We are not worried about the average citizen as much as we are badguys, though. Remember bad guys are always as dumb as we think and they will look for tell tell signs of people packing. Fanny packs are one of those signs.
Off body carry
: This would include purses, briefcases, fake day-planners, etc. This is a convenient way to carry, but I feel like someone who carries this way is more likely to leave the gun unattended. It is much more difficult for me to leave my gun somewhere if it were IWB. Also if you have kids this would not be the best idea. Think about this, you drive your kids to preschool. They are in the backseat. Where do you put your purse? Most women that I have seen put it between the two front seats. And kid could very easily access it without your knowledge. Besides that, how many times have your kids gotten into your stuff be it purse, briefcase, gym bag, or otherwise.
A couple of other things to consider
: You will need to be prepared to possibly change some of your wardrobe. For IWB holsters, pants will need to be and inch or two bigger than you usually wear. Also the type of shirt you wear is a consideration. I generally wear a short sleeved button up plaid shirt untucked and unbuttoned. I have since I was in High School so no big change for me. This though is a great setup to conceal a handgun. Some wish to wear a photographers/safari/fishermans vest to cover a handgun. While this does work to conceal it, it is like the fanny pack. It is one of those things that gun people and badguys alike may(most likely will) associate with carrying a concealed weapon.
Your daily life
: Think about the things you do on an average day. Do you spend alot of time in a car/truck/semi or do you bend over much in public? If so then a SOB holster may not be best for you. If you spend alot of time a car/truck/semi then a shoulder or cross draw holster would be great or like I mentioned above an ankle holster seems ideal for this as well.
Other things to carry
: A couple of things you might consider carrying in addition to a firearm is either an extra magazine or a speed loader. Remember you can never have too much ammo. For a semi-auto handgun, it has been said that the magazine is the weakest part of the pistol. 95% of all malfunctions with a semi-auto handgun can be quickly fixed with a fresh magazine. As for a revolver, generally they are only 5 or 6 shots. You never know when you will need more. Also consider carrying a flashlight. High intensity flashlights that take lithium camera batteries are great. I usually carry a couple of flashlights because batteries can go dead without you knowing it. Besides the fact that you are more likely to be in a self defense situation in the dark that you will if you were in daylight or under a street light.
I had alot of questions when I started looking at how I was going to carry my handgun for defense. I hope this helps some of the people like me that had a hard time finding answers.
For a list of holster makers follow the link. http://www.missouricarry.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3270
[I got the comfort, security, speed, concealability part from and article written by Clint Smith. Its not word for word. I just took the four parts and put my own words with it as I don\'t have the article on hand]
A special thanks also to Raytacer, 54JNoll, Greg_Sackett, TomZ, and John Ross for helping me get more ideas to add.