Carry position advice?

This is a discussion on Carry position advice? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm new to this forum, and new to concealed carry. I have searched the forum but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for to answer ...

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Thread: Carry position advice?

  1. #1
    Member Array michaelpthompso's Avatar
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    Question Carry position advice?

    I'm new to this forum, and new to concealed carry. I have searched the forum but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for to answer my questions, so I thought I'd post them here.

    I keep seeing different descriptions of how to carry concealed, and I understand some of them, but not others. What I would really like to hear is some advice on the different options and the advantages or disadvantages of each.

    I don't mean specific advice about guns or holsters, I do see a lot of that on the forum. What I'm asking about is position and method of carry. I know IWB and OWB, and I see things about 4 o'clock and kidney that I can sort of guess about what they mean.

    So, wise forum posters, how do you carry your concealed gun and why do you do it that way? I'm exploring my options here. Thanks in advance.

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    My primary carry is always inside the waistband at the three o'clock position. If you were standing on the center of a clock dial, facing the 12, 3:00 would be at 90 degrees to your right, 6:00 would be directly to your rear another 90 degrees, and 9:00 would be yet another 90 degrees to your left. From there the various clock references become apparent.
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    Member Array Danjojo's Avatar
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    I like appendix best...comfort, speed, concealability, most accessible with off hand or when sitting or on the ground, less likely to get bumped by objects or people, less likely to mess you up if you slip on some ice or get tackled.

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    There's a wealth of carry styles and positions here: Let's See Your Pic's - How You Carry Concealed.
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    Member Array Moby's Avatar
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    I also carry IWB at 3:00. It is easiest for me to avoid printing as my right arm at my side natuerally obstructs what little printiing there is.
    Also when bending it is the natural body "hing" so it prints very little anyway. For me, a 4:00 position prints far more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moby View Post
    I also carry IWB at 3:00. It is easiest for me to avoid printing as my right arm at my side natuerally obstructs what little printiing there is.
    Also when bending it is the natural body "hing" so it prints very little anyway. For me, a 4:00 position prints far more.
    Four o'clock makes it look like I'm wearing a gym bag under my shirt.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
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    Member Array michaelpthompso's Avatar
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    Thanks Mike. What kind of shirt do you wear over it? I normally keep my shirt tucked in, but I've been experimenting with untucked to allow for faster access.

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I think you'll find the vast majority of us carry strongside (your dominant hand), just behind the blade of the hip. So for example, I'm right-handed and carry IWB at 3:30. By keeping it forward of 4:00, it tends to stay clear of the seatbelt buckle when driving and still leaves access to draw while seated.

    Other positions may work for others, but these are the drawbacks that I've found:

    Crossdraw: Difficult not to sweep everything in front of you as you draw.

    SOB: You don't have view/control of the firearm. If someone behind you notices that you're carrying there and they want it, you're at an immediate disadvantage. I've heard many warnings about back injuries when falling down, but to me controlling the firearm that you're carrying is paramount.

    Ankle: Getting into a submissive position in order to draw doesn't appeal to me. Running with an ankle holster is never a good feeling either. However, it can be ideal if you're seated in a vehicle.

    Appendix: I don't have iron abs anymore, and this is just a painful position for me.

    Shoulder Holster: Requires a cover jacket that stays on.

    Smartcarry: I'm just not comfortable with stuff pointed at my junk, and a soft holster can theoretically get inside the trigger guard (very bad thing), but I can see why many swear by it.

    Pocket carry: In a good holster, all day long.

    'Just my unprofessional opinion as a fellow citizen cc'er. Good luck on your path of discovery.
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompso View Post
    Thanks Mike. What kind of shirt do you wear over it? I normally keep my shirt tucked in, but I've been experimenting with untucked to allow for faster access.
    Size-larger t-shirts usually. Polo shirts work in my normal size as long as they aren't tapered for athletic cut. Size-larger pants, jeans, slacks or shorts. The only time I'm tucked is if I'm in a suit or jacket. I also always wear a wife-beater under it all.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Think of a clock, with directions around your waist such that 12 is at your navel (foward, of course), 3 to your right, 6 right behind you (as in, check your "six"), and 9 is to your left. Where folks say they place their holstered gun relates to this "clock" around your waist.

    Here's the thing: your body shape and structure's going to be what dictates what's the best combination of concealment and comfort. While we can each give impressions about what it's like on our own bodies, that'll only help you a little. It won't find your best spot, as only you know your specific shape, protrusions, padding, etc.

    Each location has its benefits, depending on your body and preferences. Appendix carry avoids many of the bumps/protrusions that around the other areas of the waist often impact. For right-hander strong-side carry, anywhere from 3:30 to 5 o-clock seems to be where most folks find a decent level of concealability and comfort. It'll vary somewhat by the size/weight of weapon you're attempting to carry, the holster design (in terms of whether it curves enough at the right spot, protects your protrusions enough, etc). Many find OWB more comfortable than IWB, simply because it's outside the belt and not pressing inward in the same way.

    Holsters can vary, as well. Some have a somewhat curved backing that accommodates the body's shape, whereas others are flat as a board and nearly as hard. Some have a sweat shield, which also helps protect the body from pinching by the butt-end of the gun.

    One way to play around is to get a relatively inexpensive IWB holster and then try the various positions. If you've got a popular gun, you can likely find a pre-owned holster for a fraction of the new price. And there are some inexpensive holsters out there, which could be a good starting point for your fitment tests.

    An excellent belt is also crucial. It needs to be firm enough and wide enough to effectively distribute the load of the gun around the waist, avoiding "hot" spots at the point of the holstered gun's attachment points to your belt, avoiding pulling the belt in odd directions. Consider at minimum 1.5" or possibly 1.75" (if your clothing can get away with that wide). Definitely consider a "double" thick belt, if going leather. Many belt makers also ofter internal stiffeners. Some folks much prefer the webbed/synthetic style belts instead of leather, such as the Wilderness tactical belts, 5.11 or similar. IMO, it's astounding how crappy IWB (or even OWB) can feel to me with a sub-par belt, yet how good it can feel when I've got a properly stiff, wide, snug belt carrying (and distributing) the load.

    Also, be willing to accept that not all clothing accommodates IWB concealment comfortably or well. At minimum, you might well need to consider bumping up in a size of pants, in order to accommodate it. You might well need a slightly different cut of pants, since the material's going to be stretched in different ways once you shove a holstered gun in there. Some pants work very nicely with me, whereas others make carrying IWB fairly painful and tiring after a long day, merely because the pants simply aren't shaped that way (for movement, sitting, etc) with a gun in there.
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    Member Array 40CalCenterMass's Avatar
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    I'll agree with Mike, I like the IWB 3 o'clock position for concealed, good access and depending on attire, really good concealment. also quite comfortable if you are going to be sitting or bending/crouching a lot. Also like pocket carry as long as the gun fits your pocket but it can be a little annoying when moving a lot. I am not a fan of appendix carry as it seems uncomfortable to me when sitting or bending.
    Find what feels best and train that way so you are confident in your draw and target acquisition. If it feels awkward or you are not comfortable then you need to move to the next position and just keep trying until you find the right combo for you! Good Luck

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    Member Array tele_pathic's Avatar
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    I carry IWB at 3:00. Compared to 4:00, for me it's comfortable, and it's more concealed. In fact, at 3:00 my Beretta Nano in a Theis IWB holster almost disappears.

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    I carry IWb or OWb, depending on my weapon for carry ( Glock 22 or Ruger SR40C), style of dress, time of year) glock for cold weather ruger for warmer weather, etc. Try different styles, clothing types etc and see what feels right to you. No one can tell you what is right for you, you have to do the work and see what you like.
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    Senior Member Array KoriBustard's Avatar
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    For the reasons mentioned earlier, I think anything but waist carry is a problem (i.e., ankle, vest, pocket, purse, etc.) This is debatable, but if you accept that then the next question is IWB or OWB (and of course you can get holsters for both and change based on weather, attire, etc.). Assuming IWB which provides superior concealment, then it becomes a question of position. As others have said "crossdraw" (which might be 10 o'clock for a right hander) is problematic. Appendix is very uncomfortable to me. 3 o'clock the gun is in my hip bone. So I've come to 4 o'clock as most suitable. I simply cant the holster to a slightly forward position which makes drawing easier / more natural and tends to prevent printing since the firearm grip us a bit under my right arm. The only problem I have with the 4 o'clock is re-holstering in that I like to visually inspect my holster before re-holstering (i.e., shirttail in the holster, damaged holster, etc.) to prevent an unintended discharge and it can be difficult to see.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    michaelpthompso, you list your primary carry gun as a S&W M&P 40c.

    Do you carry the gun on the left or right side of your belt?
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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