Once you have decided to carry a firearm concealed, you have a few choices to make. What kind of firearm, where on your body are you going to carry it and what are you going to carry it in.
Most state laws require that you carry your firearm in a holster. Choosing the right holster is very important. It needs to be comfortable and easy to access yet conceal the weapon so others do not see that you are carrying. One of the most popular types of holsters is…is the inside the waistband holster or IWB.
The Inside the Waistband Holster
The IWB holster is attached to your belt with clips or loops and can be placed anywhere around your waist. Most permit holders will describe where they carry it in relation to a clock. If you carry in the center of your right side this would be 3 o’clock. This type of holster will leave only the handle of the firearm above your waist. The IWB holster offers great concealment and very quick access but you generally have to keep your shirt un-tucked, although there are tuckable holsters that allow you to tuck in your shirt. You may also have to wear pants a size bigger depending on the size of your firearm.
Outside the Waistband Holster
Another popular holster is the outside the waistband holster or OWB. The OWB holster is very similar to IWB holster except that is worn on the outside of your pants. These holsters are a little harder to conceal and usually require wearing a coat, vest or a longer shirt. Access to the firearm with this holster is about the same as with an IWB holster. The good thing about OWB holster is no need to buy a larger size pants.
Small of Back Holster
SOB or small of the back holsters are made in either OWB or IWB fashions. These holsters are great for concealing larger firearms but are slower to access and nearly impossible to access while sitting in a car. They have also gotten a bad reputation for causing spinal injuries. If you were to fall on your back having a large solid object against your spine may create an injury. Most U.S. police departments have banned the use of these holsters for their officers.
Shoulder holsters can be very easy to conceal. These holsters are popular with plain clothes detectives or other professionals that wear a suit on a daily basis. They can also be worn under a shirt but may slow down your access time. Shoulder holsters are very comfortable and distribute the weight across your shoulders much like a backpack does allowing you to carry a large firearm.
Belly Band Holsters
Belly band holsters are a great concealment option. They are simply an elastic band that goes around your stomach typically with Velcro on the ends and a pocket to hold your firearm. You must wear a loose shirt with these holsters but you can tuck your shirt in. This type of holster is usually best for lighter guns.
Ankle holsters are a great way to conceal your firearm but they are not quickly accessible and are usually reserved for a backup gun. Ankle holsters are very popular with police officers for their backup. One great advantage is if you hug someone they won’t know you are carrying.
There are several types of bags designed for carrying concealed. Companies like Maxpedition and 5.11 are just of the few of the companies making these bags.
Fanny packs are another method of concealed carry. You can buy a pack designed for carrying that has a compartment just for your weapon. There will usually be a Velcro strap to pull away to gain quick access. Most people would not consider wearing one but they can be a good option for someone jogging or walking a lot.
Once you have decided on your carry method, invest in a good holster. Make sure it is from a reputable company and that it is comfortable to wear. De Santis, Galco, Blackhawk and Don Hume Leather goods are just a few of the manufacturers who make great products. Another option is to have a holster custom made to fit you and your firearm. Having one custom tailored will ensure a comfortable holster that will fit your needs exactly. Some great custom holster makers out there include and El Paso Saddlery and A Touch of Yellow Leatherwerkes. Prices for custom holsters are usually comparable to a mass produced holster but may take a little time to make.
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