When carrying a firearm for self-defense purposes, the carry method must provide easy access to the firearm, securely retain the firearm, provide for one-handed re-holstering, and must be reasonably comfortable.
There are many viable options for carrying a firearm; the 4 above issues should be taken into account.
There are 7 primary ways that a pistol can be carried:
Inside the waistband holsters usually reside at the 3 to 4 o’clock (right handed) or 8 to 9 o’clock (left handed) position on a person’s body. Since the gun’s barrel is inside the pants, it is easier to conceal than an outside the waistband holster, leaving only the grip and the portion above the belt visible. With the right pants and shirt, inside the waistband holsters can be concealed.
Outside the waistband holsters reside in the same position as inside the waistband holsters but sit on the outside of the belt. They are more difficult to conceal since everything sits outside the belt. However, they are typically easier to draw from and reholster to. With some jackets (especially heavier coats) outside the waistband holsters can be concealed and allow for much easier access.
Shoulder holsters fit under the weak-side arm and are drawn across the body. With a light jacket, they are usually easy to conceal. The advantage of a shoulder holster is drawing from a seated position, like in a car or behind a desk. The disadvantage is they are usually a bit slower to draw from than a belt holster.
Pocket holsters are a small holster that contains the holster and just resides inside the pocket. They usually have some form of coating on them so that the gun can be drawn but leaves the hol-ster inside the pocket. Pocket holsters are usually for small guns. They are slower to draw that belt holsters and are fairly difficult to reholster. However, they provide easy concealment in most any pocket except tight fitting pants. The pocket holster’s primary function is to protect the trigger from something like keys or other items in the pocket from getting wedged in the trigger guard and discharging the gun.
Ankle holsters attach to the ankle, just above the shoe. The disadvantage of ankle holsters is they are often uncomfortable and more easily detected when the pants ride up will sitting or when a person’s stride changes because there is extra weight on one ankle and not on the other. The advantages are that when seated (car or desk) they are easy to draw from. Frequently individually that carry a backup pistol may carry their backup pistol in an ankle holster.
Belly bands are elastic bands that fit under the pants and usually holds the pistol in the groin area. The draw goes into the pants and pulls it out. Belly bands provide for a lot of concealment because it is all under the clothes. The disadvantage of belly bands may be comfort, reholstering, and even drawing if the belt is too tight. Related to the belly band is the fanny pack, where the bag fits on the outside of the clothing. Here the draw is a bit slower than a belt holster, but access is much better. A disadvantage of a fanny pack is it typically isn’t very concealable; they tend to scream “I’m carrying a gun” or “I have a camera”.
Off-body devices like purses, day planners, etc. provide a way of carrying a firearm in an undis-closed and totally hidden way. It may be the only way that a woman can carry a gun when she is in an evening dress. It also may be best for a man who either doesn’t wear a jacket or frequently takes their jacket off. The disadvantage is that the device can be forgotten and gets into unauthor-ized hands and is very slow to draw from.
Each of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The shooter must find the one that is the most comfortable and works best for them. Then once they have selected that method, it is crit-ical that the shooter practices from that carry mode so that they are competent and confident in their drawing and reholstering skills.
It is advisable that whatever the holster, that is a retention holster so that it adequately secures the firearm and also that the holster’s mouth remains open so that it can be reholstered with 1 hand.