So far, we’ve talked about Appendix Carry and Strong Side Carry, discussing the pros and cons of both.
Today, we’re moving on to another concealed carry style — pocket carry.
We’ll take some time to explore the ins and outs of this carry mode, lay out why you might want to consider it, and, as always, leave you with some tips for success.
That said, Brownells Daily Defense has an awesome episode dedicated to pocket carry that you’ll definitely want to check out for more tips and tricks!
Table of Contents
What Is Pocket Carry?
One thing we love about the gun world is its naming scheme — usually self-explanatory. This style of carry proves no different.
Pocket carry is a means of concealed carrying a gun in…you guessed it, your pocket.
It can be front or back pocket, just depends on your wardrobe and preferences. (We’ll talk about that more in a minute…)
While we don’t recommend pocket carry as our first choice for concealed carry — that honor goes to strong side carry — sometimes, you can’t carry any other way.
When lifestyles, careers, or clothing dictate a need for something away from the belt, pocket carry is a solution.
Pros of Pocket Carry
We kind of already touched on the biggest attractor to this mode of carry — it does not rely on a belt.
If you cannot carry strong side or appendix, pocket carry gives you the ability to still carry a gun. To that end, it’s pretty convenient.
You don’t have to buy a holster AND gun belt to make it work. You just pop the gun in your pocket (in a pocket holster, of course) and go.
Finally, pocket carry can provide a more discreet way to draw the gun. No one really suspects the person with their hands in their pocket of producing a gun — not in the same way a regular IWB draw stroke does.
Cons of Pocket Carry
Pocket carry does come with its disadvantages, though.
It stands as one of the more limiting concealed carry options in that not everyone can do it.
I’m looking at you, ladies.
Our clothing does not readily support pocket carry due to our pocket-size (and sometimes even non-existent pocket option). So, it’s not a great option for us.
If you really want to CCW via pocket, my best advice is to invest in some men’s jeans.
Men, you’re not completely free from the grasp of the fashion industry, either. Not every pair of pants will work well with pocket carry, so you’ll want to make sure what you have in your closet sports pockets large enough to carry your chosen CCW pistol.
And that brings me to my next point.
Pocket carry limits the size of the firearm you can carry. It’s best suited for smaller guns like micro-compacts and subcompacts.
Sorry, Glock 19 fans, you’ll have to sit this one out.
Even if you opt for a tiny gun, the draw stroke can be difficult and slower — more than a holster on the belt. Think about it. You have to reach in your pocket, overcome the pocket (and depending on the holster, prevent the holster from escaping the pocket on the gun), and then present the gun.
This can be overcome with training, but it still isn’t as efficient as a holstered IWB, OWB, or AIWB gun.
Finally, let’s be real…pockets are dirty. Even if you don’t stuff spare change or gum wrappers in there, you still must combat the dreaded pocket lint.
While this might seem like no biggie, pocket lint can get trapped inside the barrel and work its way into the gun, causing issues down the line.
So, if you choose this method, make sure to regularly clean your pockets and gun.
If you need help cleaning your firearms, check out our handy guide.
Should I Carry in the Front or Back Pocket?
Front or back pocket — the answer is…it depends.
Back pocket gives you the most access to the gun as it is often the wider of the two pockets, and the draw stroke is somewhat similar to strong side carry.
(If you regularly strong side carry and only switch to pocket carry on the weekends, then back pocket probably works best.)
Front pocket situates the gun right in front of your body, but that pocket on my pants tends to be a bit tighter. With a firing grip on the gun, it can be tough to draw the gun.
Not to mention, front pocket carry can feel a bit weird while sitting down. (So if you work a desk job, it might not be the best option.)
My advice? Test it out. See what works best for you, given your lifestyle and your pant selection.
Tips to Successful Pocket Carry
We usually start with clothing for a reason. Evaluating your current wardrobe will help you narrow down which outfits work and don’t.
The biggest factor in success for pocket carry is…pockets. You’ll need to ensure your pockets are large enough to accommodate your chosen pistol and holster.
Unlike AIWB and IWB/OWB, shirt length doesn’t really matter so long as you can get to your pocket if you need to.
The key to safe and successful pocket carry is a good holster. Do NOT throw a pistol in your pocket without one. It’s unsafe.
There are two styles of holsters.
The first is basically a sleeve that the gun slips into, then the whole system slides into the pocket.
These are collapsible, so reholstering means taking the holster out. (We don’t recommend blindly reholstering in the pocket with these.)
The downside to the sleeve style is they often come out of the pocket with the gun when the gun is drawn. Sometimes, they even stay on the gun.
The second style works slightly better by creating some separation between the gun and holster, often through the use of Kydex. This allows the holster to remain in the pocket while the gun is drawn.
Either way, a good holster should keep your gun positioned in the best manner to allow you to draw safely.
3. Train & Practice
We always end with practice and training because your gear is only as good as your skills.
Dry fire drills are an exceptional means to train at home for free and give you a good sense of how the carry setup will work in the real world.
I suggest trying on different pants, tossing the holster and gun into the pocket, drawing, and seeing how the setup works.
Also, don’t forget to practice from different positions — sitting and standing — to make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.
Pocket carry provides a means to concealed carry if IWB, OWB, or AIWB just isn’t in the cards for you. Utilizing either a front pocket or back pocket paired with a good pocket carry holster, you’ll be able to stroll around town with ease.
Remember, that pocket carry does limit you to smaller guns — think, micro and subcompacts. Also, NEVER toss the gun in your pocket without a holster.
For more pocket carry tips, make sure to watch the Brownells Daily Defense video below!