Top 9 Essential CCW Positions

Choosing a spot to carry your gun is almost as important as the gun you carry.  When it comes to choosing a concealed carry location, the ideal place for you is where ever you have easy access to at the time.

Concealed carrying inside waistband
Carrying concealed

I know that kind of sounds confusing, but one location isn’t an end all be all for carrying a gun.  

Being able to access your gun quickly depends on the situation, the place you’re in, and what you are wearing.  What I mean is, if you are in a vehicle and have to draw your weapon, would it be easier to access your CCW if it was on your hip versus at the 6 position?  

Probably.

If you are wearing clothing that’s more form-fitting, it’s harder to hide a concealed carry weapon.  In these cases, you might want to look into an off body carry.  While the most common place is on your hip or by your kidney, take a look at some of the other options as we go through and see if they may be better for you depending on your day-to-day activities.

Drawing from Concealed Carry
Carrying Concealed is Much Easier in Winter Clothing

We’re going to cover 9 of the most essential carrying positions and our favorite holster for each.  If you’d like more choices once you narrow down your position, check out Best Holsters.

Around The Clock: 1, 3, and 4-6 O’Clock

Carry positions around the waist are usually referred to by the location on a clock face.  For example, if you’re carrying on a hip, this would be referred to as the 3 o’clock position.  That being said, all of these positions have two options.

Option 1: Outside Waistband (OWB) Carry 

OWB Holster Example
OWB Carry

There different levels of holsters for your OWB carry depending on where along your body you are going to carry.  The 3-9 o’clock positions are where you’ll usually see an OWB holster.

Editor's Pick (OWB)
Safariland OWB Holsters

Safariland OWB Holsters

Option 2: Inside Waistband (IWB) Carry

Carrying Concealed
Carrying IWB

IWB is probably the most common concealed carry choice. Because it’s inside your waistband, you can get holsters that allow for you to tuck in your shirt which hides the weapon even more.

Placing the holster and weapon inside your waistband lets you carry at pretty much any position around your waist.  This opens up the door for an appendix carry, which is in front of your hips and off to one side. The appendix carry offers a very quick draw, but if you have a larger weapon, it can make it uncomfortable to sit or squat.

R&R HOLSTERS IWB Kydex Gun Holster

R&R HOLSTERS IWB Kydex Gun Holster

Prices accurate at time of writing

Belly Bands

Lirisy Belly Band
Wearing a Belly Band

A belly band is an ideal carry option for those of you who don’t have a belt.  This could be your wearing basketball shorts, or you are out running and don’t have the option for a belt or off-body carry.

At first, I wasn’t too sold on a belly band.  To be honest, it kind of reminded me of a girdle.  However, they’re surprisingly comfortable especially if you have a smaller concealed carry gun.  If your gun is a little heavier, like a compact or a subcompact with a double stack magazine, it might not be the easiest weapon of choice to wear when being active.

If you have a smaller gun, like a bodyguard 380 or an LCP,  you can easily wear a belly band and have your full range of motion and an easily accessible CCW in case your life is threatened.

Galco Belly Band Holster

Galco Belly Band Holster

Ankle

Man and Woman Examples of Ankle Carry
Ankle Carry

To ankle carry your CCW, you’ll need a specialized holster.  Typically these holsters have some sort of fur inside, often rabbit fur.  The holster is securely attached is around your ankle and lower calf. Obviously, you’ll have to wear pants that are a little looser fitting when choosing an ankle carry.

The ankle carry option offers you a unique opportunity.  It frees up your shirt choice to anything you’d like, and you don’t have to have a belt either.  

Another benefit of an ankle carry is that if somebody comes up from behind and knocks you down, it’s much easier to reach for your ankle in many cases than it is to grab a gun that’s behind you in the 4 or 5 o’clock position. It’s also less likely that someone will try and grab your gun from you if they see it.

Galco Ankle Band Holster

Galco Ankle Band Holster

Pocket Carry

back pocket carry
Pocket Carry

Carrying your CCW in your pocket is another common option.  Many of the smaller guns like a .380 or .22 will fit easily along with a holster into a front pocket.  Well, the draw it is a little trickier, you can carry a weapon in many more circumstances than you might have with an IWB carry.

If you think a pocket carry option is right for you, look into some of the holsters available.  Many times there are generic holsters that fit a specific caliber or shape weapon.

These holsters have a stickier material on the outside of the holster and a slicker material on the inside to make the draw quicker.  Something to practice with a pocket draw is pulling out just the gun and not the holster and the gun then needing to remove it from the holster before you can use it.

Blackhawk TecGrip Pocket Holster

Blackhawk TecGrip Pocket Holster

Shoulder Harness

James Bond in Shoulder Holster
Many Incarnations of the Legendary James Bond Have Appeared Wearing Shoulder Holsters.

I’m sure you’ve seen a shoulder harness before on TV.  Many times detectives, police, and government agents will have a single or dual shoulder rig.  This puts the weapon on the opposing side of your body because you’ll have to draw across your body.  

So if you’re right handed your shoulder rig will put the gun on the left side of your body that way you reach into your coat or shirt or whatever the case, and draw the weapon.  This can be an extremely quick draw, but it’s very obvious draw as well.

Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster

Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster

Bra Carry

Bra Holster
Bra Holster

Some bras are made with holsters built in.  Some fit more like a standard bra with the holster typically situated between and under the breasts, while others fit like a sports bra with the holster on the side, under the arm.  There are also specialty holsters that can be affixed to most regular bras, though many multipurpose holsters with loops will also work with most bras.

The quickest access holsters have the gun horizontal below the bra.  This allows you to pull up your shirt a little, reach up, and draw the weapon quickly.  There are videos from manufacturers showing a pretty consistent 1.6-second draw and shoot times from under various style shirts.

Flashbang Bra Holster

Flashbang Bra Holster

Prices accurate at time of writing

Thigh Carry

Thigh Holster
Thigh Holster

This carry option is predominantly used by women but is an underrated choice for men as well.  While most people think of thigh carry with skirts or dresses, it can also work with loose shorts.

A thigh carry holster is meant for a smaller weapon like a 380.  You could probably get away with small 9mm, but it would depend on the weapon.  In most cases, thigh holsters are used because there’s no pockets or firm waistband.  Using a thigh holster also keeps the weapon on you, unlike an off the body carry in a purse or something similar.

Fullmosa Concealed Carry Thigh Holster

Fullmosa Concealed Carry Thigh Holster

Prices accurate at time of writing

Off the Body Carry

Off the body carry options are plentiful and have their own set of considerations and training needed to use them successfully.  When you have a weapon in something like a backpack, you need to keep that backpack on or near you at all times. Otherwise, it’s like setting your gun on a counter and walking away.  

Some of the off the body carry options are:

  • Backpacks
  • Purses
  • Handbags
  • Briefcase
  • Specially made binders or art portfolios that have concealed carry provisions.

For me, I consider having a gun in your center console or glove box to be in off the body carry as well.  You don’t want to just toss a non-holstered weapon in your glove box because you never know what will happen.  If you have some way to mount a holster into your glove box or console, it’s much more preferable.

Final Thoughts

Choosing where to carry is a personal preference.  If you like an ankle carry or OWB, go for it. There’s no need to be uncomfortable just to make sure you have a gun on you, there are a lot of options.  You can try a few to see what works best for your daily activities.

Are you a jogger?  Then I’d recommend a belly band and a small 9mm or 380.  They are light and comfortable.  Do you wear a suit with a jacket all day?  How about out a shoulder harness, ankle holster or a horizontal OWB holster at the 6 o’clock position?

The place you carry isn’t as important as the fact that you are carrying.

Check out our full recommendations of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters.

So, where do you carry? What do you carry? How often do you carry? Tell us all about it in the comments!

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
John Grayman Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John Grayman
Guest
John Grayman

Come on, Guys! Nobody who knows what he’s doing will carry an EDC at either 3, or 9 o’clock. That’s the ‘point of the hip’; and your pistol will stand out more from this position than from (almost) anywhere else. Me? I prefer to carry @ either 10, or 2 o’clock. (I’m ambidextrous.) It’s very fast; and it wouldn’t particularly bother me if someone were to occasionally get a glimpse of the gun. I usually carry a G-21 on the one side and a 17 round Arredondo magazine, vertically, on the other side. Gives me a total of 29 rounds… Read more »