December 1, 2023

5 Concealed Carry Methods

A very common question that's asked during Concealed Carry classes is, "How should I carry my firearm?" The answer may be different, depending on who you ask, because it really does depend on each individual's preference, and there are a lot of variables to consider: What's your routine for getting dressed each day? Which firearm are you carrying? What style of clothing are you wearing? Certain times of the year may be easier to conceal a firearm than others because when it's cold, you have more layers to work with than when it's hot outside.

If carrying a firearm is new to you, take a look at these five concealed carry options and their pros and cons to get you started. As with most things in life, learning about something new is helpful, but it's the experience and application that makes it stick. The key is to find what works for you.

Inside the Waistband (IWB)

Inside the waistband carry is one of the most popular concealed carry positions. This method involves placing your firearm inside a holster tucked into your pants or skirt, just below your waistline.


  • Concealment: IWB carry offers excellent concealment as the firearm is tucked against your body, making it difficult to detect. This would be a better option for cooler weather, when more layers are likely to be worn and can easily conceal your firearm.
  • Easy access: The firearm is easily accessible, especially with practice and the right holster. You may find it advantageous to try several different styles to find the right fit for your needs.
  • Comfort: It can be comfortable with the right holster and clothing choice.


  • Requires the right clothing: Wearing loose-fitting or specialized clothing is often necessary to avoid printing (which means the firearm's outline is visible through clothing).
  • Draw can be challenging: The draw may take practice, and re-holstering can be tricky without proper training.

Outside the Waistband (OWB)

OWB carry involves carrying your firearm in a holster attached to your belt outside your pants or skirt.


  • Easy access: The firearm is easily accessible and allows for a quick draw.
  • Comfort: It can be comfortable, as the gun doesn't press against your body.
  • Concealment options: Some OWB holsters offer features like adjustable cant or high-ride designs that aid in concealment.


  • Limited concealment: OWB carry may require more significant clothing choices or outer layers for effective concealment.
  • Potential for printing: Depending on your body type, it may be challenging to conceal your firearm without printing.

Appendix Carry

Appendix carry involves carrying the firearm in the front of your body, typically inside the waistband, around the 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock position.


  • Quick draw: Appendix carry provides a quick and natural draw, ideal for self-defense situations.
  • Easy access when seated: It's accessible even when sitting, making it a good choice for those who spend a lot of time in a seated position.
  • Excellent concealment: This position offers high concealability, especially with a compact firearm.


  • Comfort: Some people find appendix carry uncomfortable, as the gun is carried close to sensitive areas.
  • Requires the right holster and training: Safety concerns and draw technique require specific training and a quality holster to mitigate risks.

Small of Back Carry (SOB)

An "SOB carry" refers to carrying a firearm in a holster positioned at the small of the back. In this carry method, the holster is typically attached to the back of the belt or waistband, allowing the firearm to be positioned vertically along the spine, with the grip of the gun pointing upward or slightly to one side.


  • Concealment: Small of back holsters can offer excellent concealment, as the firearm is positioned along the spine, which is usually hidden under a jacket or loose-fitting clothing. This makes it less visible to others, which can be advantageous for concealed carry.
  • Accessibility: The position of a small of back holster allows for a relatively easy draw, especially if you're carrying a larger firearm. It can be a natural and ergonomic position for some individuals, making it quicker to access the weapon when needed.
  • Comfort for some: Some people find small of back holsters to be more comfortable than other carry methods, such as an IWB or appendix carry. It may be less likely to dig into the body when sitting or bending over.


  • Safety Concerns: Small of back holsters can pose safety risks. If the draw is not executed properly, there's a risk of accidentally pointing the firearm at yourself or someone else, as it requires a twisting motion to access the weapon, which can unfortunately result in accidental discharges.
  • Limited Retention: Small of back holsters typically have less retention than other holsters, which means the firearm may not be as securely held in place. This can be a concern in situations where physical activity is involved or if there's a risk of someone attempting to disarm you.
  • Discomfort and Injury Risk: The position of a small of back holster can be uncomfortable for some people, especially when sitting or driving for extended periods. It can also result in back pain or injury in the event of a fall, because the holster and firearm can press into the spine or lower back.

Purse Carry

Pros of Purse Carry:

  • Concealment: One of the primary advantages of purse carry is that it allows for effective concealment. The firearm is enclosed within the purse, making it less obvious to observers.
  • Comfort: Purse carry can be more comfortable for some individuals, especially those who find wearing a holster inside or outside the waistband uncomfortable.
  • Diverse Wardrobe: Carrying in a purse can accommodate a wider range of clothing options, as you don't need to adjust your wardrobe to accommodate holsters or IWB/OWB carry.
  • Accessibility: With proper training and practice, purse carry can offer reasonably quick access to your firearm, especially in a life-threatening situation. Emphasis on 'key training.'

Cons of Purse Carry:

  • Risk of Theft: Purses are prime targets for thieves. If your purse is stolen, not only have you lost your firearm, but you've also armed a potential criminal.
  • Loss of Control: Separating your firearm from your body can lead to a loss of control. You may need to set your purse down or leave it unattended in certain situations, potentially exposing your firearm to unauthorized individuals.
  • Slower Draw: Drawing your firearm from a purse is typically slower and less efficient than drawing from an on-body holster. In a self-defense situation, every second counts.
  • Unpredictable Access: Depending on how you carry the purse, you may find it challenging to access the firearm when seated in a vehicle or at a desk.
  • Inconsistent Trigger Discipline: Some purse holsters may not offer the same level of trigger discipline as a quality on-body holster, increasing the risk of accidental discharges.
  • Mistaken Identity: In a stressful situation, it's possible for law enforcement or security personnel to mistake your purse for a threat, leading to potentially dangerous misunderstandings.

The choice of a concealed carry position is a highly individual one. Your lifestyle, clothing preferences, body type, and personal comfort all play a role in determining the best option for you. Each carry position has its own set of pros and cons, and the key is to select the one that aligns best with your needs and provides the necessary training to use it effectively. This list of carry options is not extensive by any stretch of the imagination. There are other carries that also have pros and cons, like the ankle carry, thigh holster, shoulder (underarm) holster, an elastic (belly) band, and several more that we did not mention in detail. Ultimately, concealed carry is a significant responsibility, and the right carry position can make all the difference in a life-threatening situation.

Blackstone Gun Safety

10749 Oak St NE, Unit #6
Donald, OR 97020

PO Box 408 Donald, OR 97020

(971) 238-2478