Carrying a Pistol

First and foremost—know and follow the laws for where you will carry your firearm. A concealed carry permit will most likely be required. Each state has different rules and processes for getting a concealed permit, and some large cities may ban concealed carry entirely.

Everyone who carries a firearm struggles with this question. It usually just takes a bit of experimentation to see what works best for you. You want to make sure your carrying method will have your firearm completely concealed and secure at all times. You NEVER want to accidentally flash your firearm or let it fall out in public.

There can be legal consequences to accidentally showing your firearm in public. Know your local laws and stay up-to-date with changes. Also know where and when you can and can’t carry a concealed firearm. This is serious business and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Here’s some firearm carry techniques you can test out to see which one works best for you.


If you have large pockets and can conceal the firearm without it showing through the fabric, this carry method can work well. There are many purpose made pocket holsters, even some where you don’t have to unholster the weapon to be able to fire.

Inside the waistband

This is one of the most common forms of carrying a concealed firearm. This carry style should use a slim holster that protects your skin from the gun. The holster usually clips onto your waste band or your belt. The gun can be located anywhere inside your waistband, including the small of the back.

Outside the waistband

This is exactly what it sounds like. A holster is attached to your belt and the gun is carried outside of your pants. A long shirt or jacket is used to conceal the firearm. Accidental exposure of the firearm is more common with this carry option.

Mexican carry

This method is where the gun is tucked inside the front of the pants with no holster. Carrying a pistol this way is often uncomfortable; the gun slips around and can fall out fairly easily. It can also make it difficult to get a good grip on the firearm when you need to pull it out quickly. You can use a String Holster to help when using the Mexican carry. This is a string or cord tied around your belt with a loop going inside your pants to slip the muzzle of the pistol through. The British OSS came up with this idea to help resistance fighters conceal their pistols effectively in World War II.


Is a brand name holster that is basically a flat fanny pack that is worn inside the pants. There is an open pocket where you insert the firearm to hold it inside your waistband. This is a very secure and comfortable way to carry a sub-compact pistol. With a little practice, accessing the firearm is actually quite easy.

Shoulder holsters

Are notorious in gangster movies where they pull a pistol out from underneath their suit jacket. A quality shoulder holster can be fairly comfortable and useful for someone who has to sit down or bend over often. It’s easy to conceal under a jacket or coat.

Ankle holsters

Have a time and place but most people I know who’ve tried them didn’t like them. The firearm can be difficult to access and the holsters tend to be uncomfortable. You can test this out by putting on two tube socks one over the other and inserting your pistol between the two. If it seems like a possible option to you then try out an ankle holster.

New holsters and methods of carry are being developed all the time. Recently, in Concealed Carry Magazine they ran a story about a new upper arm holster that is basically an ankle holster strapped around your bicep.

There are many concerns with this carry, and I would only use it when there is no other option. (It comes with a warning about shooting yourself in the underarm!)

Keep testing and experimenting with your preferred method of carry and find the best that works for you. For the beginner, the best recommendation is inside the waistband using a comfortable holster that covers your trigger well.