You bought a pistol. You took some training and obtained your concealed carry permit. Now what? How do you carry it concealed?
There are quite a few options to consider and a whole range of products designed for concealed carry. Some are better than others and it’s up to the individual to decide what works best for them. Comfort, easy access and safety are all important considerations.
Comfort is important. The pistol has to be comfortable to wear for an entire day otherwise it’s going to be left at home. There are two main methods of concealed carry: On Body and Off Body. On body is where the pistol is carried in a holster or a pouch like a fanny pack. Off body is where the pistol is carried in a purse or maybe a briefcase or backpack of some sort.
Both methods have pros and cons. On body carry is more secure and access to the pistol is faster and easier than off body carry, but it may be less comfortable for the wearer. Off body carry is more comfortable, but the bag or case may be stolen or lost and access to the pistol is a lot slower.
Let’s concentrate on the on-body methods because they are more secure and offer faster access to the pistol in an emergency. First—and this is important—the gun needs to be carried in a good quality holster that supports the weight of the gun on the wearer’s body. Most people opt for a holster made of either leather or an injection molded polymer plastic that is made for each specific model and size of pistol. There are cheap, fabric holsters available, that fit several different pistols, but they don’t necessarily hold the pistol securely. The last thing we want is for the gun to fall out of the holster, say, when we are reaching for an item on the top shelf at the supermarket or bending over to pick up car keys we dropped in the street.
Most holsters are worn either on a belt around the waist or in a shoulder holster rig that is supported by straps across the shoulders that place the holster under the armpit of the wearer (right-handed shooter wears the pistol under the left armpit and vice-versa.) The belt must be rigid enough that it supports the weight of the holster and pistol and the shoulder holster straps must be wide enough and comfortable to wear to support the weight of the pistol across the shoulders.