In today’s world, there are literally thousands of holster choices available. Before you can even start to consider one, you must ask yourself, “why am I carrying this gun?” Some people carry every day for self-defense, some people only carry while at the range. If you are carrying for self-defense, then you can start asking yourself where you want to carry on your body. Outside of the waist band (OWB) on your hip, inside your waist band (IWB) at the 3 to 5 o’clock position, or inside your waist band above the appendix (AIWB)? Each has advantages and disadvantages to consider.

INSIDE THE WAIST BAND: On The Hip

Inside the waist band on the hip is the most common method of concealed carry. With a firearm between the 3 and 5 o’clock position on the body, it is easy to deploy in an emergency, is a well concealed position with a decent t-shirt on, and fairly comfortable once you find the exact position that works for you. The number one thing to avoid when carrying IWB is a cheap holster. Look for one with two belt loops where the gun is suspended in between them. A leather backing is usually more comfortable as well. The second thing to be cautious of with this style of carry is the shirt that you wear over it. A tight fitting or short shirt will reveal the gun. This is not something that you want to do and is even illegal in some states, including Florida.

INSIDE THE WAIST BAND: Above The Appendix

Appendix carry is getting more and more popular. This method of carry offers “deep” concealment with the gun holstered in front of your dominant side hip, between the 12 and 2 o’clock position on the body. With a decent holster and a small frame gun, it is almost impossible to spot. There are two problems that this carry method presents though. One is that it is uncomfortable while sitting and the other is that without due care, the firearm is pointing at some important parts. Remember the first rule of firearms, never point a gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy. It is still a viable method when care is taken.

OUTSIDE THE WAIST BAND: On The Hip

Outside the waist band on the hip is another popular option. OWB provides the quickest access to your firearm but provides the least amount of concealment. Another concern while caring in this fashion is the possible access of your firearm by others. It is highly recommended that if carrying OWB to use a holster that has some level of Retention. The Safariland 7ts is a popular example. Retention is where the pistol locks into the holster with a quick release button that is only accessible to the wearer. If you look at a police officer’s belt, this is exactly what you will find. OWB without retention is the most popular for sport shooters. Easy and quick access in a controlled environment.  If considering OWB carry, first check with your state’s laws about the level of concealment required when carrying.

No matter the method of carry that you decide to go with, first decide why you are carrying and then where you want to carry. Do your research, one of the biggest mistakes that shooters make is to skimp and buy a cheap holster. Good holsters are not cheap and cheap holsters are not good. Find a holster that meets your needs and then practice with it. We get into a habit of going to the range and practicing with our guns but rarely do we practice getting the gun “out” and into shooting position. In an emergency, a few seconds of delay can be a killer.