Holster Carry Methods



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Mar 28, 2008
Ankle Carry –
A holster worn on either ankle. Best used to carry a back-up gun (BUG) of minimal size and weight. Drawing from this is possible if you’re not running. This draw is a last resort and your primary gun is out of commission. Draw when you are sitting behind cover and have time to bend down into a ‘tie your shoe’ position. Not recommend as a primary carry method. Choose a holster with a retention strap to be certain it stays put.



Appendix Carry –
A holster worn at the 2o’clock or 11o’clock position (at your comfort), on the strong side. Came from the anatomical location of the appendix in the human body. Comfortable and easy method of carry for compact pistols.


Courtesy Kathy Jackson at
Cornered Cat

BUG – Back-up Gun
A small, light gun used as a backup to the primary carry gun. Often carried in an ankle holster, pocket holster, or small of back (SOB).

Cross Draw –
A holster worn on the opposite side of the body from your strong hand so that the draw requires you to reach across your body to draw the gun. This is a weak side carry method. This method is often very comfortable carry, especially for driving/sitting if the cant of the holster is more extreme. The downside is that concealing a larger framed pistol is more difficult.


HK P2000, single clip holster

IWB – Inner Waist Band
A holster worn inside of the waist of the pants that attaches to the belt or pants by loops or clips. Holsters come in several styles based on the attachment method pants. An excellent method for concealed carry holsters. Highly recommend pants one size larger and a belt 2” bigger to accommodate the extra item in the waistband. This method takes getting use to.

  • Double clip style – clip located front and rear of the pistol secured to the belt. This creates a stable attachment to keep the holster from moving around. While very discrete and very stable, this method can be uncomfortable and/or take time to get use to wearing. Some sweat shields can also poke into the side of the body.


Sig 220Comp-Tac

'Mexican' Carry –
Carrying a gun inside the waistband of the pants without the use of a holster. Not practical, not stable and not recommended. This is a very good way to drop your gun or have a negligent discharge (ND) when trying to catch a falling pistol. If you’re doing any kind of anything, this is not the way to carry.

OWB – Outer Waist Band
A holster worn on the belt, outside the waist band of the pants. Holsters come in a variety of styles and attachment methods.

  • Pancake style - two pieces of leather sewn together and molded to fit a pistol. Retention is accomplished using friction or a thumb break design. Requires a cover garment for conceal carry.


1911 HRP Monica Kuehn Leather

Pocket Carry –
A holster worn in the pocket of pants to carry a small gun (aka pocket gun, mouse gun, lightweight revolver). This holster is built flat so that it makes no print on the pocket while being worn. This is a safer option than just throwing the pistol in your pocket with other loose items. It also guarantees the pistol is in the proper position if you need to draw. Can be worn in pants, shorts, and jackets.


Galco Pocket Holster

Purse Carry –
A purse/bag specifically built to carry a firearm off the person. It is an easy way to carry since it’s in a bag. However, the risk is in not having immediate possession of the gun. Bags get set down and left behind. Bags get snatched off shoulders. Also risky is the cumbersome draw. Presentation is not near as fast as from an on body holster.


Galco Meridian

Shoulder Rig –
A holster worn using shoulder straps that position the gun under an arm above the rib cage. Easily concealed with a cover garment: button up shirt or a light jacket that opens in the front. Draw stroke depends on the complexity of the cover garment. Don’t wear a pull over. Climate and activity will influence the decision to use this method as does open carry/conceal carry laws. If OC is not legal, you have to leave a cover garment on at all times. This may get hot and uncomfortable.


SOB – Small of Back
A holster worn on the belt, located at the small of the back. These can be inside or outside the waistband. Method conceals very well and is very comfortable for standing. It is not comfortable when seated. The risks of this method: injury and sweeping draw stroke. Injury comes from falling backwards and crushing the spinal vertebrae on the gun. A sweeping draw stroke is just that, you sweep your own body when drawing and presenting.

Strong Side –
Term referencing the draw side or strong hand when drawing or shooting. The body is divided in half at the midline running from head to toe; left side and right side.

Thigh Holster –
A holster worn on either leg, located on the inside or outside of the thigh, depending on the task. Normally a utilitarian method of carry when worn outside the thigh (OC): hiking, military, LEO. For inside thigh carry, used for concealing a BUG or belly gun. This method provides cover for kilt carry or ladies wearing skirts where a normal belt supported holster is not feasible.


Blackhawk Serpa Thigh Holster

Tuckable (IWB) –
Term used to describe a holster and its clips which allow the person’s shirt to be worn tucked while wearing an inner waist band (IWB) holster. A shirt worn for this must be bloused or printing will occur. Also helpful to wear pants and belt 2” larger so there is plenty of room for the holster & gun. Practice is needed pulling out the shirt for this draw to be smooth.


Kimber Ultra Carry
Crossbreed SuperTuck

Weak Side –
Term referencing the non-draw, offhand side of the body. It is the opposite of the strong side.

X o’clock –
A reference to the position of the gun around the belt line as it is carried. Imagine your waistline a clock. Your belly button is 12 o’clock, right side is 3 o’clock, spine is 6 o’clock and left side is 9 o’clock. Don’t forget to count anything in between.

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