Hey there, gun owners! Are you new to the concealed carry world, or maybe just looking for some fresh insights? Either way, you're in the right place. We all know that picking the right way to carry your weapon is a big deal. It's not just about comfort; it's about safety, ease of access, and even staying on the right side of the law.

In this guide, we'll break down the 5 most popular ways to carry concealed in 2023. We've got the lowdown on everything from the classic Outside Waistband (OWB) and Inside Waistband (IWB) methods to some less common but increasingly popular options like Belly Bands, Ankle, and Thigh Carry. We’ll talk about the good, the bad, and the must-knows for each to help you make an informed choice. So, let’s dive in!

I. Why is Choosing the Right CCW Position Important?

1. Safety Implications

Let's kick things off with the most critical aspect: safety. Carrying a concealed weapon is a big responsibility. The choices you make can affect not only your well-being but also that of those around you. Why? Because a gun isn't just another item you carry; it's a tool of defense—and offense if misused. Poorly chosen carry positions can result in the gun slipping, holster wear that disables safety features, or even unintentional discharging. These scenarios can lead to tragic consequences, including accidental injury or even death.

So, how do you pick a safe carry method? Look for positions that offer solid retention to prevent your gun from falling out, even when you're moving around. The position should also allow you to draw your weapon quickly and safely in case of an emergency. And don't forget to regularly check and maintain your holster; wear and tear can compromise its safety features over time.

2. Comfort for Daily Wear

Comfort is more than just a 'nice-to-have'; it's a 'must-have' for anyone serious about carrying a concealed weapon daily. Imagine this: you choose a carry position that's uncomfortable. It digs into your skin when you sit, pinches when you bend, or rubs you the wrong way when you walk. What happens? You're less likely to carry your weapon, which defeats the purpose of having it for self-defense in the first place.

Beyond that, discomfort can distract you, making you constantly aware of the gun and potentially causing you to adjust it frequently. This not only draws attention to the fact that you're carrying but can also compromise safety. So, when choosing a carry position, consider your daily activities. Will you be sitting for long periods? Will you be active? Test different positions to see which one lets you go about your day without constant adjustments or discomfort.

3. Legal Guidelines

Now, we come to the part that many overlook but is crucial: legal guidelines. Each state in the U.S. has its own set of laws concerning concealed carry. For example, some states prohibit carrying in places like schools or government buildings. Others may have specifications about the type of holster you can use. Some may even restrict certain carry positions altogether. Failing to comply with these rules can result in fines, confiscation of your weapon, or even criminal charges.

It’s crucial to read up on your state's laws, which can usually be found on your state's government website or through organizations focused on gun rights. If you travel frequently, you’ll also need to understand the laws of any state you’ll be visiting. It's also a good idea to consult with legal experts or take a concealed carry course that includes legal education.

II. What are People Most Concerned About? 

1. Safety and Concealment

One of the most frequently searched questions about CCW positions revolves around safety and concealment. Let's get into why these two are often mentioned together. Safety isn't just about how securely your gun is held; it's also about how well it is concealed. An obvious print or bulge can attract attention, and in some situations, this can escalate into a more severe problem.

Now, how do you evaluate a CCW position for safety and concealment? Start by looking at how well the gun sits in the holster and position. Does it feel secure? Does it wobble or shift as you move? Next, consider concealment. Wear your regular clothing over the holster and check yourself in a mirror from various angles. Can you see any noticeable outline or print? Better yet, ask a trusted friend to evaluate how well the gun is concealed while you walk, sit, or bend.

2. Comfort and Accessibility

Another high-ranking concern found in search queries is the balance between comfort and accessibility. These two might seem contradictory, but they're two sides of the same coin. A comfortable CCW position that makes it hard to access your gun quickly in an emergency fails its primary function. On the other hand, an easily accessible gun that's uncomfortable will likely mean you won’t carry it as often, rendering it useless for self-defense.

So how can you check for comfort and accessibility? For comfort, it's often a matter of trial and error. Try out different holsters and carry positions. Move around, sit down, stand up—make sure to mimic your day-to-day activities to get a real sense of comfort. For accessibility, time yourself on how quickly you can unholster your weapon safely. A balance between comfort and quick, safe access is what you're aiming for.

3. Legal Restrictions

People are also heavily concerned about the legal aspects of carrying a concealed weapon, and rightfully so. The last thing anyone wants is to get into legal trouble because they were unaware of certain rules. The laws vary by state, and sometimes even by municipality, affecting the legality of specific carry positions, the type of clothing that can be worn to conceal the weapon, and places where you can and cannot carry.

So what should you do? Research is key here. Many online platforms specialize in providing up-to-date information on gun laws. However, consider taking it a step further by consulting with legal professionals who can give you tailored advice. If possible, enroll in a CCW course that includes a comprehensive module on the legal aspects of concealed carry.

III. The 5 Most Searched CCW Positions in 2023

1. Outside Waistband (OWB) Carry

The OWB method is one of the most traditional forms of concealed carry. This position places the gun in a holster that clips to your belt on the outside of your pants.


  • Ease of Access: Drawing your weapon is typically straightforward and quick, especially under stress.
  • Comfort: OWB carry allows for minimal contact with your skin, reducing sweat and irritation during extended periods.

  • Holster Options: You're not limited in your choice of holsters; many designs and materials are compatible with OWB carry.


  • Reduced Concealment: Concealing your weapon can be a challenge, especially in warm weather when you are wearing fewer layers.
  • Wardrobe Limitations: This method often requires a jacket or an untucked shirt for effective concealment, which may not always align with your preferred style.

  • Printing: The external position increases the likelihood that the shape of your weapon will be visible through your clothing, known as 'printing.'

2. Inside Waistband (IWB) Carry

IWB carry involves placing the weapon inside your pants, secured with a clip to your belt.


  • Better Concealment: The internal location generally makes it easier to conceal your weapon, particularly under a tucked-in shirt.
  • Reduced Printing: Less likelihood of the weapon's outline becoming visible.

  • Position Flexibility: You can adjust the holster's location around your waist based on your comfort and draw preference.


  • Skin Contact: Extended wear could become uncomfortable, as the gun and holster may rub against your skin.
  • Size Limitation: Larger firearms may not be suitable for this carry method due to discomfort and difficulty in concealment.

  • Pants Adjustment: May require pants to be a size larger to comfortably accommodate the weapon and holster.

3. Belly Bands

These are stretchy bands that wrap around your belly, providing slots for weapon storage.


  • Outfit Versatility: Can be worn with sweatpants, leggings, or any outfit lacking a sturdy belt.
  • Activity Friendly: Secure enough for jogging or other physical activities without shifting.

  • High Concealment: The gun can be concealed effectively under a loose shirt.


  • Heat: The fabric can cause sweating if worn for extended periods, especially in warm weather.
  • Limited Firearm Size: Generally only suitable for compact or sub-compact firearms.

  • Draw Speed: Depending on the design, drawing your weapon quickly can be more challenging compared to traditional holsters.

4. Ankle Carry

Here, the gun is stored in an ankle holster, usually wrapped around the lower leg.


  • Concealment: Virtually invisible, particularly if you're wearing long pants.
  • Extended Wear Comfort: Many find this method comfortable for long periods.

  • Secondary Option: Excellent as a backup for a smaller secondary weapon.


  • Limited to Backups: Slow draw and smaller holster size make it unsuitable as a primary weapon carry method.
  • Draw Difficulty: Requires practice to draw quickly and smoothly.

  • Running Discomfort: Physical activity can cause the gun to bounce, requiring adjustment.

5. Thigh Carry

Typically utilized by women, this method involves a holster strapped to the thigh, under a skirt or dress.


  • Specialized Concealment: Ideal for outfits that don't accommodate waistband carry.
  • Comfort: No pressure on the waistband can make this more comfortable for long-term wear.

  • Draw Ease: Often designed for quick and easy drawing of the weapon.


  • Outfit Specific: Not practical for everyday wear, limited to skirts and dresses.
  • Specialized Holsters: General-purpose holsters are often not suitable; specific thigh carry holsters may be required.

  • Movement Affect: Physical activities like running or climbing stairs may require you to adjust the position of your holster.

IV. Additional Accessories and Gear for Your Concealed Carry

While the firearm and holster are central to your concealed carry setup, it's essential not to overlook other accessories and gear that can enhance both your comfort and effectiveness. Whether it's extra ammunition, a flashlight, or a first-aid kit, the right accessories can make a significant difference. Let’s delve into some key categories.

1. Extra Ammunition:

  • Magazine Pouch: Holds additional magazines for quick reloading.
  • Pocket Carry: Simple but riskier, as magazines can become filled with lint or debris.

Carrying extra ammunition is always recommended for concealed carriers. Many opt for a separate magazine pouch that can be attached to the belt, ensuring easy access and minimizing fumbling during critical moments. Alternatively, carrying an extra magazine in your pocket is an option, but it's important to ensure the pocket is clean to prevent debris from entering the magazine.

2. Flashlight:

  • Attached: A flashlight that attaches directly to your firearm for low-light scenarios.
  • Handheld: More versatile but requires a free hand to operate.

In low-light conditions, a flashlight can be invaluable. Some prefer to attach a flashlight directly to their firearm, ensuring they can aim and illuminate simultaneously. Others opt for a handheld option, which offers versatility at the cost of requiring one hand to operate.

3. First-Aid Kit:

  • Compact: Small, easy-to-carry kits with essential first-aid items.
  • Comprehensive: Larger kits that contain a wider range of medical supplies but may be bulky.

Even with the best training and preparation, accidents happen. Carrying a small, compact first-aid kit designed for gunshot wounds or other emergencies can be a lifesaver. For those willing to carry more, a comprehensive kit provides a wider range of supplies but will require extra carrying space.

4. Maintenance Tools:

  • Multi-tool: A small, versatile tool that can handle minor adjustments or repairs.
  • Cleaning Kit: Compact kits for field cleaning your firearm if needed.

Lastly, consider carrying a multi-tool for minor adjustments or emergency repairs on your gun or holster. Some people also opt for a small, portable cleaning kit to ensure their firearm remains in optimal condition even while on the go.

V. How to Choose the Right Holster for Your Carry Position

Choosing the perfect holster for your preferred carry method isn't just about style; it's about functionality, comfort, and above all, safety. The decision-making process involves several key considerations, each with its own set of pros and cons. Here's a blend of essential tips and things to look out for.

1. Material Matters:

  • Leather: Known for durability and comfort but often requires a break-in period.
  • Kydex: Offers excellent retention and allows for quick drawing but may feel hard against the skin.

  • Nylon: Affordable and lightweight but may compromise on weapon retention and long-term durability.

In terms of material, leather is often praised for its comfort and durability but usually requires a 'break-in' period to fit your weapon snugly. Kydex, a hard plastic material, is great for retention and quickdraws but may not offer the same level of comfort against your skin. Nylon is a cost-effective, lightweight option but may not provide the same level of gun retention or durability as other materials.

2. Retention vs. Comfort:

  • Level 1 Retention: Simplest and quickest draw but offers minimal security.
  • Level 2 Retention: A good balance between quick access and weapon security.

  • Level 3 Retention: Maximum security but may require extensive practice for quick and effective drawing.

When considering retention, Level 1 offers the quickest draw but is generally the least secure. Level 2 strikes a nice balance between security and accessibility. Level 3 provides the most security but can be cumbersome and may require additional training to master.

3. Holster Maintenance Tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Check for wear and tear.
  • Cleaning: Keep it clean to extend its lifespan.

  • Replacement: Be ready to replace it if you observe signs of deterioration.

Finally, don't forget about maintenance. Regular inspection for wear and tear, periodic cleaning, and readiness to replace aging holsters can significantly extend the life of your carry setup while ensuring safety and reliability.

vi. faqs

1. Can I legally switch between different CCW positions?

Yes, in most jurisdictions, you can switch between different concealed carry positions as long as you're following all local and state concealed carry laws.

2. What should women consider when choosing a CCW position?

Women might prefer options like thigh carry or belly bands for compatibility with a wider range of clothing options, including dresses and skirts.

3. How often should I practice drawing from my chosen CCW position?

Frequent practice is essential for safety and effectiveness. At a minimum, bi-weekly practice sessions are recommended.

4. Can I carry additional equipment in my CCW holster?

Some holsters offer space for extra magazines or a flashlight, but this can affect comfort and concealment. Choose according to your needs.

5. Is it okay to use a second-hand holster?

While it may be cost-effective, used holsters could have reduced retention or durability. Always thoroughly inspect a second-hand holster before use.

vii. final thoughts

Navigating the world of concealed carry in 2023 is about more than just choosing a firearm; it's a holistic approach that considers carry positions, holster material, retention levels, and even additional accessories for a well-rounded experience. Whether you opt for Outside Waistband (OWB) or Inside Waistband (IWB) carry, or explore options like Belly Bands, Ankle, or Thigh carry, the choice ultimately lies in what suits your lifestyle, clothing, and comfort level. Equally important is the holster you select and the additional gear you carry, as they can significantly impact both your comfort and your ability to respond effectively in critical situations. Regular practice and upkeep are the underpinnings of a responsible concealed carry. We hope this comprehensive guide serves as a useful resource for both new and experienced gun owners, helping you make informed decisions for a safer, more comfortable concealed carry experience.


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