Popular Handgun Concealment Positions: Strengths and Weaknesses   


With the threats of Islamic terrorism and rising violent crime rates first-time gun ownership is also understandably on the rise.  Thousands of Americans that never thought they would even own a gun are now considering carry a handgun with them everywhere they go for personal protection.  This can be an intimidating concept for those that have never carried a firearm before.  To help, here a few of the popular carry positions and their strengths and weaknesses.

12 o’clock

The 12 o’clock carry is when the firearm is carried on the front of your body, inside the waistband, on the center line of the body, with the pistol grip facing your strong side.  This position allows for easy concealment, relative comfort when moving, and speed on the draw.  However; it does not allow you to conceal the draw and it makes many nervous to carry the firearm while it is aimed at vital arteries.


Appendix carry is when the firearm is carried on the front of the body, inside the waistband, off-center line.  Depending on one’s body detentions this can provide maximum concealment, speed on the draw, and it offers one the ability to conceal the draw more than 12 o’clock (which can be life or death if you are trying to get your gun in the fight without an armed attacker noticing it and firing first).  It does not provide the same comfort during movement for most people, and like 12 o’clock it leaves the muzzle pointed at arteries.

3 o’clock

3 o’clock carry is when the firearm is carried on the strong side of the body (it would be 9 o’clock for left-handed shooters), in or outside the waistband.  This position provides the maximum for comfort while sitting and moving and allows the most concealment of the draw.  However; it leaves the largest print (the firearms shows even under clothing) and requires more freedom of movement to draw than the above positions.

Off Body

Off body carrying is when the firearm is not directly on your body, such as in a purse or backpack.  This is the most controversial of carry options.  It offers the highest level of concealment during carry, the most comfort, and if you are ahead of the attackers it allows you to have your hand on the gun and even have it aimed at them while still being concealed.  The controversy comes because it requires the most discipline to be responsible (kids can gain access to a gun in a purse if it is not kept properly), you can actually forget your gun somewhere, it can be stolen, if you do not see the attack coming it requires far more time and is far more obvious to draw than any of the on-body options.


No position is right for everyone, and some situations might call for you to change from your preferred option.  Carry at home to get used to what is right for you, and train to draw from concealment.  And of course, be safe and check your local laws before carrying a concealed firearm.


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