Jeff Gonzales: Why You Shouldn’t Carry Your Defensive Handgun Behind Your Back

A lot of concealed carriers wonder: where should I carry my gun? While there’s a wide variety of options — shoulder holsters, appendix carry, pocket carry, thigh carry, belly bands and more, etc. — most people opt for carrying their firearm in a holster on their hip. The question is: strong side hip or behind-the-hip (anything from the 4:00 position and beyond). There’s a big difference . . .

The same, but different

Some shooters think behind-the-hip improves the concealability of their pistol. Placing a large portion if not the entire platform “behind” the torso gives the impression of better concealment. From the front, the pistol or most of the pistol is shaded by our torso.

It can be difficult to see from the front. But the question you have to ask: what does it look like from the rear? While it would be nice to never have a potential threat or hoplophobe behind us, that’s not the real world. So how does your concealed firearm look from that angle? Usually it looks pretty bad. And by bad I mean obvious.

Litmus test

At The Range at Austin, I ask concealed carry students to wear their gun and perform everyday movements, such as reaching overhead, sitting, walking, bending and rotating at the waist. Their peers watch to observe the behavior of the cover garment and the holster position. There’s a lot to be gained through this interaction. Many times the wearer doesn’t realize how easy it is to spot the pistol; out of sight is out of mind.

Risk management

We don’t allow behind the hip in our classes. Before the adult temper tantrums ensue, the reason is safety. Part of the holstering protocol students must follow: clear the cover garment and observe the pistol all the way into the mouth of the holster.

Over the last several years we’ve conducted more Concealed Carry classes we’ve discovered something obvious: only a trigger pull will discharge a round.

What folks don’t realize: many negligent discharges are not caused by errant trigger fingers. They’re caused by foreign objects or debris in the holster that acts as a surrogate trigger finger. Observing the holster’s mouth is the only way to ensure the event is prevented. That’s hard to do when you can’t look behind you.

More to the story

Humans have a tendency to be lazy. Students started out putting extra effort to observe their reholstering, then wean away from the protocol after time. We had too many close calls.

Not only is there the safety issue, but it must be asked: what’s the real benefit with behind the back carry? Especially when other positions can accomplish the same goal of concealment and a rapid, efficient draw. I’ve found that the more popular positions produce the same if not better results without violating safety protocols.

In short, burying your head in the sand regarding the behind the back holster position doesn’t mean you’re doing it better. It just means you can’t see the problems.


Jeff Gonzales is a former US. Navy SEAL and preeminent weapons and tactics instructor. He brings his Naval Special Warfare mindset, operational success and lessons learned unapologetically to the world at large. Currently he is the Director of Training at The Range at Austin. earn more about his passion and what he does at therangeuastin.com.

comments

  1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    Mr. Gonzales: Newsflash: I don’t give a shit if my four o’clock positioned gat is visible to the outside world. I also don’t re-holster with the holster on-body.

    Seriously: Is there anything anyone, outside your Austin Gun Range orbit, that does anything meets your approval?

    1. avatar Harry Flashman says:

      So, you don’t care if you expose your sloppily concealed piece. Good for you…IF you’re lucky enough to reside in one of those enlightened jurisdictions where nobody else cares, either. Unfortunately, for a lot of folks, it’s a big deal indeed, since even accidentally displaying your gun in some cities (Portland, Oregon for instance) exposes the wearer to a criminal charge of “brandishing a weapon”, leading to possible revocation of your carry permit.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      ” I also don’t re-holster with the holster on-body.”

      So… when you’re training and practicing your draw, you remove the holster from the waistband/belt, insert the gun, then put the holster back on your body?

      And you do that a hundred times? Because good training requires repetition.

      Do I have that right?

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Poser has made it clear in multiple posts that he does not train and that he thinks no one actually needs training. He’s stated that you don’t even need to load your gun because gangs of criminals will simply run away at merely the sight of a firearm. Wish I was joking.

        1. avatar Timothy says:

          A person can be both right and wrong at the same time unfortunately.

          It’s true that the majority of DGUs are resolved without a shot fired. But then, if you wanted to prepare for the majority, there’s really no reason to carry at all. After all, the majority of interactions don’t require a gun at all.

          My wife doesn’t carry and I don’t judge her negatively. Even an unloaded gun offers more protection than that.

          There’s no harm in pointing out how to be more effective and prepared. Some guns are more reliable, some holsters are better than others, some carry techniques have drawbacks worth pointing out.

      2. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

        He must be a Glock guy or Glock- type pistol guy. When you have a manual safety, you don’t worry about reholstering or doing stupid $hit like taking your holster off to re-holster.

  2. avatar Ed says:

    “…In short, burying your head in the sand regarding the behind the back holster position doesn’t mean you’re doing it better. It just means you can’t see the problems.” Agreed 100%.
    Now why is it when I point out the same logic applied towards apendix carry you’d think I was banging on the glass at the monkey house?

    1. avatar Montesa_VR says:

      It’s really very simple. If you will give us the injury incident report with a legitimate link, we will pay attention to your hysterical ranting about appendix carry. Otherwise, go away.

      1. avatar Ed says:

        Hysterical? Really?
        Trust me on this…I could care less if all of you who aiwb carry blow your balls off.

      2. avatar AFGus says:

        Thank you Montesa…..you took the words right out of my mouth!

        1. avatar MLeake says:

          I have actually found a modified AIWB position that reduces the genital and femoral threat, but for me it only works with my K9 and MK9.

          Basically, gun is at 1:30-2:00 with a greater than FBI forward cant. Muzzle is aimed outboard of my hipbone, but grip is forward of my hip.

          Straight-drop AIWB both makes me apprehensive, and is uncomfortable when seated.

          I can’t find a comfortable forward of hip position for my GLOCK, HK, or CZ pistols, let alone my 1911s.

  3. avatar healthycuriosity says:

    Not a fan of behind the hip carry — more motion required to bring the gun to target.

    However, I am a BIG FAN of that photo.

    I guess I’m now conflicted.

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      Wait, there was an article?

    2. avatar Swilson says:

      For comparison can we get an article on chest carry w/ an equally illustrative corresponding photo?

      1. avatar Sir Tri says:

        Or maybe a in waistband front view…

    3. avatar Joe R. says:

      Yes!

      Tanker rig. Quasi-Shoulder-Holster.

      Didn’t they used to que-up the Israeli super-models on this sight?

      ; )

    4. avatar Gaston's love child says:

      I’ve been staring at it all morning.

  4. avatar matty 9 says:

    Man, too much anger in these comments. Thanks for the eye candy though!

  5. avatar Joel IV says:

    Oh, look! An opinion about guns!

    CRY HAVOK AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR!

    1. avatar Oink! says:

      Hahaha! Yep, that’s about it.

      Kinda like BBQ debates in certain parts of the country. 🙂

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        whoa there, smile before you type BBQ.

        [I was smiling when I typed that btw]

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        BBQ debates?
        Tread lightly there, friend. Real lightly.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          There is only *one* seasoning for ‘Q.

          Hardwood *smoke*, preferably lump charcoal.

          (Oh, that purple smoke ring…)

      3. avatar BradP says:

        No debate. Use a dry rub and , if you have a vajayjay, put sauce on after it’s off the grill.

      4. avatar Militant Centrist says:

        I will gladly moderate that debate, but I will require multiple samples to evaluate.

  6. avatar Timao Theos says:

    Too funny, i carry a Ruger Blackhawk and a Model 1927 at the same time using Mernickle holsters, even the cops dont notice i that hang with…butt some noobs in this class see everything..lol

  7. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

    Another “expert” opinion. I’ve carried this way for 30 years and I’ve shot competition since the early 80s and was a cop and police instructor since the early 90s. Its not a problem with the right holster and training. I can even draw this way sitting in a car with the seat belt on. If you use an inside the pants holster with most compacts, sub-compacts, and snub noses then this is VERY concealable unless you like wearing skin tight Under Armor shirts. To carry this way, either inside the pants or with an outside holster, you need to choose a left hand holster if you are right handed so that you can grab the handgun and draw properly as well as utilise the thumb break if the holster has one – THE PHOTO ABOVE SHOWS THE OPPOSITE AND IS INCORRECT.

    1. avatar binder says:

      An you option is any better, I carry 4.30-5 o’clock and use a forward cant IWB (I do use a reverse cant for back pocket, but the gun is vertical.

      1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

        I carry vertical and it works fine for me. I didn’t that this is the only way to carry in the small of your back – my point is that different things work for different people and the author obviously doesn’t think so. He also recommends appendix carry which has caused more injuries than carrying in the small of your back.

        1. avatar Jonathan Starcke says:

          Appendix carry certainly offers superior concealment and quicker access over any other method of carry, but there are good reasons why traditional 5 o’clock carry is “traditional” – it keeps the muzzle directed away from your pelvis and femoral artery (you’re much less likely to die if you dump a round into your asscheek than you are if you shoot yourself in the femur), 5 o’clock carry also requires less adjustment when entering and exiting vehicles, and doesn’t put you at as high a risk for abdominal injury if you’re belted during a collision. And if “everyday movements” are causing excessive printing… just buy a hoodie. It really is that easy.

      2. avatar Joe R. says:

        We don’t use the word “cant” in this house.

    2. avatar binder says:

      Also with the forward cant, you are less likely to put a bullet in your ass if you pull the trigger when you draw.

      1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

        I have no ass, I should’ve done more squats when I was young.

    3. avatar Steve says:

      IMO should be a RH holster for RH draw. With LH holster and RH draw you must sweep yourself and bring the gun around from palm back to firing position unless the attack is coming directly off the shoulder (3 o’clock) in which case one must rotate the gun, your hand, 180 degrees.

      1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

        Sweeping yourself like a crossdraw? Not really when you are carrying it in the small of your back. You use a standard left hand holster which is made to draw from the left side of your body (holster clip on the left side of the holster on an inside the pants holster) – this is the SAME holster you would use to draw with your RIGHT hand IF you carry in the small of your back. It is a VERY natural way to grab a handgun.

      2. avatar Joe R. says:

        IMO should be a shoulder holster for RH/LH draw. Hell, don’t even draw it, just get your fingers around it and work the trigger while turning away from the enemy. Have to work at least for one round.

        https://youtu.be/63KkZoGgYUA

        /sarc

        1. avatar Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

          Now Joe, quit revealing tricks of the ‘Pro Operator’ trade. You know how much the wannabes hate busting their balloons with birdshot, lol!

          In the real world of defensive gunfighting- as opposed to chairborne ranger school like this article writer obviously represents, it really doesn’t matter that much ‘where’ you carry your gun when it’s not blasting away at a person trying to kill you.

          ‘In other words the best carry is the one where it’s in your hand and pointing at the danger. Otherwise it’s not even your ‘primary’ weapon of defense yet when it’s all cozy and secure and not ‘hot’ hidden in your waist band somewhere.

          When working undercover I always liked the horizontal spring held quick snatch shoulder holster for my .38 detective special because you could stand there talking to someone or looking at something with your arms crossed and be perfectly poised with your hand already gripping the pistol under your jacket for a sub second 90 degree sweep draw with virtually no chance of shooting yourself. or being disarmed, if you pivot to the inside of the draw simultaneously. Shoulder holsters are far mover versatile and safe than anybody gives them credit for and you can even have them built in to certain jackets, sport coats, or vests.

          And then there’s ‘Street carry’ similar to what Joe describes but actually used by those who venture into the serious snake pits of society on a regular basis.

          In any kind of jacket or hoodie or vest there’s usually pockets amazingly close proximity to the so called super fast appendix carry. When I worked deep undercover operations and still to this day when if rarely must venture into uncharted waters where ‘imminent’ danger is screaming out of every alley and parking lot, I carry a .380 in my jacket or hoodie pocket with my hand already on it and ‘pointing’ inside the pocket. Always pointed AWAY from my body parts. It appears that i’m just walking with my hands in my pockets just like everybody does when wearing outer jackets. But It’s the fastest draw in the business…because there IS NO DRAW! Someone sending bad ‘signals’ approaches on an intercepting vector, the last thing that will go through his surprised mind if he even attempts to touch me or display a weapon Is a RIP specialty bullet. FIRED RIGHT THROUGH THE POCKET WHERE IT WAS POINTED AT HIM ALL DURING THE APPROACH. All the while in perfect concealment. There’s no way an attacker can get an effective advantage before you defend yourself. Even if you’re caught slightly off-guard and his body is right on top of you. You can still fire effectively, instantly. gaining the ‘shock’ effect advantage, and then pulling it out of your pocket for follow up if necessary.

          Also carry another compact pistol in an ankle holster. And that’s about all you need for personal self defense in normal everyday errands and nothing you don’t. If your situational awareness skills are honed well enough and you practice these methods enough.

          Personal street self defense is different than aggressive police work. However I’ve been known to carry a G-20-C with 16 rounds of specialty rounds in a 4 o’clock Mexican carry under my jacket (along with the ankle carry back up) when going (rarely, if I can avoid it) anywhere where large crowds might be (like the Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin this summer) and even the remotest potential for an active shooter or ‘Death Driver’ exists.

          So don’t get to ‘carried away’ with carrying locations. Focus on making your handgun your ‘primary weapon’ before you are dynamically attacked. Practice more situational awareness.

  8. avatar David J. says:

    I purchased my first handgun (a Ruger GP-100) right after I reached 21—the then legal age in my former home state of Alabama. As a novice, I started out with SOB carry. Two weeks later, I bought a hip holster because of the bruises to my spine.

  9. avatar binder says:

    Gonzales; you are assuming that someone has no ass. The ass provides a nice area when a looser fitting shirt can billow over the gun. Also, seat belts don’t get jammed into the gun like at 3-o’clock gun. And most of us can twist out necks enough to see the opening, I do occasional complaints about an IDPA S.O. getting their feet swept, but I learned to make sure they are standing in the right spot. (Less of an issue now that carry has become common in Illinois). You do have a valid point that if you can’t see the holster opening, you should not try re-holstering, but that is where single clips come in handy, where you can re-holster outside of your belt and put the whole rig back.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      w/Shoulder holster you could bring the thing up to your face.

  10. avatar JohnQ says:

    So, you intentionally shun a large portion of your student population because it makes it easier on you? I’m not sure how your logic applies here. The issue, as stated before on several different threads on this blog, is PROPER training. But, you’ve decided to just say ‘I don’t feel it’s safe because I don’t have the time or patience to teach you properly so it’s VERBOTEN’ to it.

    No offense, but remind me to avoid your classes.

    1. avatar binder says:

      He has a valid point about people not checking the opening before re-holstering. I have hat to ground my gun a few times during IDPA to get my shirt out of the way. Also they have new shooters, so dealing with cover garments can be a big issue. So for a CLASS with possible new shooters it may not be a bad idea. I also carry with a shoulder holster. They don’t let you use those in classes either.

      HOWEVER saying that a carry method that is not idea for a class should not be used at all, well…..

      1. avatar JohnQ says:

        And to that I’d argue that new shooters are the place to start with that. There’s no lazy routines built in yet, so you can start building the proper foundation THEN and THERE. Believe me, I’ve had the problems he’s talking about with Probation Officers before, and you can train them out of it.

        Again, like you said Binder, it’s the blanket ban of the carry that’s the issue.

        1. avatar binder says:

          If you train LE, bet training gun ever
          https://smartfirearms.us/

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    I pocket carry. Works for me.In a Nemesis. I haven’t been at this long BUTT I don’t get shoving it up your azz either:)

  12. avatar jimmy james says:

    Another article on why an SOB holster is not the way to go…yawn. I think I am going to get one and try it for the summer. One, it will keep me from banging my holster into the right side of the bench when I am shooting LR rifle once a week and two, I just want to try it. I have long arms and “dunlops disease” so it might be pretty sweet. If I need to pull my gat for self defense or defense of others, like the other poster said, I don’t give a crap who or what gets swept as long as I can get the gun on target fast. Would never carry this way for IDPA or USPSA (if it is even allowed) but for CCW, the summer and untucked knit shirt or tee, might be the way to go.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    Guys, be like Jeff Gonzales. Carry your handgun in your purse.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      One time . . . (once) I told my friend (whose brother was a RECON MARINE, they usually like MARINE RECON) that I “was thinking about going MARINE RECON, but that I didn’t because I refuse to wear a dress”.

      I met his brother, for the first time, sometime later. And he let me apologize.

  14. avatar IHeartGlocks says:

    I stuck my G19 in the back of my shorts a couple of weeks ago just to see how it felt. Printed like crazy, and of course I managed to trip backwards and landed flat on my back. The only injury sustained was the huge bruise from the gun. Glad it wasn’t at 6 o’clock or my spine would have taken the blow.

    1. avatar Tile floor says:

      That’s why I won’t carry small of the back. I’m too afraid of a hard fall jacking my spine up

  15. avatar koolaidguzzler says:

    Gonzales needs a ghost writer.
    I’ve read numerous pieces by him, and they’re poorly written, sometimes have contradictory logical reasoning, unless they’re meant only to be clickbait.

  16. avatar Michael says:

    Keeping clothing out of your holster is a big deal regardless where you place it. Too many people don’t unf#*k their clothing choices and end up with a negligent discharge (there is a lot of butt hurt at another site where cops apparently keep doing this). In addition, you need to practice reholstering. If you are in a DGU, you will likely need to reholster at some point while keeping your eyes on the bad guy so you better know how to do it without looking at it.

    1. avatar binder says:

      1. Why would you re-holster if you are looking at a bad guy.
      2. Why would you re-holster if the cops show up, placing it on the ground is much better.
      3. Why would you EVER re-holder without looking (unless you are naked and just wearing the holster). Shit will always get in the way at the worse moment.

      (Of course there are exceptions in the real world)

      1. avatar Michael says:

        You may have to render first aid to someone…..and the list goes on….

  17. avatar Joe R. says:

    You had me at ‘shoulder holster’.

    Thank you Sir, for listing it in the #1 slot.

    Thank you again.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      AND ! ! !

      If your shoulder holster ever slides around to your 4 o’clock position, YOU ARE WRONG !

      but you can just pull it around to where you need it. Rig up a thin sternum strap and you can swim very comfortably in it. Rides right in your shoulder/armpit ‘wake’.

      I do recommend the 4 o’clock position if you are trying to ‘________’ in a hot tub. I also recommend that it is your hot tub and that you adequately clean your weapon, your shoulder holster, and your gun afterwards.

      But enough with the PSA, at least we’ve discussed shoulder holsters today. Light is green, trap is clean, my work here is done.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        If you can’t do a shoulder holster (cause you ain’t got arms or something, whatever, I don’t wanna know all your personal information) then I’d go with a Safariland drop-leg holster, with the one band, not the two leg-band style.

        Safariland is faster than you, and that’s good.

  18. avatar Will says:

    Everyone has their opinion. But only one opinion truly matters: MINE

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Whatever Will says, goes.

        He’s got the range membership, so, ya know, just go with it.

  19. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    “They’re caused by foreign objects or debris in the holster that acts as a surrogate trigger finger. Observing the holster’s mouth is the only way to ensure the event is prevented.”

    I call BS. How often does the holster – which up until the gun is pulled is OCCUPIED by the GUN – collect “foreign objects” which are likely strong enough to pull a 4-6 pound trigger pull? Lint isn’t going to cut it. Maybe if you’ve been rolling on the ground during the gunfight that’s an issue, but I fail to see how this is at all likely enough to override a SOM carry decision.

    Do you know of SPECIFIC instances where this sort of discharge has occurred? What foreign object caused it?

    Also, observing the holster is NOT the only way to prevent it. Using your fingers to test the holster’s mouth would be equally effective.

    As for visibility, that depends on a host of factors other than SOM placement. It depends on the gun, the holster, the exact position of carry, the physique of the person carrying, and the clothing both below and on top – just as it does with EVERY OTHER position of carry.

    As for injuries to the spine, that may be a valid point. But it could be mitigated by the holster design or other means. Landing on a gun holstered on the hip is no fun, either. More importantly, learn to fall properly if you are concerned about that.

    1. avatar Michael says:

      On other gun sites (firearmblog, Breachbangclear) I have read stories/news about drawstrings and layers of clothing getting in the way and causing a negligent discharge.

    2. avatar binder says:

      Just running a stage in IDPA I have had a tucked in shirt get in the way of a OWB holster. If I’m drawing from real concealment and actual move in the stage, 50 / 50 chance I’m digging shirttails out of the way.
      “learn to fall properly”, OK That works when you slip, if you are in a fight grappling, not so much.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        A shoulder holster allows you to draw THE WHOLE DARN THING out from behind concealment, before you even ‘clear leather’.

        Reholstering is similar.

        PLUS – carrying two or three extra mags on the opposite side balances you out.

        Wicked cross-draw action.

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “Do you know of SPECIFIC instances where this sort of discharge has occurred? ”
      Ask and you shall receive, and from this very website:
      http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/03/robert-farago/windbreaker-drawstring-triggers-glock-negligent-discharge/

      Of course, I’ve also seen someone drop their magazine inside their kydex appendix carry holster when reloading and then hit it when they tried to reholster. Not very likely though.

  20. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    “Before the adult temper tantrums ensue….”

    I see someone’s channeling his inner Firearms Concierge. I don’t read this site to be insulted. So I’m putting your articles, Mr. Gonzales, on the automatically skip list.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Dude, you just proved his point.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        his real name is guns alice, and he put the fc articles on his hippity- hop list.

  21. avatar Guns!Guns!Guns! says:

    Seriously, this site needs more eye candy.

    Let’s not pretend this site is anything more than a bunch of us dudes preaching to the choir. There’s maybe two women who read this site. Maybe three on a good day. And they’d like more eye candy, too.

    We Demand Action for More Gun Bunny Eye Candy in America

  22. avatar None says:

    Man, Gonzales articles always get as much hate as…well…neutral comments? Might be an indicator of something…

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Yep, the truth hurts. Are you injured, or are you hurt? If you’re hurt, stop living in the past and get back in the fight.

      1. avatar None says:

        Joe, I can always count on you to make absolutely no sense. Do one of you guys speak “Joe?”

    2. avatar retrocon says:

      I have to agree, a lot of hate in these.

      I think it’s because, in a community like this, there are plenty of “experts,” not just the author.

      In any case, people who know what they are doing, don’t like to be told “you should not do this,” or “you should always do it this way,” or “if you do this, you are wrong.” And i’m seeing more of that on TTAG.

      My recommendation to the authors who take these paths is, chill out. This article itself had a lot of good stuff in it. But it’s introduced with a contentious title. Call it “The argument for not carrying behind-the-back” or something like that, and debate it. Don’t tell other experts what they should or should not do.

      However, I am still going to carry small-of-back, with an IWB special pocket holster, because it does not print, ever, and, while i won’t win a quick draw competition in that configuration, i’m skilled, and ii can get to it safely and quickly enough for most any situation.

  23. avatar justanothermike says:

    Interesting thoughts, and probably intentionally over stated to provoke (successfully too!).

    I expect a lot has to do with body type, I’m very tall and skinny. I like my IWB holster to ride just behind my right iliac crest (I’m right handed). Holsters that work well for me have a forward cant, so the grip ends up tucking tightly into my side below my ribs. I almost always carry revolvers (J frame in the summer, K frame in the winter), so the shape of the grip is less boxy; semi auto (I’ve carried a 1911) grips print on me. Concealing length isn’t too hard for me for some reason; concealing the upper parts of a handgun is much harder (thus revolvers work better).

    I’ve had my wife check while I move (and she is often with me when I’m carrying), and it works great – for me. From having my wife spot me, deep bends or extreme twisting at the waist are where I start to print, as the grip will come away from my body. On hot days like today, I’ll carry under a loose tucked in T-shirt and be fine. I’ve even carried IWB in athletic shorts or sweats.

    After carrying for about 25 years, I’ve tried a lot of different solutions and found that a lot of the (conventional) wisdom is probably good for a high percentage of people, but I’m not normal 🙂

  24. avatar MarkPA says:

    This post reminded me of an epiphany I had recently. I had always thought of the OC/CC debate to be more-so political and less of an issue of maintaining OPSEC.

    Personally, I don’t much care whether someone “makes” me carrying. There are no GFZ signs where I go. I’d rather not be seen carrying when I’m within a school-zone; but that happens only when driving by. No one has ever asked me if I’m carrying; and if they did, I’d respond with the famous Mae West remark.

    Having a criminal grab my gun to steal it is a separate matter. Cops need to maintain a high level of situational awareness to prevent anyone from grabbing their guns. Since I’m not a cop (or uniformed security guard) I’m not advertising that I have a gun ready to be grabbed. And, I’m unwilling to invest in the situational awareness necessary to keep an open-carried gun secure. I think a large fraction of the carry-community is in my situation.

    Now, for the link to the post. If a criminal can “make” you CC’ing; and, easily approach you from behind and grab your gun; well, then, you are exposing yourself in the same way as open-carriers are exposing themselves. Are you willing to maintain the requisite high level of situational awareness?

    I prefer to carry in my front pocket. Stretching and leaning don’t expose my gun visually. A criminal might “make” me by the “print”; but, he would have to decide if he wants to try to reach into my pocket and pull the gun out before I responded. While I’m not perfectly secure, I’m better off than with back-CC.

  25. avatar borg says:

    It might be easier for a pickpocket to steal someone’s firearm if it is carried behind your back

  26. avatar Hank says:

    Behind the back carry (without holster!) has become epidemic in movies and on TV. I guess the directors of this garbage think it looks savvy (or something), just like every gun when drawn has to make clicking sounds or the fact that everyone has to rack the slide every 5 minutes.

    The point is, don’t get your tactical training from Hollywood. Leave that for ghetto gangbangers.

    1. avatar Robb says:

      Some truth in this statement. And is similar to Jeff’s recent post about the press check.

      Just watched John Wick 2 and to see him press check, AFTER RELOADING AND RACKING THE SLIDE EACH TIME, drove me nuts.

  27. avatar Mark N. says:

    If I wear a holster at three o’clock, the gun and holster press on my iliac crest (pushing the grip to the outside) and digs into my greater trochanter, which is quite painful. However, there is a pocket right behind the trochanter that allows for comfort and concealment and allow the belt to pull the grip in to the body. So there is no way in hell that I am going to change my carry position from 4 o’clock (or so, depending on location of belt loops) to 3 o’clock.

    1. avatar Frank says:

      I am 6’5″ and have a slim waist. At a true 3 o’clock position in a canted IWB holster, the back of my SR9c slide and/or the tall Trijicon HD rear sight will print at the front of my hip. My sweet spot with that gun seems to be around 3:45. Clearly, what works is going to depend on your build, your gun, your holster, your choice of clothing, and the care with which way you move when carrying.

      If the girl in the photo wasn’t wearing a form-fitting shirt, she could probably carry a real version of that faux Kel-Tec pretty much anywhere on her waist. Let’s be real. Everyone is going to be looking at her ass anyway.

  28. avatar Avid Reader says:

    All I know is that I need to spend some more time closely examining the photo that accompanies the posting.

  29. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    IF you wear a suit jacket, AND concealment is important, then getting the gun back past 4 o’clock will give you that concealment. Even with the jacket unbuttoned, no one will ever know.

    However, reholstering during training is still a real issue.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Sit down in your car, with or sans jacket, and you’ll wish you had a shoulder holster (or drop leg, except you just moved it further from your opposite hand).

  30. avatar krisjef76 says:

    I have a few issues with this article.
    Negligent discharges… “They’re caused by foreign objects or debris in the holster that acts as a surrogate trigger finger.” not bad trigger finger discipline?? Really? Have you ever read an article on ND’s? It’s usually bad trigger finger positioning or it has to do with a softer holster.
    I carry in many positions depending on gun and what I’m wearing, but my Dara small of back holster, worn at 5 o’clock, is perfectly visible when reholstering and stays concealed. BEND FROM THE KNEES, it won’t show.

  31. avatar JTVickers says:

    “…anything from the 4:00 position and beyond.” So does that mean my Glock 30 at 3:59 in a tuckable holster is magically acceptable? I appreciate the concerns of 6:00 carry – and guess what – it’s uncomfortable in pretty much all of my clothing, so I don’t do it.

    Here’s your reminder Mr. Gonzales, the first rule of concealed carry is to carry. The best way to ensure a person carries regularly is to ensure their handgun/holster/wardrobe work together and are comfortable. That’s why the majority of us have more than one carry gun and holster.

    Furthermore, at 6’1″ and 310lbs. the only way I’m going to watch my carry gun all the way back into the holster is in a tanker rig or a drop thigh tactical holster – both comfortable means of carry but lacking just a tad of the concealability I’m looking for in my rig – that’s why I don’t reholster on-body. In the event I find myself forced to defend myself or others, reholstering is LITERALLY the last thing I’m concerned with.

    I understand you Don’t want your insurance premiums to skyrocket after some Barney Fife puts another crease in his keister, but that’s very different than saying one of the most prevalent, comfortable, concealable, and accessible types of carry is totally unacceptable. I wish I could visit this fantasy world some writers and YouTube channels have created where it seems everyone can carry a full-size duty gun owb at 3:00.

    Instead of discouraging a beginner from carrying in a very practical manner, why not focus on the importance of carrying a model and caliber that they shoot well, that they can conceal comfortably, that provides sufficient energy to stop an attack, and the importance of proper shot placement? Never having met you, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes. Stress, fatigue, dehydration, malnutrition – these can all lead to lapses in judgment and mental errors. I’ll pray for a return to good health for you.

  32. avatar Michael says:

    This place is turning into fight club….

    1. avatar Frank says:

      The first rule of TTAG is you don’t talk about TTAG.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      (psst. The first rule about fight club….)

      1. avatar Michael says:

        LOL….seriously though, I have to refrain from regularly wanting to say “did your parents have any children that weren’t born brain dead?”

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          If you can’t say something nice about someone. . .

          say it under your breath.

          ; )

          The votes haven’t been tallied yet, but I believe shoulder holster has carried the day.

  33. avatar adverse4 says:

    Be happy to cover her butt.

  34. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Small of the back carry is fine as long as you don’t slip on the ice. Then it can REALLY eff up your back.

  35. avatar Palehorse says:

    Quick question fellas, I’m looking for an OWB left hand retention holster for a g30sf. Any suggestions? Preferably paddle.

  36. avatar strych9 says:

    While I understand the concern I feel like this is a bit overblown here.

    I usually carry at about 4-4:30 based on the pants I’m wearing (specifically where the belt loops are located). Holstering a gun isn’t a problem if you look at and/or feel what you’re doing. The major items that can get into the way of holstering/re-holstering are you “cover garments” shirt, overshirt etc. I’ve had it happen, that’s why I make sure they’re out of the way before putting my gun back in it’s holster.

    Is it a potential problem? Sure. A major one for people with two brain cells to rub together and decent experience? No. Would I take the risk were I running a class with a bunch of people who’s skill and experience is unknown to me? I don’t know.

    As for the printing/coming uncovered problem… I think that comes down to legality in your area and your work environment. If it’s a crime in your area, well consider it. If not I wouldn’t worry about it as much. There isn’t anything here that IMHO, cannot be fixed by proper attire. A properly sized T-shirt covers your pistol perfectly fine, if not, add an overshirt. Gotta dress up for work? A properly cut sport coat or a properly cut suit. Done. 99.99% of people will never notice and NO ONE who carries something bigger than a derringer has 100% perfect concealment so that’s a dumb argument.

    I would also point out that, based on what you’re doing, you can switch your carry style and your garments to match the occasion. All it takes is a bit of forethought and the willingness to get read 20 minutes early so that if something doesn’t work you can make a switcheroo.

  37. avatar Kevin C says:

    4:00 IWB PPQ Israeli carry for me, if anyone is keeping score.

  38. avatar Mark Horning says:

    Behind the back does not equal Behind the hip.

    Behind the back (especially small of the back) is bad because if you fall or get shoved you can get seriously hurt by that chunk of metal smashing into your spine.

    Strong side behind the hipbone is the fastest, quickest location to draw from and I can certainly look down a holster just behind my right hip, especially if it has a normal amount of cant.

  39. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …back carry, side carry, crotch carry, boob carry…sheesh! Here in Santa Clara county, CA, I wish I could just CARRY!

  40. avatar Hannibal says:

    Small of back can be very concealable compared to other positions depending on your attire. You can also set it up to have a very natural draw. That said, I don’t like it because of potential injury. Not via bullets, mind you- the gun itself. You’re either putting a hard metal object between your spine or kidneys and the floor. I have enough lower back problems without adding to them unnecessarily.

  41. avatar Hugo says:

    Besides the nice photo, it is good that the author points out some drawbacks to behind the hip/back carry. I see lots of people whose pistols are printing or exposed when they move around. Also I don’t like carrying that way when in a crowd.
    Bottom line…there is no one perfect carry method or holster that’s ideal for every person or situation. I like the ability to change positions if the situation calls for it. I often carry my XDs or LC9 in a Remora OWB holster which I can quickly change to cross draw for driving, IWB (sticky holster) or pocket carry if necessary. Reholstering is not as important to me as initial access in an emergency but it is doable with practice.

  42. avatar rip_vw32 says:

    Ok… so, as an instructor once told me, just because you see a threat in front of you, doesn’t mean that there isn’t one behind you – and what are you going to do when the one behind puts you in a bear hug? You won’t be able to get to your gun if you carry at the small of your back… He recommended ankle carry AS WELL AS back carry…

  43. avatar Jeff says:

    “Observing the holster’s mouth is the only way to ensure the event is prevented. That’s hard to do when you can’t look behind you.”

    Why can’t you look behind you? I do it every day. Easily.

    Also, IWB holsters just don’t work well on the point of the hip and not at all for longer guns in front of the hip.

    Just my $0.02.

  44. avatar Nicholas Jones says:

    First of all, if you are practicing reholstering your pistol should be empty. Secondly, should you need to use your pistol in a defensive situation you shouldn’t be in a hurry to reholster or you should have your pistol drawn until the police arrive where then you place the pistol on the ground and comply with the officers. You shouldn’t be taking your eyes off of the threat to look into your holster, this is just plain stupid conditioning that will get people killed because they are so focused on reholstering.

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