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Stop for a minute and think how much time you spend in a sitting position. Whether it’s in your car, behind a desk at work, or eating in a restaurant, we all are sitting for a significant portion of our day. That requires you to give some serious thought and consideration to how to access your gun if the need arises.

Hitting the Road

For many of us, the commute to and from work takes up a huge portion of our day. Here in my home town of Austin, we spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. The Live Music Capital of the world is ranked 13th in the nation when it comes to rush-hour traffic. Even off-peak traffic can be a drag and keeps you in a seated position far longer than you’d want.

Given the frequency and duration of our time behind the steering wheel, there’s a chance that you may have to draw your gun while seated in your car. Road ragers, carjacking, and other types of violent criminal activities can test your ability to clear your cover garment while inside your vehicle.

The biggest obstacle to an effective draw from within a vehicle is the seat belt. It can be adjusted, but what you don’t want to do is weaken its effectiveness or ability to protect you in a crash.

The seat belt should ride low across your lap, right at the hip joint. That’s the best position to arrest movement and minimize injury, but it’s not the best position for drawing a gun.

One way to work around that if you know you’ll be in your car for a long time is changing where you carry. Traditional three to six o’clock positions can conflict with the seat belt and require you to lean forward and left to draw. Appendix carry is also problematic and can be extremely uncomfortable in the car.

When seated behind the wheel, carrying in a crossdraw holster makes the draw much easier and faster and usually avoids any entanglements with the seatbelt. An ankle holster can also be much more accessible in a hurry while seated than a pistol carried in a traditional strong-side position.

If you don’t want to change your carry position, try placing the shoulder restraint portion of the belt behind the butt of the gun, depending on where you usually position your holster. If your state has an open carry law you can also clear your cover garment in advance, minimizing that obstacle. 


Alien Gear Driver Defense holster


There are also a variety of console- and seat-mounted holster systems that can keep your handgun quickly accessible, too.


Alien Gear Cloak Dock OWB Holster Mount


Clearing the Table

Whether your eat lunch at your desk, at a lunchroom table top or outside of work, you most likely do it while sitting. The challenges you face aren’t just the draw stroke, but also the sitting arrangement and safety.

Are you in a booth or a chair? If you’re in a booth, you’re much more restricted as you usually can’t move either the table or your seat. Ideally, if you’re in a booth, you’ll sit on the outside so you can shift your position, stand up quickly or otherwise maneuver.


courtesy AP


Sitting in a chair at a table affords you much more mobility, making it easier if and when you have to go to your gun for self defense. You can easily kick your chair back and away or even push the table aside if necessary.

As for situational awareness, even better than a vantage point of a restaurant’s entrance is a view of the largest avenue of approach toward your table. If you can see a suspect approaching, you’ll have more time to respond.

The last aspect to consider is friendlies in your field of fire. If you have people sitting extremely close or directly across from you, clearing your field of fire is priority number one. Practice strong-hand-only shooting and think about how you can use your weak hand to move or hold someone out of your way if necessary.

American Workaholics

Most of us sit at a desk for much of the work day. That gives you a certain advantage as you “own the space.” You know the layout, where the exits are and generally who does and doesn’t belong in the area.

If you add some force protection measures such as controlled access, closed circuit monitors and ballistic resistant material it, that can give you a distinct advantage. Still, there are plenty of challenges such as clearing your field of fire.

At the very least, design and implement an active shooter plan for your workplace. Know and rehearse what to do if you are at your desk and what to do when you’re away.

The last point to consider is that no matter where you may be, drawing from a seated position is dangerous and should only be performed if absolutely necessary. It can be extremely difficult to do so without lasering yourself or others around you. Practice definitely helps, but if at all possible, stand and safely draw your firearm per your standard SOP.

We spend far more time seated than you might think and knowing the most effective and efficient ways to access your gun is always important. But all of the four safety rules still apply. Remember that you need to manage friendlies nearby along with the unknowns while still being sure of your backstop.


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. Learn more about his passion and what he does at

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    • if you are touching the brake pedal even to the slightest unless you are at a full stop already the seat belt will not allow you to lean forward

  1. A fellow shared an interesting story with me awhile ago.

    He was carjacked. His left hand was pinned, and he couldn’t reach his gun. He carried on both sides. He pulled his LCR .357 out of his right pocket, shot the guy twice. Ex-felon who met his just end.

    I’d wondered about carrying on both sides. I do now. Most won’t, for all kinds of reasons. I do now. A Shield .40 on my left — I’m left-handed — and an LCR on my right. A bit uncomfortable, but no big deal. I work at home, get out and about a few times a day. Hopefully the moment never comes. If it does? Hopefully I’ll be able to draw on one side or the other!

    • Michael B.,

      I have been giving serious thought lately to carrying a handgun on each hip, which would provide some serious advantages:
      (1) New York reloads.
      (2) Backup handgun if primary handgun fails.
      (3) “Loaner” firearm for friendlies during an attack.
      (4) Convenient draw no matter which direction an attack originates.
      (5) Able to shoot both hands gangster style (sideways) in opposite directions (e.g. north and south) like the movies.

      Note: I am totally being silly on “advantage” number (5).

    • It is always wise to carry both an EDC and a BUG on different sides of your body. This gives you tactical flexibility as well as providing a BUG to deploy in the event either hand/arm is disabled due to a wound or just because you are in too awkward a position to deploy from that side.

    • I came here to sing the praises of crossdraw carry (and also shoulder holsters). Good enough for the FBI, good enough for the common CCer, IDPA rules be damned.

      • I love my Miami Classic, love it. It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, it’s stylish…but after 20 odd years of reaching for my right hip for a pistol I simply cannot adjust, especially moving back and forth between the two. However, there are plenty of times that I’m willing to sacrifice my well honed instinctive draw for the comfort and concealment of the shoulder rig. I practice the draw from it, and it’s fast…but startled, my hand still goes to my belt first.

        There is also the problem of body position. I instinctively blade my strong side away from potential threats, this protecting my gun, and practicing with a partner, it’s a lot easier to interrupt my draw stroke from the shoulder holster (read, pretty doable , as opposed the suicide mission trying to stop the draw and presentation from the strong side hip is).

        I go to the shoulder for long trips, and often during the winter when access to my shoulder rig trumps access to my hip. I feel alright with it, but frankly I can draw off my strong side hip with my weak hand (there are advantages to being thin).

        The other big advantages to the shoulder are people don’t look for or expect a gun to come from there, and I don’t need a belt, or even pants to tote my full size pistol and 2 spare mags. Attach a light and knife and the harness contains everything I need. Particularly handy when getting into and out of gear multiple times a day.

  2. When I get in my car, I lock the door, then take my holster (an IWB with a belt clip) off my belt, and clip it to the map pocket on the door. If I ever need to draw it (and I did once), it’s very accessible. It’s also more comfortable than having the gun dig into my side.

  3. … we all are sitting for a significant portion of our day. That requires you to give some serious thought and consideration to how to access your gun if the need arises.

    Solution #1: shoulder holster

    Solution #2: ankle holster

    ’nuff said.

    • +1 on ankle carry while driving. Easy to get to, weapon stays on you at all times, and a lot more comfortable for long trips.

      Of course, it’s less than ideal if your EDC is a 1911 or other full-sized roscoe, but for my G26 it’s fine.

  4. At the very least, design and implement an active shooter plan for your workplace. Know and rehearse what to do if you are at your desk and what to do when you’re away.

    Plan at your desk:
    Draw firearm and shoot attacker.

    Plan away from your desk:
    Draw firearm and shoot attacker.

    What can I say? I like to keep things simple. (Sorry, I could not help myself.)

  5. I enjoy these tip articles also. A holster between console and seat in the vehicle. I assume sitting anywhere else that I would change from the seated position, such as falling to the floor ducking under the table or behind the desk. ect.

  6. It is a good article. Covers a good amount, except what to do to safely acquire your target after you draw your weapon. When drawing and aiming your weapon from the drivers seat and am taking aim out of the driver window, trace the top of the steering wheel with your firearm until on target.

  7. The FIRST and most important step is to GTHO of your 3rd world progtard shithole. Austin, Berkley, Madison, Iowa City, etc.

    If you don’t want to step in shit, stay out of the stable. Don’t want to smell it, stay out of the landfill or cattleyard.

    • neiowa,

      You forgot Ann Arbor from your list.

      I believe the four most Leftist cities in the U.S. are Berkeley, Austin, Madison, and Ann Arbor — and not necessarily in that order.

      • And notice how all four of those cities are the home base of extremely Leftist Universities!

        Sadly, I do not believe those universities became extremely Leftist because of their cities. Rather, I believe those cities became extremely Leftist because of their universities!

  8. I practice and have trained for AIWB carry. When i get in my car, before sitting down, I pull up my pants a little bit so that when I sit down, the muzzle is not jabbing my junk/leg. After putting on my seat belt I lift up my shirt and overlap it over the lap belt for an unobstructed weapon draw. No printing. I have driven 4 hours straight with AIWB carry, it’s a little uncomfortable. I understand this doesn’t work well for those with dickydo. Now, I am not saying this is the best option, just sharing my experience since we cannot open carry in CA.

  9. I modified my IWB holster with a replacement clip that gives me an approximately additional 20 degrees of cant( maybe 40 to 45 degrees off perpendicular with it ). I have a chronic shoulder injury that makes it difficult to draw lifting with my shoulder so this allows me to pull the firearm from the holster forward instead of up. The added benefit is that when sitting in my vehicle and my pistol located @ 4:00 it is aimed directly at the earth. I do not have to lean or shift my body to draw. I drive for my job and have to get in and out of my vehicle 35 or 40 times a day so having my gun on me all the time and not being behind or underneath me when I’m driving is a must.

  10. Reminds me that I need to put another safe in my new car so that I can put a second gun in it.

    Damn life always throwing me more work to do.

  11. My strong side is right side and I cannot find an IWB or OWB that I can wear with a full size gun in a vehicle with a seat belt on. The only thing I have found that works for me is a G43 in a IWB worn weak side for cross draw. But that sucks because that is not what I want to carry in this mean old world, so I keep a full size gat in my vehicle’s center console drink holder. I gun up when I go pedestrian with a full size gun in a IWB or OWB depending on where I am going that day and what the weather is. I look forward to winter and trying out a shoulder rig under my jacket.

    • I carry the largest pistol I feel I can confidently conceal on my waist, a Ruger security 9. I would classify it as a mid-sized pistol. I also have a full-size Ruger American .45 that I bought a shoulder holster for that will be delivered next week. Holster options for the Security 9 are few, but I was able to find a functional kydex IWB by “On Your 6 designs”. However, with the full-length grip, concealment was less than acceptable so I ordered a replacement belt clip from “We The People Holsters” that would allow me to add additional cant angle, rotating the gun to nearly 45 degrees so that the grip rested more vertical against my pudgy waistline. This had several benefits for me. I have a bad shoulder and this allows for a drawing movement more forward than up when standing, and moved the location of the grip when sitting closer to 3:00. and higher on my waist. Now I can access and draw my pistol with my seatbelt fastened and without a need to lean forward to grasp the grip.

  12. I am not a flexible person physically. In addition, I am profoundly hearing impaired thus wtihout my hearing aids I am Deaf.
    Carrying a gun then poses certain conditions upon me. I tried strong side carry but realized the downfalls for me which included being very uncomfortable in drawing the gun out. Eventually I chose to do crossdraw carry. It works excellently in the car. No problems shooting from a sitting position nor drawing the gun. Protects me and the gun in every way possible. Research has shown that people who carry crossdraw can defend themselves from having their gun taken from them better. That’s why Italian police carry crossdraw. There has never been an Italian officer who lost their life in a gun grabbing fight; however, in the USA we lost 12 officers who carries strong side in this scenario. This is something to think about. First rule, protect your gun at all times. Second rule, if you pull that gun, do not hesitate, shoot it as your life depends on it.

    • The crossdraw holsters went out of use in PDs in the 60s. Too many it seemed an open invitation for someone you are interviewing to make a grab for it. Police spend a lot of time behind the wheel, think about how they carry. As a detective I carried crossdraw for my 38. Yes, I am that old. In patrol, I carried a 4” in a swivel holster, with the holster on my lap. Not exactly concealed, but it worked. Even before seatbelts getting to your firearm when driving was difficult.

  13. I too am confined to a wheelchair, and I also don’t drive due to my disability so I’m always the passenger. I carry OWB at 4 o’clock strong side (right) covered with a loose fitting shirt. I can conceal very well between the wheelchair back and the side panels, and in the car being a right-handed passenger has distinct advantages such as the shoulder belt doesn’t cross the holster. I live in a warm climate so a shoulder holster is a non-starter as it’s almost never cold enough to cover it with a jacket, and IWB is a problem because of this muffin-top thing I’ve got going. I’ve tried everything and what I’m doing is the only thing that seems to work.

    • @ Phil.

      There’s a Company from Portland, OR., called Airblasters. Which produce a Longjohn type Thermal Wear Hoodie called a “Ninja” Suit. Approximately 96% Merino Wool and ~4% Lycra, very warm for Cold Weather Wear and Lightweight at ~15.2-ounces. A bit pricey at ~$189.99, and looks somewhat ridiculous, but I can live with ridiculous if it means staying warm. Suit by itself will keep you warm to at least ~0F or ~ minus 17C. Largest size that I know of is for 6’04” or XL. Worth considering if you spend a lot of time outdoors or if you’re Handicapped trying to slog your way in a wheelchair…

  14. When I am driving I have a G21 in an under-the-steering column holster that I can draw instantly and present as needed. I also still carry a gun on my person so that if I have to un-a$$ my vehicle I will still be armed, but there is always a big gun in the vehicle ready to deploy in a heartbeat. 2 1/2 years on the roads in Iraq taught me that.

  15. Take a look at the “Counter Carjacking Rig” from Mitch Rosen. It is a crossdraw holster which holds the gun at about a 20 degree cant from the horizontal. Really easy to draw while seated in the car. When I get in the car, I take off my OWB strong side rig and clip on the CCR. The car rig is separate from my EDC.

  16. well,a great article. one thing i respectfully have a differing opinion on is the statement regarding practice. i can hit what i want, where i want with my strong hand. i do occasionally practice with the weak hand, that`s not so impressive. my reason is, should the strong hand become useless. considering it is a target in itself, i will be able to make a passable showing with the weak.

  17. I am in a wheelchair, both manual and motorized. Because of my condition I cannot remove the arms unless I am stationary and do not plan to move for a period of time. It took a while but I finally found an indoor range that would let me stay in my chair to fire. I go there frequently to practice. I carry in a shoulder rig or in my EDC bag. They are both good carry systems but it definitely took some serious practice before I felt comfortable with them.
    I am a retired LEO and was very comfortable and confident drawing strong side, cross waist and from my ankle holster. When I lost the ability to walk I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to shoot again as I have an unknown neurological disorder. My hands still cause me trouble sometimes but the strength is there to aim and fire, especially when my adrenaline kicks in. I have techniques that I use that are very much like what I did to train my SRT during our weapons training.
    For me, I would recommend that people who carry regularly and find themselves seated often, you should find a way to practice live fire after much practice drawing dry. Too many people think that if they can shoot while standing they can shoot in any posture. No so. Train as you will fight and there is a greater chance of success.


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