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.
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.
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.