In 1930, legendary shootist J. Henry Fitzgerald wrote, “The front pocket is a good place to carry a revolver.” Back in his day, snub-nose revolvers were used for concealed carry. The handful of exceptions were Colt pocket pistols like the Model 1903 (.32 ACP) and Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless (.380 ACP). Shoulder holsters were used, as were belt rigs, even for full-size .45 ACP Government Model 1911s, but concealment wasn’t nearly as refined as it is today. There were far fewer options in carry guns and rigs then, while today the choices are more like picking from a menu. When they had only a limited number of guns and holsters, many folks learned how to make do with what was available back then.
What we have learned about concealed carry over the last century is that one size does not fit all, whether it is grips, calibers, gun size, weight, operation (revolver or semi-auto) or, most definitely, the method of carry. I have been carrying concealed for over 25 years, and during that time my weight has gone up and down (along with my waistline) several times by as much as 25 pounds, so I know how body weight, build and comfort can have a direct effect on what you carry and how. And I’ve used them all, from shoulder holsters, to belt holsters, belt-clip rigs, pocket holsters, full-length scabbards, Yaqui slides and paddles, with calibers from .45 ACP to 9mm and .380. And what did I learn? What works for one person won’t always work for another.

Before you even begin to decide on a carry method, you need to know what you are going to carry. What seems “oh so right” at the gun store when you’re holding that new pistol in your hand is very different from the reality of carrying it on your person daily. For discreet carry in public, plainclothes law enforcement officers (detectives, FBI and so forth) have the advantage of a badge to go with the gun, just in case it shows. But for individuals with a CCW permit, the demand for total concealment is absolute. And this is majority of CCW permit holders will find the right gun and holster combination.

Once you have a gun that fits your needs, finding the right carry method requires you to sit down and think. Seriously, sit down. Now where is that gun going to go? In a pocket, it is all but inaccessible when you’re sitting. With a belt holster, it has to be covered by an article of clothing, and if you are a little overweight or short-waisted, the grips are either poking into your side or your ribcage. Wear a shoulder holster, and you’re committed to keeping a jacket on to cover it, or at least an outer garment large enough to completely hide the holster. Of course, this never happens in the movies or TV because the actors are rarely wearing the gun until it is needed in the scene. Real life is much more demanding…


Up Next

California Legislators Call for Tougher Gun Laws

In 1930, legendary shootist J. Henry Fitzgerald wrote, “The front pocket is a good…