Everyone needs to understand the reasons behind the actions they take in life in general, and especially when it comes to concealed carry. Oftentimes, however, people make decisions regarding their concealed carry gear and setup for reasons that have nothing to do with reality. The why behind your choices needs to be based on valid reasoning, your actual context, the science behind how you are likely to react to violence and a host of other important factors. When it comes to pocket carry, the why for most people often relates to convenience. Convenience can be important, but if it is the driving factor behind the majority of our concealed-carry decisions and the real purpose of carrying concealed isn’t maintained, you can quickly find yourself in territory where you have a gun but it’s useless when you need it most.
Consider Your Context
In general, I don’t recommend pocket carry as the primary concealment method for most people. Although pocket carry can be a very convenient and comfortable way to carry your weapon concealed, the nature of pants pockets and the typical sedentary lifestyle of most people makes the handgun difficult to access.
Consider situations that you commonly find yourself in, such as sitting at a desk or computer or seated in a vehicle. In these situations, accessing your gun would be very difficult if not impossible until you move your body to a standing position. Of course, moving to standing may not be desired or even possible depending on the circumstances. If this description fits you, then pocket carry may not be the best option for you.
If, however, you find yourself in a situation where you are on your feet and regularly need to interact with people whose intentions are not clear, the ability to appear casual while at the same time assuming a full one-handed grip on a defensive firearm in your pocket may be a significant advantage in a crisis.
The obvious example that comes to my mind is that of a law enforcement officer. Having the ability to interact with individuals respectfully while at the same time being prepared to defend oneself is easy to see in the world of today’s law enforcement world, but the utility of this technique doesn’t end there.
I carry a revolver in my left-front pocket for this very reason. As a firearms instructor, I spend a good deal of time at a rural shooting range. I often need to greet individuals whose intentions are unclear. Those individuals have a pretty good idea that I am in possession of firearms and ammunition, both of which can be valuable to criminal elements. From a safety standpoint, it’s reasonable that I might want to be prepared to defend myself. From a business standpoint, it makes sense that I should cordially greet potential customers with a handshake. With that handshake, however, I virtually surrender my access to my primary handgun. The revolver in my left pocket provides options, especially when it is gripped prior to the greeting. In short, you need to examine your context and determine if pocket carry fits into your lifestyle.
Pocket Carry Concerns
Some folks have a hard time concealing a single handgun along their waist. Placing a secondary gun on the waistline would be difficult for most. Pocket carry can be an outstanding solution for that secondary gun. When using the pocket to carry a secondary gun, it makes sense for most folks to carry in the pocket opposite of your primary gun hand. This gives you access to a gun with each hand and increases the variety of deadly situations that you are prepared to deal with.
Of course, the need to carry a gun in deep concealment may be one of the most valid reasons to carry a pocket gun. The majority of men’s pants suitable for business-casual settings contain pockets that would conceal a typical pocket gun. People carry a variety of items in their pockets, so irregular shapes are common. Add to that the idea that it is also socially inappropriate to spend much time gazing at or interacting with the front pocket area of those you know only casually. When combined with a holster that helps hide the shape of your pocket gun, this makes deep pocket concealment a relatively easy task.
Women and those who dress more casually may find additional challenges with a lack of suitable pockets or no pockets at all. If you intend to carry in your pocket, make sure to consider your carry plans in your clothing purchases.
Also, those who live in colder climates and carry concealed understand that things change when the temperatures drop. Heavier clothing and additional layers can make accessing your primary handgun more difficult, if not impossible. You might wear gloves to keep your hands warm, which will make it a lot harder to access or operate your gun.
Carrying a secondary handgun in a pocket adds the advantage of accessibility and reduces the need for gloves. Keeping a gun in your coat pocket will provide you easy access should you need to defend yourself.
How To Pull It Off
Safety is a critical concern when it comes to any carry decision. Pocket carry isn’t any different, but there are some additional safety considerations that you need to weigh if you make the decision to carry in a pocket.
One of the primary safety considerations is to make sure that your pocket gun is holstered and isolated in your pocket. Your gun needs to be holstered so the triggerguard is fully covered on both sides. This will help prevent the trigger from inadvertently being pressed.
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In addition, the only thing that goes into your carry pocket is your holstered handgun. Your keys, pen, flashlight and everything else need to be placed in a separate pocket. All of this serves to ensure your pocket gun won’t fire while it’s in your pocket.
You also need to consider your context so that you can determine where you should carry your pocket gun. If you plan on carrying your pocket gun as your primary gun, you might consider carrying it in your strong-side front pocket. Make sure to take into consideration the difficulty you may have in accessing a primary gun held in your pocket.
If you are considering carrying a secondary gun in your pocket, it may make sense to carry in your off-hand pocket. In some situations, this could give you access to a gun when your primary hand is occupied. Ultimately, the choice is yours as to where you carry your handgun. Simply make sure to take your personal circumstances into consideration as you make the decision.
Maintain Your Gear
Pockets are messy places. They have a tendency to trap debris and also create some of their own through the friction of the pocket against itself and its contents. When you carry a gun in your pocket, all of this stuff seems to end up in one place—on your gun.
This means that you need to be dedicated in maintaining your gear. Your gun will run more reliably when it is properly maintained. Make sure to have a regular maintenance schedule for your pocket gun and stick to it.
It should also go without saying that training needs to be a vital part of your concealed-carry paradigm. When you add a secondary gun in a pocket, or you make pocket carry your primary form of concealed carry, you need to make sure that you train to become proficient with your gear and the mode of carry that you select.
Pocket carry can be an efficient and legitimate way to carry a handgun for personal protection. How efficient this method is for you depends on how well pocket carry fits your particular lifestyle and the amount of energy you commit to making pocket carry work for you. With proper considerations for safety, an honest analysis of your specific circumstances and a dedication to training, pocket carry can certainly enhance your concealed carry.
This article was originally published in ‘Concealed Carry Handguns’ 2017. To subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.