New Shooters: How Should You Carry?

Determining how to carry can be a daunting decision for those who are new to carrying.

How did you figure out how you wanted to carry? What carry positions do you recommend for those who are new to carrying?


Carrying position was determined by my life style and work. Everything between 3.30 and 8.30 o’clock was no go by default. I did also had hard time to draw from any position on my back.
After few days of practicing I decided to carry IWB at 1 - 2 o’clock combined with cross draw and OWB at 9 o’clock (I’m left handed).
Each method is determined by clothes used for the day (or night).

For new shooters: I’d recommend the same. Determine your life style and try OWB first. Become comfortable with the firearm. Then try IWB if you feel need for it.
If it doesn’t work, try different position.
3 o’clock seems to be easiest for beginners, AIWB is also great…if you feel comfortable with.

Finding good holster and carry method might be a long process. I guess all of us has his / her drawer full of holsters already :wink:


Only left handed people are in their right mind!

Trial & error is part of the process. There is another thread about the “holster drawer” that most of us have!


I tried a couple of different holsters and carry positions. The first holster I tried was from Alien Gear. That gave me a couple of carry options in a single holster.



I think it is a good idea to start with an OWB (outside of the waist belt) holster. At least for initial dry fire practice at home and live fire at the range. It is easier to practice safely drawing and reholstering with one. Then I would graduate to IWB (inside the waist belt) and figure out what position works best for your daily activities. Some holsters have adjustable cants that allow trying out a variety of locations. Pocket carry is also an option/necessity for some but I would still start with OWB on the strong side hip until you are completely comfortable with safe handling practices before trying other options.


Being fairly new at the CC (since Sept in house, Dec got permit)…I researched as much as I could on both holters and carry positions.

The gun I purchased came with a OWB paddle which I wore around my house at the 3 O clock position. I wore flannels and dress shirts untucked to conceal it. I did that from mid Sept (CWP class) until late October.

I have been wearing my Aliengear cloak tuck 3.5 since late October. I can comfortably wear it all day in either the 2 or 4 positions. I wind up sitting a lot so the 2 has become my preferred carry position. Enzo is the one who suggested it. Others on here contributed as well. I have a make shift wedge on it (another recommendation from the group) and the does conceal way better.

My advice for any one new is to gather as much information as you can from reliable sources. Don’t skimp on a holster. Spend the money and get a good one. If you can find a holster package that lets you carry in a variety of positions that is the best way to go. Before you drop money on any holster come in here and simply ask what other people think of a holster and gun setup. Last thing, think about the accessories you may want to add to your gun and when you might add them. For example if you don’t have a light on your gun today but plan on it in the next say 3 months you may not want to spend 100 plus bucks on a setup that can’t accommodate the light.

The biggest factors as others have stated will be your life style and your clothing used to conceal.

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Everybody is different.

My journey started with IWB carry with an empty chamber. Then, I graduated to IWB carry with a round chambered. I generally like 8 or 9 o’clock for position but appendix is growing on me.

OWB carry is probably a great start. A good holster & cover garment and you should be good. I like it in the colder months.

Open carry… To each his own.



Being a lefty, I composed my way to carrying IWB for EDC using my G19, G30SF(Tier1 holsters) at 10 o’clock. My P365 SAS XL IWB(leather holster) at 11 o’clock. Always with 1 chambered in whatever I am carrying that day.
I do have a OWB for my G30SF that I wear when I’m out at our local spot to practice.
Finding a good belt was the key to what position I decided to carry, clothing was the second. I have never worn clothes that fit me( always a size larger) so I don’t have to worry about printing.


NV we have a 120 wait before we receive our CCW, so it gives time to practice and / or take another class.

I bought a Krydex holster immediately and practiced carrying in multiple positions. I also found drill for drawing from concealment and practiced those with dry fire. I went to the range as often as I could. Unfortunately the demand for CCW classes was and is still so high combined with CV19 restrictions that many instructors cancelled all classes but CCW. I was lucky to take a defensive shotgun course and a rifle & carbine class this coming Sat, but not a pistol class yet.


I’m in Lyon county so the 120 days is 27 days😉

My recommendation, full kydex holster iwb, wherever you’re comfortable. The hybrid and leather holsters tend to fold and can make reholstering dangerous. If you want to try a hybrid, try it after you run a full kydex holster. A single clip kydex holster can pretty much be carried at any position. Full kydex also gives you the confidence that that trigger guard is totally inaccessible.

Like others said, Carry position is about trial and error. Different positions work better for different body types. I’d avoid 6 o’clock though. I’d recommend anywhere in the front half of the body. The reason is you can see where your gun is at all times and eliminate a concern for printing.

Two concerns I had when I started: #1 kept imagining the gun going off in my pants, (fixed with time and using a full Kydex holster), printing (goes away with time, but I carry at 3:00 and can visually check my printing were as when I carried at 4 I felt like my shirt was always tucked under the gun and the world could see it).


This is a long frustrating process. OWB is the mist physically comfortable but high in cognitive concern if identification. IWB reduces some of the concern about visual identification. If you are told IWB is comfortable you are being lied to. I have dozens, multiple dozens of expensive holsters Kydex, Leather, fabric, combinations to prove a comfortable IWB holster does not exist. The most “comfortable “ and versatile holster is the Sticky holster.

Agree re: OWB to start and continue in colder months. Coats and untucked flannel easily conceal. Also agree re: “practicing” with an IWB, and when breaking in a new IWB holster. I’ll carry with a loaded mag but no round chambered until I’m comfortable position-wise, drawing and (more importantly) re-holstering (anyone new to an IWB shouldn’t get discouraged when trying to find a good carry position and re-holstering. Like everything, it takes practice).


Trial and error. Comfort, preference and body type play a huge role and can only be discovered by testing out different positions. I’m comfortably large (i.e. fat and tall, as described the the esteemed Thornton Mellon), so 4 o’clock with an IWB (point of the hip area) is most comfortable when sitting. OWB, 3 o’clock and lower on the hip when sitting.

Carry where it’s comfortable, and where you’re confident in your ability to draw quickly and smoothly should, god forbid, the need ever arise.


The best thing I’ve picked up recently was something Ben Rapier said. I’m going to paraphrase, “when you find something better, take it and use it”. We’re constantly learning.

This is why you’ll end up with a drawer of holsters, you will discover what works best for you. You’ll figure out what guns, ammo, tactics, carry position, etc to use… it’s a constant growth. It’s fun but also practical because it could save your life.

Also, Gun safety is #1. Guns are fun and cool, carry is a huge but awesome responsibility. You’ve got to make sure you’re safe. I saw a story awhile back where a new gun owner killed his 2 year old while cleaning his gun… get the safety rules down and never assume you can’t make a mistake, even if you are familiar with guns.


Bing older (79) and slower I realized that ankle carry was a good summer option. The advantage being that in accessing the weapon you are out of the line of fire and pose no obvious threat to the bad guy. In the winter I still use a Crossbreed OSB for my 9mm Sig. Obviously my summer carry is a S&W 642 Airweight with a laser equipped grip.

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The ways I carry are determined by several factors:

Size of the firearm
Weight of the firearm
Ease of access if needed
Am I worried about “printing”
Physical comfort level with the positioning

My 1911 full size, Glock 17, and EAA Windicator 4" are carried OWB on my strong side (1911 & Windicator in leather fitted thumb break holsters with belt loops, Glock in an Orpaz Defense Level 2 kydex paddle holster) and my Glock 43X is on my strong side behind my hip in an IWB kydex Level 1 holster. This is what works best for me.

At the end of the day it is going to boil down to what YOU are most comfortable and confident in doing

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Man, many many years and trying different positions and money wasted on various holsters what I can say is don’t go cheap and think about body type and clothing preferences.

What I would say is a lot like what everyone else is saying. First do you research. Find the pro’s and con’s of each carry position and determine what is going to work for your lifestyle, body type, and daily work and home attire.

Next, don’t be a penny pincher when it comes to your holster(s). Buy quality holsters and don’t be afraid to spend over $100 on one. You just dropped a pretty penny on a carry piece so do the same and drop the coin on a good holster. I equate it to cars. You aren’t going to buy a sports car and toss cheap budget tires on it. No, you are going to treat your sports car to a nice set of Michelin’s, Pirelli’s or Bridgestone Potenza’s.

Furthermore, don’t by the wrong gun. If you are new to carrying, don’t buy the gun because it’s flashy, comes with a red dot, or just looks cool. Think about where u plan to carry and if the gun you are looking at will conceal in that area. This also comes down to how you dress and your body type. For instance, I am a thin dude. I have a hard time concealing a G19 at 5. I bend at the wast a lot and like to wear t-shirts. 5 O’Clock and my G19 prints like crazy on me. Moving to AIWB though, I can easily carry my G19 with a dark t-shirt and not print and comfortably wear it all day.

The point I am trying to make here is do your research. Ask friends how they like to carry. See if you can try and friends holster if you have like guns. Go to a good firearms dealer that has knowledge in CCW carry, not your local bib box store. Youtube has a ton of great resources as well.

Probably the best advice I was ever given on the topic of CCW is carry the darn thing daily. The more you carry, the more comfortable you will be carrying and you won’t even think twice about it being there.


I, personally, prefer to carry OWB (Outside Waist Band) at the 3:00 position - RH. My EDC (Every Day Carry) is a Taurus G2c with an Urban Lock Leather Holster. I carry a 4" fixed blade or my Karambit at my 7:00 position. I also carry a 3.5" spring assisted folding knife in my right front pocket. Every once in while I’ll carry my Collapsible 16" Baton at my 6:00 position - Horizontal. Yes, I carry a lot of things. Why? Just because… My van is also set up at 3 points of entry with Fixed Blades, Batons and Flashlights. The rear hatch has my Trauma and Survival Kits. Okay, back to carry positions. I’ve tried other positions and this is what works best for me. I’ve gained a bit of weight therefore causing me to have a bit of a belly which hinders me from carrying IWB (Inside Waist Band). When I lose the weight and get back in shape, I will alternate to my other position of IWB at 11:00 cross draw. For new carriers, my suggestion is to try all positions to determine what works best for you and what is most comfortable. Practice your draw from each position to determine which flows the best for you. Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong position. You have to determine your style and comfort level. Once you figure this out, then, you start buying your holster. Don’t start buying a bunch of holsters before you figure this out or you’ll end up with a dozen holsters. lol Well, you probably will eventually. lol Keep in mind also climate, clothing and your activities. These things too, will determine how you will carry. Have fun! On a side note: My wife and kids think I’m nuts! But, if something ever goes down, they will understand all of my insanity and thank me. REMEMBER, BETTER TO BE PREPARED AND NOT NEED IT THAN TO NEED IT AND NOT HAVE IT.

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Body type will make a BIG difference when making your holster selections. For example, I have a great friend who’s a big boy and his body type make AIWB not practical. But he carries a Kahr PM40 in a simple soft holster in his front pant pocket and he’s faster than a rattlesnake presenting that gun and delivering multiple COM hits on target.

I have another friend, a high speed guy who’s been there/done that for so long he’s lost all his t-shirts. He sometimes carries in an ankle holster, a method that is often scoffed at by “experts”, and he can get a gun out and deliver as many shots as he wants in fractions of a second.

Where and how you carry your gun (within reason) is not nearly as important as your commitment to practice, practice, practice that draw/presentation.

And as always, whatever you teach your right hand you MUST teach your left hand too.