Choosing a spot to carry your gun is almost as important as the gun you carry. When it comes to choosing a concealed carry location, the ideal place for you is where ever you have easy access to at the time.
I know that kind of sounds confusing, but one location isn’t an end all be all for carrying a gun.
Being able to access your gun quickly depends on the situation, the place you’re in, and what you are wearing. What I mean is, if you are in a vehicle and have to draw your weapon, would it be easier to access your CCW if it was on your hip versus at the 6 position?
If you are wearing clothing that’s more form-fitting, it’s harder to hide a concealed carry weapon. In these cases, you might want to look into an off body carry. While the most common place is on your hip or by your kidney, take a look at some of the other options as we go through and see if they may be better for you depending on your day-to-day activities.
We’re going to cover 9 of the most essential carrying positions and our favorite holster for each. If you’d like more choices once you narrow down your position, check out Best Holsters.
Around The Clock: 1, 3, and 4-6 O’Clock
Carry positions around the waist are usually referred to by the location on a clock face. For example, if you’re carrying on a hip, this would be referred to as the 3 o’clock position. That being said, all of these positions have two options.
Option 1: Outside Waistband (OWB) Carry
There different levels of holsters for your OWB carry depending on where along your body you are going to carry. The 3-9 o’clock positions are where you’ll usually see an OWB holster.
IWB is probably the most common concealed carry choice. Because it’s inside your waistband, you can get holsters that allow for you to tuck in your shirt which hides the weapon even more.
Placing the holster and weapon inside your waistband lets you carry at pretty much any position around your waist. This opens up the door for an appendix carry, which is in front of your hips and off to one side. The appendix carry offers a very quick draw, but if you have a larger weapon, it can make it uncomfortable to sit or squat.
A belly band is an ideal carry option for those of you who don’t have a belt. This could be your wearing basketball shorts, or you are out running and don’t have the option for a belt or off-body carry.
At first, I wasn’t too sold on a belly band. To be honest, it kind of reminded me of a girdle. However, they’re surprisingly comfortable especially if you have a smaller concealed carry gun. If your gun is a little heavier, like a compact or a subcompact with a double stack magazine, it might not be the easiest weapon of choice to wear when being active.
If you have a smaller gun, like a bodyguard 380 or an LCP, you can easily wear a belly band and have your full range of motion and an easily accessible CCW in case your life is threatened.
To ankle carry your CCW, you’ll need a specialized holster. Typically these holsters have some sort of fur inside, often rabbit fur. The holster is securely attached is around your ankle and lower calf. Obviously, you’ll have to wear pants that are a little looser fitting when choosing an ankle carry.
The ankle carry option offers you a unique opportunity. It frees up your shirt choice to anything you’d like, and you don’t have to have a belt either.
Another benefit of an ankle carry is that if somebody comes up from behind and knocks you down, it’s much easier to reach for your ankle in many cases than it is to grab a gun that’s behind you in the 4 or 5 o’clock position. It’s also less likely that someone will try and grab your gun from you if they see it.
Carrying your CCW in your pocket is another common option. Many of the smaller guns like a .380 or .22 will fit easily along with a holster into a front pocket. Well, the draw it is a little trickier, you can carry a weapon in many more circumstances than you might have with an IWB carry.
If you think a pocket carry option is right for you, look into some of the holsters available. Many times there are generic holsters that fit a specific caliber or shape weapon.
These holsters have a stickier material on the outside of the holster and a slicker material on the inside to make the draw quicker. Something to practice with a pocket draw is pulling out just the gun and not the holster and the gun then needing to remove it from the holster before you can use it.
I’m sure you’ve seen a shoulder harness before on TV. Many times detectives, police, and government agents will have a single or dual shoulder rig. This puts the weapon on the opposing side of your body because you’ll have to draw across your body.
So if you’re right handed your shoulder rig will put the gun on the left side of your body that way you reach into your coat or shirt or whatever the case, and draw the weapon. This can be an extremely quick draw, but it’s very obvious draw as well.
Some bras are made with holsters built in. Some fit more like a standard bra with the holster typically situated between and under the breasts, while others fit like a sports bra with the holster on the side, under the arm. There are also specialty holsters that can be affixed to most regular bras, though many multipurpose holsters with loops will also work with most bras.
The quickest access holsters have the gun horizontal below the bra. This allows you to pull up your shirt a little, reach up, and draw the weapon quickly. There are videos from manufacturers showing a pretty consistent 1.6-second draw and shoot times from under various style shirts.
This carry option is predominantly used by women but is an underrated choice for men as well. While most people think of thigh carry with skirts or dresses, it can also work with loose shorts.
A thigh carry holster is meant for a smaller weapon like a 380. You could probably get away with small 9mm, but it would depend on the weapon. In most cases, thigh holsters are used because there’s no pockets or firm waistband. Using a thigh holster also keeps the weapon on you, unlike an off the body carry in a purse or something similar.
Off the body carry options are plentiful and have their own set of considerationsand training needed to use them successfully. When you have a weapon in something like a backpack, you need to keep that backpack on or near you at all times. Otherwise, it’s like setting your gun on a counter and walking away.
Specially made binders or art portfolios that have concealed carry provisions.
For me, I consider having a gun in your center console or glove box to be in off the body carry as well. You don’t want to just toss a non-holstered weapon in your glove box because you never know what will happen. If you have some way to mount a holster into your glove box or console, it’s much more preferable.
Choosing where to carry is a personal preference. If you like an ankle carry or OWB, go for it. There’s no need to be uncomfortable just to make sure you have a gun on you, there are a lot of options. You can try a few to see what works best for your daily activities.
Are you a jogger? Then I’d recommend a belly band and a small 9mm or 380. They are light and comfortable. Do you wear a suit with a jacket all day? How about out a shoulder harness, ankle holster or a horizontal OWB holster at the 6 o’clock position?
The place you carry isn’t as important as the fact that you are carrying.
Any dedicated carry bag will be a slightly less covert method of transporting a rifle simply due to the advertising around its intended purpose. However, the VERTX EDC Gamut Plus does not overtly market the backpack as a rifle bag and does an excellent job of staying low profile while offering a feature-rich backpack.
When transporting firearms to the range, this bag can allow for easy transport without catching the eyes of your neighbors. The great feature of this pack is the ability for it to quickly adapt and transition between covert and overt while truly filling both rolls.
Construction and Observations
The EDC Gamut Plus comes in Greener Pastures, Smoke Grey, and Black and retails for $219.95. The bag appears very durable, constructed of 220/310 Cordura material, and uses YKK zippers. I purchased the bag for a low profile means of transporting SBRs and pistol AR’s. The dimensions are 24”x16”x9”. The 24” dimension is very important as many bags do not offer this great of a height and therefore significantly limit your options for carrying a rifle. After testing I found that up to a 14.5” upper would fit inside the bag when broken down.
While a 16″ upper was a little too long, a 14.5″ upper with a short muzzle device would most likely fit.
The bag held an assembled PWS Mk107 with a 7.75” barrel. This did require the use of a Maxim PDW brace as that shortened overall length by 1.545”.
A PWS MK111 with an MK107 upper can fit fully assembled in the pack.
The MK111 pistol with the 11.85″ barrel will fit well when broken down.
This brought total overall length to just under 22.75”. While I do not have a LAW Tactical folder to test folding AR’s, a 10” AK with a folding stock fit well with approximately 1.5” to spare when in the bag at an angle. This 1.5” should make up for the length added by a LAW Tactical folder.
A side folding AK with a 10″ barrel fits well in the bag with room to spare.
All measurements above pertain to the large main pocket in the bag. The main compartment also has a zipper stop on both sides to allow for added privacy when searching through the main compartment. These can also be readily unsnapped to access content in a timely fashion.
Zipper stops offer the ability to only open the top of the bag for added privacy.
Mesh pockets and micro Velcro line the interior of the largest compartment. The mesh pockets are divided by zippers and offer great storage options for medical gear, extra magazines, laptop chargers, etc.
The mesh pockets provide organized compartments for smaller gear.
There is also a well-padded laptop compartment that was designed to fit up to a 17” laptop. I have used this pocket primarily for extra rifle magazines and it has worked well. Inside the pocket is more micro Velcro that can be used in conjunction with other Vertx accessories for better organization and retention.
The laptop compartment is well padded to protect your electronics.
The quick access pocket in the back of the bag is a cool concept but difficult to match with a larger weapon system. A standard pistol would work well in this compartment, however, a stabilized pistol often is too long or too wide if using a folder.
This pocket would be excellent for a small sub gun styled firearm, but it definitely works better for collapsible stocks and braces due to their thinner profile.
Notice the bulge in the back of the pack due to the thickness of the brace.
A folder does work, but is uncomfortable on the back and pushes out the pocket in a way that the pocket was obviously not designed. There is a zipper that allows access to the backing panel.
This zipper could allow the user to add a ballistic plate.
This panel adds structure and stability to the bag but can be removed and replaced with a ballistic plate for added protection.
There are also two water bottle pockets on both sides. Inside the pockets is a cinch cord to retain the bottles by placing the elastic cord around the bottle. These were designed for 27oz (to 32oz) Nalgene bottles can be stowed but are difficult task to fit.
Notice the retention lanyard around the bottle.
Side pockets are also available beneath the water bottle compartments on each side. These work well for cell phones, pens, wallets, and other flat items.
More pockets to organize small, flat items.
On top of the bag is a zippered pocket Vertx refers to as an admin pouch. This pouch is a nylon pouch without padding and is great for carrying small items you need to have in a convenient location without searching deeper into the backpack. I like to keep an extra set of Surefire Sonic Defender earplugs, sunglasses, compression bandages, or a cell phone charger. It also includes a small lanyard with a clip to attach keys, identification, etc.
This pocket offers quick access to a few small items on top of the bag.
A key component of any backpack system is the shoulder straps. The shoulder straps on the Gamut Plus are well padded, with 1919 straps that run along the shoulder straps and allow for attachment of added tools or pouches if needed.
There is a removable sternum strap included. Keepers are also included at the bottom to manage the excess straps at the bottom of the bag once the straps have been fit to the user. A waist strap is attached for those wanting added stability.
An incredible design feature of the Gamut Plus is the outermost pocket. The outmost pocket can be unzipped and the shell of the pocket can be stuffed into the bottom stow area. This allows for an overt package with quick access to gear attached to the molle and provides identification patches to be attached to the Velcro.
Open the Velcro at the bottom of the bag.
Push the shell into the pocket.
Velcro shut the bottom and you have an overt exterior that is convertible in seconds.
A medkit or magazines could be attached to the MOLLE segments, but there are minor stability issues if the large pocket is not filled.
A small Dark Angel IFAK and FASTMag are attached to the MOLLE.
Since there is not a firm backer to the outermost pocket, the weight from the mag holders or other accessories can pull outward instead of remaining perfectly vertical. The “shell” also has G hooks that can be attached to the loops on the side of the pack.
Notice the G-Hooks attached to the outer shell.
Other large items can be then retained such as a ballistic or motorcycle helmet thanks to this sling load system. The outer shell is also able to somewhat expand in an accordion fashion while also compressing down to a small size when not in use.
While many bags only do one job well or many things poorly, the VERTX EDC Gamut Plus seems to break the rule. I experienced no durability issues, SBRs and stabilized pistols were retained well, and the only issue with the pockets is that you may lose gear due to the multitude of pockets! The outer appearance is definitely disguised well and could truthfully also be used for standard school or office activities as well. Next time you are looking for a backpack you should definitely check out theVERTX EDC Gamut PLUS.
After ten years of working overseas in high threat areas and wearing absolutely-not-designed-for-comfort-much-less-womens pants and clothing, I finally found a company that simply makes great stuff. They not only make great gear bags and packs but their clothing rocks.
I was first turned on to VertX when a team mate who was working on my detail jumped into the suburban in tactical pants that had an emblem which looked like an X but really cooler.
This started the conversion…
“What type of pants are those?” and “where did you get them,” and “what did you pay for them?…where do I get them…can I have those…?” The following 10 minutes resulted in this guy practically getting raped, tugged and pulled at to see the material, the strength, the seam, the articulation and most importantly to the tactical world, the pockets.
ROUND 1 This session passed muster for me. I had to have a pair.
ROUND 2 I received my first pair of pants and even though they were a men’s model (I don’t think they were making women’s way back then), they were great albeit a little necessary hemming (I’m kind of short) which was easily accomplished with $1 US dollar and local national.
I might be a girl but I’m really rough on clothing. Actually Im pretty rough on everything but I trained, worked, scraped, scrapped and did all sorts of things with this one pair of durable pants and was so comfortable that I vowed to never wear anything else…much to the dismay of my husband so I had to put an addendum onto that statement which was…only while in high threat areas or training, shooting, camping or being outside or near water or breathing. Actually, we agreed that the only caveat was when we go out to a nice dinner, I have to take them off. Damn!
NOTE: American Shooting Journal is offering our readers an exclusive 20% discount on all VertX gear if you use this code—> VTXASJ20