Tag Archive for Equipment

Wearing a belt holster

Wearing a belt holster seems like a pretty straightforward process. Take a holster, stick your belt thought it, put the belt on. In reality, just attaching the holster to your belt is the easy part. You also have to decide where on your belt to put the holster.

Most people have seen police officers wearing a gun on their strong side hip (right side if they’re right handed). This works great for open carry, but not as much for concealed carry. With your gun protruding from your hip, you are more likely to print (show the outline of your gun through the cover garment).

To keep the gun as close to your body as possible, it is recommended to instead carry in front of your hip (appendix carry) or behind the hip.

In front of your hip can be a good strategy if you are wearing a cover garment that closes in the front, a t-shirt, buttoned shirt, sweater, zipped jacket, etc. Having the gun at the front of your waist tends to allow for a faster draw. Whether you wear it on your strong side or weak side (cross draw) is a matter of personal preference.

If you’re like me and wear an open cover garment (unbuttoned shirt, vest, or unzipped jacket) this is a less desirable position. The gun can easily become visible if your movement or the wind opens the cover garment even slightly. It also can be very uncomfortable if you have a few extra pounds around the midsection.

My preferred position is right behind my strong side hip bone. As illustrated in the picture above, this does keep your gun tight against your body, aiding in concealment. It is also close enough to the front of your body that you don’t have to reach too far around to draw the gun, a particular concern if you need to draw quickly.

It does bring up the question of exactly where to position the gun, a question that can only be answered by what feels most comfortable for you. For me, it works best if the rear sight of my gun is lined up with the seam in my pants. The picture above (click on it to enlarge) shows this position.

Some people like to carry their gun all the way around to the small of their back (SOB). This natural indention does make for a convenient place to carry, however there are several drawbacks.

First, it can be very uncomfortable to sit down and your gun tends to dig into your back because you’re leaning directly on it. It is also much more difficult to draw the gun quickly because you have to reach all the way around. The most important reason I recommend against this method of carry, though, is that if you happen to fall on your back your gun could be smashed into your spine and cause serious damage. For this last reason, some holster manufacturers won’t even make holsters designed for SOB carry.

Regardless of which location on your belt to place the holster, there is one additional consideration: which cant to use.

Cant refers to the tilt of the holster on your belt, and can be in varying degrees. This is best illustrated in the following pictures.

Backward or Rear cant
Vertical cant
Forward cant

The location of the holster and how you prefer to perform the motion for drawing the firearm all determine which cant to use. Most holsters have a fixed cant, but some are adjustable. The cant could eliminate certain positions on your belt. For example, if you want to carry weak side in front of the hip, it would be very difficult to draw from a rear canting holster.

My recommendation is to try several different positions on your belt until you find the one that works best for you, and then stick with it. You always want to carry your gun in the same place whenever possible so that you know exactly where it is and can rely on muscle memory to draw it quickly if you are suddenly attacked.