How To Conceal Carry Effectively: Guns, Gear, Methods

Simple, Effective, Safe Concealed Carry Combinations That Won't Break The Bank

The recommendations here, for how to effectively conceal carry, follows 13 years experience, working with over 50 of the most common ccw handguns, dozens of concealed carry holsters, and carry methods. That 13 years of experience has included teaching people of all ages to handle, shoot, and carry firearms effectively and safely.

Typical Gun Related Disclaimers:

  • While the concealed carry guns and methods in this article have been demonstrated to work for a wide range of adults, both men and women, the article provides suggestions for guns and concealed carry gear that might work for anybody reading it. Otherwise it will provide insight and ideas for concealed carry that will work with other products not mentioned here.
  • The article does not guarantee any specific firearm or carry item. The items mentioned, pictured, and recommended are those familiar to, and used by the author (Mark Rogers) and others acquainted with him.
  • Safety should be the reader’s first consideration in choosing any firearm, or carry gear and method. 
  • In spite of the instruction in this guide, any reader trying any gun or other item from it is responsible for their own, and others’ safety. 
  • Mark Rogers/Christian Gun Owner is not responsible for any action, damage, injury, or death due to anyone’s use of a firearm, related to reading this article. 
  • For anyone inexperienced with handguns, further personal, expert help should be acquired beyond the scope of this article. 

CONTENTS:

The Realities Of CCW Guns And Methods

  • Handguns recommended will be as diverse as necessary to best accommodate the widest range of shooting and concealed carry conditions. However, “preference” is not considered in this type evaluation. 
  • Your level of initial experience will determine the extent to which the recommendations are conditional on practice.
  • Practice is primary in getting acclimated to handling, operating, firing and carrying any handgun.  Until practice has been implemented and is ongoing, none of these come “naturally”. 
  • “Comfort” is almost never perfected in concealed handgun carry. That doesn't mean you have to be miserable concealing a handgun on your body. But that shouldn't be your primary concern. It can be worked out after getting the gun you can best work and shoot.
  • Handgun carry becomes more comfortable mentally, emotionally and physically as you gain experience. 
  • If carried by prescribed methods in holsters/cases/pouches designed for concealed carry, your firearm is carried in the safest way possible. Endless analysis is not necessary. 
  • Except in the case of significant physical challenges, most semi automatic handguns can be loaded, operated and safely carried by any adult.  All require practice. 
  • For new handgun users, revolvers may be attractive because of simplicity and ease of operation. That doesn’t make them optimal for self defense for most people.
  • The double action trigger pull of a revolver is very difficult to control and shoot accurately compared to any single action or striker fired semi auto.
  • Except for those very experienced with revolvers, a semi auto firearm for primary carry is most often the best choice. 
  • A combination of a compact semi auto pistol as primary concealed carry weapon, and a small revolver for special, difficult carry situations is often the best combination.
  • While easy to conceal, the smaller, lighter and shorter that any center fire handgun is, the more difficult it is to handle, work, aim, control and shoot accurately. 

None of the above eliminates any possibility. It is to give you the basic considerations of conceal carry handgun ownership, operation, and carry.

My emphasis for your primary conceal carry guns will be based on firearms that allow a full, controllable grip, not on “pocket” guns. With these guns for self defense, the first consideration is your ability to access, grip and shoot controllably, not on comfort or convenient size. 

Calibers will be typical of the most commonly available ammo outside of any shortages due to unusual demand. 

“Compact” in handguns does not refer to very small or pocket pistols. Compact refers to guns that are slightly downsized from full duty sized. This allows the user full grip and control while the slightly smaller size allows more efficient concealed carry, and guns that fit a wide range of hand sizes. 

Striker Fired Handguns As Primary Concealed Carry Pistols

Suggested: Striker fired, compact, semi-automatic pistol in .40 S&W or 9mm calibers. 

Just about every major firearms manufacturer makes one or more striker fired pistols, most in a variety of shapes and configurations. The reason is simple.

These guns are generally dependable, simple to operate, accurate. They come with and without external flip up safeties, according to brand and models. 

Striker Fired Handguns for CCW

             GLOCK 23, .40S&W Caliber            Ruger sR9c, .9mm With Flip Up Safety


The guns shown above, are typical of compact concealed carry pistols of this type. 

The G23 is a Gen. 3 model with no external safety. The Ruger SR9c is a 9mm with a flip up thumb safety. 

In most models in these calibers the 9mm and .40 frame sizes are the same. If one will fit a holster, so will the other in the same brand. They are shaped and rounded for concealed carry on body or off. 

They work, and work well for many kinds of concealed carry applications.

Compact Smith and Wesson Military and Police Handgun

Another popular compact concealed carry model handgun is this Smith and Wesson Military and Police compact. The frame size is 9mm or .40S&W. 

May be purchased with or without an external safety. 

Along with the other models above, this gives a good representation of the seemingly countless models of this type handgun on the market. 


In general, they are easy to learn, made for concealed carry, and can be counted on in case you have to defend your life with them. 

Remember, you don't have to choose one of these. You can find multitudes that will work in other brands. 

CAUTION: Having said that, this guide is to give you direction so you don't have to search forever, before getting the ccw gun you need to work with and carry. If you want to get started, any of these models will serve you well.

Go to a gun shop. Feel them in your hand. Work the action. Pull the trigger (with a polite request first). Then get one that feels best to you. All of them will work well. 

NOTE: Many guns that have been around for a long time, have "generations" of the same firearm manufactured prior to the current ones. You can often find those earlier manufactured generations at steep discounts compared to the latest models. And that's even though the earlier guns often perform just as well as their newer descendants. 

Most Common On-Body CCW Holsters And Methods For Striker Fired Handguns:

The on-body method for carrying these will be much the same as with hammer fired models. These are not recommended for ready-to-fire concealed carry outside a holster in a vehicle because of the lack of a de-cocker.

Front Line Tuckable Holster For CCW

Front Line "Tuckable" Holster
For A Ruger SR9C

IWB Pliable (not a brand)
Leather Holster. Generic. Will
hold multiple handguns.

Inside the waistband holsters would be the most secure and accessible method of concealed carry for this type gun. It is also one of the easiest if you dress to allow coverage. Simple casual clothes with un-tucked shirt will do it. It can also be worn in the waistband with a casual jacket.

Fast, simple operation, accuracy, dependability. Shapes easy to carry and easy to access. In compact or full size, they are easily accessible, and allow for the best concealed carry and self defense weapon available. 

Pros To Striker Fired Concealed Carry Handguns: 

Fast, simple operation, accuracy, dependability. Shapes easy to carry and easy to access. In compact or full size, they are easily accessible, and allow for the best concealed carry and self defense weapon available. 

Cons To Striker Fired Handguns For Concealed Carry

They should never be stowed in ready to fire condition, outside a holster made for the gun. Moving the gun when arriving at locations where CC is prohibited, the gun's chamber should be cleared and the gun made safe. They should never be moved casually without this process. 

Hammer Fired Handguns For Primary Concealed Carry Pistols

Hammer fired Double/Single action semi autos with de-cocker. This would include guns like the Sig Sauer P229 in .9mm; Beretta PX4 Storm in .9mm or .40 S&W. Particularly well suited for car carry, outdoor activity, as well as on-person concealed carry.

NOTE: A “de-cocker” is a mechanism built into many semi auto handguns that allows you to make it ready to fire, then de-cock it with the mechanism. 

Compact Beretta PX4 Storm For Concealed Carry

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact 9mm

Hammer Fired Pistol For CCW

Sig Sauer P229 9mm

The device is either a standalone element or integrated with the safety. It works the same either way.  This puts the gun in first shot double action mode ready to fire, but safe to handle. The gun cannot fire until the trigger is fully pulled and the hammer dropped. 

There are many good variations of this type gun from a majority of manufacturers. These are some of the best known for quality and dependability. 

Conceal Carry Holsters and Methods For Hammer Fired Semi-Auto Pistols:

*Just as with the striker fired models, an inside the waistband holster carrying this type or any semi auto handgun should work well. It will require a good leather belt and shirt that falls naturally and loosely around your waist, or a jacket. Can be worn with slacks, jeans or shorts. 

*That said, these guns can be safely handled out of the holster, after being de-cocked. They can safely be carried under a car seat or in a center console. They make excellent home defense guns because they can be safely carried in the de-cocked position, yet ready to fire with a pull of the trigger.

*Particularly well suited for car carry as well as on person concealed carry. They are also excellent for locations that prohibit concealed carry even in CCW legal states. 

The de-cocker allows safely removing and otherwise handling your gun.

Hammer Fired Pistol In IWB Holster

Sig Sauer In a Skyops IWB Angle Adjustable Holster

Sig Sauer In An IWB Leather 
CCW Holster

[It should be noted that these brands represent “types” of handguns for this evaluation. There are other good guns. However, these are some of the best known. Sig Sauer and Beretta are known to be pricey but with the advantage of a great reputation and plenty of after market accessories available.]

It is critical to learn the difference between the double action trigger pull, single action trigger pull, and how each is activated. It’s not complicated, but a “first step” in understanding these guns. The role of the de-cocker is integral in the safe handling and carry of these firearms.  The learning curve is not huge, just necessary.    

Pros to hammer fired guns with decockers: High degree of versatility. Ability to carry, handle, move, stow the gun safely in ready to fire condition. Ability to safely carry the gun outside a holster. 

Cons to hammer fired guns with decockers: The long, heavy first shot trigger pull from the decocked position. De-cocked is the only safe position to carry the gun in when ready to fire. 

NOTE: If owning more than one handgun is not an option, this may be a necessary choice for your #1 primary handgun. It allows both on-person concealed carry and safe vehicle or other carry with the de-cocker option. 

A Variety Of Concealed Carry Holsters

Some other options for the type of IWB holsters available. Remember, no brands are endorsed. These are just ones I have available to show. Others are comparable, and some are quicker to order and ship.

This is an On Your 6 design that is simple, carries easily, and allows quick draw and re-holstering. 

A guard built into the back of the holster protects your skin against rubbing from a coarse handgun grip and protects the gun from sweat.       


This next holster is from Clinger Holsters. The belt clips and the combination of leather and vinyl allow for a good “wrap” of the holster around your hip. Concealment is excellent.

That said, the holster is challenging to get on and set. And if you need to remove it from time to time during the day. 

Clinger Holster With S&W Shield For CCW

No holster will be perfect. One will be the “best” for you.

Alternate Concealed Carry Methods

For either striker or hammer fired semi auto handgun:

On a belt holster under a vest, coat, oversize shirt, or jacket. There's no need for further commentary on that one.

In a tactical undergarment such as a tactical t-shirt or elastic band holster. These are elastic and fit comfortably around you midsection under your shirt. They can be ordered for specific guns. While they are outside the ordinary, they are realistic and effective methods of concealed carry.

Alternate Concealed Carry Clothing

Just to confirm how these work, consider my Caldwell Belly Band Holster below.

The one I own carries a gun and an extra mag or other supplemental device.

It is the only holster I own that I can truly use IWB and be genuinely "tuckable" all day long. 

CCW Belly Band Placement

This is a typical waist level concealed carry band with two pockets for pistol or gear carry, and a back patch to protect your skin from aggressive grip texture. The material is sweat wicking, and while you have to pull these tight for them to be effective, they nonetheless remain very comfortable.

These can be worn as shown or inside the waistband of your pants (most recommended position).

Yes, I really use this equipment. These are simple, effective, comfortable, and inexpensive. Most important, they work for real world concealed carry. They can commonly be purchased at major retailers, dedicated gun shops and from countless businesses online. 

NOTE – For those with physical debilitation in arms, back and/or shoulders:

This type waistband holster is ideal for positioning firearms in areas and positions to suit many types of physical challenges in the arms and shoulders. The ability to put the gun in and slide the band around any position on your body is ideal to allow you the easiest, fastest, least painful access. 

CRITICAL: Any challenges with clothes or other factors should not be regarded above getting the best gun to grip, control and fire accurately. 

How To Apply On-Body Conceal Carry Methods To Women

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: My daughter, Jacquilyn, who is a very capable gun handler agreed to help me for this evaluation. She is pictured below with one of the guns shown, and carry methods.  

The gun is a striker fired Ruger SR9c in an inside the waistband holster. This is a picture Jacquilyn with no gun or holster. Next a picture of the gun, a simple Galco IWB holster and her hand to show it relative to the gun size.

Jacquilyn is a good example of a woman who is small framed, wears form fitting clothes, but can still carry a compact pistol, on body, in an IWB holster. 

The holster is one that I used for 7 or 8 years, and the Ruger pistol is one that I carried often. She was able to capably carry many of the items I did, with just a few adjustments.

She started out demonstrating how the holster goes on, it's position, and how the gun sits in it.

NOTE: It should be understood that for all women, of any body type, size, shape, height; on body concealed carry methods can be used by them, just like men. It simply takes adjustments for everybody. 

Woman Carrying A Concealed Compact Pistol

The holster goes in the waistband with the belt hook looped over and hooking under the edge of the belt. The gun sits securely in the holster tight to your side/hip. 

This is where comfort has to be acquired. It does not happen automatically. It takes some time practicing carrying this way to become physically and mentally comfortable with it. That said, it is one of the most secure methods of on body carry, while providing fast access. 

Once comfortable with the method, it becomes easier mentally and physically. When you gain confidence with this type holster, you can lie down and take a nap with it on, and hardly notice it. 

Keep in mind she could be doing this with multiple IWB holsters and waistband holsters mentioned here. 

Next she demonstrated from multiple angles what the gun and holster look like concealed.

Woman with concealed handgun covered by shirt

The Ruger SR9c or a Smith and Wesson Military and Police compact models in .9mm or .40 S&W (same size gun, larger caliber) are guns that are sized and shaped in ways that will fit your hand, allow a strong grip, but are small enough to carry with some experimenting.

Specifically for on-body carry a striker fired gun of this size would likely be the best choice for your primary carry pistol whenever possible to carry this way. 

Virtually anybody of any size can carry a compact handgun in one of these holsters with some experimenting.

How To Use "Sticky Holsters" For Effective Concealed Carry

At this point, I've emphasized inside the waistband holsters for on-body carry.

This takes it to another level. 

>A holster with no belt loops or belt clips.

>A holster that you can put in your waistband with any gun. 

>A holster that will stick and stay put no matter your activity.

>A holster that will perform like that with no belt loops or clip

>A holster made in pocket models too

Remember, this is not necessarily brand endorsement, but a type that is exemplary in its use for what it is intended for. 

The Sticky Holster - In this case, the Blackhawk TecGrip Holster ()

Using a Sticky Holster For CCW

This is the holster that I confidently use to effectively carry all my handguns under various conditions. 

It’s not for every time I go out of the house. It’s not for every carry situation, particularly where your gun may have to be unholstered and reholstered multiple times daily based on limitations. 

But it would be advisable for anybody who is able to carry a hangun on body to have one or more of these type holsters available in your carry gear. 

These holsters stick and keep sticking, no matter what your activity is. They add no bulk to the gun for concealment. They are among the most comfortable holsters available, though that should not be your primary consideration. 

Check out my video on the Christian Gun Owner website to see details on how these holsters work.

How To Conceal Carry Small J Frame Revolvers

J FRAME REVOLVERS: Secondary gun used in combination with your primary carry gun or when no larger carry gun is possible.

The Ruger LCR is a popular, J-Frame sized revolver and will be accommodated by a broad range of holsters.  It is almost identical in size to my S&W Airweight revolver that I will use as an example of holstering and concealed carry. 

It should be noted here that almost anything that works for the LCR .38 will also work for the S&W Airweight. They are identical in size.                                                                                           

Ruger LCR Revolver

Smith And Wesson Airweight Revolver

Concealable J Frame Revolver

Carry methods:

  • An inside the waistband holster carrying this type or any small revolver would work. 
  • It would require a good leather belt and shirt that falls naturally and loosely around your waist. Can be worn with slacks, jeans or shorts.  There are also tuckable options, but the ability to tuck in the shirt varies with the build of the user. 

Interesting Holster Tip: For inside the waistband holsters for revolvers or semi autos, a user does not necessarily have to get a holster for their exact brand of gun. A similar one will often work for secure, safe and accessible carry. Checking with local gun shops is the best way to do this.

The Don Hume leather holster below was purchased for a Ruger SP101. It effectively carries that or the S&W Airweight, or the Taurus revolver shown. All slightly different sizes.

But tucked into the waistband with a belt, they fit securely and are easily accessed and drawn. 

That same holster will work for your Ruger LCR.  

That said, there are lots of other choices on the market for this type holster.

With the holster tucked into your waistband, a good belt wrapped around it all, it will stay in place with a variety of revolvers used in it.

Ruger LCR In IWB Concealment Holster

Worn with a casual untucked shirt, the LCR sized revolver easily disappears from view in an inside the waistband holster.

Next is a method I consistently use to carry my small, revolvers. This can be with any kind of long leg pants including jeans, slacks, work pants, uniforms, or cargo jeans. 

How To Use An Ankle Holster For Your Backup Gun

The two holsters below are two of the best known and most purchased. 

  1. The Fobus Ankle Holster

>This is my ankle holster of choice. I’ve been using the same one for over 4 years. It continues to wear and work perfectly. I haven’t seen the need to change to anything more expensive. 

      2. The Galco Ankle Glove

>A little more plush with some leather. It is a very good holster, but quite expensive. 

Fobus Ankle Holster for Concealed Carry

Fobus Ankle Holster

Galco Ankle Glove

Getting Used To Ankle Holsters: If you’ve never worn one don’t expect to take to it right away. Keep in mind this is to allow carry and access when there are not other ways to carry. 

At first, you feel like you’re carrying a baseball sized growth around on your ankle. The impression is that anybody and everybody can tell it’s there. They can’t. In four years wearing one with every kind of long pants known, nobody has detected my gun.

Just wear it, and keep wearing it.                                                                                           

Eventually you’ll be comfortable enough to take a nap with it on.  Following is some insight on how to use it best.

Below is my S&W  Airweight in my Fobus Ankle Holster. If you are right handed you will need the holster made for your left leg. The holster will sit on the inside of your ankle toward the opposite leg.  It should be noted that this is one of the most accessible positions when seated in your vehicle.

Hidden Ankle Holster

Jacquilyn helped me here again to demonstrate, with her fairly form fitting clothes, how she (you) can manage an ankle holster with a small handgun. 

Ankle Holster On A Woman

The only down side to using an ankle holster is that it takes full socks. But it's well worth it to be able to go armed as often as possible. 

IMPORTANT: Fobus or other ankle holsters are often pictured over peoples’ socks. 

The best way, however, is to put it around your bare ankle and pull the top of your sock up over the holster case, leaving the gun grip only exposed. This provides maximum concealment and is comfortable, but allows easy access to the gun. 

You’ll have to buy socks more often, but trust me, it’s worth the cost. 

You can walk, sit, cross your legs, without the gun being detected with a sock pulled up over it.

Concealment is maximized this way.

This is a picture of me in full office dress with my revolver in the ankle holster on the inside of my left leg.

For other carry in a jacket or cargo pants pocket are pouches like this inexpensive Uncle Mike’s SIDEKICK. It subdues the shape of the gun and a rough strip around the center allows you to pull the gun out with the holster staying secure in the pocket.        

Every gun carried in any way should be secured by some kind of adequate holster or dedicated pouch.

Another advantage to using a revolver for this type carry is their versatility and ability to carry and move them around safely

J Frame Revolver In Pouch

For 2019 - 2020, there is a line of guns that I can suggest to be considered in lieu of any other striker fired guns of any size. The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, now in M2.0 models that will provide the best out-of-the-box trigger available in any gun this size.

While the point of this guide is not to endorse models or brands, this is an exception.

If only one gun is an option for you, and an excellent concealed carry shooter is your priority, this is hard to beat in any brand. 

S&W Shield - Most Recommended CCW Handgun

Available in 9mm, 40 S&W, or .45 ACP, the S&W Shield line is the most popular concealed carry line of pistols in the U.S. at this writing. They can be used and substituted for any compact striker fired handgun in this evaluation. Practice will be necessary, though. Nothing comes easy. 

They can also be carried in an ankle holster. But in spite of their very compact size, most people will achieve a full grip with any caliber of the pistol. 

They are carried in all the calibers by most firearms dealers who carry handguns. 


Final Word On These Concealed Carry Guns and Methods

This concealed carry evaluation contains recommendations for several types of guns which combined as a cc collection will allow you to go armed as close to 100% of the time as possible.

However, the article assumes first you will only be acquiring one. 

That is the focus of the recommendations that emphasize simplicity for the lowest learning curve, while still providing proven, dependable self defense weapons. Weapons you can learn to handle, work, and shoot most efficiently.

The carry methods are not space-aged, hyped up products that will do nothing to improve your experience, but proven methods and products that will work now, and permanently going forward.

If you should decide to acquire more than one gun, it is advised that you get one at a time. Learn to handle, work, carry, and shoot it confidently before moving on to another one.

At this point I don't abandon anybody. If you need to communicate with me about your cc methods going forward you can contact me through this form I'll be happy to continue to answer questions and help any way I can until you have your cc weapons, gear, and methods settled.

~Mark Rogers



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