How to Conceal Carry Without a Holster: Tips and Techniques

Concealed carry is an essential aspect of personal safety and protection for many individuals. However, not everyone feels comfortable using a holster to secure their firearm. In such cases, it becomes crucial to find alternative methods that allow for effective concealment without using a traditional holster.

One viable solution to this challenge is utilizing a trigger guard. This accessory safeguards the trigger from negligent discharges, providing an added layer of security. Another alternative is adopting suitable carry options, such as tactical undershirts or beltless waistband carry, to accommodate various clothing styles and personal preferences.

In the following sections, various methods of carrying a concealed firearm without a holster will be explored, together with their respective pros and cons, in order to provide valuable insights for those seeking to achieve effective concealment while maintaining safety and ease of access.

Why Conceal Carry Without a Holster

Carrying a concealed weapon without a holster is a practice some people choose for various reasons. One significant factor is comfort. Some individuals find it more comfortable to carry their firearm without a holster, especially when sitting for extended periods or engaging in certain physical activities.

Another reason some choose to forgo a holster is the belief that it makes their weapon less visible to others. Without a bulky holster, the firearm can lie flatter against the body, reducing its print and making it less detectable. This can be particularly appealing for those who prioritize discretion in their concealed carry practice.

It is essential to highlight that many experts advise against carrying a concealed weapon without a holster. The primary concern is safety. Holsters can prevent negligent discharge by covering the trigger, ensuring that it is not inadvertently pulled. Additionally, holsters provide a consistent, secure location for the firearm, making it easier to access and use in an emergency.

Despite these expert recommendations, some concealed carriers still prefer to carry their weapon without a holster, finding alternative methods that minimize the associated risks. For example, they may utilize tactical undershirts or specially designed pockets to secure their firearm and provide some level of trigger protection. In any case, it is crucial for individuals opting for this method to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the firearm is securely positioned and its trigger protected at all times.

In summary, people choose to carry concealed without a holster for reasons such as increased comfort and discretion. However, this practice comes with notable risks, especially regarding safety. It is vital for those choosing this method to be knowledgeable about proper techniques and take all necessary precautions to mitigate any potential dangers.

Types of Concealed Carry Without a Holster

Pocket Carry

Pocket carry is a method of carrying a concealed weapon in a pocket without a traditional holster. This method involves using a pocket holster or a trigger guard to ensure safety. Some popular types of pocket carry include front pocket, rear pocket, or cargo pocket carry.

Belt Carry

Belt carry is another method where the firearm is attached directly to the belt either using a clip, hook, or other device. Examples of belt carry include tucking the gun inside the pants along the waistband and using a Clipdraw attachment.

Off-Body Carry

Off-body carry involves carrying the firearm in a bag, purse, or fanny pack rather than on the person. This allows for more flexibility in clothing choices, however, it requires extra vigilance to ensure the firearm remains secure and accessible. Examples of off-body carry include concealed carry bags and concealed carry purses.

A concealed carry purse is a specifically designed handbag, equipped with a secure and easily accessible compartment for a concealed weapon. These purses come in a variety of styles and sizes to suit individual preferences.

Like concealed carry purses, concealed carry bags offer a dedicated compartment for concealing a weapon. These bags can include backpacks, sling bags, or messenger bags, and are ideal for individuals who prefer off-body carry.

Belly Band

While technically a holster, belly bands are a versatile option for concealed carry. They are stretchy bands made of elastic material, which wrap around the waist or torso to hold the firearm securely. They allow for carrying in various positions, such as on the hip, cross-draw, or small of the back.

Bra Carry

Bra carry is designed for women who prefer to carry their firearm close to their body. Bra holsters are specifically designed holsters that attach to the bra, between the cups or under the arm, offering a discreet and accessible option for women.

Concealed Carry Shirt

A concealed carry shirt is a specially designed shirt with integrated pockets or compartments for a firearm. These shirts often feature reinforced panels and snag-free construction to prevent negligent discharges when drawing the weapon.

Concealed Carry Shorts/Underwear

Similar to concealed carry shirts, concealed carry shorts or underwear are designed with built-in compartments for holding a firearm. They offer the convenience of keeping the weapon close to the body without the need for an external holster.

Small of the Back (SOB) Carry

Small of the back carry involves positioning the firearm in the lumbar region, directly above the buttocks. This method can offer a high level of concealment but may be less comfortable or accessible in certain situations.

Neck or Pendant Carry

Neck or pendant carry involves wearing a small firearm on a chain or cord around the neck. This method is best suited for very small, lightweight firearms and may require additional trigger protection to ensure safety.

Firearms and Accessories to Consider

When planning to conceal carry without a holster, it is vital to consider the type of firearm and accessories that can provide the most effective and safe experience. Generally, choosing a smaller, lightweight pistol, or handgun for concealed carry is recommended for such situations.

There are specific types of handguns that are more suitable for concealed carry without a holster. Slim, compact handguns such as single-stack firearms are easier to hide and comfortably carry. Some popular options include subcompact semi-automatic pistols and small-frame revolvers. Additionally, features like low-profile sights and snag-free designs also facilitate better concealment.

For gun owners who opt to carry without a holster, proper trigger protection is essential. One option is using affordable Kydex trigger guards that slip over the trigger to protect against negligent discharges. Ensuring the trigger guard fits perfectly is crucial for safety and comfort.

In addition to trigger guards, other accessories can significantly improve the concealed carry experience. These may include:

  • Magazine carriers: For carrying spare magazines, consider using a dedicated carrier that securely maintains them in place and allows for quick access.
  • Belt clips: Attachment systems like belt clips can be used to secure the firearm within the waistband without the need for a holster.
  • Concealed carry clothing: Specialized apparel that features discreet, safe, and effective carrying options for firearms and accessories.

Selecting the proper firearm and accessories for concealed carry without a holster will directly affect both the gun owner’s safety and the effectiveness of concealed carry. By considering size, design, trigger protection, and additional accessories, one can thoughtfully create a practical and secure carrying solution.

Ensuring Safety While Carrying

Carrying a concealed firearm without a holster can pose numerous risks, including accidental shootings and theft. As a responsible gun owner, it is essential to understand the importance of safety measures and precautions when choosing to carry without a holster.

Trigger guards are crucial for maintaining gun safety, as they prevent unintentional discharges of the weapon. Utilizing a trigger guard not only minimizes the risk of accidental shootings but also helps with obtaining a consistent and secure grip on the firearm during the draw.

Another critical safety aspect to consider is the method of carrying. Concealed carriers might opt for holsterless waistband carry or pocket carry when not using a holster. However, it is important to ensure that the trigger is adequately guarded and the firearm is secure regardless of the chosen method. Proper positioning and securement of the firearm are vital to avoid unintentional discharges or the potential theft of the weapon.

Additionally, regular practice and training in drawing and reholstering can greatly reduce the chances of a negligent discharge. Familiarity with the weapon and a confident, smooth draw can make a significant difference in the safety and effectiveness of carrying without a holster.

While it may be possible to safely carry without a holster by following these guidelines, it is essential to keep in mind that a purpose-built holster often provides the most secure, consistent, and reliable method of concealed carry. Carefully consider the risks and benefits of carrying without a holster and always prioritize safety, training, and proper weapon handling.

Practices to Guard the Trigger

When carrying a firearm without a holster, it is crucial to ensure the trigger remains protected to avoid negligent discharges. There are a few practices one can utilize to effectively guard the trigger while carrying concealed without a holster.

Trigger guards play a critical role in covering the trigger and preventing accidental activation. These guards can be standalone accessories or integrated with other elements, such as a belt clip. The Vanguard by Raven Concealment is an example of a trigger guard with a belt clip, which also facilitates secure belt attachment. When the weapon is drawn, the trigger guard falls away, leaving the firearm ready for use.

Apart from trigger guards with belt clips, it is possible to tie the trigger guard to your belt or within your bag. This method ensures that the trigger guard falls away as the weapon is drawn, allowing instant readiness of the firearm. However, it is essential to ensure the trigger guard is firmly secured to prevent accidentally dislodging it during movements.

Pocket carry is another approach to protect the trigger when carrying concealed without a holster. While this method offers convenient access, it requires careful consideration to ensure the firearm’s trigger remains well-guarded. Select pockets with enough space for the weapon yet not too spacious to minimize movement within the pocket. Additionally, avoid carrying other items in the same pocket as this could compromise the trigger’s safety.

Off-body carrying in a bag or purse can serve as an alternative to holster carry, though the right precautions must be taken. Firstly, the firearm should be stored in a dedicated compartment within the carrying device to avoid contact with other contents. Secondly, using a trigger guard is highly recommended to further safeguard the trigger from accidental activation.

In conclusion, carrying a firearm without a holster calls for extra attention to safeguard the trigger. Trigger guards, pocket carry, and off-body carrying methods can all provide protection when holster carry is not an option. As always, adhering to firearm safety guidelines and maintaining control over the weapon is essential for concealed carry.

Importance of Quick Access

Silhouette of a man sneaking through the hallway of a house

When carrying a firearm without a holster, quick access to the weapon is a crucial factor to consider. In situations where an individual may need to defend themselves, having their firearm readily accessible can make a significant difference in response time and overall effectiveness. A confident and practiced draw ensures that one can quickly and safely access their firearm when needed.

One method to ensure quick access is to find a consistent and secure location within a person’s clothing or gear where the firearm can be stored, such as a tactical undershirt. It’s essential to choose a spot that allows for natural and reliable movement, so reaching the firearm does not feel unnatural or uncomfortable. A consistent location also helps develop muscle memory, improving the speed and fluidity of the draw.

Movement also plays a significant role in quick access. Being able to move smoothly and confidently with a concealed weapon, without worrying about the firearm being dislodged or compromised, is vital for overall safety and effective use. Practice is key when it comes to movement, and individuals should regularly train and familiarize themselves with their chosen carrying method to develop a smooth and comfortable draw.

In addition to quick access, proper positioning of the firearm is essential to maintain safety and prevent accidental discharges. A trigger guard should always be used to minimize the risk of misfiring.

Carrying Without a Holster in Public

Concealed carry involves the discreet practice of carrying a firearm in public, typically using a specialized holster. However, some individuals may consider carrying without a holster. While it is possible to carry a firearm without a holster, it is important to remember that doing so entails various risks and potential legal consequences.

One common method for carrying without a holster in public is the belt carry method. This involves placing a firearm inside the waistband of the pants and relying on the tension of the belt to hold the weapon in place. This method is similar to the inside waistband carry (IWB) method, which is popular among concealed carry practitioners. However, belt carry may not provide the same level of protection against negligent discharge or weapon loss.

Another option for carrying without a holster is pocket carry. This involves placing the firearm inside a pocket. While this method offers some discretion, it also poses potential risks, including the possibility of negligent discharge if the trigger is not adequately guarded. Trigger guards are available for purchase separately and are highly recommended if one opts for this method.

The legality of carrying a firearm without a holster in public varies depending on the jurisdiction. Certain areas may enforce strict regulations on how a firearm can be carried, while others may have more lenient laws. It is essential to research local and state regulations before attempting to carry a firearm without a holster in public.

In any case, it is important to recognize that carrying a firearm without a holster in public poses certain risks and challenges when compared to traditional concealed carry methods. Utilizing a holster specifically designed for concealed carry can provide several benefits, including increased safety, security, and ease of access. If one decides to carry a firearm without a holster, it is critical to remain vigilant about trigger protection, secure the weapon properly, and be knowledgeable about local regulations to minimize the risks involved.

Recommended Training and Handling

Proper training and handling are essential when considering how to safely conceal carry without a holster. Developing confidence and proficiency in various aspects of gun handling, shooting, and manipulation will reduce the risks involved in this approach.

One of the primary concerns with concealed carry without a holster is the lack of trigger protection. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in a trigger guard, which is a simple and affordable solution for preventing negligent discharges. Practicing the careful attachment and detachment of the trigger guard while drawing and reholstering the weapon is a vital skill to acquire.

Regularly participating in shooting training exercises is important to maintain proper grip, stance, and trigger control. Training with a certified instructor or at a reputable shooting range ensures that the individual develops the necessary skills and awareness to safely and effectively use their firearm in a practical situation.

Developing safe gun handling habits should be a priority. This includes always treating a firearm as if it’s loaded, keeping one’s finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and remaining aware of the firearm’s muzzle direction at all times. Additionally, practicing the safe loading and unloading of the weapon helps minimize the risk of negligent discharge.

Proficiency in gun manipulation is particularly essential when carrying without a holster. This includes mastering the art of drawing, aiming, and firing the weapon safely and efficiently from its concealed location. Simulating various real-life scenarios, such as drawing while seated or from unconventional positions, helps to build the needed muscle memory for quick and effective response in case of an emergency.

In summary, proper training and handling are key components for safely carrying a concealed weapon without a holster. By developing the necessary shooting, manipulation, and gun handling skills, individuals can minimize the risks associated with this method and be better prepared to defend themselves if needed.


In conclusion, concealed carry without a holster is possible, but it comes with certain risks and challenges. Carrying a firearm without a holster may not be prohibited in states like Texas, which has no specific holster mandates for licensed handgun carriers. However, safety should always be a top priority when carrying a firearm. Concealed carriers must be confident, knowledgeable, and diligent in following gun laws and exercising their gun rights responsibly.

One option for concealed carry without a holster is belt tucking. This method involves placing the firearm inside the waistband and keeping it in place using the belt’s tension. While this technique can be effective, it may not provide the level of protection and stability that a good holster offers. Additionally, it could pose a safety risk if the firearm negligent discharges, possibly damaging the femoral artery.

Alternative carrying methods, such as fanny packs, belly bands, or off-body carrying, can also be utilized for concealed carry without a traditional holster. These options may provide some degree of protection and stability for the firearm. However, they may not be as secure as a well-designed, form-fitting holster specifically molded for the user’s weapon. Moreover, a quality holster typically comes with a lifetime warranty and ensures proper trigger guard protection.

Regardless of the chosen method, it is crucial for individuals to practice drawing and target acquisition regularly. This helps to ensure efficient and smooth weapon access during emergencies. Furthermore, staying up-to-date with federal and state-specific gun laws and regulations is essential for responsible firearm owners.

Ultimately, while concealed carry without a holster is an option, investing in a reliable and high-quality holster is generally the recommended approach. A holster provides an added layer of safety, security, and confidence while upholding the user’s right to self-defense and protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some safe alternatives for carrying without a holster?

Some safe alternatives for carrying a firearm without a traditional holster include tactical undershirts, belly bands, and specially designed pockets in clothing such as concealed carry vests or jackets. These methods provide a secure location for your firearm while allowing for quick and easy access when needed.

How can I securely carry a firearm without using a traditional holster?

To securely carry a firearm without using a traditional holster, consider options like pocket carry, off-body carrying (such as in a bag or purse), or using alternative holsters like belly bands. Regardless of the method chosen, it is essential to use a trigger guard for added safety and to ensure the firearm is secure and not prone to falling out or shifting during daily activities.

What are the best practices for carrying a concealed weapon without a holster?

When carrying a concealed weapon without a holster, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and accessibility. Some best practices include:

  • Ensuring a proper trigger guard covers the trigger to prevent negligent discharges.
  • Choosing a secure method of carry like tactical undershirts or belly bands that provide adequate retention and support.
  • Regularly checking the firearm’s position throughout the day to ensure it is still secure and in the correct position.

Are there any specific guns that are safer to carry without a holster?

There isn’t necessarily a specific gun that is considered safer for carrying without a holster. However, firearms with manual safeties or longer, heavier trigger pulls, such as double-action revolvers, can reduce the risk of negligent discharges. Keep in mind that proper trigger protection and a secure method of carry remain vital regardless of the type of firearm.

How can I ensure trigger protection while carrying without a holster?

Trigger protection can be achieved by using a specialized trigger guard or combining a trigger cover with your chosen carrying method. These devices cover the trigger without adding the bulk of a traditional holster, helping to prevent negligent discharges while still allowing for a quick and efficient draw when needed.

What are the pros and cons of not using a holster for concealed carry?

Not using a traditional holster for concealed carry can offer some benefits, such as increased comfort and easier concealment for some individuals. It may also provide more versatility in terms of carry positions and clothing options.

However, there are also potential drawbacks, including reduced firearm retention, decreased accessibility, and increased risk of negligent discharges. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and choose a method that prioritizes safety while meeting personal preferences and needs.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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