Considering Off-Body Carry? Consider this.

Published August 1, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Equipment, Self Defense

off_body_carryI recently had a chance to try out a few options for off-body carry in the course of writing a recent article on concealed carry for Shooting Illustrated. The testing showed that it was easy to access my gun and quickly engage a target when the gun was stowed in a bag or Day-timer. This came as a bit of surprise to me: I’ve always carried on my belt or in my pocket and up until then, I never really considered off-body carry as a way to way to keep my gun out of sight.

I found out, though, that IF your bag is close by you, can get a gun into action pretty quickly. Not as fast as my daily carry untucked t-shirt, and not fast enough to pass the Federal Air Marshall test, but pretty fast nevertheless.

I’m still going to carry on my person whenever I can because that’s what I’m used to, but now that I know I can draw from a computer case or messenger bag with some degree of speed, I’d look at off-body carry as a way to carry a second gun or a bigger gun if I’m carrying in a pocket, and I’d definitely follow the 3 rules of off-body carry that noted gun writer and TV host Michael Bane laid out in his concealed carry DVD.

  1. If you’re the kind of person who consistently loses their car keys, glasses or other important items, don’t do it. 
  2. Once you’ve made the decision to carry off-body, the bag/purse with the gun in has to go with you everywhere. 
  3. You have to “Go to the gun” earlier in the encounter than you would with a belt or pocket holster.

Numbers 1 and 2 are unique to off-body carry: If I carry on my belt or in a pocket, that gun stays in its holster all day long, and I know where it is at any given moment, something may or may not be true with a bag or case that I’m carrying, which means you have to know where your bag is every moment of the day, and that includes the restroom, the dinner table, you name it.

And number 3? Well, going to the gun early is just a good idea, no matter how you carry.


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