Pocket Carry Without a Holster – Good or Bad?

No holster pocket carry can be a good way to conceal a handgun. It can be a comfortable and convenient especially for small pistols such as the Springfield Hellcat, Keltec PF9 or Kahr PM series. There are some downsides including slow draw compared to waist carry, no trigger protection, and printing.

No Holster Pocket Carry

I no holster pocket carried for more than 10 years. These are my thoughts on this.

Why I Like no Holster Pocket Carry

Ease and Convenience: I no holster pocket carry my Kahr PM40. I find this makes carrying super easy and simple. My gun is just another thing I take with me when I leave my house. It goes in my front right pocket with nothing else. Even in my skinny jeans, I forget I have my handgun shortly after I pocket it. To me it makes a clear print of a micro-pistol. However, I have never had anyone tell me they see a gun in my front right pocket. We humans look at faces and voices and we don’t notice things that are unexpected and slightly out of place. I live in a high crime city in red Tennessee. Even here, most people don’t carry and don’t think about others being armed.

Fast Enough: Folks like to disrespect no holster carry because of draw speed. I think it is much a do about little. Here’s why. I will ballpark the draw speed difference between holster carry and no holster pocket carry to at the very most be 2 seconds. The increased draw speed only matters with surprise, targeted attacks. However, if an attacker succeeds at a surprise attack, then saving 2 seconds on draw speed does not matter. The attacker already has an overwhelming advantage such as first shots, or a gun fixed on the torso. Also, in active shooting events the extra draw time does not matter. The shooter is just taking aim at the closest people. Unless your are one of them, then you have the extra 2 seconds to draw.

No Cost: If you are considering getting your first handgun and are short on gun money, then please get a good pocket size carry pistol and worry about a holster later. If you are not carrying, then ignore the issues below because a pocket gun is better than no gun.

Issues with no Holster Pocket Carry

Slow Draw: The major problem with this carry method is draw speed. It is much slower than holster carry. Before I started writing this, I had not tried to draw while sitting. Sitting and drawing from my skinny jeans pocket was faster than I thought it would be. However, when milliseconds count it is possible that no holster pocket drawing will not be fast enough. I estimate 2 seconds as the maximum time needed to compensate for a tight fit and a bad handle position. In my experience, a pocket carried handgun handle can get pointed in a hard to find and grip direction. A bad handle position increases draw speed. Draw speed is most important during a surprise, targeted attack and these types of threats are the most life threatening. It makes good sense to think of no holster pocket carry as an unnecessary risk.

Printing and the Law: Printing is when a concealed pistol makes a raised outline on the fabric that is concealing it. This makes for a grey area in the law. It’s not clear whether or not printing is open carry. This matters because Illinois, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Florida do not permit open carry even with a state carry permit. I advise anyone in these states to use concealment that does not make a print.

Handgun Pocket Printing

Kahr PM40 Printing Skinny Jeans

Trigger Exposure: Unlike a holster, a pocket does not protect the trigger. Your carry pocket might be large enough to hold a pistol and other things. Don’t put other stuff in your gun pocket. Keep it dedicated to the sole purpose of holding your pistol.

Andrew Jordan

I’m a lifelong native of Memphis, TN. Shooting drills especially with 22LR are one of my passions. My concealed carry permit application was submitted on my 21st birthday. The P10C is my EDC pistol. I invented the patented 15 round 5.56 stripper clip. You can also find me on the “Concealed Carry Andrew” Youtube channel.

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