Off-Body Carry Pros and Cons

Messenger bag and a subcompact kahr pm40

Pros of Off-Body Concealed Carry

There are benefits to off-body concealed carry. It’s often an unexpected place to keep a pistol. Also, comfort and concealment are very easy off-body especially with larger firearms. Drawing off-body can be fast. Gripping a concealed pistol provides a tactical advantage.

1. Unexpected Carry Place

Concealed carrying a pistol off-body can be an unexpected carry place. As a purse is a normal place to carry a pistol this mostly applies to men. An attacker is likely going to expect men to carry a pistol around the waist. He won’t expect a gun to be in his face after he hears “here take my wallet”.

A fanny pack is perhaps the most surprising place to keep a pistol. It’s the most un-stylish bag there is. Fanny packs are all practical and seeming un-tactical. It is also a place a mugger is going to expect money and for his victim to reach into. Like all off-body options it is best to get one designed for concealed carry. A concealed carry bag should seat a pistol and it’s grip in the same place every time. It should also provide trigger protection. Also, drawing from a holster in a bag is faster than if a pistol is just laying in the bottom of a bag.

2. Tactical Advantage

Off-body concealed carry can provide a tactical advantage. A pistol in a bag can reduce the advantage an attacker has. A violent criminal is always going to attack first and surprise his victim. With a bag, somebody walking through a seedy area can hold a pistol and keep it concealed. This can even be done while pointing it in the direction an attacker might present his thugself. A very close attacker can be shot at through a bag for a surprise counter attacker. An on-body carried pistol cannot be gripped without brandishing it. Just walking around with a gripped and visible pistol is usually very illegal.

3. Most Comfortable Carry Method

Off-body carry is very comfortable. This might be the best reason to carry off-body. Is carry a pistol anywhere on-body every really comfortable? Strong side inside the waistband sure is not. Appendix carry can be physically comfortable, but is anyone ever fully relaxed with having a pistol pointed at a femoral artery and sex organ? I’m asking for a friend.

4. Off-Body Drawing Can Be Done Fast

With practice, off-body drawing can be done fast. It’s true that on-body carry is faster. However, unlike on-body an off-body pistol can be gripped and ready to go while concealed.

How to draw a pistol from a laptop bag

5. Great Concealment

Off-body carry offers much better concealment than on-body carry. It’s just so easy.

There are no undershirts and cover garments to be thought about. The pistol just sits in a bag until it’s ready to use.

With on-body carry, comfort and concealment have to be carefully thought about. Undershirts and cover garments need to chosen and even tested to see how they do. Poorly chosen clothes can make a pistol jab and chafing all day. A bad holster and cover garment set up can expose a pistol with printing. Also, comfort is often compromised for concealment with on-body carry. Outside the waistband is comfortable but it’s difficult to conceal.

6. Lower Cost Than a Good Holster

Off-body carry can be less expensive the on-body carry. If a shooter already has a bag they carry, then they can just put a pistol in an empty pocket and carry on(pun intended). It’s better to use a bag designed to carry a pistol. These bags will allow practicing off-body draw strokes. Even high dollar off-body carry bags are half the cost of a high quality inside the waistband or appendix holsters.

Good kydex holsters often cost well over $100. They are custom made to fit only one make and model pistol. Because of this, if someone wants to carry different handguns at different times, then they will need to purchase multiple holsters. Conversely, there are concealed carry bags that will secure many different pistol models.

7. Easier to Carry Larger Guns

Off-body allows for comfortable carry and concealment of very large firearms. Printing is more difficult to avoid the larger a firearm is. Want to carry an 8 inch Smith and Wesson 500 or 6 inch Chiappa Rhino? Off-body lets you do it without adding 4 pounds of metal to a belt. Want to carry a pistol with a suppressor? You can with an outside the waistband holster and a long coat. The coat is going to me super hot most of the year in most of America. It’s better to carry that pistol and it’s suppressor in a bag.

Drawing a suppressed pistol from a laptop bag

Foldable, shoulder fired firearms can and probably should be concealed carried off-body. An AR-15 with a pistol brace is another over the top and tacticool tool that you can carry-off body to smoke a homicidal fool.

John Lovell removing an AR-15 pistol from a bag*

Cons of Off-Body Concealed Carry

There are downsides to off-body concealed carry. Off-body carry solutions are targets for thieves and should not be unattended. Off-body drawing is slower than on-body. An off-body carry solution without trigger protection leaves a pistol vulnerable to accidental discharge.

1. Cannot Put It Down

An off-body carry solution must be watched and in possession at all times. It’s like an elephant in the room that only the owner can see. The thing a pistol is in is like a phone. It’s OK to not touch it, but it can never leave your sight. Also, what the pistol is in is now magically worth $300+ more if not $500+

Keep in mind that bags all look the same to children. When they rummage through a purse looking for candy, they are not expecting a piece of metal that shoots 300 pound mushrooms. Those little finger can pull a trigger on accident or out of curiosity.

2. Purses and Bags are Targets

Purses and bags are rich targets for thieves. They are very low risk to them. Thieves can just grab, yank, and run. They can also grab, yank, point a gun, and demand more. This would leave a victim completely defenseless. With on-body carry, a defender would still have their pistol concealed and available for use.

3. Slower Draw

Off-body drawing will usually be slower. Bags and briefcases are always moving relative to the shooting hand. They might be carried on the shoulder, on the back, or in the week hand. When drawing off-body, the pistol container needs to be moved so the strong hand can draw. Unlike off-body, on-body holstered pistols move very little if at all relative to the shooting hand.

When placing a pistol loose in a bag pocket, have the muzzle and bottom of the magazine like the pic below. It should form a triangle with the bottom of the bag. This triangle position makes the pistol easy to grab. It can also be pointed without leaving the bag.

How to place pistol loose in a bag pocket

4. Usually Less Safe Than On-Body Carry

Off-body carry can be less safe than on-body carry. A pistol in a bag with loose things can result in those loose things pulling the trigger. To reduce this risk, activate the manual safety if there is one. Also, keeping a pistol in a bag pocket with nothing else will greatly reduce the risk of accidental discharge. However, if part of the bag gets bunched up, then the bag itself can pull the trigger.

To totally eliminate the risk of accidental discharge, a bag with an internal trigger protecting holster must be used.

5. Practicing at Shooting Ranges Might Not Be Allowed

Drawing and firing from an off-body carry solution might not be permitted at shooting ranges. This drill needs to be practiced to quickly, and consistently put rounds on target.

Every shooting range is different. They can be rather uptight especially in cities. Anything out of the ordinary will get the attention of management. It’s best to ask before practicing off-body drawing at your local range.

6. Accidental Brandishing

Accidental brandishing can happen with off-body concealed carry. This can occur in two ways. If a pistol carrier opens the compartment containing the gun, then someone looking in might see it. Also, if left unattended, someone can get access to the place the pistol is in. This can expose a pistol carrier to at least an awkward situation. Accidental brandishing could also jeopardize employment. Furthermore, brandishing in public is often illegal unless a legitimate self-defense need arises.

Watch This Video to Learn More about the Pros and Cons of Off-Body Concealed Carry.

The Pros & Cons of OFF-BODY CARRY

*This gif is used with the permission of the Warrior Poet Society

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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