Primarily, carrying a weapon without a holster can be extremely dangerous to the carrier and the people around them. Ideally, holsters play an essential part in guarding the trigger, which is prone to mechanical hitches at the worst. However, the concealed carry without holster approach is also possible but should be done the right way. So let's start with understanding why conceal carry without a holster is possible.

Why Not Wear a Holster?

Every licensed gun owner should invest in a quality holstering accessory to carry your weapon safely. Nonetheless, there are many occasions when these gun accessories aren't practical, but not to say useful. For instance, carrying your gun with a concealed holder might not be adequate for deep concealment. Practically, a holstering accessory will always somehow bulge out, thus not saving you any scrutiny. Furthermore, due to the dress code, holsters as necessary weapon accessories might also not be possible to carry.

Another rationale for the concealed carry without holster approach is probably when you secure a weapon that doesn't belong to you. Such occasions may arise when you randomly find a weapon on the streets or when you confiscate one for purposes of securing the weapon. As such, a holder might not be readily available for such spontaneous instances, but you will still need to conceal the weapon securely.

By standard, conceal carry without a holster isn't typically recommended. But, not to worry, you can still conceal-carry your weapon without a holster.

Guard the Trigger

The most important part of the concealed carry without holster approach is guarding the trigger. Ideally, all bullet discharges from handguns, including accidental shootings, start from an exposed trigger. Therefore, if you don't intend to have a holder for your gun, having a trigger guard is a top priority. In addition, as alternatives to the holsters, trigger guards are very affordable and allow for weapon concealment in almost every part of the body with maximum protection against accidental discharges.

Considerably, some trigger guards are built with a belt clip for easy weapon drawing. However, the magazine is left exposed despite securing the trigger, risking its unintended release. Reasonably, if you lose a gun's magazine, your weapon will be non-functional when needed.

Even so, trigger guards are very handy for deep concealment, meaning only the gun holder knows where the weapon is for easy access when required. So, having secured the trigger, let's proceed to identify effective ways of carrying your weapon without this accessory.

Concealed Carry Without Holster Methods

1. Belt Tucking

Belt carrying often involves tucking a gun into a waistband. It is the most straightforward non-holding carrying method since it renders the weapon ready to use. However, tucking a gun into your belt is the riskiest approach without a trigger guard, or a gun can fall off without the knowledge of its owner. Also, if there is a high risk of unintentional discharge of a firearm on a waistband, we recommend not having a bullet in the chamber.

However, as earlier suggested, you can find waist accessories with belt clips for safe yet ready use of a gun. Alternatively, there are IWB holsters meant for comfortable concealed carrying with a quick access function.

2. Pocket Carrying

Also, you can choose the pocket carry method considering it is highly possible not to find a designated pocket holster. However, carrying a firearm in your back pocket is a dangerous method since there's a probability it will snag with other items in the pocket like keys leading, and it might lead to a negligent discharge. You can avoid the risk of accidental discharge of your pocket concealed firearm by ensuring there is no bullet in the firing chamber. Pocket carrying also poses the risk of misplacing the gun.

3. Off-Body Carry

Furthermore, there is the option of off-body carrying, which implies carrying a gun inside a bag or any other external container like a purse. For example, women carry off body weapons in a bag or purse. However, such an off-body carriage poses the risk of theft whenever a bag or purse is stolen. Also, having a weapon inside your bag might be risky if you occasionally forget it's there.

Nonetheless, the off-body carrying can be safe with a trigger guard and putting your actual firearm in a designated compartment that eliminates the risk of a negligent discharge. You can also invest in a fanny pack or CCW bag for forms of integrated holding accessories such as sticky holsters. Such imitations of traditional gun holders ensure you don't have a muzzle pointed in any random direction while carrying off-body.

4. Concealed Carrying Clothes

Another concealed carry without holster method is wearing concealing clothing like vests, shirts, jackets and pants. In addition, you can find specialized clothing meant for the safe concealment of your pistol without using a holstering accessory. For instance, such items might come with retention straps or zippers for secure firearm holding. Notably, such clothing works best with a trigger guard or not, with the latter protecting the trigger by tightly holding it against the body.

In most cases, the outer frame of this clothing should be baggy such as for shirts, coats and pants. The idea behind baggy clothes is to avoid the distinctive outline of a firearm in your clothes or pockets, which might beat the rationale of concealing it in the first place. On the other hand, vests and leggings offer the most flexibility with adjustable holsters for firearm concealment for both men and women.

Nevertheless, concealed carrying clothes might not be practical for areas restricted to carrying a weapon. Also, just like actual shoulder holsters, concealing clothing might limit rapid weapon access. When wearing jackets or coats, the draw speed will also reduce since you have to sweep their heavy material aside, as is the case with the shoulder holster. Finally, always keep your weapon safe in clothes with a clear chamber until you're ready to use it.

Benefits for Concealed Carry With A Holster

Despite the highlighted secure ways of carrying a concealed pistol, they still don't beat the benefits of using a concealed carry holster. Considerably, even with a holstering accessory, you can still conceal your weapon. For instance, you can invest in an NSR Tactical gun-holder, which comes with adjustable retention and more reliable loops than waistband clips.

One of the earlier mentioned concealment methods similar to using a carrying accessory is the off-person carry which keeps a weapon secure in the same familiar position at all times. However, a gun-holder is still the best option for consistent perfect firearm draws and aims without concealed off-person carrying. This particular benefit works best with weapon familiarity that eliminates divergent firearm use variables.

Also, a holstering accessory ensures a firearm is secure in one position, eliminating the risk of misplacement, unlike the risks that come with pocket and waistband concealment. If you aren't wearing tight clothing, a gun-holder prevents shifting of your gun in your pocket or in concealment, thus avoiding the wrong way of carrying a weapon.

In this regard, here are the primary purposes of holstering a gun:

  • First, preventing unintentional discharges by covering the trigger.
  • Second, enabling easy draws by consistently holding your firearm in one place also for reliable applications.
  • Third, a gun is safer in a gun-holder since it is highly protected from disarming by outsiders.
  • Finally, this accessory also helps replicate perfect aims and shots, especially when dealing with threats of bad guys.

Is it Illegal to Carry a Conceal Weapon Without a Holster?

Another aspect to consider when carrying without a holster is its place within the law. Needless to say, law enforcement agencies often insist on using a holstering accessory while carrying a concealed handgun in your pockets or elsewhere. Probably, you might not have been on the wrong side of the law either because you don't carry your handgun in public or you already use a holstering accessory.

Reasonably, law enforcement agencies and officers always require the carrying of guns in holsters for your protection and that of the public. Read on to understand the scope of the law regarding the need for gun holstering.

The Legality of Concealed Carry Without A Holster

Even with the highlighted common methods of carrying a weapon without a holster, no specific federal law governs the carrying of concealed weapons across all jurisdictions. Instead, different local municipalities and state governments enact legislations differently. This position means the mandate falls on different areas to enact gun-carrying laws as they find necessary.

As a result, there are states and local jurisdictions that prohibit carrying concealed weapons without a holster and some that allow concealed carrying of weapons. Not assuming you know, even before you find yourself in a situation of concealing a firearm, it is mandatory as per federal laws to have a firearm license.

Even as this legality varies across different state and local jurisdictions, it is always good to check with local laws for clarity at all times, in case the laws are also updated. In a similar sense, you can seek the interpretation of a professional attorney for more insights on gun rights and gun laws. In cases where the law requires the use of a gun-holder, ensure you you get a quality gun holder such as one on a shoulder rig or one for the belt. Generally, it's good firearm practice to invest in a proper holster even when not required by law for responsible weapon handling.

Holster Mandate

This term often applies to areas where owning and carrying concealed weapons is legal but holstering it is required. In perspective, this might sound contradictory, but there are states and local jurisdictions with 'holster mandates'. Specifically, this form of gun law exists even when concealed carrying is for a legal purpose. Under this mandate, it doesn't matter what type of holster you carry (pocket carry holster or shoulder rig), as long as it secures a firearm in place.

For instance, in Texas State, Holster Mandate Rules dictate that all licensed handgun carriers secure their handpieces in holsters. Specifically, the holsters should be fastened to the shoulders and belts when open carrying. However, in the same state, this mandate doesn't apply to a concealed weapon.


In closing, conceal carry without a holster for a handgun is possible. Notably, even without a holster, there are several safe ways you can conceal your firearm. Even so, always ensure you check what the local laws require about the same. Ultimately, we recommend having a personal favorite holster as a companion for the safe carrying of a concealed gun.
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About the Author Anton Scharff

Anton is a hunting expert who respects nature. Ask him anything about large game. Lover of the great outdoors.

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