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Off-Body Carry: The Complete Guide

Man drawing a firearm from his concealed carry bag Man drawing a firearm from his concealed carry bag Man drawing a firearm from his concealed carry bag


Carrying your pistol or revolver off your body in a concealed carry bag, or in any purse, fanny pack, backpack, concealed carry day planner, messenger bag or sling bag that places it away from your body may be a problem and a risk for some, but is a common style of carrying your firearm. This article will help you understand the pros of this style of carry and guide you between belt pouches, shoulder bags and purses for women.

The Pros Of Off-Body Carry

As this article won’t be dedicated to telling you why off body carry is bad, we’ll just keep it plain and simple here and tell you why it is a good choice. You can find a lot of info why not to do so, but this is going to tell you the opposite.

1. Off-Body & Diversity: CC Bags, Shoulder Bags, CC Purses & More.

a funny picture showing various firearms and a sign that reads celebrate diversity a funny picture showing various firearms and a sign that reads celebrate diversity a funny picture showing various firearms and a sign that reads celebrate diversity a funny picture showing various firearms and a sign that reads celebrate diversity two soldiers near a T34 tank two soldiers near a T34 tank two soldiers near a T34 tank two soldiers near a T34 tank

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Off-body carry options have a great advantage in the numerous designs they can be made. Holsters have to stick to their respective design in order to offer proper accommodation, retention and function, whereas off-body bags can be manufactured in many designs as long as they offer a safe way of retaining your firearm.

Shoulder Bags

You can come across dozens of shoulder bags that apart from being made with a built-in holster compartment allow for a storage of belongings, documents, EDC items or gear that you need to have with you in case you are planning of exiting the urban environment. Having the option of a free waist is helpful while being in an environment such as the woods, mountains etc, where there are obstacles that must be passed and a holster can become an obstacle itself. Plus, the option of additional storage comes in always handy.

Fanny Packs

You can also find a lot of designs for fanny packs that will suit you more than some holsters. Take driving for example, if you are not fond of cross draw holsters but you still want to have your firearm at your side then fanny packs are a great choice. They come equipped with Velcro-patched holster parts that secure the firearm while the strap of the fanny pack allows more comfort around the waistline. Fanny packs also have a great pro in their easy removability. Let’s say that you plan on going to a vacation and still being armed. Consider changing clothes multiple times a day - it’s much more easier with a fanny pack than a holster. Plus, although not exactly, fanny packs stay on your waist and you still have to on-body feeling.

CC Pouches

You can stumble upon concealed carry pouches, which are often a topic of discussion, many people think that they them scream “firearm inside”, this can be true at times, especially if you accompany them with a certain type of behaviour that attracts attention. But that is not the fault of the CC pouch, is it. These pouches have an advantage in concealing  any firearm with any attachment as long as it fits inside the holster part, and since they can be made up to 10” in length, this should not limit the number of guns to accommodate.

Concealment Briefcases

You can also find a lot of concealment briefcases that have holster compartments and allow for a comfortable carry if you are in your business attire and need to look elegant while at the same time armed. Concealed carry briefcases allow for a storage of your documents, computer and personal belongings in one compartment while leaving a whole spare compartment for your firearm. They are handy if you sit for a prolonged period of time in an office space and don’t want to get uncomfortable having any holster on you. Plus, they can be made in an elegant finish, so your business look can be upgraded too.


2. Off-Body & Concealment: Your (Gun) Size Doesn't Matter.

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The concealment factor allows also for a wider choice of firearms. While most people consider smaller firearms like the Glock 26Springfield XDs or a Ruger LCRx when choosing their self-defense guns to be a better choice holster-wise and size-wise, concealed carry purses, bags, fanny packs etc. allow a comfortable carry for larger firearms, such as the Glock 17 or a 5” 1911 that you like but feel like they don’t  belong to a CC setup.

The second advantage of off-body carry is concealment as they offer more options compared to holsters, which are limited by their own designs and let’s be honest, also by the physical shape of the person carrying. While you can tuck your IWB inside your pants or cover your OWB or Ankle holster with your garments, they are still limited in use whereas off-body options leave a place for deeper concealment not affected by your garments or location.


3. Off-Body & Ladies: A Lot Of Carry Styles To Choose From.


Two women with guns pointing at something Two women with guns pointing at something Two women with guns pointing at something Two women with guns pointing at something

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This is probably the biggest advantage of off-body gun carry. Since not all ladies prefer leisure clothing and sometimes also can’t be dressed casually while at the same time be prepared and armed, they often go for CC purses, briefcases or bags. These little helpers can accommodate all the belongings plus the most important part - the firearm.  Their construction is simple and useful. The gun is always in a separate compartment secured in a holster, so there is no chance any personal stuff gets in the way of the firearm.

Different sizes of CC purses allow them to be a part of the outfit at all times, bigger ones for daily use and smaller for occasions. A proper CC purse has a lockable zipper, mainly because the hands of children are very curious. Plus they have an advantage when it comes to grabbing and holding in to your gun in dangerous areas or at nighttime. It is less suspicious to hold on to your purse while strolling down the alley, walking in the park or being alone in an elevator, than it is holding to your belly band holster or IWB holster.


4. Off-Body Comfort: Forget Belt Holsters & Relax. 

Two guys relaxing on sofas Two guys relaxing on sofas Two guys relaxing on sofas Two guys relaxing on sofas

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Off-body carry allows for more styles of clothing to be worn for both ladies and gentlemen. This is not intended to sound like a fashion catalogue whining, but some among the firearm carrying population prefer not to wear dad-clothes all the time and sometimes go for something less loose and firearm-friendly. Tighter pants or shirts without undergarments would not be able to conceal a holster properly. The same can be applied to ladies, although there are options such as thigh holsters, they are not always usable.

Another comfort aspect of off-body carry can be free-time activities. This  If you are in your training attire you won’t probably wear a belt with a holster. Or if you are planning a day at the beach you won’t have the belt holster as well. Comfort while carrying is sometimes hard to accomplish if a person has serious health issues and can’t bear to carry on the body. It all comes down to the fact, that carrying a firearm can be sometimes pain and this pain can lead to a person choosing not to carry instead of carrying. This is what CC bags or any other styles of off-body carry are made for - not to let the good guy down and always give him/her the option to carry.

Last but not least, It’s also important to mention the advantage that concealed carry bags and other off-body methods have if a person is fond of outdoor activities such as hiking. The terrain sometimes is an obstacle and hikes or trekking routes can take a person to all sorts of environments where there are no options for a holster carry.

That’s where off-body carry options come in handy as they can first and foremost conceal and safely retain a firearm plus also they can be a storage for all the edc belongings or any other gear. Also, mentioning hikes, There is a large variety of backpacks, which have a holster compartment built-in and allow a fast and stable draw.  Plus many of them have molle straps and can serve as platforms to attach more gear to them.

Off-Body Tips: Don't Forget Your Situational Awareness & Training.

Man with a shoulder bag taking cover Man with a shoulder bag taking cover Man with a shoulder bag taking cover Man with a shoulder bag taking cover


If you decide to try out off-body carry then there are also some things you must consider before choosing you preferred design.

Always remember that there has to be a separate holster compartment that will secure and accommodate the firearm while at the same time allowing easy access and a draw not obstructed with anything. The holster compartment is usually present in all of off-body methods, but just be patient and cautions when buying your concealed carry purse and make sure it has this feature. That means no cheap $20 bags.

Always remember to consider where you will use it and what is the main reason for not having the firearm on your body. The best way not to draw attention is to blend in, this has to apply to your off-body carry bag. If you are dressed in business attire don’t rock that molle shoulder bag you wore to the mountains last week, because it has “firearm” written all over it at worse and/or you’ll just be considered a weirdo at best.

And Always remember to train the off-body draw. It is not the same as drawing from a holster. The draw time is a bit longer and you have to train access to your firearm. But a responsible concealed carrier will do so, because it’s better to carry in a bag than to be carried in a bag, right? So train your reflexes and also train your senses, you are armed to protect yourself and the ones around you - situational awareness is always a must. When you are drinking lemonade on the beach and the sun is slowly  caressing you into dozing off then BAM, you can just become a victim like that. But let’s not jump to conclusions, you’ve got your firearm at your side concealed in a bag - you are safe. Just remember, it does't matter if you are carrying concealed in a CC holster or a CC bag, be always sure to mind that concealed carry has it's rules and more importantly, concealed carry mistakes that need to be avoided.

Off-Body: The Conclusion.

 To conclude the off-body topic - it’s the same as with holsters, in the aspect that everyone prefers something else. Remember to use the most important tool you’ve got - your brain. It’ll help you decide what to wear and how to be safe at the same time. If you are sure that you can pull of your business day with a IWB holster then go for it, but if you feel like a CC day planner would be better than just do it. The pros of off-body carry leave a larger variety of options for you, but have a mandatory training required, plus they set your situational awareness meter on a higher level.

Other Articles From Our Blog You May Like

 While you're at the topic of off-body carry, concealed carry and firearm safety in general, you may want to check some of our older articles dealing with topics such as:

3 Things No One Tells You About Concealed Carry

If you are interested in delving into this topic then be prepared for some insights that will tell you that not all people (meaning nobody) is interested in watching your every move just so he can find out that you are armed, or for some tips on how many holsters a person needs (the answer is always more). Check the article here.

Pulled Over And Carrying Concelaed

If you are interested in some real life scenarios that probably will happen to you (or already happened) then check this article that deals with the situation, in which an officer pulls you over. You can read it here.

EDC Items: Pen

If you found your off-body choice then be sure to fill the empty space with a lot of useful items. Did you know that a proper EDC pen can be a life saver? Not only for your fanbase when they are begging you for your autograph, but also in cases of danger. Read about EDC pens here.