Off the Body Carry is Acceptable When Done Right
The further a firearm is stored off the body, the less secure it is, the more risk is introduced and the higher the probability of it being potentially used against the off the body carrier.
This is why carrying a concealed firearm in this way is frowned upon. However, with the right attention, circumstance and environment, this method of carrying a firearm can be done safely, despite being discouraged by a majority of the gun-owning community.
Though, honestly, if at all possible, heavily consider carrying a CCW on the body before resorting to storing a firearm in some sort of bag.
Considerations for off-body concealed carry
When considering off-body concealed carry, secure the trigger, don’t lose the storage device, heighten situational awareness and understand that anything a weapon is stored in away from the body can be taken from the concealed carrier.
A good practice is to dedicate a pocket or pouch entirely for the weapon itself where no loose items can affect access to it when the time comes to actually rely on it, which hopefully will never have to be the case.
Understand that the further a weapon is stored off the body, the more time it will take to respond to a lethal threat, thereby decreasing the likelihood of survival should a weapon be necessary. Also, the more complex the bag, fanny pack, purse, tactical case or so on is, the time needed to access the weapon is also increased.
There is some concern that if the weapon is unsecured within a bag, and the storage method is roughly jostled in a momentary lapse of judgment, a negligent discharge (not accidental because there are no accidents with firearms) may occur.
Which environments and circumstances off-body carry would be acceptable in
Many who opt for off-body carry do so because they’re exercising or at a gym, their clothing doesn’t permit any sort of on-body concealed carry, they’re on a vacation that requires traveling in a hot and changing environment or they’re in a vehicle.
If traveling to a location where on-the-body concealed carry is inhibited in any way, consider less risk-oriented alternatives. One of the best self-defense tools is located right between the ears. Use a defensive mindset and always gauge the relative danger of a location and weigh it against the ability to effectively safeguard against that risk.
Female concealed carriers face apparel restrictions carrying a concealed weapon much the same as male concealed carriers. A dress or tight clothing depending on the event could cause printing, a display of the weapon through or because of its positioning beneath the fabric, and potentially spotting, when members of the public actively recognize and reacting to a weapon seen elsewhere.
Traditional concealed carry will sometimes face restrictions. Off-body carry is an answer that, albeit debated, and is a consideration for many gun owners. Understanding and mitigating the risks around the practice is a far better answer than decrying its obvious faults.
Yes, because of unavoidable human nature, off-body carry decreases reaction time, is at risk of a lapse of judgment or memory and increases the chance of a third party depriving the gun owner of their CCW and potentially using it against them accidentally or intentionally.
However, a responsible concealed carrier will see those risks and choose the right means of dissolving them — given that for whatever reason, traditional and more secure on-body concealed carry is inaccessible to them.
There are products designed for off the body carry
If the means of carrying a concealed weapon on the body are not possible, off the body carry can easily be accomplished by storing the weapon in a locked container and choosing an alternative path — or the gun owner can just use fanny packs, purses, clutches with wrist straps, backpacks, tactical packs, docking systems for holsters in vehicles and homes or any other means of high retention storage that secures the trigger guard.
What it gets down to is making sure self-defense does not come with uncalled for or unintentional (negligent) danger to the gun owner and to the surrounding public. Off-body carry is very possible and safe when paired with the right tools that secure the firearm in all the necessary ways.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.