Off-body carrying of a firearm is simply carrying your weapon in a manner that it is not attached to your body in a fixed, stable location. Off-body carry includes things like purses and stowing a gun under the seat of your car. Off-body carry has many drawbacks, many of which will render your firearm inaccessible in the dynamics of a lethal force confrontation. For the average citizen, off-body carry should be a last resort.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon Requires Commitment and Compromise
Off-body carry is usually a matter of convenience, often dictated by dress and body type. Should dress dictate method of carry or vice-versa? I feel that you should always dress around your gun. Let the mission dictate your gear. What type of weapon system do you need to carry to adequately defend yourself? Determine this first and then dress around the system. This may require you to purchase bigger clothing, belts, dress differently, etc. Get your priorities straight. What is more important, dressing in the most convenient, fashionable manner or being able to defend yourself to the best of your ability? I think you will find that with a little planning, both can be achieved.
Understand the Dynamics of the Draw
Over the years, I have had many ladies tell me that they carry their guns in their purses and keep them strapped diagonally across their body. Does this negate the drawbacks of off-body carry in a purse?. There are purses specifically made for the carrying of a firearm. These include steel cable reinforced shoulder straps and easy-access compartments. Unless your hand is in the purse and on the gun, is your weapon really in a fixed, accessible position? Do purses and off-body carry in general facilitate an effective draw that must be fought for while in a physical struggle?
Most attacks come from the vantage point of the aggressor. They will strike from a blind spot or use a a distraction to initiate an attack. More than likely you will be reacting, not pro-acting. You may be in a physical struggle before your gun is drawn. It will be extremely difficult to retrieve a weapon that is being carried off-body. Your purse will be swinging around or being pulled by your attacker. That weapon that is in your glove box or under your seat? Good luck getting to it.
Maintaining Control of Your Weapon At All Times
Your weapon must be on your person at all times. It is too easy, no matter how mindful you are, to get distracted for a split second and have your off-body carry go wrong. Search the internet on “gun left in bathroom” and you will find many instances of law enforcement officers, teachers and other professionals who take their gun off their person and forget to retrieve it. Imagine if you had your weapon in your purse? How many times do you set your purse down, get in and out of it, and leave it sitting on a car seat or in a grocery cart? If your weapon is not securely attached to your body, it is not fully under your control.
While the convenience of off-body carry is understandable, many of its downfalls cannot be overcome when you need your weapon most. On-body carry with a proper holster mated to a proper belt or other type of retention system is worth the effort.