Dear Gun Industry Please Stop Carrying Backwards Behind The Hip

Sorry Friends in the Industry but this way of carrying and drawing your gun is wrong:

What about the picture is wrong? Well, there are several concerns such as the lack of the holster or the position of the gun right over the tailbone but for the purpose of today's article I'm focused on the orientation of the firearm. Many CCWers carry in the “small of back” or traditional IWB 4 o'clock” positions and when you do you may have some confusion about how to orient the gun.

For the purpose of this article and its pictures, we are going to assume everyone is Right-Handed. You southpaws will need to reverse everything I say.

What Are The Two Rear Carry Methods?

First let me define the two methods and then we will discuss Pros and Cons of each…

Palm Out / Four Fingers Draw Method

As you can see in the above picture, in the configuration the palm of the hand faces outward. In order to draw the CCWer inserts the 4 fingers of the hand between the gun and the body. For right-handed people this requires buying a left-handed holster for 4 to 6 o'clock carry.

Palm In / Thumb Draw Method

Small of Back Carry

Proper Draw for behind the hip carry

As you can see in the above picture, in this configuration the palm of the hand faces inward. In order to draw the CCWer inserts the thumb between the gun and the body. For right-handed people this requires using a right-handed holster for 4 to 6 o'clock carry.

Is There An Official Stance On This?

I've asked a lot of other professionals over the years if they have an opinion about “Palm in” or “Palm out” carry for behind-the-hip positions and the answer has varied. Some look at it as a personal preference and others feel more strongly about it as I do. Everyone however agrees that carrying the firearm one way or the other comes with some advantages and disadvantages.

No professional has ever endorsed the “Palm Out” carry as preferred or better but as far as I know, I'm the first person to come out online as officially calling it WRONG or BAD. I did find a mention of the pros/cons on the N82 Tactical site and a video from White Hat Holsters YT channel suggesting Palm In as preferred but I'm going to get up on my soapbox here.

I'm confident that if there are professionals out there who disagree they will identify themselves as such in the comments below.

So What Is the Big Problem With Palm Out Carry/Draw?

There are a lot of reasons why I feel Palm Out carry is wrong or significantly less desirable. Let's get started:

1: Strength of Body:

Have someone stand next to you on your strong side. Now put your hand in the back of your waistband in the palm-out position. Have your partner put pressure against your elbow and see how easily you can “draw” your imaginary gun out. Now repeat the same experiment with palm in. You will find that when the wrist is twisted so as to have the THUMB between the gun and the body you will have much greater strength. How big of a deal is this in a draw? Probably not a big deal but on the off chance to have any resistance that you have to fight you would want to maximize your ability to overcome that resistance.

2: Safety of Muzzle Direction:

When you draw with your palm out you are forced at some point to turn the wrist in order to position the firearm on target. In that turning movement, you are very likely to sweep the body with the muzzle of the gun. Not muzzling yourself is in fact difficult.

3: Speed:

When you carry palm in you will be able to get the gun on target faster because there is less total movement required to position the gun on target. In getting to the full extension faster you will also more naturally “pass through” a close quarter combative shooting position more naturally should you need to get shots on target before extending to target or in circumstances where you can not/should not extend fully to target.

4: Adjustment and Convenience of Holster:

Holster manufacturers consider all of these things in a design. Since they want you to be able to buy 1 holster and use it ANYWHERE on your torso they design a right handed holster to work for a right-handed person regardless of the position on the body. All manufacturers design them this way. If you carry palm out and end up having to buy a left-handed holster despite being right-handed then that holster will NOT work for you on the strong side or in the appendix or cross draw positions should you decide to carry in those positions one day.

In addition, when carrying behind your hip, it is desirable to have a forward cant/angle in the holster. I'm referring to the angle at which the firearm sits in the holster vertically. A forward cant, which angles the gun forward toward the front of the body, is desireable when carrying behind your hip because it makes it easier to get a grip on the gun and draw it out and forward toward your target.

Holster manufacturers either make holsters with a forward cant or a straight vertical cant. If you use the Palm Out method you are going to have a challenge. First, you can't generally find a “reverse cant” holster which limits you to NO CANT holsters. That is less desirable for the above-mentioned reasons and limits your holster selection options.

5: Finger Trigger Discipline & Grip Acquisition:

If you draw your firearm by driving four fingers in between the body and the gun you have two significant drawbacks. First, it will be harder to maintain good trigger finger discipline. As you try to acquire a strong grip three fingers are trying to get under the grip of the gun and the trigger finger is smashed in a tight space. Indexing the finger properly is challenging and can be made even more challenging depending on the style of the holster and how much of a “sweat guard” it has above the trigger guard of the firearm. A palm in draw allows that the finger remain outside of the pant entirely and makes it easier to train the finger to align with the side of the frame of the firearm above the trigger guard.

Speaking of getting a grip on the gun, any good shooter knows how important an immediate and solid grip on the firearm is in the moment you draw from the holster. When you draw palm in only the thumb has to squeeze in between the gun and the body and it naturally goes EXACTLY where it is supposed to be in a solid grip. The trigger finger aligns on the outside and rests on the frame as discussed above. The other three fingers naturally find their spot on the outside of the grip and have to wrap around the front of the grip in a natural way. In Palm out configuration, those three fingers are stuck in between the body and the gun and can't wrap at all until the full grip of the gun clears the waistline and holster. Long story short you will get a more solid grip faster with a Palm In draw.

So If It Is So Horrible Why Is it So Popular?

Because it feels more natural. A Palm In draw requires more torque on the shoulder and wrist. Without being told otherwise a Palm In draw just feels awkward and uncomfortable. For that reason, every actor ever in Hollywood TV shows and movies has used a Palm Out carry. It looks cool, it feels natural, and somewhere in our brain we've been trained to do what we've seen.

I admit that when I bought my very first concealed carry holster I too bought a left-handed one despite being right-handed. I stared at the pictures on the computer screen and said to myself… I must be missing something because the way I think I'm supposed to carry in my back would require I get a left-handed holster. So I did. It took me years of carrying that way before another instructor took me aside and showed me a large number of reasons why that configuration is NOT ideal. So I changed.

Here is a series of Stock Images I've found that all show the Palm Out draw… and note that in almost all of them there is no holster at all and in many cases the trigger finger finds itself in the trigger guard very prematurely. This only proves that stock photographers don't know much about the proper draw but are naturally inclined to do what they have seen on TV. My only purpose in sharing these is to illustrate that uninformed people default to carrying the gun palm out due to comfort and the perpetuation of it in popular media.

Ok, so I know I've probably ruffled some feathers and maybe it was going too far for me to call the Palm Out method “wrong” but obviously, I feel strongly about it. Comment below to share your thoughts. What did I miss? What are other important considerations in favor or against Palm Out carry?

All this talk about holsters reminded me of an article we wrote up on the best 21 holsters on the market. Check it out.

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. tchris on February 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    While I believe that many of these points are valid some of them like the trigger discipline has never been a problem I have had with a palm out draw. I also don’t feel that my muzzle ends up pointed at my body any more than it would with a palm in draw. I do wonder about the stronger draw vs. weaker but have yet to experiment. I will agree there is less movement in the palm in draw. Great point in this article I will look at. I was not offended by any of this but will have to disagree on the wording as wrong.
    Here is why it is just like picking the gun to use as your concealed carry. Big caliber? Small caliber? Large capacity, more shots? Small capacity, easier to hide. Each question comes down to you! What gun can you carry that makes it so you can defend yourself best? It may be a .22 that you can use so will that you can put a group of 5 rounds in a quarter size area. It may be the .45 that stops a person much more with on shot. You have to find what works for you.
    Having said all that I think I would say that palm in is a safer way to carry at the small of the back but i can’t agree on it being wrong.

    • Jacob Paulsen on February 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts!

      • Charles on May 13, 2023 at 10:41 am

        Didn’t have thoughts, had “feelings,” like most people today.

    • joe on March 20, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      If you understand the subtleties of a surreptitious cavalry draw, then you understand the strong point of this style of carry. Most gun people prefer to disregard anything that isn’t modern and love to debunk without trying to understand. Having said that, most of the people who carry this way today don’t know what I’m talking about, either. Good luck

    • WILLIAM A OLDEN on May 19, 2021 at 11:57 am

      I am so late to this party, but find myself compelled to say: “Experts” “Professionals” are all typically articulating their ‘expert or professional ‘point of view.

      I’ve not seen any scientific studies to support or refute their POV, that said, I have spent the past four decades training thousands of people in skill based physical movements (we’ll leave it at that)…everyone’s body works uniquely to them.

      What works best for someone like John Lovell who is a former Ranger whose seen combat may not work for someone who is put together wholly differently.

      This debate is similar to ‘which gun is best for women’…as my daughter would say, the one in my hand.

  2. N. Pratt on June 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with you on all points and have been saying this for the past 5 years or more!
    Excellent write up!

    • Bundyman1 on June 6, 2020 at 9:25 am

      I agree with many of the points you made and this has seriously made me rethink my palm-out draw as a right-hander. I will probably carry one appendix and the other cross-draw now. Hope I’m not printing! Haha. Thanks for a well-written and very informative article. Carry on and carry safe!

  3. Jimmy on June 11, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    It also came from the old days of carrying a 911/45acp on 1/2 cock. As you twisted the gun, you would pull the hammer back.

  4. Fred Todd on June 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    The statement that all TV and movie actors ever use (d) the palm out, is not entirely accurate. On NCIS:New Orleans, Special Agent Pride portrayed by Scott Bakula does carry MOB palm out.

    • Chris on July 5, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      “The statement that all TV and movie actors ever use (d) the palm out, is not entirely accurate. On NCIS:New Orleans, Special Agent Pride portrayed by Scott Bakula does carry MOB palm out.”

      The statement is all actors carry palm out and Scott Bakula’s character carries palm out, I don’t get your point.

  5. Charles Worley on June 11, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Jacob, as a holster maker, I have to have this conversation at near once a week with clients. The strength issue is what usually gets them when I ask them how a police officer rotates someone’s arm behind the back to detain them. It’s always taught as a palm out move. The other issue is drawing with one hand. It’s much easier to clear your garments and draw the firearm palm in when your support hands is busy (creating distance, holding a loved one, or injured). I’m sharing this to my page, and will be referring to it regularly!

    • Jacob Paulsen on June 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Charles, thank you for the kind words. This article was born out of those similar conversations we were having with holster buyers. It usually went like this… “I carry small of the back and am right-handed. With X holster should I buy a right or left-handed model?” This article is our new answer to that question.

      • Johann Wilkerson on October 24, 2020 at 11:07 pm

        I never cared about what they do on television, but I prefer palm-out for only one reason – I have a rotator cuff injury and it is extremely painful to bring my arm back behind me with my palm in.
        My draw may be slower and weaker, but it beats being stopped in mid-grasp, grimacing in excruciating pain.

        You do you though.

        • Jared on November 27, 2020 at 6:53 pm


          I was about to write the same thing. I’ve had 2 rotator cuff surgeries and it makes it impossible to draw palm in. I have to carry palm out and I carry at the 5 with barrel canted and have zero issues.

        • Dave on May 17, 2022 at 9:04 pm

          I definitely agree with your points and I have tried to carry palm in. My issue is I can not physically rotate my shoulder back far enough due to an injury in the army, so when I do conceal carry, I do so palm out; considering I won’t appendix carry. Luckily for me 99% of my carry is just a high hip carry with a paddle holster.

    • Larry on March 26, 2020 at 11:42 pm

      Being in my mid going on late 50’s, i found the torque on my shoulder and wrist awkward/painful for palm in. Side draw would be more preferable but losing the weight for comfortable carry is proving difficult so sob carry Palm out it is. I agree with your perspective though.

      • Dwayne on January 24, 2021 at 7:58 pm

        Thank you for representing us old guys. I too find it difficult to twist wrist and shoulder to draw with palm in. I also find myself arguing trigger and safety discipline. I carry with safety engaged and as I present forward I disengage safety. I guess it is all in preference and training.

  6. David Lazy on June 12, 2018 at 7:20 am

    First, I really enjoyed this article. Lots of good and valid points. On the other hand, when I carried on the back, I carried palm out. Mainly because it felt more natural, and was a shorter reach for the grip. I never took into consideration the “strength” of the draw of either way, but I shall give it some testing. I don’t currently carry on the back because my arms are not as flexible as they once were. With all that said, you might have just changed the way I feel about and will give other advice on how to carry on the back. Thank you, sir.

  7. Brett Hutchison on June 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    While I agree with many things you mentioned, I have two issues with your “its wrong” statement. One you show the palm in draw, and talk about 4 o’clock position a lot? But the main pic you use for palm in is 6 o clock, not
    middle of the back??? Your “in” draw position is between the pocket and the middle of the back, which is the “small of the back. If you actually carry “small of the back” the gun placed butt end left for “in” draw is impossible unless you cant the holster and gun far right, and then its no longer in the natural, hidden, and comfortable, small of back position. Second, as a person who carries SOB, much of the time, I have never faced a “classic” faster draw situation, with a need to clear, or torque quickly to draw. The position you show is my normal “side carry”, usually with an OWB holster, and it is right handed and natural, as well as quick? The real position for SOB, is middle of the lower back, between your major muscle…or fat groups at the waist. And I can assure you that in that position palm in is very difficult, and requires upward movements, twisting movements, and, rolling and swinging movement, and a lot of flexibility to even try, AND you always cross some body part. The other grid of gun pics you showed are commercial, and I would not call many of them “carry” positions at all, more like “TV” prop shots! LOL. I get your point, but I dont agree with the definitions here.

    • Corey Jordan on April 6, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Brett, I agree with you. Access for a right handed person carrying true small of back is extremely difficult using a palm-in grip. Very few people carry directly centered on their spine. Most offset the pistol just enough to be comfortable. I carry sub-compacts and micro9 pistols in left handed holsters, off center with a slight cant and a wedge. Thus, the grip itself is roughly at the 5:00 to 4:30 O’clock location. Also, the palm-out grip induces a muzzle-out draw. This means that you will not muzzle yourself as you bring the gun around. Palm-in naturally induces muzzle in. There is no right or wrong as to what works for individuals, but any draw technique that results in sweeping oneself with the muzzle presents greater risk.

    • Jeff on August 7, 2023 at 12:34 pm

      I can only give a comment to this discussion through the directions I was given years ago about techniques my father personally used in combat in Vietnam. He taught me how to carry and the safest way to carry a side arm on your person so as to access in the fastest way possible. Of course there was no need for concealment but there was a necessity for a backup. He carried one of his backup weapons in small of his back and he assured me there is a need for practice if you choose this particular type of carry. He was right handed and he taught me to always have a right cant to the weapon , never straight . You want to twist your upper body back far enough to allow you to reach and grab that weapon with your palm in and your index finger straight. This is leaving your wrist in an already natural position as your coming around your side and you have your finger on the trigger with the weapon clear of your person and at that point depending on how the threat has changed ,, you can increase momentum with that strong arm and physically engage the threat also using the weapon or you can continue on and follow through with and engage the threat before it ever gets close enough to your person. And you accomplish this by having properly accessed your weapon without accidentally injuring yourself in the process.
      Now I know everyone has their opinions and will continue on with what they know but I’ve carried this exact way for years and I trust it 100%
      I figure if a decorated combat tested 101st Airborne Ranger says this is the best way to do it. Who am I to question him.Jeff

  8. Northern_Michigan on June 18, 2018 at 8:55 am

    The article has some good info and points, but it’s hard to call anything “wrong” unless it’s blatantly unsafe. I will say that like everything else, people have different anatomy, and not everything will work for everyone. I prefer small of back carry because I have large glutes and there is a very comfortable pocket to carry in there. What I notice is this, when I carry palm in (actually SOB, not 5 or 4:30 or some such) I am required to chicken wing my shoulder up AND max my wrist flexion down to draw properly. That’s two joints moving to nearly their maximal limits to accomplish draw. My wrist doesn’t mind so much (they are fairly flexible), but my far past torn collar bone with it’s less than optimal flexibility really doesn’t like the shoulder positioning. It’s a very specific position to draw with and there is almost no room for error. Sitting in a chair? It’s not possible unless you can sit forward to twist.

    I agree with all of your points on the drawbacks of the palm out method. It’s more difficult to get a grip. You have to wedge your palm between your weapon and body. However, I can do it without having to sit forward and create space while seated. I can also do it one handed because the webbing of my hand rides my shirt up and out of the way (to my forearm) for access.

    While I think while standing with room, palm in will accomplish a more perfect draw, palm out has higher chance of actually being able to be accomplished if body positioning is randomized.

  9. Mike Hale on July 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Having carried a 1911 , off and on, for the better part of 50 yrs. and tried both methods , I find that palm out is better for me. I understand your POV and admit you have a point, HOWEVER, WRONG really dosen’t belong . People are different, some can’t rotate their hand, some , like me are better and faster with the wrong technique. Be kind. It has served me well for a very long time.

    • Kimber on April 22, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      I agree — Palm Out — has served me well for 30+ yrs. Not everyone is as limber or svelte as others. Defensively, its more important to be able to present the gun safely and quickly. If Palm Out is more natural, more comfortable, use it.

      • Matthew Maruster on January 25, 2021 at 9:51 am

        If you are not limber enough to draw the firearm in the correct manner, you shouldn’t carry in that manner. One major reason (on a long list of reasons) that carrying in the small of the back is horrible is because it doesn’t allow people who are not very flexible to draw safely. Carrying the gun in a sub-optimal way and then compounding the issue by drawing it in a manner that is inherently less safe, is a bad trajectory. The list of reasons not to carry in small of the back is long, and there are far better ways to carry a gun for self-defense. Just trying to help make people better, not sufficient.

        • Dj on April 2, 2022 at 2:19 am

          @Matthew Marketer, Despite the article bring fairly correct, I feel this article and your post is full of discrimination.

          Your statement is saying fairly the exact same thing as, “if you don’t have legs, you shouldn’t play basketball, despite being in the para-olympics” or “if you don’t have any arms and legs, you shouldn’t be doing any material arts or working out.”

          Using your skills in a sub-optimal way and compounding the issue by physical manner is inherently less safe, and is a bad goal. The reasons to not participate in such events are long and there are far better ways to avoid hurting yourselves. Just trying to help make better people, not sufficient.

          So hypothetical 300lb Kimber who works 3rd shift with very few co-workers, can’t carry appendix cause it hurts, can’t carry 3 o’clock cause it prints substantially, can’t carry 5 o’clock “palm in” cause of a bad right shoulder, left hand doesn’t count cause he has major left arm issues, and unfortunately can’t carry the only possible way of 5 o’clock cause it’s hypothetically unsafe.

          Sorry hypothetical 300lb Mr. de@d Kimber (sorry to use your name as an example) but apparently according to @Matthew Marketer, Mr. Kimber’s choice to not concealed carry was correct, when his place of business was robbed by a single culprit during 3rd shift and as a result, directly affected.

          Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with this article, but unfortunately, the article along with your post, I feel it completely discriminates tons of physically challenged, but very responsible, and capable individuals.

          In reply to @Matthew Maruster’s post:

          “If you are not limber enough to draw the firearm in the correct manner, you shouldn’t carry in that manner. One major reason (on a long list of reasons) that carrying in the small of the back is horrible is because it doesn’t allow people who are not very flexible to draw safely. Carrying the gun in a sub-optimal way and then compounding the issue by drawing it in a manner that is inherently less safe, is a bad trajectory. The list of reasons not to carry in small of the back is long, and there are far better ways to carry a gun for self-defense. Just trying to help make people better, not sufficient.”

          • Matthew Maruster on April 5, 2022 at 12:43 pm

            You misunderstood my response. I was addressing the comment that carrying in the small of your back with your palm out as a solution for people with flexibility issues, doesn’t solve the drawbacks of small of the back carry. That method only compounds one of the problems with SOB carry. My comment doesn’t say people who are physically challenged” shouldn’t carry. In fact, it says “there are better ways to carry,” and that’s not an objective opinion. In every conceivable metric, SOB carry is horrible, regardless of any physical challenges.

  10. joe muniz on July 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    The only possible advantage I can see to palm in (maybe?) is perhaps easier off hand drawing. But if that’s a consideration, just train to do a palm in draw with your off hand, should your main hand become unavailable/injured.

  11. Tony Hampton on October 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Nice article. I don’t carry but if I did I would be drawn to the palm out carry.
    I will have to think this over. My second choice would be the cross draw.

  12. Forrest Kramer on November 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I have carried SOB reverse position for 40 years. While I prefer the comfort of my shoulder holster, I often need the concealment of the inside waist band holster. I have been forced to deploy my firearm on numerous occasions with no ill effects to myself.
    I have also taught sever people to carry this way, including my adult children. I won’t say it’s the fastest draw, i have speed holsters for competition, but for concealment when you can’t wear a heavy cover, it works the best.
    It all boils down to training. If you aren’t trained properly to handle a firearm from the holster to target, there is a good chance you won’t be able to safely in a crises situation.
    Stay safe everyone!

  13. T Brady is on December 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    I have a problem carrying in my belt, when I take it from my belt the safety is off. It’s a Rutger LC9s and that’s unacceptable I can’t take a chance with well you no. so I use a holster and it’s a bit bulky. Anyone have a suggestion for belt carry?

  14. Tom Donnell on December 30, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    If you could only send this to TV and movie land, they are the biggest offenders.

  15. michael. czmyr on December 30, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    exactly the way I would carry, palm out.

    • michael. czmyr on December 30, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      sorry, correction, palm in, it can get confusing.

  16. Sue lange on January 1, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Dear gun industry, please stop using photos of people with their finger on the trigger when they clearly are not on target. Palm or palm out, oveelr half your photos depict people who are unsafe. No, it’s not “okay” just because your point isn’t about safety in this instance. We are supposed to be responsible gun owners. Let’s start with setting a better example all the time, every time, no exceptions.

    • Jacob Paulsen on January 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      Sue the only pictures above that show a finger on the trigger are those which are used specifically to illustrate unsafe practices. So I think we are on the same page.

  17. John on February 6, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I agree with most of what was said above. But you missed out on the positive sides of carrying small of the back. I have carried for nigh on 23 years. I have carried small of the back with a palm out draw for 80% of those years. The largest reason IMHO to carry small of the back is tactical. Your pistol remains hidden behind your body until it is coming out and up. Where as virtually no other draw position has that advantage. With practice the small of the back carry has far less what I like to call “flourishing”. My shoulders stay very even and my arms do not have to be exaggerated in movement to draw my pistol. In other words my body language does not communicate that I am drawing my weapon. I believe hip carry, palm in, and even appendix carry are probably faster at shuckiing iron than SOTB, but you telegraph that you are drawing a pistol in all these other draws and that could be a good thing if the person in question might run away, but tactically it is an error.

    That said I would like to address printing. Tactically speaking there is no way to carry a full size pistol, in shorts and a tshirt, with out it being anywhere but small of the back and have it not be noticed by any even mildly trained eye. SOTB is not perfect under these circumstances either, but much better then hip carry. Changing the size of your gun becomes your only option. Body size and build aside.

    Now that it is hard to find a proper small of the back style holster in part due to people exclaiming the negatives of the style of carry as well as to people insinuating it might be irresponsible, negligent, dangerous, or even wrong. It makes it harder to carry SOTB properly without a proper holster. I can afford good leather, and over the years I have developed a relationship with a good tanner to keep me in properly designed leather.

    Now mechanically speaking. Training, training, training. Driving a car is dangerous without practice. Pulling a gun without practice is as well. But purely speaking mechanics of bones and muscle the palm out small of the back draw is the only way to properly align you forearm, and wrist angle to properly grip your pistol on draw, except for appendix carry. As your gun hand moves closer to the hips your wrist bends which causes misalignment with the grip. Drawing from the stomach or back are the only way your forearm and wrist align immediately and mechanically to correctly grip the pistol. Unless of course you wear baggy pants and have your gun attached to a holster on a belt closer to your low hip.

    Some of your points are arguably not valid. But damage to your back is valid. I have not fallen on my gun, but I can envision such a scenario happening. And damage might be done. That being said I am not trying to argue the negatives with anybody. But the positives you might have missed.

    Lastly, this has to do with printing, a gun in the small of the back has a huge advantage. They can’t see it, so they can’t take it. And trying to grab my weapon from any angle but from directly behind me would leave my attacker in a much more difficult position to take my weapon. Most people who openly carry are trained extensively in how to thwart the theft of there firearm. Carrying smaller firearms on the hip helps to reduce printing, but to me it is still obvious, especially when walking. But a gun in the small of your back IMHO is harder to take then one from any other carry position.

    Showing trigger fingers on triggers from battery position is bad. .45 is the only pistol defense caliber worthy of carrying. And glocks are not good for me are a couple of other things I believe as well. There are a few more, but it would be contrary and argumentative.

  18. MC on May 7, 2019 at 8:26 am

    One thing maybe not mentioned is the difference between 6 o’clock carry position and a more 5-3:30 o’clock position.
    I think a lot of guys believe the true middle of the back 6 o’clock position is harder to get to with a palm-in move, and easier to reach with a palm-out move. Try it. Reach behind your back palm-out and you can likely get all the way over to your opposite hip. Reach behind your back with a palm in move and you are lucky to get very far past the middle of the back before your shoulder aches and you have to stop. It just seems quicker and easier to get to 6 o’clock palm-out.
    Everything you said about strength of the position is totally true. Although I would maybe like to carry at 6 o’clock, I carry at about 4 o’clock just because I like the feel of a palm-in draw, and just can’t do it at the 6 o’clock position,even with a left-hand holster with reverse cant.
    Great article.

  19. Dave. on May 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    where can i find a palm out

    • Jacob Paulsen on May 15, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      If you mean a palm out holster… then read above for clarity.

  20. Howard on June 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Yeah think it comes down personal preference. I don’t feel comfortable one in the chamber and appendix carry. Never have. So I choose the small of my back. I don’t like anyone knowing that I carry. I rather have the extra hurdles of carrying the small of my back than appendix carry. I’m comfortable with that decision during the hot months. Cool jacket months I’m all outside the wasteband carry.

    • Matthew Maruster on June 12, 2019 at 9:22 am

      Howard, Some things are personal preference, however, this is a topic that is more of a best practice vs. not so good practice. For all the reasons mentioned in the article, carrying SOB has many drawbacks, and carrying backward in SOB adds even more problems.

      • Mitch on December 11, 2021 at 1:18 pm

        Thank you for this article. I have conceal carried for 6 plus years now in the small of my back with a palm in draw. It never seemed quite right to me and I was contemplating going to a left hand IWB but after reading this article the points you made were well taken. I will continue to carry Palm in. Thanks for the great article.

  21. Bill on July 10, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Did anyone notice the last picture is of a Walther CP99? In other words a BB gun?

  22. Robert K Williams on August 12, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the analysis. IWB real estate has become scarce in my later years, hence I find myself turning to SOB carry. I appreciate your analysis and agree with your points. I’m going to purchase an inexpensive RH holster and carry palm in for awhile and see how that feels. I appreciate your thoughts.

  23. Jeff on September 25, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for the article. I especially like the part about strength/weakness palm-in/palm-out. I also didn’t like that you are speaking of 4oclock exclusivity and not 6oclock. I carry Palm out, 6oclock… I’m a little chubby so 4oclock has never worked for me. Also, I’m right handed and I’ve had my right shoulder rebuilt 3 times, surgery, so Palm in draw is impossible for me. My shoulder no longer rotates like that..
    Thank for the article

  24. Justin on January 25, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Hello, This is a fun and debatable topic, I get the points. But it’s debatable depending on the reasons and issues that vary per person.

    Like some comments, I’m the same way, Palm out 6 o’clock, due to shoulder injuries. I can not do palm in if I wanted to without causing pain or looking like a idiot trying to get to it, due to my poor shoulder rotation. Now I can easily draw with my left, palm in, if needed to. So I made sure my carry also has a ambidextrous safety. Having a bad dominate arm, you learn to use your other arm more often when you least expect it to flare up or stiffen up.

    So why not appendix then? Because I like fitted clothing, it’s to uncomfortable in the front, to tight, impossible when sitting with fitted clothing without having to remove it from holster and now it’s a pocket carry. Plus I don’t want to buy loose pants or buy 1-2 sizes larger just to make it fit better.
    SOB palm out is the best choice for me, besides open carry.

    Other thoughts: size does matter. If you carry a full size carry, I can see you will run into some of the suggested issues. My main carry is a micro 1911. I have little issues. Rule 1: if you get a carry – practice-practice-practice. So no matter which way you carry it, if you Practice with it, get comfortable with your firearm and treat it like you would a family member, you can make it efficient regardless of how you carry it. Plus Know what you are wearing and how to wear certain clothing as well, with any carry. When done right with proper training and practice a SOB is a efficient carry position.

    If you carry it in a new position, that’s different. It will be uncomfortable, slow draw and awkward. Until you practice with it. If you go from appendix to sob, yah I can see the disputes easily. My friends are like that, appendix only, but they are not me or have my issues to justify SOB carry either. To them it feels weird and not the right way for them.

    That’s my 2 cents 🙂

  25. don johnson on January 28, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    stand in front of mirror and draw both ways palm in and palm out . Which one is less obvious you are drawing a gun? Do the same while seat belted in your car.

  26. Scott LaFrance on May 14, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I much actually prefer the “Palm Out” carry. It is the most natural for me, it is faster (for me) I can draw this way while standing, sitting, or laying down without excessive strain on my wrist or elbow. So while I appreciate your opinion that it is wrong…I’d have to submit that it is wrong FOR YOU…not anyone else.

    • Matthew Maruster on May 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Scott, regardless of which way your palm faces when you draw the gun, carrying small of the back is bad for a whole host of reasons. Between the two, a palm-out draw makes it all but impossible to draw the gun consistently, quickly, and effectively without muzzling yourself or someone else during the draw. A palm-in draw stroke isn’t much better at mitigating this issue, but it is better. This is why most instructors (and ranges in general) won’t allow students to carry SOB in their classes. For so many reasons it is just a terrible way to carry a gun. I understand drawing SOB puts pressure on your wrist and elbow. You’re not the exception, because SOB a poor place to draw a gun from. Instead of fixing the issue by flipping the gun around, seriously consider working towards carrying the gun in a method that isn’t inherently terrible like SOB. This is advice to help you get better, which is what our goal is. Why settle for good when there are much better options available?

  27. Michael Lawhon on July 21, 2020 at 1:20 am

    Having had a full-thickness tear of my right (strong side) rotator cuff, and subsequent surgical repair including a titanium pin to secure the tendon to the bone, my range of motion is limited. There is no way that I can rotate my shoulder enough for a palm-in draw of a middle or small of back holster location, therefore it’s a palm-out draw for me.

  28. David F on July 23, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    One thing that you fail to mention in every example photo you have posted there is no holster, also they are all carrying at 6 o’clock. Carrying cavalry style is a very easy and convenient way to carry a pistol when you don’t have a holster handy or ready and you need to have a gun on you now. Also cavalry style carry is now generally done at 6 o’clock, allowing for a deeper concealment of the gun, while being more comfortable when seated. Try drawing palm in from 6 o’clock, unless you are wearing a dedicated extreme cant SOB holster, it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable. Also I think you said it best. “Why Is it So Popular? Because it feels more natural. A Palm In draw requires more torque on the shoulder and wrist. Without being told otherwise a Palm In draw just feels awkward and uncomfortable.” (No matter what you’re told, drawing palm in from 6 o’clock is awkward and uncomfortable if not impossible for some.) Plus lets not forget Wild Bill Hickok seemed to do quite well carrying his Colt 1851 Navy revolvers tucked in his belt butt forward.

    • Ray S. on March 10, 2024 at 11:35 am

      Could anyone please explain the meaning of “cavalry style” carry? Please forgive me for my ignorance. Thank you.

  29. Jonathan on July 31, 2020 at 4:24 am

    I’ve had SOB holster for 20 years that was designed for palm in carry. I just bought a compact 45 and a new holster that is ambidextrous and can be carried on the hip and palm in and palm out in the small of the back. I was considering changing to palm out for the very reason you stated, it feels more natural. However, after reading your article and rehearsing the mechanics of this draw I will continue to carry palm in. It may not feel natural but the draw is much smoother and shorter since the barrel doesn’t have to clear my side to aim. Thanks for helping me evaluate the various SOB carry configurations.

  30. Georges on September 11, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I carry so many different ways. I like them all for different reasons. Whenever I did carry palm out, it was like 5ish. Being right handed with a left hand holster, I’d always step forward with the left leg or step back with the right leg to draw which seemingly makes all the awkwardness of it go away to me. I don’t do it as much due to discomfort when sitting, but I do find it fun to draw bladed like that sometimes lol maybe it was the movies. Palm in a little past 3 o clock is my main Jane.

  31. Ed on October 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Many valid points. However, you left out an advantage to palm-out draw. Many times, especially these days, you may find yourself in an unsettling position but which does not quite justify brandishing a weapon. Some states, like Michigan, regard a gesture that communicates possession of a weapon in a manner that convey’s a threat the crime of “brandishing.” Reaching palm-in more or less telegraphs what you’re doing and thinking, so unless circumstances justify brandishing, it may be unwise to assume a position with your hand on your weapon, ready to draw. However, with a palm-out approach, being more natural and less obvious, it may be possible to place your hand near or on your weapon without telegraphing that you are ready to that degree. That, to my mind, is a significant consideration to both palm-in and pocket carry.

  32. Ron B. on February 26, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Good job young man honestly I never knew this was an issue because like you said it just feels right. I won’t be doing this anymore.

    Thanks for the information.

  33. Gerry Jantsch on February 27, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    I don’t carry in the small of my back, but I do carry at the 4 o’clock position.. I personally use the palm in for 2 reasons. 1st, it just feels more comfortable to do so. 2nd, as soon as I clear my holster, I am not flagged myself. The muzzle is always away from my body during presentation.. In dry fire practice I can draw , put one shot on target at 25 ft. Reload and get another shot on target in less than 4 seconds. I know that’s not real fast but I’m still working on it. I have also been practicing with gloves on which makes it a little more difficult. I have the 365xl and I have big hands. I do find that I am faster without gloves on. So, I keep on practicing. With that being said. Do what works for you and keep practicing

  34. Karl Rehn on March 5, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve been in the training business for 30 years, have taken over 3000 hours of training from instructors from all perspectives (law enforcement, competition, military, private sector). None (zero point zero zero zero) of them ever recommended palm out drawing or carrying so far around the back that palm out drawing was even viable. They all either carry strong side (4 o clock), 3 oclock or appendix carry. Anyone that trains and puts a timer on drawspeed understands that the farther behind you that you put the gun, the slower your drawtime is. Thus AIWB is faster than 3 oclock, which is faster than 4 oclock.

    Similarly, in the past 10-15 years, a lot of smart people have pressure tested all kinds of carry methods in “gun grappling” classes working against live opponents. None of the instructors that specialize in that type of training recommend behind the back, palm out carrying.

    Most trainers that teach formal handgun courses beyond the carry permit level won’t allow behind the back, palm out drawing on the line because the likelihood that the shooter will muzzle himself or others on the line is too high. It’s been awhile since I read the USPSA and IDPA rulebooks but I’m 99% sure they don’t allow it either.

    The only advocates I can find for that carry position and draw technique all seem to share the common links of (a) never attended a formal class where drawing from a holster under time pressure was taught or required and (b) never using a shooting timer in their own practice/having no concern about draw speed generally.

    Those that claim that no other method works for them have likely never tried a modern holster nor been trained in modern techniques. Those with physical limitations would likely find appendix carry easier and less uncomfortable than behind the back carry (and faster and safer), were they to try it using a holster made for that specific carry position.

  35. Bill on March 5, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    I preached against palm out 30+ years ago as a police firearms instructor, and agree with all your points.

    Trigger control is THE most important consideration in the draw Everything else is learned by rote, but under the stress of an armed encounter – with or without physical contact – variables like shirt fabric where it shouldn’t be, shifted gun, and just plain panic can bite you in the ass or elsewhere, literally.

    I know one ex-cop and one perp who are missing pieces of butt (the cop) and pelvis (the perp) because they carried in the “comfortable” palm out position.

    Comfort with a chunk of metal massaging one’s spine or kidney is a moot point anyway, but that’s a discussion for a different bull session.

  36. Joe on March 5, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I personally know a police LT. who carried his handcuffs in a case in the middle of his back, right where this type of carry puts the gun. A few weeks after being promoted, and on his way in his career, he slipped on ice, fell backward, and landed on the handcuffs, and his spine. He fractured his vertebra and no longer could walk. A reason not to carry handcuffs in the small of the back AND A DAM GOOD REASON NOT TO CARRY A MUCH LARGER HUNK OF STEEL, OR PLASTIC, IN THE SMALL OF YOUR BACK. Also, very uncomfortable to sit in a cruiser for 8 hours with the dam thing pressing on your spine. And you will never see a gun grab coming and even if you do won’t have the strength to stop it. Done and Done and Done!

  37. Deep Thinker on March 18, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Jason, I have spent a considerable portion of my 70+ years doing two things that many concealed carriers have not.done.

    1) thorough analysis of ergonomics and mechanical motions.

    2) teaching others from the novice level thru expert how to accomplish physical motions.

    Between teaching swimming, water sports and.shooting sports (pistol/rifle/shotgun/archery) and also being responsible to train people in manufacturing for research, development, assembly, etc. I learned a lot about what people can and can not do easily, effectively, and repeatably.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you on this topic, but that’s not my main reason for commenting!

    I suggest your next article on this topic NEEDS to be an analysis of the holsters, handguns,, can’t angles et al when forced by necessity to both draw and re-holster using the WEAK hand.

    I submit it won’t take much analysis to conclude that weak-hand appendix with zero can’t is much more desirable than any attempt regardless of palm orientation when the holster resides at 4 o’clock or small of the back.

    I think we might all agree that while those attempts might appear VERY amusing, it could result in a substandard gunfighting outcome.

  38. Shawn on September 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Drawing “palm in” is not natural and very conspicuous. You have zero chance of someone not knowing what you are doing. It’s possible to draw “palm out” and go completely unnoticed. It’s easy to come up with scenarios where stealth is most important. I would call this discussion a “draw”…………

  39. Chris on March 5, 2022 at 7:28 am

    As an instructor for nearly 20 years with many of the same credentials as the author, I am reminded of an old saying. “If it’s stupid, but it’s safe and it works, then it isn’t stupid”. It’s all about natural, for the average shooter who doesn’t train hundreds or thousands of draws, they will revert to what feels natural when in a crisis.

  40. Ronald Jones on November 13, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    I carry a pistol more often than not, but the things I worry about have 4 legs as opposed to two, and I am moving through very difficult brush.

    If I understand you correctly I agree with you, but not for a reason you’ve sighted. I have this discussion not concerning the palm of the hand, but the grip of the pistol. If you keep the pistol anywhere near your strong side (4 or 5 o’clock for right handed shooters,) and you carry with the grip pointing away from your spine, you have created a convenient hook for anything to catch on. I find this an issue even when the gun is concealed, especially if I need to twist or bend. It is just a safer and more convenient deal to carry the gun with the grip pointed towards the spine.

  41. Mark Olson on January 6, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    I trained Corrections Emergency teams for 14 years, on teams for 3 prior, 4 years USMC, over half of that at FAST Co. Atlantic. Most of my time was tactical, so the only conceal work we did was suit jacket carry in OWB or shoulder holsters. Never had to carry my own till now. Just bought a Taurus G2C for concealed as my wife is not a gun fanatic. I had the pleasure of catching your article as I was searching for the right holster and the points you make are solid. My intent is to have a small weapon with a decent capacity for regular concealed carry.
    I am going to work to do it right and maintain muzzle discipline and good trigger finger control. So I will be searching for an IWB right handed for a palm in draw.
    Thanks for your diligence, insight, solid points, and a great article. Well done!!

    Stay Safe!!

    • Kevin Dell on August 9, 2023 at 7:40 am

      Have you tried Exarchy Holsters? The guy that makes the holsters is extremely versatile on making holsters to fit what handgun and accessories you are carrying. He’s the one that explained this palm in method to me. There is a 16 week turnaround on his holsters, and I should be getting mine with in a few days. But I was impressed with his business, before I even have gotten his holster. He is a God-fearing family man.

  42. Lee on May 26, 2024 at 2:02 am

    personally,and i feel this one of the very very few topics associated with firearms that you can safely reply “its pretty much optional as long as its safe” but the main thing i see wrong with most of these photos is that in reality if your training was anywhere near descent youll know you dont carry a firearm not in a holster anyway. not legally anyway. carrying a firearm in states with well written laws will require it but those of us already in the know wont need a law. do i need to ask anyone if they wanna shoot off they johnson ? apparently i do because not long ago in a high school football stadium (of all places) near me a man retires to the curb after taking a friday night game. ironically, he will remove his phone from its holster (because you know them phones are expensive and we GOTTA protect them !!!0 and places a order for an uber ride home. as he sits down on the curb to wait for his ride he hears a muffled pop as the goshdarned derringer with no trigger guard or holster sends a 32 ACP ripping through his thig, clipping his femoral artery and ejecting itself into the pavement below and we must thank the Gods it didnt ricochet. he knows what just happened but he doesnt know that in 420 seconds he will be dead.

    do i need to say more ? probably.but im going to anyway because i dont want anyone to go away from this and have any reason to not take my advice. So, PLEASE, just do it. there are no rewards for good behavior so its really hard to know whats right or wrong. if a firearms expert tells us we need a holster its not optional. i do consider myself just shy of an expert because ive certainly been trained by military grade instructors (i was not in the military and have way to much respect for the armed services to even possibly mislead anyone about it) way before we even had the internet but it has been really great refreshing my training with online articles and references like the training videos offered by the USCCA and staying up to date with the changes that it has brought to the way we train too but my point is when these folks tell us something you can take it to the bank and cash it. and these guys will tell you, dont carry a weapon if your not gonna use a holster. that man could have saved his own life and never put the children or parents in ANY danger for 5 more dollars and if you dont owe it to yourself you certainly owe it to the people and children around you to take EVERY precaution. personally, i dont even carry one in the chamber if i carry a semi auto. i train to rack that slide when i pull my weapon while keeping the muzzle down and it literally takes milliseconds. yes, milliseconds can get you killed but its the way i was trained and its something i believe in. there are options too. if you NEED that level of protection, carry a modern revolver with transfer bar hammer style for your go to weapon. then you just either carry a lot of speed loaders and the new silicone stripper clips are super cool too or you can keep a higher capacity semi auto for a backup weapon. safety MUST be our 1st priority because they already want to take them away from us.

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