The “Why” of Pocket Carry

The “Why” of Pocket Carry
  One of the things that I have adopted extensive use of since retirement from Law Enforcement in 2007 and moving to life as basically a simple citizen trying to avoid being a crime victim or working sensitive security jobs is pocket carry of snub revolvers as my base of concealed carry. I start with those little lightweight snub revolvers and add to that based on conditions.
  So, I was asked by a peer from the LE training world to explain the why behind this philosophy. The why is pretty simple. As anyone who has ever trained with me knows, I am a huge advocate of use of a hard Low Ready position for dealing with threats. I have over three decades of professionally dealing with making difficult force decisions in a highly litigious environment on a very regular basis. This included making numerous force decisions daily with a gun in my hand. I have found in my time dealing with force problems in multiple capacities as a full time police officer, full time professional executive protection officer and working high threat security that a hard low ready gave me a very advantageous position to make force decisions with a firearm gripped in an efficient proper grip and set for a rapid simple straight-line movement into the eye line if lethal force was needed and yet without violation of a single safety rule. This is important to me, yet lost on much of the internet that is all about “shooting”. I have had thousands of people in front of the gun, only a couple required shooting. To me, domination of the force problem is far more important than shooting. If shooting is required I also want to have gained as much information as possible to articulate that lethal force was legal, moral, and ethically right without a firearm in my line of vision or violation of safety rules if I am wrong. So that sets up my personal thoughts in extensive use of a solid low ready. If you do things different, I honestly do not care nor will you convince me to change the way I do things. Save it for a gun forum pissing contest.

  When I retired from law enforcement with a ton of injuries, my life changed a lot. Being a widowed dad to a young daughter brought about a lot of mindset changes. I began to always have a small snub revolver in my pocket. I was not daily engaged professionally in the looking for trouble business. I was now in the getting out of trouble business. That was both protecting my family personally and protecting clients professionally. The pocket snub gives me the ability to confront threats exactly in the manor I have found success with as a police officer, you just cannot see it. By gripping a small snub in my pocket at signs of trouble (key is being able to see it well before it happens), I am essentially in a “Covered Low Ready”. I use this term when teaching this concept. I am absolutely ready to go to lethal force efficiently if needed, yet am not violating any safety rules nor brandishing a firearm. I have had great success with this in multiple situations that diffused themselves without a shot fired. It is not theory, I personally know this works and how it works. It has drawbacks that need to be trained through and understood. The advantage for me is I have a real sub one-second draw to a shot without ever displaying a firearm, a range posture or something that requires both hands to do efficiently.
I cannot emphasize enough that I can set up for deployment without a threatening posture, panicking the public or doing something where I am committing a crime I need to justify like brandishing or assault with a firearm.
If you do not understand what constitutes brandishing or assault, I highly recommend reading statutes, jury instructions and having a deep understanding of the sub-sections of the statutes that justify commission of these crimes. Obviously, avoiding these issues all together as an armed citizen, security professional or law enforcement officer is optimal, and optimal is the goal. If a situation degrades, or immediate response is needed I can still go to either a “go to trouble gun” if my pocket gun is a secondary, or use a traditional low ready or direct force if that is required. The Covered Low Ready is a solid option for typical situations faced by people in todays world. Countering a Robbery, dealing with suspicious individuals, or strangers violating social norms or your personal space. Most of those individuals who partake in those activities will also realize exactly what is happening and I have found they will seek easier prey, which is a win.
  This is simply the why of the Covered Low Ready. There is a lot of nuance and context with firearm, holster, clothing and environment concerns and issues and factors that go along with it. Hopefully, the explanation of the why will help those understand why I teach this concept and have spent so much time on curriculum and training in on this particular concept.


  1. Mike Pipes on February 23, 2024 at 7:21 am

    I miss read the first sentence in the last paragraph, This is simply the WAY of the Covered Low Ready………….well that works too…CYA Mike

  2. John Dunbar on February 23, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Great read!!

  3. Scott Leonard on February 23, 2024 at 9:24 am

    Live everyday with a snub in my pocket. My wife just smiles when I see something that looks a bit jdlr and I slip my hand into my pocket. Thanks Darryl.

  4. Mike on February 23, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Nothing better for an old retired guy like me. Hand in pocket and I’m not just glad to see you.

  5. Frank Groth on February 23, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    This article shows the difference between the musings of Gunternet influencers and the analysis, in context, of actual subject matter experts. Terrific piece with solid takeaways.

  6. Neil Feathers on February 23, 2024 at 3:20 pm

    The WHY is great, and good info.

    My question is the How.

    Not what gun or holster, those are personal, but literally the “how you manage it.”
    “Let me ‘splain. No, that will take too long, let me sum up…”

    In the attached picture you see what I walk around with every day. Some small changes (firearm and reloads, amount of change, etc), but in general, this:

    Left front pocket – Ear pro (related to TBI, used often in daily situations), medicine bottle, flashlight (size may change),nail clippers (splinter removal), if carrying revolver, speedloader.

    Right front pocket – change, lighter, pocket knife, keys with attached light.

    Left rear pocket – wallet.
    Right rear pocket – handkerchief

    Left belt (10 o’clock ish) – 2 Leatherman sheaths. 1 with Leatherman, one with reloads.

    AIWB or OWB 3:30 ish, Hand gun.

    Phone, usually in breast or coat pocket. Cargo pocket if wearing cargo pants. Normal pants, Jeans.

    So, add all of RH front pocket to left, harder access, etc. Ditto if I put Handgun in Left front pocket…

    Carry rear right pocket. Not really an advantage over belt carry…

    Coat pocket… Yep! Definitely do this when outside.

    So, what do you that ACTUALLY pocket carry all the time do for your carry.

    Please note, every item I have named (except handgun & reloads) gets used daily. Sometimes multiple times, daily.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    (picture not included here, but on FB response)

    • Christopher Davis on February 23, 2024 at 6:31 pm

      You could combine the knife and nail clippers into a Swiss Army knife instead of the multitool. You could also reduce the number of speed loaders, or not carry any. According to what most people maintain, the chances of a reload are very slim.

      For my pocket carry I have the revolver in my right front pocket, light, keys and slim wallet in the left front and, if I’m carrying a phone, right rear pocket.

      • Tom Stuart on March 26, 2024 at 5:51 pm

        Very well thought out and presented article. If someday, God forbid, I am involved in a defensive use of gun shooting, I hope to be able to articulate my reasons for acting. That would include my reasoning, training, and attempt at avoidance of a situation well in advance.

        Thank you sir, and thanks also for your years of dedication as a public servant. As my best friend, a former policeman who retired from the Secret Service says, “Stay Alert, Stay Alive.”

    • Darryl Bolke on February 26, 2024 at 7:38 am

      If a priority is a gun in your pocket, then you need to find places for other stuff. During my cop years, I didn’t use it much. I carried bigger guns and felt a need for lots of support gear. Since retirement I carry far less stuff…although my loaded cargo shorts don’t seem like it. The other thing I found is things like Fanny packs or off body carriers for some of that support gear.
      Pocket carry is not for everyone, and that is okay. -DB

  7. Bill on February 24, 2024 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks DB. Great explanation of the why. More often than people know, my traffic stops in San Bernardino City included the “Covered Low Ready” snub.

    Your example of this for the retired officers and armed citizens, edc users (whatever we want to define it as) makes a lot of ethical, legal and common sense. Appreciate your perspective

  8. Pat 5tarfish on February 24, 2024 at 7:31 pm

    I use Pocket carry at work, my job requires me to be on the ground on my side at times, so conventional carry is painful on the hips, enter pocket carry. Flashlight and box cutter in opposite front pocket.

  9. Andrew Baldwin on February 25, 2024 at 6:56 pm

    Excellent article as always, DB.
    Having a child enter the family is my “why” of pocket carry. I can wrap a baby carrier around my hips and still grasp or easily retrieve my 638 from the front pocket. I spend a lot of time rolling around on the floor wrestling and the pain of a hip holstered gun smashing into me or the danger of it falling out within reach of my son are nullified.
    I also spend more time at playgrounds, zoos, and other kid-friendly but certainly not gun-friendly places where discreet carry is paramount and a shirt riding up over the butt of a gun as I go down the slide would raise some very anxious eyebrows.

    I’m a dad and a teacher, not a professional trouble-seeker, and pocket carry of a snub is the perfect answer to the question of protecting my family if trouble should end up seeking us.

  10. Spencer Price on February 25, 2024 at 11:55 pm

    Great Article!

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  14. Jay Liddick on March 3, 2024 at 7:14 pm

    Great article DB. I carry this was a majority of the time. For the normal citizen this is a perfect weapon and carry method choice to protect themselves and their loved ones when avoidance fails.

  15. Steve Shields on March 8, 2024 at 9:42 pm

    Now comes the question, which pants allow for good accessibility and an efficient draw?

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  17. Mark Cubine on April 1, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for this thoughtful article.

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