Carrying Snub Revolvers

Could you share your thoughts on carry of snub in pocket holster versus with Desantis hip grip, iwb, or owb holster for discreet carry?

These four methods have pros and cons each. These are the ones I can think of, off the top of my head, in no particular order.


  • Given an appropriately sized gun, this is probably the method that will seem most ‘natural’ to men who are new to carrying guns. Men are used to carrying things in their pockets.
  • Doesn’t require much of a concealment garment.
  • It’s fast and convenient to arm yourself. Stick the gun in your pocket and out the door you go. That’s more important than many instructors are willing to give credence to.
  • You can have your hand on your gun in an iffy situation without being obvious about it.


  • Hard to access when you’re sitting down.
  • Requires a pocket of sufficient size and construction. Neither of those considerations is a given.
  • Doesn’t work well in well fitting slacks or pants.
  • Slower to access than a belt holster if you don’t have your hand on the gun.
  • Still requires a holster.

DeSantis Clip grip

  • It’s fast and convenient to arm yourself. Stick the gun in your belt and out the door you go.
  • Very concealable even with a light overgarment. Less likely to print than any other belt based system.
  • Easily accessible in the appendix position. Even when grappling, this is an easy method to access.


  • The DeSantis unit is the size of the round butt J frame. It’s unfortunate they didn’t make it larger; the boot grip profile is unnecessary when carrying a belt gun. I much prefer to use a Barami Hip-Grip in the square butt configuration, along with a grip adapter, even on a round butt gun. The square butt gives me a full three finger grip on the revolver, which I can shoot better.
  • Carries the gun next to your body, without protection. Some people will find this uncomfortable and even with a stainless gun, it will require regular maintenance to avoid rust.
  • Requires a certain amount of practice to get the draw consistently efficient. I dig my extended thumb behind the gun as the initial step of forming the grip. This is a little different from the typical drawstroke.
  • It’s not as secure as a good holster. I fell down once, while on crutches, and had my Hip Grip equipped gun come loose and end up inside my pants. Fortunately, I was able to recover it with no one around being the wiser.

Inside the Waistband (IWB)

  • It’s very concealable. The risk of printing is low.
  • There’s one IWB holster, from PHLster,  that actually aids in one handed reloading of the gun. The snub revolver is as hard a gun to reload one handed as exists. This clever design is really helpful for those who are concerned about that possibility.
  • The amount of friction between the gun and body provides a degree of retention, not necessarily from grab attempts, but rather from becoming dislodged accidently. J frames are small and don’t provide a lot for a holster to hold on to, compared to a service pistol.


  • Requires a good attachment method to secure it to the belt. I am less concerned about a clip on holster coming out on the draw than most of my colleagues. However, the clips on most of the cheap nylon holsters do not secure the holster well to the belt.
  • Kydex IWB holsters are often even more uncomfortable than having a bare gun in your belt.
  • Slightly slower and less consistent draw than an OWB holster. It’s not necessarily a lot, but if you work with a timer, the difference is measureable.

Outside the Waistband (OWB)

  • Probably the most consistent method in terms of drawstroke. A good OWB holster will hold the gun in the same position all the time and provide the most consistent draw of any method of carrying a handgun.
  • Also, usually the most comfortable method. A J frame can be carried all day easily in a good OWB holster with no discomfort. After a while, you may forget you’re packing a gun.


  • Least concealable of all the methods. That’s a relative term because an OWB J frame may still be more concealable than an IWB service pistol.
  • Unless using a paddle holster, it requires threading the belt through the holster, in most cases. For those who have to put on and take off their sidearm several times a day, this is annoying and time consuming.

In addition, I should mention three other methods; belly bands, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters.
Belly bands

  • Very concealable, even in business attire. The deepest concealment method of them all.
  • Doesn’t require a belt. Some women find this a good carry method because they don’t wear belts.


  • Draw is probably the slowest and most obvious of any method.
  • Requires a certain amount of practice to get the draw consistently efficient.

Shoulder holsters

  • Excellent method in a car. Comfortable and easy to access.
  • Doesn’t require a belt. This is another method some women like.
  • A well designed one is easy to put on and take off.


  • Draw tends to sweep the support arm. This can be mitigated but seldom eliminated.
  • Requires a certain amount of practice to get the draw consistently efficient.
  • Most shoulder holsters are terrible. If it costs less than $50, don’t buy it, it’s a POS.

Ankle holsters


  • The last place people are going to look for a gun on you. Probably the most discreet method of carrying a gun there is.
  • Easy to access discreetly when you’re sitting down.


  • Most ankle holsters are terrible. If it costs less than $50, don’t buy it, it’s a POS.
  • Takes some getting used to. Most people will require some time to feel comfortable with it.
  • Can be uncomfortable. Wear the holster behind the ankle bone, not on top of it.
  • Have to be careful how you cross your legs.

There’s no perfect solution. I have methods I use more than others, but I use all these methods, depending on the situation.

3 responses

  1. People have their own views on the subject, and that is why there is much controversy on the issue. I have carried a S&W Model-36 in every position On Duty and Off Duty over the years. I have favorite carry positions and reasons for them, and the Job, always countered with regulations. I have over time, become aware that the regulations, are in place for a reason. Personally, strong side, covered trigger guard, and a thumb break strap covering the hammer, I like best. What clothing is worn? In a business suit, I like a round butt with Tyler T-grip not to print on the jacket. Same with ankle holsters. In an appendix carry IWB suede no safety strap I carried the square butt. In uniform or out of uniform, a 36 in a shoulder holster horizontally, either butt. In uniform inside my left coat pocket, no holster and a 36 with bobbed hammer spur. Car stops in the areas of high drug activity, always guns involved. At night, I walk up to the car, they see my right hand on the service weapon but, never notice my left hand in the pocket, pointing the 36 at them. For times when involved in street fights, nothing beats the strong side carry in my opinion, holster being leather, covered trigger guard and thumb break strap. I am so close to De Santis’ factory, that if I sneeze, they say “Bless you”, but never went in there. My thoughts are from my own experience and work for myself, only. I also worked Warrants, and carried the strong side holster on a 1 1/4″ belt worn over my skin, then, denim dungarees over that with belt as it further secured the weapon and I would wear any shirt in normal style. Nobody ever knew that I was armed. On robbery squad work, I carried two service revolvers and, a model-36. Speed loaders (HKS) for the service weapons, Bianchi Speed Strips, to load 2x2x1 for the 36 cannot be beat.

  2. […] of the masters of the snub revolver, Claude Werner recently posted an article on the different modes of carrying a snub revolver. The snub gives different options than a traditional full-sized service pistol, and Claude […]

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