Pocket Carry vs Tuckable – Deep Carry Options

Carrying a gun can be complicated. Not always, and not even most of the time, but sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes that means changing how you dress, which can often cause issues when it comes to concealed carry. Deep concealment exists because certain clothes aren’t carry-friendly. When you find yourself in a less-than-stellar means of dress, you aren’t left with many options, and the two most consider are pocket carry or a tuckable IWB rig.

tuckable and pocket holster
Which is better for deep concealment?

Today we are going to compare and contrast the two methods of concealed carry and try to dig into the advantages and disadvantages of both. This isn’t a contest where we declare option A is better than option B. Instead, we want to deliver the truth about both carry styles so you can make a more informed decision.

Upon a promotion at the day job, I found myself in a new style of dress, and that style wasn’t carry-friendly. This led me down the road to figuring out what best worked for me.

Deep Concealment Carry Methods

There are more than two ways to dive into deep concealment. We have options like ankle carry, the Phlster Enigma, belly bands, and more. In the future, we plan to explore more options, but to maintain focus, we are going to keep this conversation at pocket carry and tuckable IWB rigs.

Pocket Carry

Pocket carry has been around for about as long as guns have been. Back in the day, guns like the original Philadelphia Derringer were designed for the coat pocket. In the early 1900s, the idea of pocket carry was common enough that it made its way into the names of weapons. The Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, for example, emphasized pocket carry.

pocket holster
Pocket holsters protect, orient, and make your draw faster.

These days pockets are a whole lot smaller than they used to be and aren’t limited to just jackets. Modern pocket carry typically implies either front or rear pocket carry. Regardless of which pocket you use, you need some form of pocket carry holster.

A holster prevents discharge by completely covering the trigger. It also ensures your gun doesn’t get covered in crap and crud, potentially rendering it useless. We also ensure it remains oriented correctly for a quick and smooth draw. Not to mention it ensures the user is comfortable and not poked and prodded.

Tuckable IWB

A tuckable IWB rig is one that allows the user to tuck their shirt in while wearing their holster. This is typically done with the clips of the holsters. They’ll have a gap between the clips and the holster body to allow a tucked-in shirt. The only part of the holster exposed is the clips on the belt, which are rarely noticed and often not likely to be a giveaway, although it’d be wise to use clips that match your belt in color.

tuckable holster SIG P365
Tuckable holsters allow you to wear a gun and a tucked-in shirt.

Tuckable IWB holsters come in various configurations, from all polymer to leather and hybrid designs. They can be carried with an appendix holster or strongside. They are just are versatile as a regular IWB rig and often just offer you the option to tuck your shirt in. Heck, you might have one and not even know it.

In Practice

I took to wearing either a pocket carrier gun or a tuckable holster for the last few weeks. I’ve trained, drawn, and shot with both rigs and have come to a few conclusions. First, let’s start with the one that seems to be the most important. Which can you draw fast from?

Which has the faster draw?

The answer is…it depends. It depends on a lot of factors. Let’s break it down to the situations where each has an advantage.

Pocket carry can be the faster draw if your hand is already in your pocket. Having your hand in your pocket isn’t threatening and doesn’t reveal the gun, but it allows you to grip, draw, and shoot very quickly, nearly less than a second at close range, after just a little practice. I’m betting I can get a second or subsecond draw with practice.

Tuckable IWB holsters offer an advantage if you are seated in any way. When seated, there is extra tension on a pocket carry holster. It’s harder to get your hand in your pocket sitting down, but it’s not too tough to untuck, grab your gun and get on with it. Tuckable is also faster when kneeling and in generally odd positions.

holster unconcealed
Now you see it…but with a quick shirt movement, you won’t.

If we are doing a perfect square range draw, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. Getting your hand in your pocket takes about the same amount of time as getting your cover garment cleared.

Which is more comfortable?

I think pocket carry takes the cake here. I can pocket carry all day and never have that ‘ah’ feeling when I unpocket my gun. A tuckable IWB isn’t necessarily a pain, but it can itch and rub as any other holster can. When it comes to comfortable carrying, your IWB tuckable will come down to the quality of your holster, but even with that said, pocket carry is so utterly comfortable it’s disgusting.

Which conceals better?

You could argue pocket carry does just because, no matter what, your IWB clips will be showing. That’s fine, but depending on your pants and holster options, your pocket-carry gun might print like crazy. A good pocket holster will help break up its shape, but if your trousers are on the skinny side, a grip looks like a grip.

clip hanging out of pants
The only thing that shows is a tuckable clip.

With tuckable holsters, the big issue is the shirt coming untucked and revealing your gun somehow. If the shirt starts untucking, it’s liable to get between your holster and body. This can cause concealment issues. Ultimately I think both excel in concealment, but both also have a few flaws.

Weapon Options

Tuckable IWB holsters give you way more options for guns. With pocket carry, you are stuck with pocket-sized pistols. This means LCPs, Boydguards, and maybe a J frame if you have the pocket for it. I pocket-carry a micro-sized LCP 2, and that’s about as big as I want to go.

The right tuckable IWB holster makes it easy to carry a Sig P365XL with light and optic, or a Glock 19, or hell, a 2011 for you masochists. You can career practically any gun in a tuckable IWB rig. You can also add on accessories, like lights and optics, without worry.


As you can see, you have to really size up what you plan to carry, how long you plan to carry it, and what you are likely to be doing while carrying it. It’s not black or white. I decided to go with pocket carry for my clothing situation. In my environment, there are multiple intervening steps between a potential bad guy and me, so I can settle for a smaller, lower-powered firearm.

That might not be your case. As always, we’d like to hear from you. Which would you prefer? Let us know below!

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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