Concealed carry (CCW) is the practice of carrying a concealed weapon on or about the person, whether in public or on one's own property.
It is legal in all 50 states in the USA (with Illinois being the last to legalize it), though a few states regulate it to the point where it is nearly impossible to obtain. The law varies from state to state, and not all states require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Some states require that the weapon in question be a pistol (the permits in these states are referred to as a "Concealed Handgun Permit" (CHP) or a "Concealed Handgun License" (CHL)), while other states don't make any distinction as to what is carried, so long as it is concealed.
It is also technically legal in Canada, though often the permits are denied by local law enforcement.
Methods of concealmentEdit
The most common method of concealment is carry on the waistband. Holsters that are mounted outside the waistband (OWB) are usually designed so that they keep the weapon very close to the body to prevent the weapon from printing (creating "bumps" in clothing that give indication that a pistol is underneath) through the cover garment (usually a shirt or jacket).
Holsters may also be worn on the inside of the waistband (IWB). These have the advantage of being able to be worn anywhere within the waistband. The position is usually referred to as a position on a clock (3:00 carry, for instance, would be on the right side, near the arm). The holsters often cant the weapon so that the grip does not print. Any position from 12:30 to 1:30 is considered AIWB carry (literally, appendix inside the waistband), as the weapon is carried near where the appendix is located on the body. This position is particularly advantageous in that it is very hard to get the weapon to print. However, caution must be exercised with holstering and unholstering a weapon, especially since the weapon is usually canted and may be pointing at the vital artery that runs through the leg.
Shoulder holsters are also an option when an outer garment is worn or when other considerations make IWB or OWB carry impractical or undesirable.
Ankle holsters have become uncommon due to the prevalence of high-quality, high-concealability IWB and OWB holsters.
Weapons may also be carried concealed off the body. This is usually in the form of a purse, a fanny pack, a suitcase, a backpack, or something similar. This type of carry is advantageous in the fact that the weapon is usually very effectively concealed, and the type of weapon carried can be far more effective than a pistol (e.g. a compact carbine, submachine gun or even a compact shotgun). However, the weapon can be difficult to get to if needed, the carrier can be more easily disarmed, and it is easier to become negligent (such as leaving the suitcase/backpack containing the weapon unattended).