In the world of concealed carry there are several options of where and how to safely tote your handgun. One of the most effective and widely used, but not often talked about, is the groin carry.
Why Groin Holsters?
When carrying a concealed handgun, the most popular spot in on the strong side at the 3, 4, 5 o’clock position for right-handed shooters or 7, 8, 9 position for left-handed shooters. This can however leave a disernable print where the outline of the firearm is easily seen, forcing the carrier to wear oversized shirts to obscure the pistol. Wearing the pistol in the 11, 12, 1 o'clock region, which is on or just to one side or the other of your belt buckle, allows a larger cavity to hide the weapon inside.
Furthermore, criminals have long known that the groin area is one of the best places to conceal contraband and weapons, as it’s the area least likely to be checked in a pat down. This is especially true male on male searches. In a 180-page FBI study comparing criminals and law enforcement, researchers noted that as much as 20% percent of criminals interviewed carried their handgun concealed in the groin region.
Groin carry Cons?
The biggest issue with this type of carry is weapon size. The sheer dimensions involved relegate the carry options to a compact or sub compact gun such as a Walther PPK, Smith snubby, or Baby Glock. While surely there is at least one Firearms Talk member who undoubtedly gets away with carrying a Colt long slide in his jock strap, for the average person using the groin as a concealment location, its mouse gun or compact only.
As with any IWB carry, very tight pants, narrow waistbands, thin or lightly colored fabric, and skirts present a problem with concealability. Of course, another aspect of this carry is its low-tolerance for negligent discharges.
You don't necessarily need to have a purpose-made groin holster, as many IWB holsters for small frame firearms will work just as well if placed in the 11 o'clock or 2 o'clock position. Quite often I have worn my trusty Smith Airweight in an old suede Bianchi IWB holster nestled in the groove to the inside of my right leg. It’s comfortable and just about impossible to see without x-ray vision.
With that being said there are several other concealed holsters out there that are specifically made for groin carry such as Thunderwear, SmartCarry, and Lightningwear.
Some of these designs have a waterproof liner in the holster's rear panel. This is the part of the holster worn next to the body and these liners allow air to pass through, so the holster still "breathes,” but does not allow perspiration to reach the firearm.
Lightningwear has been around for about twenty years and is well respected. They are one of the few groin holster producers that sell holsters to fit full sized handguns. The sincerest form of complement is imitation and there is no shortage of generic $20 Lightningwear holsters on the market. The real deal only costs $40-$50 so why fool with the knock offs.
SmartCarry dubbed their product “the Invisible Holster” and their line includes a Security model that has spare pockets for other items and serves as a backup money belt. They run from $50-$70.
Thunderwear bills themselves as the only company to offer three-layer waterproof (read as= sweat proof) lining on their holster backs. They custom make their offerings for $45-$70.
For those in the LE community and its surrounding industries, there is the FIVE-O deep concealment holster. Invented and patented by Department of Homeland Security training instructor JJ Racaza, the FIVE-O incorporates weapons retention with a hard plate that smooths the outline over larger area. Bad news is that it runs about $95.
All of these holsters beg to ask, is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?