Small of back (SOB) holsters, also known as middle of back (MOB) holsters, have received significant attention over the years, but their practicality and safety remain subjects of debate. While they may look cool in Hollywood, experienced gun handlers generally consider SOB holsters to be a poor choice for several lreasons. Many reputable holster makers, such as Galco, do not offer SOB holsters due to these concerns. Let’s take a look at these concerns.

Cons to Carrying Small of Back

Safety Concerns

Safety is paramount. Wearing a holster in the SOB concealed carry position places the gun directly over the spine. In the unfortunate event of a slip or fall, this positioning increases the risk of spinal injury. Carrying anything hard over the spine, whether it’s a knife, cell phone, or spare ammo, is ill-advised due to the potential for injury during a fall. Needless to say, spinal injuries can have serious consequences and be life-changing.

Another safety concern is the drawing motion from an SOB holster — whether palm-in or palm-out — which is challenging to execute safely. It’s easy to inadvertently sweep one’s lower abdomen, hips or thighs during the draw.

Drawing from an SOB holster is slower and clumsier compared to holsters worn on the side or front of the body. Shoulder mobility problems, which are common among middle-aged or older individuals, further hinder the draw process.

SOB wearers also cannot see the holster while reholstering the handgun. “Looking the gun in” (ensuring no obstructions) becomes difficult, increasing the risk of negligent discharges.

Weapon Retention in an SOB Holster

While SOB holsters make it challenging for the wearer to draw from, they make it exceptionally easy for an attacker at arm’s length to disarm the carrier. Defending against a grab attempt is difficult in this carry position, compromising the wearer’s ability to react swiftly and counter an attack.

The human body is not designed for efficient movement in the SOB area. Shoulder mobility, spine curvature and hip rotation all hinder quick responses.

Choosing a Holster for Comfort and Lifestyle

Many American jobs involve prolonged sitting, which makes carrying an SOB holster uncomfortable. Even if standing is part of your job, lengthy commutes can exacerbate discomfort when carrying in the small of the back. Sitting for extended periods during commutes restricts movement and exacerbates any discomfort caused by the holster.

Carrying an SOB holster while seated can be cumbersome. The rigid structure of the holster may dig into the lower back, causing discomfort over time. The pressure exerted by the gun and holster against the spine and surrounding muscles can lead to fatigue and even pain during extended periods of sitting. Maintaining good posture while carrying in an SOB holster can be challenging, especially when confined to a seat.


Concealment is also an issue. Initially, SOB holsters may seem like an excellent choice for deep concealment. From the front, an SOB holster is virtually invisible. However, maintaining concealment becomes tricky when bending over to tie your shoelaces, pick up an item, or perform any everyday task. Regular clothing doesn’t provide adequate coverage during bending or movement.

Alternatives to Small of Back Concealed Carry

Considering all these factors, I do not recommend SOB holsters. For safety, drawing efficiency, and comfort, it is advisable to carry your gun no further back than the 5 o’clock position. Explore alternative holster options, both inside and outside the pants. Responsible gun ownership involves not only selecting the right equipment but also understanding its limitations.

Concealed carry requires understanding the trade-offs and selecting a method that aligns with your lifestyle and safety needs. Choose a carry method that balances concealment, comfort, accessibility, and safety. Regardless of the chosen carry position, regular training is essential.


Galco Holsters: