ATFEH: Strong-Side Hip

[This is an archived post from Mad Science Defense, currently on indefinite hiatus, and may not reflect the usual tone and content of Author J.R. White and/or the Storyteller at Large Blog. If you have arrived here via links from a website elsewhere in the tactical and combatives training community, we wish you the best in your skill development journey.]

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This is Part 3 in a series. Be sure to read Part 1 “A Tool For Each Hand” and Part 2 “ATFEH: Appendix Carry”.

In our previous posts I talked about the benefits of being able to grab your weapons, tourniquet or reload with either hand, and also discussed the advantages/disadvantages of Appendix carry in that respect. Now it’s time to look at another option: Strong-side Hip.

Strong-side hip is the most recognized and widely used method of carry. It’s how police, military, competition shooters and cowboys have traditionally carried their sidearms. The method has been around since at least the 19th century.

“Another advantage of this carry method is ease of access and concealment if you’re wearing a tucked shirt and jacket.”

For best access to tools with either hand, I recommend you wear your gun on or just behind the hip, your knife on the other side or on the centerline, and the tourniquet on your centerline. This method has the advantage of being less dependent on body type, and works well for those ideologically opposed to appendix carry. It doesn’t allow you to access the gun with either hand (unless you fall within a certain body type), but at least it gives you access to a weapon with the off hand and tourniquet access with both hands.

Another advantage of this carry method is ease of access and concealment if you’re wearing a tucked shirt and jacket. (Cover garments that are open in the front don’t allow you to carry Appendix with a tucked shirt unless you tuck over the weapon, in which case you slow your draw). Ease of concealment isn’t as good as some other methods (this carry method originated with folks who by and large carried their guns openly), but it’s still a very effective way to hide your handgun. Accessing tools from extreme close quarters is also still pretty solid, especially if you can carry the knife on or near the centerline. Additionally, if you only train from strong side hip due to range restrictions or training background, then this method will integrate best with your existing skillset.

“If you’re in the dirt grappling with an attacker and have to access the gun while on your back, it’s going to be harder.”

The main disadvantage is restricted access to the handgun when on the ground. If you’re in the dirt grappling with an attacker and have to access the gun while on your back, it’s going to be harder. You can work around this a little by keeping your knife at the belt line forward of the hip (as opposed to an off-side pocket clip), so you can access at least one weapon from any position. That can be a big advantage when fighting at contact distance.

Check out the photos below. If you see something that works for you or that you have questions about, let me know in the comments.

Until Next Time!

Justin White

This configuration allows access to the knife and tourniquet with either hand, and the gun with dominant hand. If you're slender and/or flexible enough, off-hand access to the gun may still be possible, so give it a try in training.
This configuration allows access to the knife and tourniquet with either hand, and the gun with the dominant hand. If you’re slender and/or flexible enough, off-hand access to the gun may still be possible, so give it a try in training.
An open jacket as the only concealment layer allows fast access to the gun. Here the knife is mounted horizontal on the belt and the tourniquet is in a tuckable pouch at 1-o'clock. Remember that how you grip the knife can change based on which hand grabs it, so train accordingly.
An open jacket as the only concealment layer allows fast access to the gun. Here the knife is mounted horizontal on the belt and the tourniquet is in a tuckable pouch at 1-o’clock. Remember that how you grip the knife can change based on which hand grabs it, so train accordingly.

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