Holster Cant: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

holster cant neutral vs forward vs negative

I’m sure you’ve seen the term “holster cant” thrown around here and there.

But what exactly does it mean, and why should you care?

In this section, we’ll discuss how different types of cants can affect your draw speed and concealment.

Simple as that.

Ready? Let’s get started…

1. What is Holster Cant, Anyway?

Holster cant refers to the angle of your holster. 

And here’s what you can do with it. 

The Importance of Holster Cant

  • Comfort: Adjusting the angle can make carrying more comfortable by reducing pressure points or awkward positioning.
  • Drawing Speed: An optimal cant ensures that your hand naturally aligns with your gun’s grip as you reach for it, allowing for a quicker draw.
  • Better Concealment: A properly adjusted cant helps keep your weapon hidden by minimizing printing – that telltale outline visible through clothing when carrying concealed.

2. Types of Holster Cants, Their Pros & Cons

Different types of cants have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. 

a) Neutral Cant

The neutral cant is a straight up-and-down position with no angle whatsoever. It’s like your gun is standing at attention, ready for action. This type of cant can be comfortable for some folks but might not offer the best concealment or draw speed.

  • Pros: Comfortable; easy to re-holster; works well in various carry positions
  • Cons: Not as concealed; slower draw time compared to other cants

b) Forward Cant (FBI Cant)

A forward cant (also known as FBI cant) tilts the grip towards your dominant hand side by 10-20 degrees. This makes drawing quicker and smoother while also improving concealment – hence its popularity among FBI agents.

  • Pros: Improved concealment; faster draw time; more natural wrist position during draw
  • Cons: Slightly less comfortable when sitting down due to grip angle

c) Negative Cant

Negative cant angles the grip away from your dominant hand side by around 5-15 degrees – talk about playing hard-to-get. While this may seem counterintuitive, it actually offers better accessibility for those who prefer cross-draw or behind-the-back carry positions.

  • Pros: Better accessibility for cross-draw and behind-the-back carry; improved concealment in certain situations
  • Cons: Slower draw time; less comfortable due to grip angle
Key Takeaway: 


Different types of holster cants have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. The most common ones are neutral cant, forward cant (FBI cant), negative cant. Each has its pros and cons that should be considered before choosing the right one for you.

3. Recommended Holster Cant For Beginners

Why We Recommend Forward (FBI) Cant

The most popular and recommended holster cant for beginners is the Forward Cant (FBI Cant)


Let me break it down for you:

  1. Easier draw: The forward cant allows for a more natural wrist angle when drawing your firearm. This makes it easier to grab hold of your gun in high-stress situations.
  2. Better concealment: A slight forward tilt helps keep the grip of your gun closer to your body, reducing printing and making it less noticeable under clothing.

If it’s good enough for those G-men at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (hence “FBI” Cant), then who are we mere mortals to argue?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with other cants as well. Your physical characteristics, clothing style and individual tastes will decide what is most practical and successful for you.

Remember: the best concealed carry setup is one that allows you to comfortably wear your firearm all day while providing quick access in case of emergency. So take your time, try different options (maybe even borrow a buddy’s rig), and find the perfect fit for you.

A Tip For Finding The Right Holster Cant Angle

If you’re unsure about which cant angle suits you best or if it feels awkward when drawing from a specific angle, here’s a little trick I like to use:

  1. Stand up straight with your unloaded gun in hand.
  2. Close your eyes and naturally extend your arm out towards where you’d imagine a threat might be.
  3. Note: Keep finger off trigger during this exercise.
  4. Gently bring the gun back towards yourself without changing its orientation until it reaches where you’d typically carry it on your body.

The position at which the gun sits comfortably against your body – that’s likely going to be close to the ideal cant angle for you. Give it a shot (pun intended).

Key Takeaway: 


The recommended holster cant for beginners is the Forward Cant (FBI Cant) as it allows for easier draw, better concealment and faster target acquisition. However, one should also experiment with other cants to find what’s most comfortable and effective for them. A tip for finding the right holster cant angle is to stand up straight with an unloaded gun in hand and bring it back towards yourself until it reaches where you’d typically carry it on your body.

4. Optimal Cant With Different Carry Types

Now that we’ve covered the basics of holster cant, let’s dive into which cants work best for different carry types. Bear in mind, your experience may differ depending on individual inclination and body shape.

Hip Carry and Holster Cant

Hip carry is a favorite amongst firearm users, as it allows for simple access to the gun while keeping it concealed. For this position, a forward cant (FBI cant) tends to be most comfortable and efficient for drawing.

  • Pros: Easy access, natural draw motion, good concealment
  • Cons: Can be uncomfortable when sitting or bending over

Appendix Carry & Holster Cant

If you’re rocking an appendix carry setup, a neutral or slight forward cant works well. This allows for quick draws without sacrificing comfort or safety – just make sure not to point that barrel at any important bits.

  • Pros: Fast draw time, comfortable standing position
  • Cons: Potential discomfort when seated or bending over

See also the pros & cons of IWB vs AIWB carry

3/4 & Behind The Back Carry

For those who prefer carrying behind their back, either at the three-quarter position (between hip and small of back) or directly in the small of their back, a negative cant can provide better accessibility. However, some folks find success with a forward cant as well. Experimentation is key here.

  • Pros: Good concealment, comfortable when standing or walking
  • Cons: Can be difficult to access quickly, potential discomfort when seated

Cross Draw Canting

For cross draw carry, where your firearm sits on the opposite side of your dominant hand, a forward cant can make drawing smoother and more natural. This method isn’t as popular for concealed carry but has its fans among hunters and outdoors enthusiasts.

  • Pros: Comfortable draw motion, versatile for various activities
  • Cons: Slower draw time compared to other methods, may not provide optimal concealment

Overall, the optimal cant angle for a holster can vary depending on the type of carry. With the right adjustments and practice, one can find a position that suits their individual needs. Next we will explore how to adjust your holster’s cant angle in order to get the most out of your concealed carry experience.

Key Takeaway: 


The article discusses the optimal holster cant for different carry types. A forward cant is best for hip carry, a neutral or slight forward cant works well for appendix carry, negative or forward cants are suitable for 3/4 and behind-the-back carry respectively, while cross draw requires a forward cant. It’s important to experiment with different cants until you find what works best for your personal preference and comfort.

5. How To Adjust The Holster Cant Angle?

Alright, so you’ve learned about the different types of holster cants and their pros and cons. Now, let’s dive into how to adjust your holster cant angle like a pro.

A. Check Your Holster for Adjustability

First things first: not all holsters are created equal when it comes to adjustability. Some holsters have fixed cants, while others come with an adjustable cant & ride height. So before we get too excited about tweaking our angles, make sure your holster is actually adjustable.

B. Loosen the Screws or Clips

Locate the components which secure the belt attachment to the holster body, usually known as “loops” or “clips”, by searching for adjustable fasteners.

  • Screws: Grab a screwdriver that fits snugly into those bad boys and loosen them up just enough so they can rotate freely but don’t fall out entirely.
  • Clips: For clip-based systems like on some Kydex holsters (I’m looking at you, StealthGear VentCore) – simply unclip them from their current position.

C. Find Your Sweet Spot & Tighten It Up.

This part might take some trial-and-error as everyone has their own preferences based on body type, clothing choices, carry position…you get the idea. Don’t be hesitant to explore.

  1. Rotate the belt attachment to your desired cant angle.
  2. Hold it in place and re-tighten those screws or snap the clips back into their new position.
  3. Pro tip: You might want to wear your holster while adjusting so you can feel how it sits on your body and make any necessary tweaks before committing to a specific angle.

D. Test It Out & Adjust As Needed

Last but not least, give that newly adjusted cant a test run. Go about your daily routine (safely) with an unloaded firearm in your holster. Pay attention to comfort, concealability, and ease of draw during this trial period. If something feels off or doesn’t quite work for you – no worries. Just head back to step B and try again until you find that perfect fit for you.

In essence, adjusting the cant angle is all about finding what works best for you as an individual gun owner. So go forth, fine-tune those angles like a boss, and carry confidently knowing that both style and function are on point.

Key Takeaway: 


To adjust your holster cant angle, first check if it’s adjustable. If so, loosen the screws or clips and find your desired sweet spot before tightening them back up. Experiment with different angles to find what works best for you and test it out in daily use.

Bonus: What Is An FBI Cant, And Why Is It Called That Way?

The Origin of the Name

The term “FBI Cant” originated from the angled way FBI agents carried their firearms while on stakeouts or during undercover work. These agents needed a way to carry their firearms comfortably while remaining concealed during stakeouts or undercover work. The forward angle they used became known as the FBI Cant because of its association with the FBI.

FBI Cant Angle & Benefits

In technical terms, an FBI cant refers to a forward tilt of about 10-20 degrees from vertical when carrying at your hip or behind your back (source). This angle offers several benefits:

  • Easier Draw: The slight forward tilt allows for a more natural wrist position when drawing your firearm, reducing strain on your joints.
  • Better Concealment: With this cant angle, you can keep your firearm hidden under clothing without printing (the outline showing through).
  • Safety First: Since you’re drawing upward and away from your body instead of straight up, there’s less chance you’ll accidentally shoot yourself.
Key Takeaway: 


The FBI Cant is a holster cant that originated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who needed to carry their firearms comfortably while remaining concealed. It refers to a forward tilt of about 10-20 degrees from vertical, offering benefits such as easier draw, better concealment and safety first. Despite its name, it’s not exclusive to federal agents and has become popular among everyday concealed carriers.

FAQs in Relation to Holster Cant

What are the benefits of a canted holster?

The benefits of a canted holster include improved comfort, easier access to your firearm, and better concealment. A slight angle allows for smoother drawing motion and helps reduce printing when carrying concealed. Additionally, it can help distribute weight more evenly on your belt or waistband.

What is cant on an appendix holster?

Cant on an appendix holster refers to adjusting its angle while being carried near the front part of your body at approximately 1 o’clock position. The ideal cant varies depending on personal preference but usually ranges from neutral (vertical) to slightly negative for better accessibility and comfort.

What is a negative cant holster?

A negative cant holster has its grip angled towards your rear instead of forwards like in positive/FBI cants. This type may be preferred by some users who carry their firearms behind-the-hip or cross-draw positions since it offers quicker access during draw without compromising concealment.

Choosing the right holster is crucial for comfort, accessibility, and concealment. One of the most important factors to consider is the cant of the holster.

Whether you prefer a shoulder rig, appendix carry, or seated position, the cant of your holster can make a significant difference in your overall experience. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a holster cant:

  • Comfort: A canted holster can help distribute the weight of your firearm more evenly, reducing discomfort and fatigue during extended wear.
  • Accessibility: A slight angle can make it easier to draw your firearm quickly and smoothly, especially in high-stress situations.
  • Concealment: A canted holster can help reduce printing and make your firearm less noticeable when carrying concealed.

Ultimately, the ideal cant for your holster will depend on your personal preferences and carry style. Whether you prefer a positive, neutral, or negative cant, make sure to choose a holster that fits your needs and allows you to carry with confidence.


By knowing the different types of cants and their pros and cons, as well as how to adjust them, you can optimize your carry position for comfort and accessibility. For beginners, a neutral or slight forward cant is recommended.

Whether you prefer a shoulder rig or seated position for concealed carry, finding the optimal cant angle will make all the difference in your ability to draw quickly and efficiently. 

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