I have been comparing on body and off body carry for about 8 months now. I use a non traditional off body carry device, that being a Osprey Veer bag:
This bag has a very nifty top pocket that seems to be specifically designed for concealed carry. Believe me, it isn't designed for concealed carry, I am 100% sure that is not what the bag designers were thinking when they put this pocket in.
Any way the bag sits very nicely on my hip with my draw hand sitting right on top of the zipper. The great thing about this bag is that it looks like a true man bag. When people look at it they don't think, "he has a gun in there" like they would with the front pouch. They just look at me funny and think that I am gay or a metro-sexual. I have no problem with this.
My on body carry method is an inside the waistband holster. I have carried multiple ways, my favorites being the appendix carry, and the rear hip carry.
Rear Hip Carry
Here we go:
Off Body Major Pros:
Full concealment. My pistol is completely tucked away in my bag. Zero chance of someone seeing the gun unless I want them to.
Full body movement. I can bend over, sit down, run, go to the restroom, throw my hands in to the air, and wave them like I just don't care, whatever. I have absolute movement with no chance of the gun printing, or revealing it under my shirt.
Comfort. Nothing digging in to my hip or my gut. I can sit down were ever I wish no little reminders that I am packing.
Fashion. I don't have to worry about what I wear. I can go as tight as I want with my clothing and not worry about printing.
Ease of carry. The pistol sits very comfortably in a shoulder bag. It hangs there no problem. Because it is a bag I have lots of room, so I also carry my 7 shot reload mag.
On Body Major Pros:
Fast draw. No zippers to mess with, no bag to hold on to during the draw. Pull and point.
Zero chance of accidentally leaving your gun somewhere. The holster is attached to your hip. It goes where you go.
Most traditional, most accepted way to carry. Let's face it, most guys who carry guns would rather be seen with that awful front pocket thing than what could be called a purse.
With off body carry there is a possibility that you will accidentally leave your bag and gun somewhere you don't want it.
This has never, ever happened to me, BUT with the ease of off body carry you could put your carry device down for whatever reason and someone could go through it and find your pistol. Whether it be someone looking to steal something or a child looking for a new toy. This is a big concern. On body carry this never happens, the gun is attached to you at all times.
Draw speed showdown.
In a heated situation where the gun is needed, there are a lot more steps that have to be performed to draw the pistol with off body carry. Open the zipper. Draw hand grips the pistol grip, rear hand grabs the bag, pull. On top of this the pistol can get hung up on the sides of the pocket forcing you to look down and clear the obstruction. Not good when seconds count.
On body carry just lift the shirt pull and point. You are on target immediately.
Static about the man purse. Some guys just want to give static about your bag. I have only had one time, in Texas of course, where anyone has actually confronted me. I handled it the same way Connor McLeod of the clan McLeod handled it when a cop asked him if he was a homosexual (You a faggot Nash? Why? Are you cruising for a piece of ass?). Occasionally I hear comments yelled out behind me, but really if you are going to do that I find that you are revealing your own cowardice then exposing my inadequacies.
On body, no muss no fuss.
Concealment. The bag is better hands down. With on body carry if the pistol isn't placed just so, the bulge gives it away every time. When you do an on body carry you can't bend over, you cant reach up to get something. You flash the gun or it prints every time. I have not been busted for this, BUT many of the people I know on message boards have. I feel much more comfortable having the pistol safely tucked away in the bag where there is no chance of printing, or flashes. However, interestingly enough, the only time I have been "busted" was when a reader of this blog saw me with the man bag, and asked me if I was packing.
The comfort issue. In any situation where you are not standing up you have a comfort issue with the on body carry. It digs in to your hip, it preses in to your gut, it is difficult to get a seat belt around it.
Off body, no problem. Seated, standing, in the car whatever you are good to go. In the car is especially handy. Ever try to get something out of your pocket while in the car? It is just as difficult to draw if you are in the car, more so with the appendix carry. With off body I just set my bag next to me and away I go. I have the same draw problems as when I am not standing, but it is much easier to get at the pistol.
Transitioning between carry and non carry environments. You go to a store, and you see that they have a no weapons allowed sticker in the door. You have to ditch your piece. With off body carry all I do is go back to the car and put my bag in the trunk. Done walk in to store. With on body carry, I have to play a cloak and dagger game to get my gun out of my pants without anybody seeing what I am doing. Even though I am 100% legal in carrying the gun and keeping it in the car, John Q Public, actually Jane Q Public, freak the hell out when they see anything resembling a gun. Southroads mall in Omaha got shut down because some woman saw a guy walk in the the mall with what she thought was a rifle. It was an umbrella. So, if they see you put a gun in the car, you can bet the farm that you will have some explaining to do with the police when you get back to your car. If you car is still there. You may have some explaining to do at the impound lot.
All in all there are many pros and cons, personally I am a big fan of off body carry. It is so much more convenient, and frankly I am more comfortable with the concealment than I am with on body carry.