What is Elbow Carry?

July 2, 2020

pelican consumer blog what is elbow carry

Seasoned shooters know that it's crucial to handle firearms properly for safety at the range or in the field. We do a lot more handling than we do shooting, but you are not suddenly safe just because you're not aiming at a target. On the contrary, in fact. Knowing where you're pointing your barrel at all times helps drastically reduce the likelihood of an accident.

We all know that the safest way to carry a firearm is with the muzzle pointed away from people and pets. Often, that means either toward the sky or the ground. One common way to do this is to practice the elbow carry method, which keeps the barrel of your shotgun pointed downward. This position can be useful when walking in open environments or when taking your rifle out of its gun case.

The Definition of Elbow Carry

Elbow carry, also known as elbow side carry or cradle carry, is a shotgun carrying position that is comfortable and relatively safe (provided you do it properly). To carry in this position, keep the butt of the firearm under your armpit and let the muzzle drape over your forearm. The open action stays in the crook of your elbow and over your arm, ensuring that the barrel stays pointed downward but away from your feet.

The Pros and Cons of Elbow Carry

  • It's comfortable. The main pro of using this carrying position is that it's comfortable and evenly distributes your firearm's weight. This position can be appealing when you're spending long days in the field. You might use it when you start to get fatigued after hours of shooting or stalking your prey..
  • It makes safety visible. The people around you can easily see that your action is open and in a safe position with the muzzle pointed downward, but you should only use this position when no one is in front of you..
  • It can be unsafe. Your barrel is long and awkward, which means it can snag in brush, trees, branches or leaves. It can also be dangerous if you're carrying your firearm this way while walking behind other people, putting the barrel in a risky position that faces them. When using this position and hunting in a group, be sure to walk side by side..
  • It gives you less control of the muzzle. Another significant downfall of this position is that it provides very little muzzle control. On the other hand, the two-hand carry provides the best muzzle control because it keeps the barrel pointed upward, secured by your hand..
  • It's only ideal for open environments. This position may be a great option if you're hunting in open fields. For instance, when you're hunting pheasants or quail. It can also be quite safe when sport shooting. However, if you tend to hunt deer or other big game in wooded environments, it's probably not the safest option.

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How to Safely Carry Your Firearm

The most important thing to do when handling a firearm of any sort is to pay attention and don’t let your guard down. Becoming too relaxed can cause you to forget the most important rules of carrying a firearm, which are:

  • Keep your barrel pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • If using an elbow carrying position in a group, always walk side by side.
  • Keep the safety in the “on” position.
  • Always keep your fingers outside the trigger guard.

Another important component of gun safety is to keep your gun safely stored in a long gun case during travel or when you're not using it. Pelican is here to help you protect your firearms.

Keep your guns in great shape and out of harm's way by storing your guns in a safe space where other people cannot access them. Beyond taking the necessary safety measures when you use your gun, safely storing your firearm will prevent dust, dirt and water from damaging your arsenal. Of course, you'll need to clean and maintain your guns and ammunition to prevent rust, but storing them anywhere other than a secure case can be detrimental. Pelican is here to help you keep your gear safe at all times.

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