A Summer Without Printing: Tips For Carrying Concealed During The Warmer Months

Memorial Day has come and gone and now summer is upon us in full force.  After all the sweaters and light jackets get packed away until Fall, lighter clothing can pose a challenge for concealed carriers. More particularly, where it is important to remain concealed, the outline of a firearm can completely destroy that element of confidentiality and privacy. Let’s go over some of the biggest issues out there.


Printing is any time that someone can clearly see the outline of your gun on your person. Whether it’s because of tight trousers or a form fitted t-shirt, this outline lets others know you have a firearm on you.


Spotted refers to someone or group seeing a concealed carrier’s weapon. This commonly happens when a CCW holder bends down wrong to pick something up or accidentally shows his or her weapon. This isn’t to be confused with brandishing – which is the exhibition of a weapon.


This is usually taken as the separating line between innocently revealing one is indeed carrying a concealed firearm and actually making the foolish mistake of taking it from its holster. Alternately – and most importantly – revealing you have a concealed firearm on your person with the intent to intimidate another can also be interpreted as brandishing. This is why not getting spotted is so important – it’s impossible to know who may consider it a threat.

While the possibility of printing is just a fact of life with being a daily carrier – it’s important to know that sometimes public perception can be extremely unpredictable.  That’s why it’s important to understand why having the proper holster and clothing that helps break up the outline of a gun.

“Brandished” with reference to a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) means that all or part of the weapon was displayed, or the presence of the weapon was otherwise made known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the weapon was directly visible to that person. Accordingly, although the dangerous weapon does not have to be directly visible, the weapon must be present.

18 USCS Appx § 1B1.1 (C)

5 Easy Tips to Avoid CCW Printing in the Summer

1. If possible, always wear an exterior layer that creates folds and billows.

You don’t have to don a 17th century tunic (unless that suddenly comes back into fashion) – simply a short sleeve button-up shirt or polo will suffice.

2. Squat – don’t bend.


Just like every placard demonstrating the proper lifting technique, squatting instead of bending isn’t just great for your lower back – it can prevent printing or getting spotted in lighter weather clothing.

3. Try switching to a micro or sub-compact

While many concealed carriers have a distinct preference for their style of firearm, sometimes switching to a smaller micro or sub-compact (less than 3″) can greatly assist in obscuring your firearm from prying eyes.

4. Wear looser pants or shorts

One distinct benefit of looser fitting clothing is air circulation and more room to spread out over an inside the waistband concealed carry holster.  As you may already know, using a belt that accommodates an extra inch or two on the waistline is also a great move.  Not only does it keep you from cinching down on your existing belt, but it means you have room to breathe.

5. Try clipping your holster on the inside of a cargo pants pocket

Some days just demand shorts or loose cargo pants.  Thankfully, any belt clip fastened IWB holster should be fine to be clipped to the lip of a pair of cargo pants.  Obviously, care needs to be taken if you intend on running around outside and the to-and-fro of fast movement may create some degree of printing — but it shouldn’t be enough to cause any alarm.

Before you go out, always check in a full-length mirror at multiple angles to ensure you’re good to go.  Ask a fellow concealed carrier to see if he or she sees anything out of the ordinary.  In many cases, concealed carriers can find themselves pegged into either being overly paranoid about printing or not nearly concerned enough.  Good judgement and planning will alleviate most of these issues.

Do you have any good tips for concealed carrying during the warmer months?  Share them with us in the comments section below.

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is currently an advocate for veterans and constitutional carry in the State of New Hampshire. His daily carry is a CZ-75D in a Specter IWB Holster made by Lenwood Holsters out of Missouri.
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