This is what concealed carry is all about right? In this article I will share a few tips and tricks that I have learned from being a concealed carry permit holder for almost 20 years.
First and foremost, nothing beats a quality ccw belt and holster. As for the belt, do not under any circumstances use a department store belt. I made that mistake when I first started carrying. They work great for holding up your pants, not for holding your holster rigidly in place. A purpose made gun belt is obviously thicker, double stitched and durable. There are many quality brands on the market and even more styles. I have two, one is plain and great if I’m carrying with my shirt untucked. The other is more appropriate if I’m wearing my shirt tucked in. Purchased mine from Bullhidebelts.com, they turn out a quality product.
Here’s a simple trick to disguise your spare magazine. Use the pouch from a multi-tool. It works and is stealthy. I use the one for my Gerber multi-tool, wear it on my belt upside down and practice mag changes at the range with it. Practice breeds proficiency. For my 1911, I use a leather case for my Buck folder. If it happens to show, well you’re just another person carrying a pair of pliers or a pocket knife. No big deal.
Now that you have a quality purpose made belt and stealthy mag carrier… Another piece of wisdom to pass along; darker is better. I have come to realize that a darker shirt tends to mask the print of a gun verses a lighter colored one. Also, a slight pattern on a darker shirt really fools the eye. It’s not like wearing a cloak of invisibility, however it works very well. Whether it’s a polo style shirt or a T-shirt, this applies. I’m 5’8, medium build and I can easily conceal a full size 1911.
Sometimes I will wear my T-shirt tucked in and wear a button down shirt over it untucked and unbuttoned. As long as it has a pattern to it, it works. Only problem, not good on a breezy day.
Be aware of your movements, they can give you away. The shirt tug is a biggie. Also, people tend to “check” their gun. As in, run a hand against the butt or holster. It’s a bad habit to develop and harder to break. I tend to buy a shirt one size larger and rarely have a problem with it riding up. When you’re at the grocery store, think before you reach. Especially if it’s on the top or bottom shelf. Bottom shelf, don’t bend over, bend at the knees in front of your shopping cart. Top shelf, I’ll straighten my arm against my gun and reach with the left. I carry on my right side at four o’clock, therefore I generally reach for anything with my left hand.
A few things I avoid: The photographers vest. This is the classic “I’m carrying a gun” vest. First off they are out of place in almost any situation, kind of like a sore thumb, you’ll stick out. Second, there are other ways to wear an outer garment to cover your gun.
Wearing a T-shirt with a gun logo on it, that’s another one I avoid. I have plenty of T-shirts with my website logo on them. Only wear them at the range or around the house.
The fanny-pack, they were popular a while back. Galco made a great one with a neoprene holster mounted inside. I used to wear one in navy blue. Actually took it to an embroidery shop and had a Canon logo stitched on it. Thought that was fitting. Now, you rarely see anyone wearing a fanny-pack, like the photographers vest, a little out of place. If you choose this method of carry, pick any color but black.
Above all else, keep in mind most of the public is oblivious to the fact that you are carrying. I was very self conscious until a friend of mine pointed that out to me. Remain conscious of the fact you are armed, however not to the point of making deliberate movements that will give you away.
As for me, I carry either a full size 1911 or a S&W MP9 compact. Both are easily concealed with a little thought and planning.
So, this begs the question… What tips or tricks do you have to share? We can all learn from each other. Share them in the comments below.