Carrying concealed is no easy task, if don’t do it properly. We’re taking a close look at some clothing and accessories today that aids in concealing your handgun on a daily basis.
Conceal With The Best, Not Necessarily Easiest
I’ve always looked for the best, not necessarily easiest, method of carrying a handgun concealed, as most of the work I’ve done in law enforcement and in private security/private investigations have called for working in “soft clothes” rather than a uniform of any type. I’ve lost track of the number of times over the years I’ve spotted a “concealed” handgun on someone. That telltale bulge under their shirt or jacket, or even spotting the “concealed” handgun, is not good. You don’t want to draw attention to the fact that your are carrying, period!
Letting Everyone See Is Stupid
Long story short, I had a distant cousin who was on the Chicago PD. He never got above the rank of patrolman in his entire career. When he was off-duty, drinking in a bar, he took great delight in taking off his jacket and sitting on his bar stool so everyone could see his little S&W Model 60 .38 Spl snubby tucked in his waistband. That was stupid!
Needless to say, the bigger the handgun, the harder it is to conceal. However, with the right clothing and holster, many full-sized duty handguns can be concealed fairly well. Now, we’re not talking about a Desert Eagle .44 Mag handgun. There is no right way to conceal that, nor can I think of a reason for packing such a huge handgun. Much of my life, I carried a full-sized 1911 .45 ACP pistol, or the slightly smaller Commander 1911, and on many occasions I carried a duty-sized 9mm from S&W. Yep, they all concealed fairly well with the right clothing and a good holster that held the gun tight and close to your body. In my golden years, I rarely carry a full-sized handgun these days, except when testing handguns for articles. Even then, I can conceal those big handguns.
Experience With Shoulder Holster and Suit Jacket
I used to carry a full-sized S&W Model 586 .357 Mag revolver in a shoulder holster, when I was doing PI work back in Chicago. In short order, I discovered that the horizontal shoulder holster, while comfortable, didn’t conceal that big revolver very well, not even under a suit jacket that I bought one size larger with the hopes of it concealing that gun better. It didn’t. So, I went to belt holsters, a hi-ride belt holster, that kept that big gun high and tight to my side.
Photographer’s Vest and Inside the Waist Band Holsters
Not too many years ago, I used to wear a “photographer’s” vest or a “safari” vest. It worked great concealing even full-sized handguns. However, after a couple of years, it seems like the entire gun-packing public was wearing these types of vests, and you could spot those folks easily. So, I stopped wearing one of those vests. I’ve never ever cared for inside the waist band holsters, not even in my younger days when my girth wasn’t nearly as large around as it is these days. I just never found those holsters comfortable at all.
Covering Garments and Accessories
These days, there are a lot of different types of covering garments one can wear to conceal a handgun, as well as accessories, like a woman’s purse with a hidden pocket inside of it with a holster. During the winter months, I usually wear a light fleece jacket, and it has a hidden holster built into the left inside of it. It is advertised as being able to conceal a full-sized 1911 handgun. Not quite. First of all, a gun that big is heavy, and I found that the jacket “tilted” to the left side.
Then, the holster is built a bit too low. A smaller, light-weight handgun worked perfectly in that fleece jacket, something like a .38 Spl snubby revolver. And, in that case, that was my back-up handgun to the main handgun on my right hip. Whenever I’d go out dinning, I’d just pull that jacket down to my waist and it covered my handgun on my side. It’s a good idea of a concealed garment, but it wasn’t perfect.
Conceal Carry Shirts
As you can see in the photos with this article, I have displayed several button-down short-sleeve shirts. I don’t like long sleeves; I never have. They are all used during the warmer weather, along with several more not in the pics, to cover my handgun on my right side. I don’t button these shirts down but just leave ’em open. Plus, I wear a t-shirt under these button-down shirts, and my handgun stays concealed nicely. Several of these types of shirts are made specifically for concealing a handgun. The green plaid shirt is from Propper, and it has slits on either side at the bottom of the shirt with magnets sewn in that you can easily pull apart and draw your gun if the shirt is buttoned and untucked.
It’s a nice idea for the most part, but the material used in this shirt is very light-weight and is easily blown open if there is a strong wind, so be advised. However, I can still keep the shirt from exposing my handgun by applying pressure with my right elbow on my gun. The “buttons” on the Propper shirt are false buttons. Instead, there are snaps under the buttons, should you need to “rip” the shirt open to access your handgun. And, one thing many have complained about is that the shirt material is “wrinkled”. Well, it is designed to look that way. It honestly helps conceal the outline of a gun under it.
Heavy Duty Shirt With Zipper Pockets
The shirt with the dark plaid colors, that one is from Blackhawk Products, is designed to conceal a handgun easily. The shirt is heavy-duty material to be sure, and the plaid design also helps conceal the bulge of a handgun on your side. Additionally, there are two front pockets for carrying extra “stuff”, like a cell phone, sun glasses, or whatever you need to carry. Then, on top of it all, there are several hidden zipper pockets on the front of the shirt.
Yeah, I know, you can’t see them. Even upon close inspection, you can’t spy them. These are great for carrying a spare magazine or two– one on either side in either concealer pocket. Again, I wear this shirt untucked and unbuttoned. The dark green button down shirt from Blackhawk has all the same features as the plaid one does. Plus, it can be worn as a “training” shirt along with cargo pants when you are out on the range or for everyday wear. They come in several different colors.
The light tan button down shirt was one I bought at my local small box store, and while the material is light-weight it can easily conceal a full-sized handgun on your hip, in a holster. I believe it was only about $12, so that is a bargain in a concealed carry covering garment.
Next up, we have a woman’s “undershirt” that my wife wears all the time along with a little Ruger LCP .380 ACP handgun. This undershirt is worn under her regular top, whatever it might be that day. There are two built-in “holsters” on this undershirt. One is for carrying your concealed handgun, up to a smallish medium-sized handgun, and on the other side, for carrying a spare magazine. She also carries her CCW permit in that pocket. She is due for a new “undershirt”; that’s for sure. I’m thinking it costs about $50!
Next up, we have two different types of ladies’ purses, and they are both designed to carrying a fairly good sized handgun in them. They have a pocket built into the center of the purse, with a holster inside of this pocket, and a zipper access to draw your handgun, or if need be, you can even lock the zipper pocket closed. There are a lot of these types of purses out there, so be advised to check them out as best you can before laying down your hard-earned cash. Some are as little as $20 each, and some can cost upwards of over $300 or more. Some can conceal your handgun better than others, and some allow for easier access to your handgun than others do. Be advised to not over stuff your purse. If you do, it will make drawing your handgun a bit more difficult.
Holsters For Women
I’ve seen some holsters for women that attach to the center of their bra. Needless to say, it only holds a very tiny handgun. I know one lady who regularly carries a little Ruger LCP in one of these holsters. I’m against them for a couple of reasons. First of all, you have to be er, uh (how do I put this politely?) “well endowed”. Secondly, you absolutely have to wear a top that is at least one or two sizes bigger than you’d normally wear, in order for that little holster/gun combo to not stick out.
There are other “holsters” out there that don’t look like a holster and that you can wear on your hip like an overly large cell phone case. And then we have the fanny packs. Anyone who carries knows when they see someone wearing one, they are more than likely carrying a handgun in it. Ugh!
It is easier for a guy to conceal a handgun on their hip than it is for a woman, mostly because of the shapes of our hips. We are built differently. So, I feel for our female readers. There is no easy or best way to conceal a handgun on your body, and I’m not totally against carrying in a purse, because sooner or later you have to put that purse down. It’s not good having your handgun out of reach or not on your body.
Warm or Colder Climates
Check out some of the concealed carry clothing featured in this article. Even if you live in a warm climate, a shirt unbuttoned and untucked can sure work for you. In the colder climates, you can still dress the same way, and when you take your coat off, your untucked and unbuttoned shirt will still cover your handgun.