Dressing around a handgun is a part of carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense. But it takes planning to find an outfit that makes the pistol accessible yet concealed. With a little thought and a bit of experimentation, you can find clothes that keep your gun hidden and you looking fashionable.
Different people have different clothing needs and tastes, just like they have different needs and tastes in firearms. Even though clothing options vary depending on geography, popular fashions and the weather, there are a few solid guidelines when it comes to choosing clothes to cover your pistol.
First, try to pick clothing that is just a bit looser than normal. For example if you wear a 34 waist you may want to move up to 35 or 36 to accommodate the extra width of your pistol. The same generally goes for shirts, moving a size up can help reduce how much your pistol stands out or “prints” against your shirt. Fabric type and pattern can also help — or hurt — your concealment efforts. Heavier low sheen fabrics tend to reduce printing and patterns, such as plaid or stripes, and help to break up the outline of your pistol. Try to avoid tighter “athletic” fit shirts as they are designed to stay tight to your body and that makes it very difficult to keep the profile of a pistol hidden.
Just another face in the crowd
Another level of concealment is blending in by wearing the styles of clothes that are common to the area in which you live and your social environment. We’ve all seen the guy in head to toe “tactical” clothes at the grocery store. You might not directly see his gun, but you know it’s there. Being able to pass unnoticed is important if you are truly concerned about concealing your gun. Companies like 5.11, Vertx and Magpul and many more make concealed carry specific clothing that is designed not to look overly tactical and draw unwanted attention to you.
Changing with the seasons
As the weather changes so do our options for concealed carry. Luckily that doesn’t mean that you have to buy a new holster or pistol for each season, you can simply adjust where you carry a little and make sure your training keeps up with the change. The added layers worn in winter might make it easier to hide your pistol, but keep in mind that they also make it harder to access. Summer can present its own challenges. The typically lighter fabrics worn in hot weather can make it difficult to keep your pistol from printing, so it’s important to dress wisely when out and about in summer. Luckily, looser, baggier clothing isn’t uncommon in the summer heat, so you still have plenty of options.
The first of Massad Ayoob’s Ten Commandments of Concealed Carry, is “If you chose to carry, always carry as often as possible.” And it’s a lot easier to carry often if you have the right clothes in which to carry. As we’ve discussed, with a little planning it can be easy and comfortable to stay armed and ready to respond to deadly threats against you and those who count on you for protection. While everyone’s needs vary based on the individual, there are plenty of options available to make concealed carry an easy and functional part if your lifestyle.