The operative word in “concealed carry” is “concealed.” While a lot of the public, even including some potential criminals, might not notice a lot beyond body language clues…but some of them will.
If you have a spare hour or two, check out this podcast with Varg Freeborn and PHlster holsters. The ones you really need to worry about are often the ones that can easily spot a lazy concealed carrier.
So let’s talk about some dead giveaways that you’re carrying.
1. Tactical Boots, Tactical Belt
If you’re wearing desert boots but live in the suburbs, chances are you’re carrying a gun. If you’re wearing Kirkland Signature jeans with a rigger’s belt…chances are you’re carrying a gun.
These are not things that people typically wear unless they think it’s a good idea or they have to. Unless you’re a soldier in uniform or a police officer, the latter does not apply.
And since we’re on the topic…most tactical or military boots are overpriced for what you get anyhow. Most are cemented rather than welted, so you can’t resole them, and leather boots look better anyway.
2. Flagrantly Obvious T-Shirts
If you’re wearing a t-shirt that has a gun on it or any messaging that’s vaguely militaristic and so on…that’s a giveaway.
3. Almost Anything 5.11
5.11 Tactical makes some nice gear, but those cargo pants, the black polo, and Oakley sunglasses (or knockoffs) are also a dead giveaway that you’re carrying a gun.
To criminals in the inner cities, it’s a surefire signal that someone’s a cop. It’s even been noticed internationally. There are even instances where embassies have asked anyone working there not to wear 5.11 because it’s too obvious.
4. Open Jackets Or Sweaters In Cold Weather
An open jacket or sweatshirt in some climates is a surefire sign that you have something under the coat that you want to be able to get to in a hurry. Granted, there are plenty of areas in the continental US that don’t get significantly cold, so this may not apply equally everywhere…but there are plenty of areas that do.
5. Gun Stickers On Your Vehicle
Bumper stickers and window decals of anything gun-related communicate two things.
First, there’s a good chance there’s a gun in your car, and that’s how guns get stolen from vehicles.
Second, you’re the kind of person who puts bumper stickers and decals on your car, and that’s just tacky.
6. Picking At Your Shirt Or “Confidence Checks”
If you have to adjust your shirt constantly while carrying – usually picking at it around the location of the gun – it’s a sign that your concealment may not be as good as you think it is.
If someone’s paying attention, they’re going to notice and wonder why you have to pick at your shirt. If someone’s paying attention and knows what they’re looking at, they may know why you’re doing it.
If you’re carrying in a non-permissive though still legal environment (at work, out in public, etc.), that can get you made. If you’re in a high-risk area among criminals who know they’re business…it might make you a target.
The same goes for confidence checks; touching the gun and the holster to “make sure it’s still there” or adjusting the holster, so it’s more comfortable, concealable, etc. If you even have to, arguably you’re carrying with the wrong gear.
I’ve carried all my adult life, and I live in Florida. It gets cold here (to us natives, at least) a few days a year, but not often enough for planning your carry around wearing more than a shirt. I like my shirts tucked, so that leaves ankle holsters or pockets.
I’ve tried ankle holsters, and just don’t like them. They knock against your other ankle, and I frequently cross my legs when sitting, so pockets, it is. For years, I had to carry mouse guns. I carried a Bauer .25 acp in my back pocket for several years, then, when Mr. Kelgren came out with his tiny .380, I switched to that in my front pocket.
Finally, my brother gifted me a Kahr .45 pm. I found my carry gun. I had to wait for Rev. Moon’s son to invent it (or at least, build it) but I’ve carried it almost everywhere every day since.
I have a CWP, and, as a retired city officer, I’m covered by the Federal Law Enforcement Safety Act, which allows me broad carry rights in other states. I know that rankles non-police, and I understand the feeling. I don’t think I should have more rights than anyone else, but that’s not going to stop me from using it until everyone else catches up.
Anyway, no one has ever commented on my carrying. Family members will sometimes ask if I’m carrying if the situation becomes uncomfortable. I once told a fellow in a gun shop I was carrying a .45 in my pocket, and he looked and asked which one. I wasn’t showing off, I was giving advice on how to carry. Several times, ive been very glad I had it, even though I didn’t use it.
A gun in the gun safe at home is not going to help you while away from home.
Test your effectiveness in concealing your handgun. I am a carry 8nstructor and I carry pretty much all the time. When I am teaching a class, I wait until we are two hours or so into the class and ask the students if I am carrying at the present time. I usually get more no’s than yes. Then I ask the yes respondents why they said yes. I get a lot of “I guessed” or something similar. It’s a good way to see if you are printing or if there are “tells.”