Well it’s Summer and the weather is really hot and humid here in my state of Florida. It’s like that in a lot of places in the Summer months. Probably in your area also. Being the dedicated concealed carry person I am, I accept responsibility for carrying all the time. But, I hate it in the Summer and hot weather months, even though some say it is healthy. It is so uncomfortable to wear a coat or even a lightweight jacket or button-up shirt, or even a tucked one and get all sticky. Certainly for me as a retired codger, shorts are more comfortable and preferred than long pants. A lot of the ladies here wear short capri pants because they are cooler. Layers of clothing are definitely out when it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity. (But, the moisture makes my wife’s skin nice.) So what do I do? How do I adapt and modify my concealed carry approach, gear, gun, clothes, and attitude, etc? Here are 5 things I do when carrying in the summertime.
1. Wear Roomy Loose Fitting Shirts
The Paris Fashion experts tell me that the Baggy Look is in now for concealed carry. I recall the Seinfeld episode where Jerry had the puffy shirt with very billowy sleeves; he looked like a pirate. So I guess I must throw out my tight-fitting t-shirts and tank tops, my billowy-sleeved shirts, and my pegged pants from the 80s and even from 2010. It doesn’t really matter to me what the fashion and style police say goes, I just wear looser and comfortable clothes. I reluctantly accept the utilitarian nature of big and baggy clothes, but it does help accomplish the carry purpose. So I usually wear the loose, straight-bottom cut, untucked short-sleeved camp shirts, sometimes called Hawaiian or aloha shirts, lounge shirts, Guayabera or Cuban-type shirts. I like the lightweight pure linen ones or cotton and linen blend because they are so comfortable and can be naturally worn not tucked into pants or shorts, but get them big so there is no printing with your carry gun. Also some of the patterns and designs help with concealability. Some loose polo shirts and over-sized t-shirts can also work.
2. Wear Roomy Pants and Shorts A Size Larger
Here we go again, the baggy look is in, just like for shirts. Since tight-fitting pants or shorts definitely show the outline of your gun, go up one size in your pants and shorts to ensure your concealed carry gun does not show and is comfortably concealed. I wear a lot of cargo shorts, since most of them are loose fitting, are accepted here in Florida as regular wear, and have deep and wide pockets to help concealment. Sometimes, I clip an IWB holster inside my deep, roomy cargo shorts. I don’t wear capri pants. Remember, get your priorities straight, swallow your pride, and forget style. Next week, I will review a roomy pants and shorts design that has a built-in holster for concealed carry.
3. Switch to a Smaller Subcompact or Compact Concealed Carry Gun
There are a lot, and I mean very many, small concealed carry guns in the market now. I have reviewed several in the last few months alone. Some reviews of these compact and subcompact guns are on this website and about 21 of my top recommended concealed carry guns are reviewed in my book “Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials.” Several of these smaller guns come in 380 caliber. Yes, I know there are marketing promos to pitch them now and a lot of you like the smaller caliber, but I generally recommend the 9mm as a minimum for concealed carry because of stopping power, recent improved 9mm ballistics technology and ammo, etc. I have found several subcompact and compact concealed carry guns in 9mm caliber that are easy to conceal and are accurate and reliable. But my primary Everyday Carry (EDC) guns are almost all 9mm and used with appropriate ammo. However, the small .380 makes a very good backup gun. Your preference here, but you can change and carry your back-up gun as your main concealed carry gun in summer months. So consider switching from your full-size 1911 (love them), heavier, and bigger bulkier guns to a smaller, easier to conceal and more comfortable to carry (generally) gun for the hotter months. By the way, recognize that there are different schools of thought about switching or NOT switching your EDC gun, for any reason or just for the hot weather months. Of course, there are pros and cons for you to personally consider about switching at all.
4. Change to a different Carry Method- IWB
We know there are many different concealed carry methods each with pros and cons to consider. There are 13 methods that I analyse in my book. This is largely personal choice, but some do have advantages over others in hot months. A 2015 survey of over 2,000 concealed carry folks presented in my book, found Inside-the-Waistband and Pocket Carry to be ranked in the top 5 concealed carry methods. These methods certainly make sense to me for concealed carry in hot and humid Summers, but there are others to consider.
This method positions the gun so it does not bulge at the waistline and keeps the gun at a low profile by just revealing much less of it in a well-coverd place. When your concealed carry gun is worn IWB, a t-shirt, pants, and shorts readily and easily cover it. Of course, a small gun helps here as with any method. A lot concealed carry Outside-the-Waistband, so when switching from OWB to IWB you may not have to consider downsizing your gun.
In Florida, I frequently wear a lot of shorts and probably about 80% of the time as a retiree. A pocket carry holster holds your concealed carry gun upright inside your pocket and helps your draw. Incidentally, always carry your gun in a holster wherever you carry it, but especially in a pocket because you can get all kind of debris, lint, and potential barrel blockage gunk and items (think keys and pens) in an exposed barrel and action. You need the trigger covered. One serious consideration is to make certain that the gun easily comes out of the pocket carry holster and the holster does not come out with it. You need something to catch on the inside of your pocket to allow a good draw, e.g. wing or material extension or sticky or rubbery material. Kydex helps for a smooth and quick draw from the pocket. There are front pocket concealed carry holsters and back pocket or wallet concealed carry holsters. Next week, I will review some pocket carry holsters I like.
Deep Concealment – Today, there are many choices for deep concealment for concealed carry. But which ones are best for summer months? There are belly bands, appendix carry pouches, bra holsters, compression clothing holsters, cell phone/tablet-type holsters, etc. Some even add fanny packs here. It may be an option for you, even though some say it screams “geekville” or “that guy is carrying.” But I use them when playing my “tourist” role on vacations or even at some places in Florida to blend in. Probably the only ones that know I am carrying are the ones that carry themselves. Don’t tell anyone. Most of these deep concealment methods touch the skin directly, fit extremely tight, or are cumbersome for drawing. Some are not customized to exactly fit your chosen concealed carry gun and that could be very dangerous. This is a very, personal matter and what works for one may not work for another. So you decide for yourself about these options. You can practice and be proficient and comfortable with just about any method, depending on your mindset, goals, and familiarity with the method.
5. Consider Open carry as an Option if Legal
At last count, there are 45 states that permit carte blanche “Open Carry”. Sadly, Florida is NOT one of them now, as some people assume, per Statute 790.053. There are exceptions for briefly and openly displaying a firearm which is carried concealed. Also, to allow for unlicensed emergency concealed carry during periods of evacuation for natural disasters, e.g. hurricanes, Florida passed a law in 2015. If I recall, New York, Illinois, California, and South Carolina are the other states without open carry at this time. Frankly, open carry is not even close to my preference for carry, even if it were legal here in my state. It would be nice to have the option though, even with the negative reactions from a few. Some folks found it useful even though not legal at that time, during the New Orleans looting after Hurrican Katrina. For myself, I like the tactical advantages of a hidden gun and concealed carry. If you can legally open carry, be certain to use a quality holster with appropriate retention to prevent a gun grab, the gun falling out during movement, etc. Be sure and check your state and local laws about open carry because it is illegal in some areas.
How do you carry concealed in the hot summer months?
Continued Success & Carry Comfortably!
Photo by author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2016 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.