There are many heated topics of debate surrounding firearms. One of the most contentious discussions involves concealed carry laws. Concealed carry – or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) – is the exercise of carrying a weapon in public in such a way that it is hidden. There are no mandated federal laws for concealed carry; the right to issue such permits lies in the power of the state. Whether or not your state allows for concealed carry, there are several guidelines to keep in mind so that you will properly conceal your gun once you obtain your permit (check your state’s laws to see what process you need to go through to obtain one).
The primary (if not only) way to conceal a weapon is using clothing. Therefore, the more clothing you wear, the more options are available to you for hiding your weapon. The weather – or conditions of the environment – that you find yourself in will influence your ability to wear multiple layers of clothing. It’s not easy to wear a jacket and pants in 100-degree temperatures. Some of the most common articles of clothing to use for concealment are:
- Coats and jackets: This is probably the most convenient way to conceal a weapon. Larger than shirts, a coat or jacket provides added thickness against concealed weapon detection. Additionally, a weapon positioned correctly underneath your jacket can be easy to access, an attribute many concealed weapons lack. A major downside for concealing under a jacket is be the limited availability of weather conditions.
- Shirts: Another popular way to carry a hidden firearm is underneath a shirt. Generally, shirts that are loose and baggy are better at shielding weapons from detection than form-fitting or tight shirts. Weapons are often holstered within the waistband. A major aspect to consider is if you wear your shirt tucked-in or untucked. How you chose to wear your shirt will have a direct impact on your ability to access your weapon.
- Pants: Pocket holsters can keep your weapon concealed in your pants, but they can often have a bulge, depending upon the size of your weapon.
Your weapon will be kept within a holster when concealed underneath your clothing. Some of the most common types of holsters for concealed weapon carrying are belt holsters (outside the waistband), belt holsters (inside the waistband), shoulder holsters, ankle holsters, clothing holsters, purse/bag holsters, and pocket holsters. Find the holster that feels right for you and can accommodate the weapon you typically carry.
In addition to your clothing and holster, there are many considerations and unwritten rules you want to follow when you carry concealed. Many experts would agree that avoiding these six bad habits will help you better conceal your weapon.
- Using an inferior holster: This is ultimately where your weapon will be kept. You want something that will keep it secure, but also comfortable and accessible. Something to keep in mind is that you won’t have one holster for all your needs; having several is typical.
- Wearing improper clothing: This can lead to printing (the outline of your weapon being visible). You can find clothes that fit your style and your weapon.
- Adjusting in public: This is the easiest way to tip-off other people that you are carrying. Adjusting your weapon or constantly checking it takes away from what you are trying to accomplish through hiding it in the first place. There are much better places to readjust if you need to, including bathroom stalls, your vehicle, or another private area.
- Only carrying some of the time: When you make the commitment to carry, you need to be all-in. When you don’t carry all the time, you can forget aspects and the mindset that go along with it. Continually carrying concealed will keep you on point to all the responsibilities that go along with it.
- Not being aware of firearm laws: When you carry concealed, it is your job to understand the laws of the area in which you are carrying. Regulations across the country vary as to what is acceptable. Do your research and be in the know when you are carrying in a place you are unfamiliar with.
- Not being mentally prepared: People who carry concealed need to be responsible and exhibit control and intelligence when carrying. You have your second amendment rights, but it is your duty to be safe with your firearm.
Understanding and following some of these rules will help you better conceal and carry. It doesn’t matter your age, gender, or race: following these rules can benefit everyone. Concealed carry holsters help you carry the firearm you want, but practice the same precautions you do when operating your firearm. Be safe, be responsible, and enjoy exhibiting your right to conceal and carry.