Fashion and Function: Six Tips for Carrying a Concealed Handgun

You have made the decision to legally carry a concealed handgun. Since you are concealing a firearm (and carrying it only where it is legal according to your state laws, of course) you might be interested in the following tips on what to wear and how to carry safely:

1. Dress to carry.

Your clothing should be loose and somewhat "baggy" if you are carrying a pistol on your belt. Obviously, each woman who elects to carry a pistol in her purse will not need any special clothing. However, the rest of you will need to adjust your wardrobe just a bit. If you are carrying with an in-the-waistband holster, you will need pants and/or shorts approximately one size too big. Pants need to be capable of carrying a rugged belt, to which we can affix the holster. It's pretty tough to put a holster on an elastic waistband.

The "5.11" clothing brand has a full range of durable pants, shirts, t-shirts and jackets for both men and women that are geared just for carrying a concealed firearm. (And if you are "fashion conscious," their line of clothing looks pretty sharp.  I am not fashion conscious, however.)  They have extra pockets to carry firearms and loaded magazines or speedloaders. You don't have to wear 5.11 brand stuff, obviously. Some people wear cargo pants, and they have enough room for the gun and extra pockets for extra loaded magazines.

If you are carrying inside the waistband, you will need "floppy" shirts that hang over the gun so no one can see it. I wear big t-shirts or button-down shirts that hang out over my belt. Or sometimes I wear a sport coat, and that too conceals my firearm just fine. The point is, if you are going to conceal, be serious about it. You don't want people to see any part of that gun poking through the shirt.

2. Dress for the weather.

Wear clothing that is suitable for the season. It is easy to carry a concealed handgun in the winter time where I live because we wear such bulky, thick jackets. But even a windbreaker can hide a gun efficiently. In the spring and summer, though, you will need lighter clothing. (Wearing a jacket when everyone else is in t-shirts and shorts sort of gives it away that you are hiding something.)

Some people can afford a special handgun for the warmer weather — a firearm that is smaller, thinner, and easier to hide under a t-shirt. A small revolver like the .38 caliber Ruger LCR or for semi-automatics the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard (in .380 Auto) might be just the right size compact pistol for the warmer months. If you cannot afford a "spring/summer" gun, that's fine. Many people cannot. Do whatever you can do to conceal that gun. Just make sure your shirt does not allow for others to see the "print" of the gun as you move around.

Next Page: How to make these clothes an asset, not a liability.