printing concealed carry

How To Keep Your Gun Concealed

If you carry concealed, one of the biggest things to be aware of is printing, where the outline of the pistol shows through your clothes. It gives away that you're carrying, which obviates the entire reason you conceal - which is for no one to know you're armed.

Clothes Make The Man Not Print

not printing while carrying

Arguably, the best way to avoid printing is to open carry. That way, everyone knows it and you don't have to worry about it. However, not everyone wants to open carry and some states don't allow it, thus people conceal.

The first step to avoiding printing is the clothing that you wear. After all, "printing" refers to the outline of a concealed pistol emerging through your clothes. The best and easiest way to avoid it is to wear looser-fitting clothing.

Granted, this doesn't mean you should dress like a slob. One size up in pant and shirt size really should be all that's necessary, which won't - in most cases - look much different from your normal size.

Holsters And Gun Belts Are Vital In Avoiding A Print

how to conceal a gun

One thing that will make you print while concealed carrying? A gun that moves around while you do. How do you avoid that? Simple - with a decent holster and a quality gun belt.

A quality holster is supposed to provide adequate retention of a firearm once holstered. A good gun belt keeps your holster from moving. The belt is almost the most vital part; gun belts provide horizontal and vertical tension so the holster won't move up, down, nor side-to-side.

In fact, some holsters, such as sticky holsters, are designed so they don't need to be clipped to a belt but merely placed inside the waistband; a belt will ensure more than adequate security with such a holster.

Carry Style Matters

holster carry style

The manner in which you carry also determines how you can optimize a wardrobe for carrying. For instance, some people carry inside the waistband, some people prefer outside it, others prefer shoulder holsters.

The IWB and OWB crowd, for instance, merely need a long-tail shirt in most cases. Plenty of shirts are available with longer tails; big and tall sizes are fairly proliferate nationwide. IWB carriers will need to go one size up, at least, in pant size. A holster and pistol will add an additional inch (or more) of material that needs to go inside the waistband.

Those who prefer shoulder holsters, on the other hand, need a jacket at all times, which is the universal drawback - for many people - to this carry method. Jackets with a bit of extra room are easy enough to find. Windbreakers, shirt-jackets, a suit, sportcoat or blazer for the professional crowd...they're all out there. Heck, you could just get a nice, roomy flannel shirt, wear it over your shoulder rig and leave the top few buttons undone for easy access.

Pocket pistols, with pocket holsters, will create a bulge unless you get pants with roomy pockets. Those who carry in a fanny pack don't have to worry, except that they're wearing a fanny pack - and that's just dorky.

Consider The Pistol or Revolver Involved

how to hide a gun

Another factor involved in printing is your EDC pistol. For instance, 1911s are quite slim but have longer grips than pure concealment pistols. This means some locations will make the grip stick out and print.

In that instance, the 4 O'Clock and 5 O'Clock positions may be out for carrying a 1911, but the small-of-the-back and 3 O'Clock positions mask it perfectly. Shoulder holsters for 1911s are likewise popular; the slim proportions keep the lightest of jackets from printing.

In other words, another aspect of avoiding printing is knowing which carry locations will make your pistol print, and thus carrying it where it won't. That requires some experimentation - after all everybody is differently shaped - but you can figure out what works best for your carry gun.

Some people will also vary their EDC gun with the seasons. Some people will use a larger pistol while carrying in winter and switch to a smaller gun during the warmer months. Bulkier winter clothing prints less, after all.

Everyone is different; what will print on you may not print on everyone else. However, these tips can definitely make it less likely it will happen.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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