There are many factors that play into pulling off an effective concealed carry, from your holster type and choice of clothing to your carry position and overall training.
To help you skip all of the trial and error, we’re going to go over some of the best concealed carry tips and tricks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced concealed carrier, this post is for you!
1. Sign Up for CCW Classes
The first tip we can give anyone who’s looking to carry a concealed firearm is to sign up for CCW classes. Not only will these classes help you learn the basics of concealed carrying, but they will also teach you about your state’s concealed carry laws as well as local laws so that it’s easier for you to obtain a concealed carry permit.
CCW courses aren’t made equal, though, with some offering more value than others. There are many courses that are mainly concerned about taking your money, offering you very little in return.
On the other hand, there are reputable courses that are more concerned about your life and the lives of others around you than they are about money. Such courses tend to cover all you need to know about concealed carrying.
Seeing as we don’t know where you live and what your level of experience is with regard to concealed carrying, we can’t just recommend certain CCW classes. So, you need to carry out your own research to find the best CCW course in your state.
2. Learn the Laws by Heart
Before you even start carrying concealed, you need to get acquainted with the country’s legal system. You need to familiarize yourself with local, federal, and state-specific firearm laws!
It’s important to keep in mind that even if it’s legal in your state to carry a concealed handgun, there are still certain places where you’re not allowed to conceal carry a firearm, like rented offices, post offices, national cemeteries, and visitor centers in national parks.
We’d also recommend getting USCCA insurance. In the event of shooting someone in a self-defense situation, having USCCA insurance will help you through the whole legal process, providing lawyers and coverage fees.
3. Dress Appropriately
One of the aspects that can make or break your concealed carry is your choice of clothing. Athletic cuts and skin-tight t-shirts are a no-no when it comes to concealed carrying as they can easily reveal what you’re trying to conceal.
What’s more, the material of the cover garment you’re wearing matters. Certain materials, like nylon and spandex, aren’t going to help you conceal your weapon as they’re prone to gun printing. Instead, you want to opt for shirts and t-shirts that are made of thicker materials like cotton, linen, and denim.
The color and pattern of your clothes matter as well. Generally, dark colors work better when it comes to concealing a gun. Black, dark greys, dark blues, and dark greens are some of the most effective options.
As far as patterns, you want to avoid uniform patterns, like stripes. Instead, opt for irregular patterns that can help camouflage any bulges or printing.
It’s generally easier to conceal a firearm in the winter than in hot summer months, seeing as you can wear a jacket, coat, or sweatshirt without any problem.
The thing about winter clothes, however, is that they make it hard to draw a handgun. So, you need to practice your draw while wearing heavy clothes on a regular basis.
Last but not least, don’t forget to invest in a heavy-duty gun belt that can handle the weight of your gun and holster while keeping them steady. A poor-quality belt can give easily away that you’re armed. Kore Essentials and CCW Breakaways are known for making excellent gun belts.
4. Choose the Right Holster
In addition to choosing the right clothes, you need to put some thought into the type of holster you’re going to use. Luckily, this is a matter of personal preference.
You can go for outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters if you find them more convenient than inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters. Similarly, you can go for Kydex if you like it more than leather.
When buying a holster, make sure to bring your gun with you—unloaded, of course—so that you can choose the right holster size for your gun model. This is important if your handgun is equipped with gear or accessories that require space, like a weapon-mounted light.
Also, make sure to get a holster that covers your gun’s trigger guard effectively. It’s best to buy holsters from a local gun shop so you can try before you buy.
Take your time when choosing a good holster. Try as many different holsters as you want until you find the one that meets your needs. And for the love of God, avoid low-quality universal holsters!
5. Stop Touching Your Gun
One of the mistakes that a lot of novice concealed carriers often make is that they tend to reach back and touch their gun every so often just to check if it’s still there.
Trust us; it’s still there! Just stop fidgeting with it.
The more you try to check on your firearm, the more obvious it will seem to the people around you that you’re armed, ruining the whole concealment aspect.
Similarly, you want to avoid adjusting your holster in public. If it has slid into a position that you find uncomfortable, you need to find somewhere private where you can adjust it without drawing attention to yourself, like in your car or a locked bathroom.
6. Adjust Your Carry Position
Carry positions are a matter of personal preference and you’re free to choose whichever position suits you. However, seeing as most concealed carriers carry on their hip, you may want to opt for a slightly modified carry because most people look for a gun near the hip area.
If you’re going for a hip carry, consider a 2 or 4 o’clock position if you’re right-handed. If you’re left-handed, consider an 8 or 10 o’clock position. You can opt for an appendix carry if you find it comfortable and you’re able to conceal it properly.
If you’re going for an ankle carry, consider buying ankle rigs for better concealment. Ankle rigs are especially helpful if you’re a woman who’s into wearing tight jeans or athletic pants. Keep in mind, however, that ankle rigs only work well with compact, low-profile guns.
7. Keep One in the Chamber
When carrying a concealed firearm, you should always leave a round in the chamber. In a situation where it’s now or never, you won’t have to rack and press check.
In terms of safety, a handgun with a round in the chamber is completely safe. You don’t have to worry about it firing if it happens to fall or hit something.
8. Maintain Proper Posture
Proper posture plays a huge role in keeping your firearm concealed. By standing up straight and maintaining good posture, whatever cover garment you’re wearing will hang in a way that’s parallel to the gun’s barrel. This will help keep the gun hidden.
On the other hand, if you’re walking around with poor posture and you’re slouching most of the time, your top won’t hang perfectly straight and will most likely create some angles and bends around your holster that will easily give it away.
Effective concealment aside, maintaining proper posture promotes efficient muscle use and reduces the risks of joint wear and ligament stress. So, do yourself a favor and keep your back straight and your head leveled.
9. Avoid Too Much Ammo
While we do recommend carrying spare ammunition, carrying too much ammo can be a dead giveaway that you’re armed. Mag pouches can show through your clothing, just like holsters. The more pouches you have, the easier it is for others to see that you’re carrying.
You might be thinking, “I can just carry a few magazines in my pocket, can’t I?” You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it, even with tactical pants.
Carrying magazines or even speedloaders in your pocket isn’t only annoying, but it can also print and create a bulge in your pocket that might seem suspicious. Stick to magazine pouches and reserve your pockets for things like your cell phone and wallet.
10. Be Responsible
The final tip we can give you is to avoid hostile situations as much as possible. As a gun owner, the only time when it’s your responsibility to reveal and fire your concealed weapon is if you absolutely have to in order to protect yourself or someone else.
Don’t go outside looking for trouble. Don’t try to get involved in situations that don’t concern you as long as no one’s life is in danger. If retreating is an option, then retreat!
Carrying concealed is easy to pull off if you know what to do and what not to do. Hopefully, with the aid of the information shared in this post, you’ll be able to carry your means of self-protection without drawing attention to yourself.
If you’re a beginner concealed carrier, we strongly recommend taking CCW classes and familiarizing yourself with the legal system before attempting to go outside the house with a gun on your hip.