When it comes to choosing a cover garment, shirts are usually the go-to choice for concealed carriers because of the comfort and versatility they bring.
Choosing a concealed carry shirt isn’t as easy as it seems, though. There are many factors that come into play when picking a cover garment, from your body style and work situation to the size of your firearm and your preferred method of carrying.
With that said, this post is going to cover everything you need to know about how to choose a concealed carry shirt. Whether you’re looking to effectively conceal your gun in a social or business situation, we’ve got you covered!
How to Choose Concealed Carry Shirts: Short Answer
To find the perfect concealed carry shirt, go through this checklist:
- Type – Are you looking for a casual shirt or a dress shirt?
- Material – Choose thick fabrics like cotton and linen.
- Color – Go for darker colors like black, dark grey, and dark blue.
- Pattern – Flannel-style patterns are perfect for gun concealment.
- Cut – Avoid athletic cuts and opt for a standard cut.
How to Choose Concealed Carry Shirts: Step-by-Step Guide
When choosing a concealed carry shirt, you need to pay close attention to its type, fabric, cut, and color to ensure the best concealment. Let’s discuss each of these factors in detail!
The first factor you need to consider is whether you’re buying a casual shirt or a dress shirt. It’s easy to find casual shirts that are designed specifically for concealed carry. You’ll find them in both tactical and recreational styles, which allows you to wear them in different social situations.
Some of the companies that provide top-notch concealed carry clothing include Blackhawk, 5.11 Tactical, UnderArmour, and Propper.
Dress shirts, on the other hand, don’t offer as many options as casual shirts. To ensure optimal security from a dress shirt without compromising fashion and comfort, we highly recommend custom-tailoring. It’s going to be more expensive than buying a ready-made shirt, but it will meet your exact needs.
This difference between a standard shirt and a concealed carry shirt is emphasized when it comes to the use of different materials.
A standard shirt may feature materials like nylon and spandex. Such materials are terrible when it comes to concealed carry clothing since they’re so lightweight that they tend to cling to a gun or drape over it, creating a noticeable print.
Most concealed carry shirts feature materials like cotton and linen, which tend to hang instead of draping over a gun.
Generally speaking, the thicker the shirt’s fabric, the better it is for concealed carry clothing. This makes heavy polyester another good material choice. You can even wear a denim shirt if you want.
The great thing about materials like cotton, linen, and polyester is that they’re affordable. You can buy more than one shirt without spending too much.
Granted, these materials can be tough to wear in warmer climates, but they will offer you the right blend of comfort and concealment.
Colors and Patterns
The color of your concealed carry shirt can make or break the level of concealment it provides. Generally, dark colors offer better concealment than light colors because they hide gun bulges very well. Some colors that we recommend include black, dark grays, dark blues, and dark greens.
Another thing you ought to consider is the pattern of your shirt. We recommend steering clear of solid shirts if you’re looking for the highest level of concealment. You want to go for a shirt that has a flannel-style pattern.
Cut and Fit
We all love a good-fitting shirt, but with concealed carrying, athletic cuts and perfect fits are a no-go. This is where you need to take your body type into consideration!
If your chest area is wider than your stomach area, then you should be fine rocking a standard cut. If it’s the other way around, you may need to size up a bit to ensure a roomy fit and quick access to your pistol.
Shirts that come in tall sizes are excellent for a concealed carry because they help keep your gun concealed when you bend over or reach upwards.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing Concealed Carry Shirts
Now that you know what to look for in a concealed carry shirt, it’s time to consider a few external factors, namely your work environment, method of carry, and weapon of choice.
If you usually opt for a concealed carry at work, you need to take your work environment into consideration before buying a shirt for a concealed carry weapon. This, of course, is with the assumption that your employer allows concealed carry.
When choosing concealed carry shirts for a work environment, you need to consider your employer’s dress code and the type of work you do.
For instance, if you‘re in sales, you’ll most likely need to wear a sport coat or a business suit, which entails wearing a dress shirt.
As mentioned earlier, the clothing options for concealed carrying are quite limited with dress shirts, which is why it’s best to opt for custom-tailoring.
If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a custom-tailored shirt, here are some tips that can help you find a dress shirt that offers a good level of concealment:
- Consider a dress shirt that has a long tail, especially if you’re using an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster.
- Go for a standard cut so that you have enough room around the waist to tuck your shirt into your holster.
- Consider wearing an undershirt that features a built-in concealed carry holster.
If your work environment has more of a casual clothing code, you can set aside your dress shirts and concealed carry undershirts and go for polo t-shirts or button-up shirts, which are quite versatile when it comes to concealment options.
The great thing about polos and casual button-ups is that they only come in standard sizes. Still, you may want to go a size larger to give your gun and holster some extra room, especially if you’re going untucked.
Method of Carrying
Before buying shirts for a concealed carry gun, you want to consider how you’re going to carry your gun. In other words, what type of concealed carry holsters are you going to use?
Generally speaking, a paddle holster, or an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster, is never the way to go if you’re seeking proper concealment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hip carry or a behind-the-back carry.
If you insist on wearing an outside-the-waistband holster, we recommend a behind-the-back carry since it’s easier to conceal with a suit jacket, sturdy leather jacket, or a sport coat than a hip carry.
Shoulder holsters will offer decent concealment and a pretty quick draw, but they can be a bit uncomfortable. Also, if you’re not careful, you can easily draw attention to your shoulder holster. This method of carry is best suited for security guards and detectives.
With all of that said, the best concealed carry method for an armed civilian is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. It offers reliable concealment without the need for a jacket or blazer. All you need is a standard-cut shirt or an untucked t-shirt, tailored pants, and a good belt.
Another method that you can opt for is a pocket carry. It offers a decent level of concealment as long as your pistol is small. For this method, you’ll need roomy pockets with a thick lining to avoid printing, like ones found in cargo pants and extra-pockets tactical pants.
Obviously, ankle holsters are beyond the scope of this post since you don’t need a specific type of holster shirt to wear an ankle holster.
Weapon of Choice
The last factor you ought to consider before you buy a shirt to keep a weapon concealed is your gun of choice. The size and caliber of the gun can affect the level of concealment.
For starters, it’s best to opt for a single-stack magazine because it’s less bulky and easier to hide than a double-stack magazine. It’s also best not to carry a lot of extra magazines.
Additionally, the thicker the barrel and the grip, the harder it is to conceal carry a handgun. So, we recommend opting for a handgun that has a small profile.
With regard to the caliber, small-caliber handguns are usually easier to hide because they tend to have a small magazine size and narrower barrels.
This isn’t always the case, though. It’s not far-fetched to find a .45 that’s smaller than or about the same size as a .38!
The point we’re trying to make is that you need to strike a reasonable balance between gun size and firepower if you seek maximum concealment.
Buying concealed carry shirts isn’t as straightforward as buying standard everyday wear. You have to consider the type, fabric, color, pattern, and cut of the shirt to ensure effective concealment.
You also need to consider factors like your work environment, the preferred method of carrying, and weapon of choice so that you can find a shirt that meets your specific requirements.
Hopefully, with the aid of the information shared in this post, you’ll be able to find the perfect concealed carry shirt or t-shirt for your needs without much of a hassle!