Once the proper gun and holster have been chosen, it’s time to cover it up. This can be the most difficult part of the equation, especially if it is your desire to compete for the latest fashion show. This is a big part of the CCW lifestyle. The latest trend in fashion may not lend itself to concealed carry. Skin tight jeans, shirts, or otherwise simply do not work well at concealing firearms. For a while, that was all the rage, but thankfully those things change.
For the last couple of years at least, baggy has been in. Even better, untucked shirts are no longer taboo. Some of the nicest dress shirts out there are designed to hang straight and outside the belt. With a simple undershirt to protect your side against the gun or holster and a nice shirt to cover it, you are good to go. The same is true for oversized T-shirts in the summer. For me, a simple investment in some cotton undershirts and oversized T-shirts and I am covered for the summer. As winter approaches, I simply replace the T-shirt with a sweatshirt. Sweatshirts are great, especially if they are thick, because they prevent even the largest pistols from printing.
For dressier functions, the Blackhawk 1700 has become a favorite, and there are other similar shirts available. Several companies make nice-looking shirts that do not scream you have a gun these days yet are designed for the purpose. When winter rolls around, jackets and coats become the norm so it is a bit easier. Just remember that when in public you may have to remove the jacket. It is not uncommon for me to conceal the pistol under a shirt as well. That way, when in a restaurant or public place, I can remove the jacket without issue.
If a suit and tie are in order, the real issue becomes the belt. The tendency is to use a dress belt of some sort, and that is just not good. Especially with a larger pistol. They hang down, move around, and can be downright dangerous. It is critical that you get a gun belt that is dressy—they are out there. They are not cheap, though, but it is worth the investment. If absolutely necessary an ankle holster will work as well. The Galco Ankle Glove is still the standard for me. There are some other companies out there copying it for a reason. An ankle glove carried a steel 3-inch 1911 on my ankle for years with no issues. They are comfortable for hours on end, even for guys with big ankles like me. This is the last place to scrimp on a holster. An ankle rig that is loose or uncomfortable is painful at times. Some of the cheaper ones look fine but come loose. Make sure you can at least jog with it on. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your pistol fall out as you are walking along. Take it from me, it’s not good—and I’ve handed an officer his ankle gun and holster after seeing it fall out during pursuit on foot. The holster must hold the pistol tight, and hold it tight against your leg even under stress.
Concealing a firearm can be even more problematic for women. Nature has a women’s hip protruding a bit more and it tends to really print a handgun. You can get some holsters designed specifically for women, but they are generally custom-made. Unfortunately, the industry has just not done well here. Worn more towards the back of the hip, they print less and coverage is pretty much the same as for men. Sweaters, vests, and other outer coverings are the norm.
Again, if you want a skintight outfit, then a purse or handbag is probably in order. There are some really nice purses made these days that are designed specifically for concealed carry. The guns are kept in a compartment so they are not rattling around in the nag with the rest of the gear. Not only will this keep a handgun from getting dinged up, but it also makes access safer. You really don’t want to be rummaging around your bag grabbing for a pistol. For the more casual events, polo shirts, sweatshirts and the like work just as well. If a dress is in order, well, that takes some creativity, and probably a smaller pistol, but my guess is that a handbag is probable the best venue for that instance.
Concealing your pistol is just something that takes some thought. It’s another big part of the CCW lifestyle. Just make sure you work out as much of the experimentation around the house as possible. Displaying your handgun when unnecessary in public is not only embarrassing, but it sends the wrong message to those who fight us tooth and nail to exercise this right. Please take the time to work out the bugs ahead of time.