5 Tips to Make Your Concealed Carry Handgun Disappear

When it comes to concealing your concealed carry handgun most folks immediately “jump the gun” when it comes to improving their concealment. When I say jump the gun, I mean it quite literally. They assume that the gun is the problem when it comes to concealing. It certainly is possible that they are correct, however, there are a whole host of issues that can make a gun hard to conceal and the gun is the most expensive and most difficult to change.

Instead of swapping out your handgun you can make less expensive and simpler adjustments to your clothing and support gear that can help any gun to disappear under your concealment garment.

concealed carry printingConceal Your Handgun with a Pattern

I’m not much of a fancy dresser. In fact I might be exactly the opposite as I am happy to sport a pair of jeans and a plain black t-shirt. The problem with my approach is that it makes concealment more difficult. Especially the t-shirt.

You see, that plain, mono-color  t-shirt tends to show bumps, lumps and curves as shadows which stand out to the eye. When shadows are present in locations where they normally aren’t, it grabs peoples attention and makes it more likely that you will be made.

ccw handgunThe solution is both simple and fashionably acceptable! Add some patterns to your wardrobe. Today, plaids are a common sight in both men’s and women’s shirts and they can do a great job disrupting the shadows that a concealed handgun can leave in a cover garment and help to conceal your handgun. When it comes to patterns, you don’t have to stop at colors. Fabrics with textures can also help you to conceal. Different shirt fabrics have different levels of textures and you may find that throwing on a different weave fabric, like an  Oxford or a twill, will make a difference, or you can take it even farther by combining texture and color patterns together to help hide your pistol.

AIWB CCWThe idea is simple. Cruise through your wardrobe and consider what color and texture patterns help you to conceal you handgun more effectively and then when shopping for new clothes make sure to incorporate what you’ve learned into your purchases.

To Improve Concealment Upgrade Your Concealed Carry Belt

Most people think that the gun is the most important part of their concealed carry gear and that is a hard opinion to argue with. I do think it is important to understand that without the proper support gear it is unlikely that you will be able to safely and comfortably conceal a handgun on a daily basis. That makes our support gear pretty important when it comes to successfully carrying. The foundation of that support gear is your belt and if you want to increase your level of concealment one of the best ways to do it is to upgrade your belt.

First thing first, if you aren’t using a belt that is specifically designed as a gun belt, get a gun belt!concealed carry belt

Gun belts need to be stiff in order to hold up your pants, a pistol and a couple of loaded GLOCK 17 mags. This makes stiffness a top priority in selecting my concealed carry belt. Most importantly I want the belt to be stiff in ways that resist twisting. I call this torsional rigidity and it helps to prevent the heavy grip of the gun from rotating out away from the body.

I also prefer belts that allow for very small adjustments in size. A typical tongue buckle that relies on holes in the belt spaced at 1” intervals only allows adjustment an inch at a time where belts with military style slide buckles allow for an infinite number of adjustments between. When as little as an 1/8th of an inch means the difference between concealed and uncomfortable having the adjustability makes sense.

If you want to know more about how a belt can help you conceal your handgun you can take a look at this post on the best belts for concealed carry by following this link and if you want to improve your level of concealment consider upgrading your concealed carry belt.

CCW holster

For Deeper Concealment Adjust Your CCW Holster

When it comes to concealed carry holsters, one size doesn’t fit all and quality holster manufacturers know this fact. As a result, those that build quality holsters tend to design products that are adjustable to fit a wide variety of users. Holsters commonly allow for easy adjustment of cant, ride hide, retention tension, and even the spacing of the clips and loops.

Having the adjustments is only half the battle. You actually have to use the adjustments to get the benefits they can provide. These adjustments are generally easy to make and don’t usually take any fancy tools to complete, just a screw driver or Allen key and a few minutes of your time. The payoff however can be significant. Adjusting the ride height, fore example, can increase the ease of grasping your gun or drastically improve concealment depending on which way you move the loops on your holster.

So, unload your gun, then verify it is unloaded and start making some holster adjustments and test what works best for you!

Add Quality Concealed Carry Holster Features to Improve Your Concealment

Quality concealed carry holsters are more than just a holster and a clip. You can purchase accessories for most holsters that can increase the level of concealment that the holster provides and some of the best holsters come with those features built right in to the holster.

Add a second attachment point.

Many holsters come with a single clip or loop to attach the holster to the belt. For some folks this works just fine. Others might want a little bit more stability when it comes to locking their holster in place on their belt. I am one of those people. Working with a single attachment point leaves the gun feeling a bit unstable on my belt whereas adding a second soft loop to my rig keeps my holster and my gun right where I want it.

Dark Star Gear holsterTry a butt tucking device.

Incorporating some kind of wedge or “claw” into the holster can translate the pressure of the belt into a vertical rotation of the handgun that tucks the magazine well end of the grip into the body more securely. Some holsters like Keepers Concealment build the camming wedge right into the holster, others are available as add on parts like the Raven Concealment Claw that I use on my Dark Star Gear Orion holster or the camming strut available through Phlster.

Add a muzzle wedge.

Very similar to the idea of a claw, a muzzle wedge can be an excellent way to enhance both the comfort and concealment of your holster. A muzzle wedge provides padding and bulk between the muzzle of the gun and the body. This softens the 

concealed carry wedge

touch of the holster and at the same time pushes the muzzle away from you. The result is that the grip of the gun rides closer to the body increasing concealment. You can purchase wedges that are specifically made for use on holsters or head to your local drug store and pick up a set of Dr. Scholls heel cups and stick them to the outside of your holster. Either way you increase comfort and conceal-ability.

To Increase Conceal-Ability Change Your Drawers

As fashion trends change so does our ability to conceal a handgun and one of the biggest areas of impact for me has been in my pants. The current trend has been moving for lower and lower waistlines on pants. In addition to problems for plumbers everywhere, lower waistlines can cause issues for concealed carry practitioners as well. A simple shift of an inch or two on your body can significantly change how well your gun concealed. In some situations a change in ride height of your pants can make it impossible to carry a gun at all.

concealed carry pants

Just like with your shirts, spend some time cruising through your wardrobe comparing how your pants ride on your waist and what effect that has on your ability to carry a gun. Once you find what works best continue to acquire pants that fit the way they need to to help you conceal.

Final Thoughts

Carrying a handgun for personal protection is a personal choice and the way we carry and conceal that gun is just as personal. There are no one size fits all solutions to improving our ability to conceal, however, if we take a serious look at the examples I’ve provided above, we can all make some tweaks to our concealed carry system to improve its overall performance.

Take some time and evaluate your concealed carry wardrobe and gear and see what you can do to increase your ability to conceal your self-defense handgun.

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA's students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

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