Suit up for Every Day Carry

| 19 July 2010 | 2 Comments

So you’ve finally got your license or you’ve decided that your trusty blaster isn’t doing much to protect you locked up in the safe. Either way you find yourself making the wise decision to carry the most effective self defence tool available to you, hopefully on an EDC (Every Day Carry) basis. Unfortunately most of us then realise that carrying this thing around can be uncomfortable and annoying, sometimes this leads to the gun going back to its old job of protecting the inside of your safe which is obviously sub optimal.

Like with many things, if you dress the part it makes the whole experience substantially more user friendly. Dropping a mousegun into your pocket may be quick and easy, but in my opinion you are giving up too much ability in your gear in the interest of expedience. My experience is in carrying a full size service pistol all day every day, so that is where this article is going to come from. These procedures will work for you if you go with a compact or sub compact pistol and they will even be ever so slightly easier to carry and conceal.

Personally I always carry on my right side hip (I’m right handed), this means that all the repetition I gain drawing in practise , training and competition translate to my EDC set up. I almost always carry in an IWB (Inside the Waistband) holster as I find it offers me the best concealment over the widest selection of wardrobe. Which particular holster you choose is another article all of its own. For now let me recommend that you don’t skimp on your choice as with most things if you buy quality you only cry once. My current choice and recommendation is the Comp Tac MTAC which is available from For me this gives the best compromise between speed and concealment, and because it’s tuckable it will work in almost any dress code.

Your belt is one of the most important, and at the same time, one of the most ignored portions of the EDC wardrobe. A stiff well build belt makes a substantial difference to your comfort while carrying a pistol especially at the end of a long day and concealment is considerably easier with a proper belt. Try it and you will be surprised.

When buying trousers keep a few things in mind. First off make sure that they have belt loops, sorry but your shell suit bottoms ain’t going to work properly if you want to be armed. That solid belt we discussed besides being an aid to comfort and concealment is also your third hand in the event of you needing to manipulate your pistol should one of your hands be wounded and out of the fight.

If you’re carrying IWB you will most likely find that getting your pants one size bigger makes things a whole lot more comfortable. Many gun owners try an IWB holster in a pair of pants that they can just barely fit into as it is, and then complain that IWB is too uncomfortable, if you normally wear a 36” get your next pair as a 38”. All of a sudden that hunk of steel will feel a lot less like it’s trying to become one with your pelvis.

The heavier the material your trousers are constructed from the less noticeable the holster itself will be to a keen observer. Once again hoping you can wedge that pistol into your rugby shorts isn’t going to offer the best of ,or even an average amount of speed ,concealment or security. Darker colours will also make things less noticeable to any observers, either bad guys or work colleagues, who we would rather weren’t aware that we are armed.

Your shirt choice will, like your trousers, be dependent on the environment you find yourself in. In a more formal environment that tuckable function on the holster allows far more versatility as you will be able to take your jacket or other concealing garment off. The baggier the shirt the easier concealment will be, this doesn’t mean you have to dress like a slob but that your shirt does need to be a little looser. This allows you to blouse it out a bit when you tuck it around your pistol, no point having the gun covered but the shirt so tightly over it that anyone standing near you can read the serial number through the shirt. Have a look in the mirror make sure you can’t see the silhouette of the pistol you’re trying to conceal. Move around when you check.

If you can, try choose your shirts in darker colours and/or with stripes or some sort of pattern, these will combine to make the pistol less likely to be noticed if you move in such a way that the shirt is pulled more tightly against it. I have found myself in employment where I had to wear a white dress shirt every day, if this applies to you, try picking slightly thicker shirts preferably with a textured material. Unfortunately as with so much gear the better the quality of the shirts you buy the better they will be at hiding that gun.

In a less formal environment the same rules will apply and being able to leave your shirt untucked will make access a little easier. As I sit here typing this I am wearing a 5.11 short sleeve button up shirt, these work like a bomb if they match the environment. When looking at a button up shirt try to find something that is cut in a similar fashion, it hangs slightly lower than many shirts lessening the chances of the pistols butt hooking on the hem and exposing itself. Also, as with formal shirts, the looser cut helps reduce the chances of the butt of the pistol printing. With Polo shirts and T shirts the same rules apply. A little looser and longer cut combines with a good quality material in a dark colour or with a pattern is going to make life a whole lot easier. Those super tight jobs designed to show off your six pack are also going to ensure that the whole world can see that you’re armed. Unfortunately you will need to decide whether being the height of fashion or being prepared to defend your life against the forces of darkness, is more important to you.

A concealment garment like a jacket or photojournalist style vest can make concealment a bit easier but we need to keep some things in mind. If they have any draw strings or similar at the bottom hem cut them off straight away, a piece of string and a plastic bobble hooked in your trigger guard while trying to reholster can lead to all sorts of unpleasant BANG noises. Be careful that, on a cold day, you can reach the pistol under a jersey, a hoodie and a zipped up jacket. Winter makes concealment easier but access much more difficult. ALWAYS try some test draws from under today’s concealment.
Be aware that a hoodie or sweatshirt with an elasticised bottom hem my ride up during the day and if that is your only layer of concealment for the day you will need to keep a very close eye to ensure your pistol isn’t hanging out for the world to see.

Many users like an open front concealment garment. This can work very well especially if you prefer an Outside the Waistband Holster. Ensure though that it hangs low enough to conceal the pistol and holster when you lean over or lift your arms. The photojournalist style vest is very popular as a concealment garment, they conceal the pistol very well, are more lightweight than a jacket, so many find them usable all year round and they normally have lots of pockets to stow all sorts of gear in. I don’t really find them comfortable and find I get better concealment from a closed front garment but if they work for you they have some distinct advantages. Bear in mind some do worry that like the big black moonbag they do shout “gun” to many. Whenever I see someone wearing one I assume that there is very likely a pistol under there somewhere.

Something to bear in mind is that a surprising number of people will know exactly what the word GLOCK printed on your cap or T shirt means. People will read your “I’d rather be shooting t shirt” so bear in mind that true concealment is more than just having the gun covered.

Far too many people make excuses that they can’t carry a reasonable size fighting pistols because they need to dress well for work. By properly combining your pistol and support gear (holster, mag pouches and belts) and dressing to conceal it is possible to be prepared without compromising on pistol choice or making it obvious that you are armed. For a good few years I worked in an environment where I was not allowed by company policy to carry a firearm. The above assisted me in being armed everyday while being concealed sufficiently to stay employed and not offend the customers.

Obviously I would never recommend that you flout company policy with regards to firearms or signage in any environment you visit. Big boy rules, as always, apply. You make the decision to be armed or not and you live with the consequences either way.

This article was written by BigT, a GunSite SA Forum Member.
Many thanks.



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Category: Guns & Gear

Comments (2)

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  1. Maveric says:

    I agree with the concealment carry and unfortunately most shops have the sign – no guns- but yet they do not offer protection or liability if you get injured in on there property.

    we should write an artical on that issue and get a lawyer to give his opinion


  2. Horsey031 says:

    GREAT ARTICLE! Thanks for the read!

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