5 Dead Giveaways that Out Concealed Carry

Not long ago, I wrote an article about 5 ways to spot that you’re carrying a concealed handgun. A few of the comments pointed out the obvious–that sometimes it isn’t a behavior pattern that tips people off, but the way we dress or–dare I say itaccessorize.

Well here are five tactical fashion faux pas that anyone paying attention can easily recognize.

Walter Sobchak, right, in his Shoot-Me-First vest.

Walter Sobchak, right, in his Shoot-Me-First vest. He’s also wearing shooting glasses to a bowling match–but we won’t talk about that.

1. The Shoot-me-First vest

If you’ve ever attended a local gun show, you have seen the Shoot-Me-First vest. This badass tactical accessory has lots of pockets for concealing all of your various defensive accouterments. There’s room for ammo, lights, mace, cellphones, grenades….

The origin of the phrase comes from the idea that a proverbial bad guy, when deciding who poses him the biggest threat, will recognize the vest for what it is–a convenient way to conceal anything you want. The old fat white guy (OFWG) wearing the mesh-backed vest with all of the overstuffed cargo pockets may be a legitimate threat, too. Don’t mess with the OFWGs.

You can pull off the look if you’re a cameraman for National Geographic in the 1980s. In the era before the digital camera, these pockets would have held film, batteries, flash-bulbs, etc. You can also pull it off if you’re wearing hip waders. Otherwise, it tends to make a statement. I’ve always found this aphorism to be mildly amusing: Your gun may be concealed, but the fact you’re concealing something is obvious.

The solution? Get a more subtle coat, or a messenger bag. If climate keeps you from dressing unseasonably warm, train with a lighter, leaner set of tools.

You asked for it. What happens when you fire a gun from inside a bag designed for off-body-carry.

This man purse or murse had a big smoking hole in it after we finished testing out our theories on shooting from inside the bag.

2. Man Purse

While we’re on the subject of obvious, let’s discuss the man purse or murse. I’ve got a man purse, and I carry it a lot. I’m not a proponent of off-body carry, but I sometimes want a larger handgun (like when I’m out in the woods), but don’t want to carry openly (like when I’m out in the woods with gun-shy friends who would flip if they knew I was carrying .357).

But all of the molle loops are sometimes a giveaway. Most of these bags are made to withstand years of hardcore service. Most are black, or green, or some shade of coyote earth.

There are some who are still making good use of the fanny-pack, too. I’ve never carried in one but know some who do. It is an especially good option for joggers or walkers–people who are doing some sort of activity that is most comfortable in pants with elastic waistbands. But the fashion trend died in the 80s, so the fanny-pack tends to stand out.

The other option? For every tactical sling, there are at least 10 that have no molle straps. Look at the camping store instead of the gun store, and you’ll find a more plain-looking murse. Or look to companies that make diversionary bags–tactical bags that have innocuous exteriors.

Crye Precision makes epic pants. They even come with concealment options for bottled water. Don't tell the TSA.

Crye Precision makes epic pants. They even come with concealment options for bottled water. Don’t tell the TSA.

3. Unnecessarily tactical pants.

I’m going to apologize to all my EMT friends right up front. A lot of those wearing high-concept cargo pants are very philanthropic individuals who I hope would try to save my life (should the need arise). The ass-kicking pants aren’t really designed to be worn for concealed carry–they’re meant for duty. In some departments, they qualify as uniforms. But a lot of folks wear them out to the hardware store, or to the mall.

While these aren’t as obvious as the Shoot-Me-First vest, they’re easy enough to spot. Those who keep up with fashion swoon over the latest Crye-Precision pants. And I’m right there with them. After I win the lottery, I plan to buy a pair. But I won’t wear them anywhere where subtlety is required.

The other dead giveaway is the Rigger belt. Duty belts abound, but some of them have a really aggressive look. The more stitching and velcro and cobra buckles, the better. When I’m out and about and I see a full blown tactical belt, I know I’m looking at a vet or a member of the tribe, or both.

The other option? There are less overtly tactical options. Almost all of the companies that make BDU style pants also make clothing designed to function well for EDC, but look less conspicuous.

Annemarie, do the interns all get GLOCKS?

Annemarie, do the interns get GLOCKS?

4. Gun shirts

Is a GLOCK t-shirt an overt sign of concealed carry? Not always. Back when Wes Anderson made the film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” I bought one of those intentionally ironic hipster t-shirts. It had this image on it.

The joke, for those who haven’t seen the film, comes from a theme that develops when Bill Murray’s character, Steve Zissou, asks one of his crew “Anne-Marie, do the interns get GLOCKS?” and she replies “No. They all share one.”

But as that film has faded from the American cinematic landscape, odds are a black t-shirt with the same image is actually a badge. It is more of the Molon Labe aesthetic. Speaking of Molon Labe, I’ve got a nice gun belt with the inscription on the buckle. Otherwise, the rig is subtle enough, but I’ve had a couple of comments from folks close enough to read the writing.

Is there a fix for those of us who like to pay to allow companies to use us as walking billboards wear our favorite gun shirts? Sure. I’d suggest Mexican wedding shirts. Stylish and functional.

The Zissou team on a rescue mission.

The Zissou team on a mission to rescue the Bond Company Stooge.

"You are a tactical shooter by hobby or profession and you have a full grown and formidable beard? Then you might want to join us and become part of a unique worldwide community of brothers."

“You are a tactical shooter by hobby or profession and you have a full grown and formidable beard? Then you might want to join us and become part of a unique worldwide community of brothers.”

5. The Beard

Another game I play when I’m out in the real world: High-Speed or Hipster? The concept is simple enough. You see a dude with a beard. Then you assess the rest of his get-up and make your call. If he’s wearing Kryptek, your choice is easy enough–A: High-Speed. If he’s wearing skinny jeans and pinstriped suspenders over an ill-fitting (but maybe ironed) white t-shirt, pick B: Hipster. But if that same dude is debating the benefits of MLOK over keymod with a tattooed woman built like a 1940s Cadillac, there’s a good chance the answer is C: All of the above.

As the illustration on the left would suggest, the combat beard has gone through something of an evolution. I can remember a time when a bunch of vets, recently free from the rules imposed by Uncle Sam, would grow beards. And then there were the contractors who wore them for a variety of reasons (including expressing their independence and/or because they could). But then a lot of people started growing out the facial hair. Don’t get me wrong–I’m in no way making fun of the beard. As of the writing of this piece, I haven’t shaved in more than six weeks. I grow a beard that, at best, makes me look like Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. Hardly Tactical. I’m built for comfort, not speed. And I look more like a dirty hippie than a hipster. So I’ll never be a member of the club. Not even a wanna-be. And that, brother, is how it is.

Conclusion

So those are my top 5. And before you jump into the comment section and blast me for making fun of you, know that I’m guilty of all of these. I constantly forget I’m wearing my shirts with guns on them and run up to the school to pick up my 9-year-old. I’ve got an old Maxpedition man purse that I take just about everywhere I go. I own way too many cargo pants. I don’t actually own a vest, but I’ve got some coats that are almost as obvious. And if I could grow a beard, I’d have one down to my belt buckle, and odds are it’d be braided.

With all that said, anything you think I’m missing?  What telltale signs do you look for?  What faux pas are you guilty of committing?

{ 119 comments… add one }
  • Graeme May 31, 2017, 3:06 am

    I have a Safari vest, that has actually been on Safari in Africa, I have worn it on a hot summer day to conceal, I wondered about that, kind of interesting to hear it from someone else. I have the belt, but don’t wear it out, when will you need to repel or extract from the shopping mall ! I refuse to advertise for anybody, so no gun shirts. I am guilty of cargo shorts. Will never go the man purse route. Grow a decent beard, but boy is it getting gray !

  • Howard April 20, 2017, 2:05 am

    If I’m using an IWB holster, but I forgot my pants?

    ….and there’s your #6.

  • Alice Diane February 28, 2017, 9:44 am

    I think there should be some leather jackets those have a gun pocket inside the jacket, I want to appreciate you for sharing an interesting article 🙂

    • Dr House April 3, 2017, 7:05 pm

      There are MANY leather jackets with gun pockets inside. Go look at http://www.NRAstore.com for starters. You can get leather, raincoats. denim jackets, leather vests, T-shirts with holsters built into them (I actually wear one of these in hot weather with another loose shirt over and it’s quite comfortable way to carry a compact Glock 43). But I’m the old (More fit) white guy with a beard and cargo pants loaded with a combination of guns, ammo, cell phone, mobile wifi hotspot, backup battery unit, flashlight (that is also a stungun), very sharp fast open knife and tungsten tactical pen. In my first aid kid I have Israeli bandage, bandages for sucking chest wounds, EpiPen (Not for myself), my trunk also has a medium business size Class A, B, C, fire extinguisher, tow strap, 100′ paracord (for ice/drowning rescue). And the God’s honest truth is that at least 3-4 people will tell you they’re alive today because of my ability to protect, rescue or provide first aid. Can one be over-prepared? And no… I’m not a prepper with food, water and all kinds of shelter strategies.

      • Steve September 16, 2017, 1:00 pm

        “And no … I’m not a prepper with food, water and all kinds of shelter strategies.”
        “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

        Agreed?

  • GORDON January 13, 2017, 1:36 am

    Wow, it’s always surprising to read an article that is so out of touch and immature as this is. Just like most liberials. What somebody wears, or looks like, or is carrying, has something to do with what they have in there pockets. That’s some pretty twisted logic.

    • Daniel April 30, 2017, 12:21 pm

      Except for the fact that…. Its true.

      If you see a dude walking around in the summer wearing black leather chaps, and a leather vest, with patches all over it, and all tatted up with things like “live to ride, ride to live” and a bandanna “hat” ……is it “out of touch” or “immature” to assume he might just have keys to a motorcycle in his pocket?

      How about the guy wearing jeans with old, and fresh grease stains all over them, black stained hands and fingernails, boots with scuffs on the sides, heels and toes that smell faintly of transmission fluid, and a dirty grease rag hanging from his back pocket….

      Is it immature and out of touch to suspect he might just have an auto zone rewards card in his wallet or a Snap-on or other major brand of automotive tool riding around in a pocket?

      Humans are creatures of habit. Creatures of habit …..habitually do things in patterns such as what they wear, what they carry. To notice certain patters and realize potential trends based on them…. That’s not “twisted logic” it is reality.

    • Steve September 16, 2017, 1:01 pm

      That makes him a liberal? What?

  • Rob December 19, 2016, 7:23 am

    Don’t forget the Wiley X glasses

  • Bram December 18, 2016, 8:36 pm

    Combat boots.

  • Steve huntington December 18, 2016, 1:23 pm

    They are all good points. I shop at 5.11 tactical and other shops like it I don’t usually consider what I’m wearing ( other than comfort and concealability ). It gives you something to consider …

  • Jim N December 18, 2016, 11:01 am

    good article Too many people give clues.
    I like the “shoot me first vest”.

  • John September 9, 2016, 1:00 pm

    I am surprised you did not mention the guys with magazines on thier belt. Great at hiding the pistol but not thinking about the amo.

  • mojobear July 18, 2016, 2:33 pm

    Shaved head and goatee – a tired cliche of the “I want to look like a badass tribe”.

  • Jeff April 16, 2016, 1:18 pm

    I just came back from a farmer’s market, and I saw a guy in a 5.11 tux (with vest and tactical belt), an Apple device in a Magpul field case hanging from his belt and a beard that was straight out of Zero Dark Thirty. Dude stuck out like a polecat in a chicken coop. I believe he hit four out of the five items listed here.

  • Chinch Bug April 15, 2016, 8:48 pm

    I just carry a violin case and wear a black pinstripe suit.

  • Jim April 15, 2016, 5:53 pm

    There’s plenty of places still left where a ONFWG can wear a Mexican wedding shirt without making a fashion faux pas. Trouble is they are lightweight, and usually light colored, which hinders concealment. I carry OWB, IB. I’ve found something slim enough to hide, powerful enough to satisfy me, and accurate enough for even me. I probably have been in prohibited places, since most of them don’t advertise their prohibition except on facebook, which I don’t use.

  • Fedup April 12, 2016, 9:11 pm

    So what the heck do you suggest to not be obvious?!

    • Dr House April 3, 2017, 7:10 pm

      To not be obvious? Checkout CrossBreedHolsters.com They make some great IWB that allow full tucking-in of shirt with EASY pull away. Throw your firearm in that and if you must carry a spare mag, drop that into a sticky holster and into a front or rear pocket or waitband… they’re simple, cheap and work.

  • Archangel April 12, 2016, 7:54 pm

    The funny thing is my first “Smart Phone” did not have a decent hip pouch but I did find a CCW hip holster for something like a Sig P238 that was perfect for the phone.
    It had small holes in the bottom for pushing it up and a magnet catch for the cover.
    Nobody ever questioned it.
    Now I carry a Mil-spec 1911 outside the waist band but under the belt and a 3 mag pouch on the belt with nothing more than a baggy shirt to cover it all.
    Even when it sometimes prints the handle, nobody as far as I can tell notices.

  • d49829@yahoo.com April 12, 2016, 9:20 am

    Being a small slim individual, I have found it difficult to conceal a firearm – other than wearing heavy clothing or a jacket. The only way I have found that I can conceal a pistol comfortably for any length of time is appendix carry with a smart carry type holster worn high enough that the grip of the pistol is above my belt line. This allows me to remove the firearm while leaving the holster comfortably in place when in restricted carry areas. My G27 made me a little nervous in this type of holster, and the safety on my Shield was hard to actuate ambidextrously, so I ended up with an XDs because of its grip safety. Ankle holsters are impossible and uncomfortable for me, the same for shoulder holsters, and carrying IWB on the side or back doesn’t work for me because I spend so much time behind the wheel. I have several tactical bags and fanny packs that I have tried, but I think women are so used to carrying and keeping track of a purse that it may come natural for them, while I always felt as though they were drawing attention to me.

  • Tom Horn April 12, 2016, 6:46 am

    Add to that list (unfortunately) the NRA stickers, firearms logo, and even hunter decals on the back of your vehicle, that say, “Perhaps there is a gun here abouts,” to a thug.

    Sometimes looking, at least, like your not a victim, and just might be carrying is a good thing. Cowardly bullies like to target defenseless people, and looking self defensively confident may be a deterrent to attack. Are you gonna pull an armed robbery at a gun show? Not unless your really brainless.

  • Russ April 12, 2016, 5:44 am

    I agree totally but I think you’ve overlooked 1 important point. I don’t think John Q(unarmed) Public would notice any of these. You’re preaching to the choir here. We who carry would recognise these 5 giveaways!

  • Chuck Roast April 11, 2016, 11:51 pm

    I was gonna get my concealed carry license. However, I found out that in my State (Texas) the Texas Department of Public Safety Licensing Bureau contracted with “MorphoTrustUSA” (a company owned by “Safran, S.A., a French firm which supports the United Nations 10 point global compact) to take over the handling of CHL applicant fingerprinting and information for the background checks. After some research, I found both Morpho and Safran are supporters of the United Nations 10 point Global Compact (see their website pages). Part of Safran, S.A.’s corporate mission statement (which I found a couple of months back on their web site) lists a corporate gol of “….assisting emerging Nations with citizen registries to protect citizens’ rights”. Imagine my concern after reading page 34 of the contract which Texas Department of Public Safety signed with Morpho, to find that within section C on page 34 of the contract that if MorphoTrustUSA asks permission of the folks which run DPS licensing to “…transfer data to an offsite facility/location”, that such is, according to the section, allowed. Although I am not an attorney, the language is explicitly plain, that Morpho could, if they decided to do so, assist Safran, S.A., (their owner) with “…building citizen registries” that concern “rights” by “…transferring data” to an “offsite” location. I guess the U.N. would sure like assistance with a “citizen registry” of persons who own firearms in the event they ever decide that the (SIGNED) U.N. Small Arms Treaty was “International Law” (despite the little matter of it never being ratified by the U.S. Senate). Since I was aware of the signing of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty last year by the current Administration, I thought an obvious (and much more dangerous “tell” than the 5 “tells” discussed in the article) would be to apply for a CHL with an admitted supporter of ANY United Nations Agenda 21 Global Compact Whatever Nonsense, just because I’d like to exercise (what I understand) is a God Given Right codified within our Constitution. (Please see Bill of Rights, Amendment No. 2.) What I cannot understand, is even after trying to get the NRA and GOA’s attention by sending emails and making numerous calls, it seems nobody but me cares that a contract exists which, if one were to read it, states that if someone at Texas Department of Public Safety Bureau of Licensing orally gives permission to an employee of MorphTrust USA to “…send data to an offsite location”, then there exists a pretty good chance that Safran, S.A., could legally, under the terms of the contract, possess the name, address, bio-metric fingerprint data, ID, etc. of every Texan who applies for a CHL. But the best part of it is, I don’t have to worry about the “tells” mentioned in the article for people carrying concealed, as I don’t have a CHL and do not intend to apply for one until things go back to normal. I’d like to own a pistol, and I’d like to have my local and federal government recognize my 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (ALONG WITH my right to privacy) however, not one of the political heroes I have voted for, supported, donated to, etc. have shown the slightest interest in answering why it was necessary for Texas (oh, by the way, check your State Regulatory agency to see if they’ve signed on with Morpho also) to change the application process, and further, why in the name of God they would pick a United Nations 10 point Global Compact “Partner/Signator” to be (even in the slightest manner) involved in the application process given the U.N.’s stated mission of “regulating” firearm ownership within the United States. Go Figure.
    Sincerely,
    Chuck Roast

    • Jon Wilob April 13, 2016, 5:18 pm

      Pretty simple answer Chuck Roast-our Goose is Cooked partner!

    • JohnnybeBad July 30, 2016, 10:23 pm

      Chuck – get you a FL carry license, man. Works fine, last long time (longer than TX). Cheeper too!

    • John Maldaner December 18, 2016, 11:39 am

      No doubt we are all on several lists. Exercise your rights! Otherwise, you have already been denied them.

  • Gryff April 11, 2016, 10:23 pm

    The beard and sleeve tats are “hipster” regardless of who are wearing them.

  • Paul Brooker April 11, 2016, 9:32 pm

    I don’t know why we worry so many dumases want to open carry

  • Bullwinkle April 11, 2016, 7:53 pm

    As a possible sub-set of #2 – The Man Purse, consider the cell phone belt-holster with the shiny chrome SP logo.
    The configuration could be sound because some people do carry their phone in one, but the noticeable logo is a dead give-away.

    As said, your situational awareness should keep you in the front part of the reaction curve and your bearing / posture will probably reflect that.
    It may not say to ‘Leroy’, “I’m armed”, but it will say “I’m aware of you” and that now he is behind the curve.

  • bob h April 11, 2016, 6:23 pm

    Instead of paying high dollar for a messenger bag one should at least look at a simple shoulder bag. Yes, I know you might get some flack for carrying a purse but honestly, why do you care? I could have spent twice as much to get a messenger bag that would be as unobtrusive and practical as the bag I carry but why? So some smartass wouldn’t make a crack that I’m carrying a purse? If that’s the kind of thing you worry about you probably shouldn’t be carrying a gun at all.

  • Austin Fox April 11, 2016, 5:09 pm

    Don’t you just hate deadlines that force you to write something/anything even though you know it’s stupid. Seriously, do you have any studies or even anecdotal evidence that suggests wearing a vest of any kind leads to being the first shot in any situation? As a photographer, I do wear a vest to carry batteries, filters, close-up lenses, remote shutter releases, etc. Vests aren’t a relic of the 80’s. It’s just easier than digging into a camera bag with a backup camera, 4 lenses, 2 flash units and release forms. My EDC is IWB. So you don’t like some guy’s man purse because of the color? You prefer what: pink, puce, periwinkle blue? Really, what’s a color that won’t scream “Glock” to you? Cargo pants, logo shirts, and beards are on your list, too. Good grief! What’s next? Tattoos and cowboy hats?

    • Grey Beard April 11, 2016, 6:11 pm

      I wear a vest with Cigars sticking out of one pocket and a handful of lighters in another. Another pocket carries a cozy for my beer bottle which covers any outline of the S&W 642 in the inside pocket just behind the cozy.
      People are always begging a cigar from me.

    • DaveGinOly April 12, 2016, 1:16 am

      Yeah, the “shoot me first vest” and the “open carry makes you a prime target in an active shooter situation” are both myths like “blood will run in the streets” after carry laws are liberalized in a State. Gun writers scoff at the nonsense promoted by the grabbers, but often promote their own brand of nonsense meant to keep other gun owners in what they might consider “line” – ownership of acceptable weapons for certain acceptable purposes (that sometimes doesn’t include self-defense), approved methods of carry (usually not open carry, and generally frowning on shoulder holsters and Mexican carry), and appropriate wear.

    • Ryan Wolframe December 18, 2016, 1:26 pm

      I think the point is not standing out. The article wasn’t written to be literal, all encompassing tutorial but a bit of a light hearted people watching fun.

      Tacticool is a thing, even here in Canada.

  • Paul April 11, 2016, 4:43 pm

    There is no single plan that works in all climes and locales. Do a qualitative study of what people in your age range, in your typical environment, in your work demographic, etc. wear and what they avoid. Years ago, as a young Marine stationed overseas, we learned to never wear polos and khaki trousers, even though it was suggested by our political masters. It marked us as Americans and as targets. We adopted local track wear for casual wear because it was ubiquitous among the native < 30 crowd and most of the potential "opposition" wore them.

    Wear of a Mexican "wedding shirt" [the guayabera] in the American Southwest or Florida is fine if you present as a middle aged Hispanic male and live in an area of the community where that blends in. In many parts of Tucson, San Diego, and northern Florida, that would stand out as unusual. If one's ancestry is not apparently Hispanic, Caribbean, or Filipino, one will stick out anywhere rather blatantly.

    The 5.11 style of trousers simply scream out 'gun', LE, or affiliate. Cargo trousers or shorts can be common or stand out – again, know your environment, those around you, and what your situational limits are. No gun related clothing whatsoever, no LE or military affiliated clothing whatsoever. I avoid political themes for obvious affiliations. If everyone around tends to wear sandals or athletic footwear and you insist on wearing Oakley's latest tactical boots for that special time, rethink what you are showing the world. It goes as far as what you carry in your pockets as well; carrying flashlights, tactical folder knives, zytel devices that are supposed to be keyfobs – yet are clearly designed as weapons, or tactical pens are all obvious indicators. Many items of clothing can be altered to conceal items and the same goes for backpacks, athletic bags, messenger bags, etc.

    If your awareness level is that of a new Secret Service agent on an initial Presidential security detail, one needs to train themselves out of that right quick. You should be able to look someone over without them ever being aware that they've been visually inspected. Too many people think that "Condition Plaid or [whatever color is en vogue today]" should be an obvious physical set of gestures that somehow magically ward off the BG's. Too many gunowners think that they must act like Jason Bourne in Berlin and not like the non-descript middle aged guy buying some needed groceries for the wife. They themselves are their greatest "tell".

    • KENNETH RICH April 12, 2016, 3:38 pm

      It’s refreshing to read an opinion from one who OBVIOUSLY knows what they are talking about. A++

  • Wise1 April 11, 2016, 3:14 pm

    I find particularly funny, the wanna be 82nd Airborne troopers walking through WalMart in camo pants tucked into their boots.
    Black hats, black T shirts and aviator sunglasses. They’re the latest incarnation of mall-ninjas.

  • Vincent Brennan April 11, 2016, 3:03 pm

    As for me: SFU. Short Fat Ugly. Well sort of. My two best friends in this world are very attractive women 31 & 40 (she looks as young as the 31 year old) and both say they consider me very attractive and thought on my birthday I was turning 50 instead of 63!

    Trained in Chuck Norris’s first school Torrance, CA. (5 years before he even tried to be an actor and before anyone asks he really IS that good and at least up to the last time I talked with him a very nice and overly modest man) Fought in many tournaments. That was all many years and 3 broken backs ago so while what he taught us as to mind set very much still counts and I could certainly break most holds on me I do not want to find out. Now they call it Condition Yellow but he taught the same stuff.

    I have had a short trimmed full beard continuously since 1973. No camo, no tactical, no gun shirts except maybe to the gun smithing shop I help out in or the range. I had to wear nice clothes and a TIE for far to many years professionally so I promised myself when retirement came they WENT along with all but two tuck in shirts! Hat hats of all kinds but have two boonie hats for when one is absolutely needed. As soon as I moved to tN from CA 15 years ago I got my carry permit and the number of times I have left home unarmed in those years can be counted on my fingers with some left over yet when in polite conversation people seem to be shocked that I am, and have been every time they saw me, ARMED. Knife and Kahr CW9, Kel Tec .380 and/or SIG 239 both of the larger pistols (still small) being 9mm with premium ammo. Wrangler Jeans (I loved Levi 501 but refuse to wear them due to Levi Strauss contributing to every anti gun operation they can find). I wear square cut ouside the waist ban shirts and almost always carry in a Bianchi OWB holster but the Crossbreed IWB gets enough use it is in my dresser top drawer. K-T goes in DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

    I have never had the occasion of another shooter ask what I was carrying or in anyway has anyone pointed out to me I am carrying. My wife says she can not tell what I am carrying or wear even though she knows where to look! She will put her hand on me as we get in the car to make sure I am carrying and where as it will be right belt or front pocket. I agree that MY wallets have ALWAYS been left rear pocket even though I am right handed.

    Another “tell” a guy is carrying and some females their actions:
    1. Things like reaching for something high on a shelf and the shirt rides up and they immediately pull shirt down and/or “fluff it out (I now know where their gun is). Then looking to see if anyone noticed
    2. People (like me) that insist on a table, not a booth, in the back but sit facing front door and cash register as that is where 95% of the nasty stuff will start (a point Mr. Norris insisted on us learning).
    3. Many people that carry, especially newbies, are constantly or at least often figit with the area of clothing that covers their weapon. The first month I carried it was the tiny K-T yet I felt like everyone that looked at me KNEW I was carrying 😉

    These are the kind of things I look for…..

  • James Riley April 11, 2016, 2:32 pm

    HEY! I resemble that remark. Those are spot on and I am constantly fighting to remember then as I attempt to surreptitiously go about my business armed to the teeth. or well at least carrying my lil 22.

  • McRuger April 11, 2016, 2:27 pm

    Perhaps one of the best ways to resolve any of these carry issues is to pay attention. From now on when you go to the Bass Pro, Cabelas, Gander Mountain or even Wally World look around. Notice other people, take a quick inventory and see if you can tell who is carrying …. Many times it is pretty easy, other times not so much, but you will get good at identifying CCWs and the exercise will tip you off on what not to do.

  • Silent But Deadly April 11, 2016, 2:13 pm

    I really am surprised by all those who put out youtube videos, wear the gun shirts, and flaunt their stash of ammo and guns. I love my right to own and carry and I do, but I do it silently. Why let others know, including the government because you KNOW they are watching, looking and reading, that you own massive amounts of ammo, and have more guns than your safe can hold? I am baffled when I go out and can tell who is carrying and who is not. I live in a open or conceal carry state. I can do both. I choose to conceal carry because I do not want the bad guys, or those who are supposed to be the good guys, to know I am carrying. It is my right to protect myself, my family and my home and to do it as I see fit. I do not care if you know I have a this or that gun or knife, or axe, or saw, or how my home is fortified. Putting this info out there is for the government like dangling meat in front of my dog is….dangerous!

  • Bob April 11, 2016, 1:59 pm

    Good list

  • Mark Wynn April 11, 2016, 1:49 pm

    At least you don’t open carry.

  • Tyler April 11, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Why do I see so many people in the comments specifying they carry in church “with my pastors blessing”? Thats like asking permission from the owner of the diner you eat at every Saturday. Besides of he really needs to know I figure God will tell him.

    • DIYinSTL April 11, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Because it is the law. Most States forbid the carrying of firearms in places of worship unless you have written permission from the pastor/priest/rabbi/shaman/cleric/etc..

      • James April 11, 2016, 2:34 pm

        Don’t ask, dont tell. Why flaunt it.

        • Dan April 12, 2016, 12:28 am

          Because if the law says you need written permission to carry, and you don’t ask, then you are no longer a lawfully carrying individual. And when someone comes in and starts shooting, and you take them out, you will be in jail.

          • Andy December 19, 2016, 5:16 am

            Not in my state. Here if you meet the criteria to the level of self defense in an incident while illegally carrying a weapon, you cannot be charged with illegally carrying a weapon. It’s to prevent an a-hole prosecutor from charging a citizen with a crime after surviving a lethal situation just because the place had a stupid “no weapons” sign.

      • hooch April 11, 2016, 9:40 pm

        glad i live in TENN then. because its only against the law to carry in government buildings and places marked that you cant carry. churches are a private “business” and therefore not illegal unless its posted you cant. actually where did you get the information that it IS illegal to carry in churches in ” MOST STATES”??? where did you look that up?

        • Tracy April 13, 2016, 10:27 am

          In Missouri State Law for ccw 571.094 tells about church and getting permission to carry

      • Tyler April 12, 2016, 12:13 am

        Well, I’ll be damned I didn’t realize this because as far as I know in my state that’s not required at least I’ve read through my states carry laws several times and never noticed it. Thought I was being a smart ass, I guess I was just being an ass…

  • DIYinSTL April 11, 2016, 12:54 pm

    Great article written with good humor. It now needs a serious followup evaluating the $200 Crye Precision vs. the $60 Kryptec with kneepads. A murse? Meh! Anyone carrying too much to fit in their pockets is wearing lipstick or needs a backpack. Important stuff like wallet and gun stay of the pack.
    Unless you are a gun person, most people don’t know that my Benelli, Marlin or (big G) Giessle hats are gun related and no one gets close enough to read the words on the little NRA Endowment Member pin stuck through a vent. But they have resulted in some nice conversations with like minded individuals. When I carry in warm weather, an un-tucked Hawaiian shirt is loose enough to cover a Sig P220 Carry OWB in the 4 or 5 O’clock position and the print on the shirt helps camouflage any printing when bending over. I’ll try a cross-draw this summer. If it ever gets here. (Just kidding Andrew. I know it is Art and will be a thing of beauty.) And always carry your wallet in the pocket you access with your weak hand.
    I save my blatantly obvious gun T-shirts for trips to the library, functions at the children’s school, visits to New York; places where I can’t carry. It’s an odd mix of displaying my anger over the anti-gun environment I’m in and being excruciatingly polite and friendly to everyone I meet.

  • davud April 11, 2016, 12:47 pm

    in a similar vein are the people who carry their ammo to the range in ammo cans. when a cop pulls you over, those things are screaming ‘search me’ at the top of their lungs.

    • Mag April 11, 2016, 11:02 pm

      Yea cause the cops really care about you having ammo cans with ammo in them want to search you for having ammo cans. If you had any sense about you then you would realize that most cops are gun guys as well.

  • SuperG April 11, 2016, 12:39 pm

    Good article. I’m guilty of the tactical pants. I switched to Vertyx to be a little less conspicuous, but I pocket carry a lot, so need the deep pockets. If you think your “normie” friends would be upset to see you carrying a .357, an office worker seeing my CM40 in an IWB holster would freak out even more.

  • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:16 pm

    Thoughts on this… Let’s see. 1. I’m an OFWG. 2. I wear a beard even though I shave it once a year or sometimes twice. Don’t look like a hipster though, I’m more often compared to Santa Claus. 3. I carry a man purse because sitting on my wallet hurts and I got tired of being poked by my keys in my pockets, especially when I’m driving. I don’t own any T-shirts with any guns or pictures of cutesy sayings so I’m off the hook there. I’ve considered buying one of the vests but they’re too hot even with mesh, since I live in the southwest desert and being an OFWG, I can’t stand the heat very well. I do carry a gun in my Bible bag but that is only to Church or other such functions and that is with the full knowledge of my pastor. I don’t believe carry permits of any kind are in any way constitutional so that’s as far as I’ll go to saying what I do in everyday life but it won’t show if I am or am not carrying other than the signs above which are totally ambiguous and could be wrong or not. The bad guy will not know. Like a porcupine I am harmless unless attacked.

  • Dennis J Brennan April 11, 2016, 11:18 am

    I agree with the writer’s comments about the vest. They aren’t very fashionable these days so wearing one makes you stand out. I feel the same way about the Glock t-shirts. I have Hi-Point & Glock t-shirts but I don’t wear them too often. If you get pulled over for a traffic violation and you are wearing one of those shirts, chances are the cop will want to search your vehicle. I carry concealed in the winter months by wearing one of Sig Sauer’s barn coats. They are very warm and they have two huge inside pockets, making it ambidextrous. The pockets are large enough to carry my S&W model 29 with a 6″ barrel. The coat could conceal multiple handguns. It is a fashionable look and the price was reasonable too.

    • Shah Muhammad II of Khwarazmia (1200-1220AD) April 11, 2016, 12:30 pm

      Here in Khwarazmia, as a semi-professional photog, I still wear what you call a “shoot first vest.” Photogs are pretty easily spotted—I carry 3 cameras, 2 long lenses and every possible accessory.

      Meanwhile, I keep a sword down my pants leg and my Uzi with 4 mags in the small of my back. Here in Khwarazmia, we have rather liberal gun laws and, at 18, everyone is given the choice of a government issued M4, G-Tavor, Styr Aug or M134 Mini-gun mounted on a Stryker M1126.

  • Sgt. Pop April 11, 2016, 10:56 am

    All of the above, was a great way to start the day with my morning cup of coffee. My 2 Cents- Living in rural south Alabama has the benefit of being among a lot of other folks wearing Camo something, all the time. In my case after 25 years in the Army and Nat. Guard, had amassed a large number of BDU’s before retiring to the farm. I wear them almost every day, pockets hold lots of tools and parts when working around the place, drop an 1911 or something and head to town, nobody will notice ( or care), dress up and going out to lunch involves clean shirt and newest looking Crocs, and for a good visual distraction heading to Lowes, Ace, or Home Depot, a big yellow tape measure clipped to the belt on side opposite your carry. It’s a great life……..

  • kane April 11, 2016, 10:05 am

    Ok, now I have a suggestion for Dave Higginbotham’s next article, what to wear to reduce the likelihood that you will be among the first to be suspected of carrying a concealed firearm. A “Target” t-shirt which of course should seem like that would be the last choice among any firearm owner, which might in some way make it the best choice if combined with a bulky vest. A t-shirt with name “Hillary” anywhere on it for oblivious reasons. A “Guess” t-shirt which might be interpreted to mean that all guessing is completely unnecessary. A t-shirt with a pot leaf might do the trick but the increased attention from law enforcement might offset any other benefits enjoyed from this choice.

    • Shecky April 11, 2016, 11:54 am

      You couldn’t pay me enough to wear a hillary T-shirt and if you were out in the country it might not end so good.

      • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:23 pm

        I have to agree with Shecky. I would no more wear a “hillary” T-shirt than I would go outside in the middle of winter at the north pole with nothing on at all. It would make me feel unclean, almost as bad as the little girl must have felt when the dinosaurs sneezed on her during the first Jurassic Park movie, maybe worse. Of course I’d feel the same way about wearing a “Trump” T-shirt.

  • David D Hartman April 11, 2016, 9:33 am

    My daily work apparel consists of khakis and a loose-fitting pullover/polo shirt. On the weekends I wear the same sort of shirt with jeans. Now for “the rest of the story”: I am 6′ and weigh 285 lbs. (yes, I am overweight – significantly), but due to my size I get by with a full size CZ P-09 in .40 S&W in an Alien Gear IWB at my 3:00 with little to no printing (the end of my magazine may print when I bend over just right). There are benefits to being an old fat guy. lol

    • William Graebe April 11, 2016, 10:27 am

      There are no rules for being an old fat guy. I’m 5′ 11″ and weigh 170lbs. I work out 5-6 mornings a week. I am 71 yrs old and hold black belts in 2 Korean styles of martial arts. My concealed weapon is a .380 ACP S&W Body Guard. What I am saying is that you had better be in both good physical and mental health. If you are not in good physical condition you can’t rely solely on mental ability. I think a person who is so overweight would have a difficult time retrieving his weapon when he has 5 thumbs on his hand. I really don’t mean to insult you but the facts are the facts.

      • Ron April 11, 2016, 11:10 am

        Those aren’t facts, they’re the (obnoxious, insulting, probably inaccurate) opinions of someone who thinks he’s better than another guy because of something he likely has less control of than you do of your gun.
        Congratulations, you’re a ninja. But my guess is you’re likely also a dick. (Not a fact, but an opinion.)

        • Shecky April 11, 2016, 12:03 pm

          Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth. Couldn’t have said it better.

      • missourinative April 11, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Although I myself am not overweight, don’t fool yourself into thinking all overweight people are slow, stupid and clumsy. One of the fastest men I ever knew as far as getting a concealed gun into action was 5′ 8″ and weighed around 230. He was also scary accurate when he had beat you to the draw. I have lived with guns all my life, and am considered by many to be fast. In a head to head competition with him I have never had my gun in position to fire before he breaks an accurate shot. By the way, your martial arts training is in all likelihood just that, training. Unless you actually use it in a real fight, you will likely get your ass kicked. In the play acting training you learn to pull your punches to avoid injury to your training partner. What you practice is what you will instinctively do under stress. Willing to bet your life on your exercise?

        • Todd April 11, 2016, 4:37 pm

          Perfect example …..Roy Nelson !

      • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Gee. Congratulations on being such a sterling example of what EVERYBODY should be. Right. There are reasons that most people our age are not in prime physical condition. It certainly does not excuse you from being an obnoxious, overbearing, boastful, eh, well I try not to use the words that wanted so much to be put there instead of those polite ones. You set a very bad example by your apparent behavior. Try looking at what you said from a person’s view point who can’t help that they are unable to exercise like you apparently do. You aren’t helping anyone by being so insufferable.

      • Dan April 12, 2016, 9:00 am

        I have a martial arts background, and for most of my life did not feel the need to carry a firearm, other than rare exceptions of traveling to an inner city. Acquiring a CC permit, and carrying more frequently had nothing to do with laziness, lack of motivation, or poor dietary habits, it had to do with less time to train because of other commitments, chronic injuries from years of training (and fighting), and other age related issues. Because you are 71, and not overweight, may have more to do with genetics than discipline. In my younger days while wrestling, fighting, and teaching, I was thrown by, hit by, and surprised by the speed of some overweight individuals. A friend of mine struggled with his weight for most of his life, but has an 8th Dan in iaido – the old adage “never judge a book by its cover’ applies to extremely large individuals as well as extremely small individuals, and everyone in between!

  • WAH April 11, 2016, 9:05 am

    Add to the look a pair of cool wrap around Secret Service style dark glasses, a tactical looking ball cap with deeply curved bill
    and “operator” boots. Other “look at me” items, a Shemaugh scarf, and surplus fleece jacket

  • Born_Tough April 11, 2016, 9:02 am

    Excellent read. Made me laugh and made me think.

    • Parson April 11, 2016, 10:27 am

      Yeah, me too. As for number two, why would he have a friend that would be freaking out if he knew he was carrying a .357! LOL. Not my kind of friends, especially to be in the woods with! Just saying!!!

      • Todd April 11, 2016, 10:52 am

        Because they carry .32acp

        • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:46 pm

          Don’t knock the 32 ACP. I have one and it’s a nice, easy to carry, inconspicuous weapon and at the ranges it’s designed for it’s plenty accurate and with proper shot placement can do the job just fine. I bought the Beretta because of those features plus it has the pop up barrel that lets you remove or add a round to the chamber without racking a slide. I can double tap with it just fine. It’s a lot easier to carry around than my GP100 or my Redhawk. Rest assured that should someone attack me they will probably get to see my little 32 for a short time. Out in the woods I’ll carry the Redhawk. The GP 100 is for bed time.

          • Larry April 11, 2016, 1:29 pm

            My wife has been carrying my 32 Tomcat for the last few years & she knows to aim “high”. Up close, the melon is still a somewhat easy target to hit &, even with 32acp, it will definitely get their attention! As for me, I went to a sub compact Storm in 40 that fits nicely in my RF pants pocket in a “sleeve” holster made for it.

      • ty April 11, 2016, 12:06 pm

        I’d say they’re the perfect kind of friends to have in the woods. That way you won’t feel bad when you have to shoot them in the knee cap so the bear eats them, and you don’t have to run as hard or far. 😉

        • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:50 pm

          Dude if you’re that depraved I don’t want to be anywhere near you ever, not just in the woods. Why not kneecap the bear instead. You’d have an easier time trying to do that, the bear has bigger knees. If I were out in the woods with friends and we were charged I’d be busy trying to put a 265 grain solid into the bears brain. At least I like to think I’d be brave enough to do that. I really hope you were being sarcastic.

  • Capn Stefano April 11, 2016, 8:59 am

    I wear a heavy canvas concealed carry vest nearly everywhere.. it’s obvious but quite useful..have for many years. Inside is an EAA Witness Elite Match 10MM and 5, yes 5 reloads, plus a KAHR .45 and one reload. Carry your little 9MM compact in your undies if you like, but I’ll remain aware and alert and if it goes down I’ll have the firepower to end it quickly. I can tell you that one look at me and no bad guys are buying some. I’m 55, have CCed for 35 years and I’m not the fat guy you mocked (who could likely read over your grave after a shootout) . It’s pretty funny to see youngsters so afraid of being armed, when in the old days everyone open carried with a belt full of slugs

  • KahrdCarrier April 11, 2016, 8:57 am

    Here is one tell I am guilty of. If you wear your watch on your left wrist, you are right handed. If you are right handed, you will carry your wallet/billfold in your right hip pocket. UNless you are carrying on your right hip and don’t want to reach past your CCW when you reach for your permit when contacted by/contacting an LEO. So – carrying your wallet on the same side as your watch = carrying on the other hip. Fortunately, Leroy probably is not sharp enough to pick up on this.
    I prefer not to advertise that I am carrying concealed. Let Leroy just wonder which 115 lb. woman or 70 year-old man is carrying. Don’t let him know when to pass and go on to the next. That said, I am certainly not looking for it and will choose to park in the lighted area of the parking lot.

    • Hubert Terry April 11, 2016, 11:21 am

      Wrong! I’m right-handed and carry my wallet in my left rear pocket. Check out where the “button up” rear pocket is located on those pants with only ONE button-up pocket………it’s invariably on the left side. Why would I want to have a buttoned up pocket for my handkerchief??

      • Godfrey Daniel April 11, 2016, 12:03 pm

        Hubert Terry; Exactly so.

      • peteyraymond April 12, 2016, 11:06 am

        True. Plus since I’m right-handed I carry my pocket knife in my right rear pocket.

    • DIYinSTL April 11, 2016, 11:53 am

      I’m right-handed and always carry my wallet in my left-rear pocket or the inside right pocket of a suit coat. It’s an easy adjustment to make and convenient since you don’t switch hands to take out cash or credit cards. I can carry OWB with a lightweight square bottom shirt and never worry about showing. Suit coats with a shoulder rig takes a bit more practice but it helps if you have a good tailor.

  • Charlie Bradley April 11, 2016, 8:27 am

    Funny you mentioned Tshirts. I had the same thought when I saw an advertisement for a “iPac” Tshirt with a nice cartoon of a Glock. Talk about advertising that you are carrying….Sheesh.

  • ROSCOE April 11, 2016, 8:17 am

    THE dead giveaway for legal concealed carriers: a tactical flashlight in a nylon belt holster.

  • ROSCOE April 11, 2016, 8:15 am

    THE dead giveaway for legal concealed carriers: a tactical flashlight, especially one in a nylon holster.

  • Vito Monopoli April 11, 2016, 7:50 am

    I am sooooo glad that I am not one of those people that you have to hit in the face before I see the obvious. I have never been guilty of any of those faux pas. To me, concealed means, concealed. Matter of fact, you will never know when I am scared shit. My face never changes. No, I’ve never been in a gun fight, but back in the 1970’s and 80’s, I used to work 2nd shift in the Times Square area of NYC. I have had numerous encounters with would-be muggers. The best weapon against a criminal is when he can’t read your face. So, I have never done any of those cool things to how off that I am BAD, because I have a GUN!!!

  • Charlie April 11, 2016, 7:19 am

    In Florida I wear loose fitting blue jeans and a golf shirt with long tail outside or sometimes inside. I wear this combo pretty much every day, every where, even to church (with my pastor’s blessing). I have yet to be challenged even by The PD. My CCW of choice is the S&W 642 Airweight 38 spl+p. Works for me.

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:53 pm

      I think you’ve hit on the most important point of all this discussion when you said “it works for me”.

  • Dusty smith April 11, 2016, 7:19 am

    I’ve started buying pants with flexible waist bands such as Wrangler and Duluth Firehose Flex pants . They make for a much more comfortable carry . That along with extended tail t-shirts so that my shirt doesn’t hang up on pistol when I get out of vehicles .
    My wife can’t tell I’m carrying and I figure if I can pass her scrutiny , nobody else will be aware I am carrying .

  • JOHN DOE April 11, 2016, 6:48 am

    When you get to be my age 70 things look and “are” different.
    You are not going to intimidate anyone with a beard, etc.
    Grey Man theory not as effective at this age, I say actually can work against you.
    I have lost most of my muscle and speed – except I can do a “Bill Drill”(Draw, 6 shots center mass, at 20ft) in 4sec down 0(all center mass). IDPA competitions and regular weekly practice.
    So my “carry gun”(S&W M&P9C w/night sights) is now my equalizer.
    AND – at 70 you look more like an easy mark for Leroy.
    Leroy – the guy/s looking for an easy “Mark”, old, slow fart not very big or intimidating.
    So – I usually wear Tac(Tru-Spec) pants. With Folder Fighting(Assisted Open) Knife in knife pocket, clip showing. Gun Concealed at 4 oclock(not printing). Tac Pen. Tac Light. Patrol Cap, Boots.
    What I also wear to the range every week to practice, so I know it all works.
    I want Leroy to look at me and think – hmm – maybe not that guy – ie plant that seed of doubt.
    ie Make him think – hmm – he might be x Mil or x LEO.
    Walk, move, act, look like I will not go down easy.
    Pass me by.
    You say this is “shoot me” dress. I say it is Don’t F*ck with me dress.
    1st – I am always in Condition Yellow.
    2nd – use Systema or Krav Maga, Street, more.
    3rd – Fall Back last resort – Bill Drill.
    I damn sure cant out-run them now.
    So I will stand and fight if I have too.
    Main things to me are prep, practice and mindset – I am Not “looking for it” but they don’t want any of me.
    Like many in here – I am very nice and non-confrontational but try to take me down and the (well practiced) Beast comes out.
    I hope and prey I never have to use it but it is there in place if needed.
    The one advantage of being 70 – no one gives a s*it what you wear and to most(under 40)(especially women:) you are mostly invisible anyway. Except to Leroy who may see you as an easy take-down.

    • Jay April 11, 2016, 8:34 am

      I’m with you John Doe, at 62 and having had three major back surgeries” I ain’t gonna fight you” as the say but rest assured I will do my damndest to be the one walking away! Practice and preparedness is what counts, staying out of a possible bad scenario helps too!

    • Pontificant April 11, 2016, 9:31 am

      Thumbs up! An, “if you mess with me, you’re gonna get messed with” vibe can end something before it begins.

      Further, I’m often with folks who I’m rather fond of (my kids) and if there is going to be shooting, I’d rather draw the fire, by my appearance, than risk them getting randomly hit.

    • Larry April 11, 2016, 1:38 pm

      Leroy should be the one who is afraid. An old man, like most of us, won’t fight you. He’ll just kill you, instead! Mind set is number one, along with a little practice. Carry 24/7 & be safe out there, my friends.

    • McRuger April 11, 2016, 2:08 pm

      I’m with you John Doe. At 62 with several physical problems I am sure not going to run or fight with some 20 year old punk. Be alert, practiced and prepared. Run scenarios so you know how you want to respond if the time comes. There are a lot of CCWs out there that have never even considered what it would take for them to pull the trigger. They think just having the tool makes them safe.

    • JOHN DOE April 13, 2016, 6:48 am

      One last thing I also do – when I see/identify Leroy I try to catch his eye (not to stare him down in a threating way etc) but a Brief Look directly into his eye and maybe a slight nodd just long enough to let him know that I know who and what he is and have him on MY Radar and I am ready(ie “bring it” and see what happpens.) They usually turn and head another direction. Funny how that works.

  • Witchdoktah April 11, 2016, 6:05 am

    For gods sake don’t wear a shemagh everywhere

    • Old Clockguy April 11, 2016, 8:55 am

      Yeah, I was getting pretty good at camouflaging my “intent” with a shemagh but I always had an issue with how to fasten it to my head. I have a video on my iPhone of some guy wrapping a shemagh on his head and how to leave a certain length tail for “tucking” and where to put the rest of that small printed tablecloth so you appear perfectly “normal” when walking down the street, but it never came off as expected for me. I would faithfully follow all the steps to a T and be able to admire my final “good ol’ boy” look in the bathroom mirror, but, as soon as I reached for the dog leash to take my 95 lb. laborador “horse” for his walkabout, it would slide downhill quickly.

      Speaking of coming off, it did that on occasion in a light wind, when the “tuck” became untucked and the whole kit and kaboodle wound up hanging from my right shoulder and flapping behind me as I walked, like a camouflaged length of toilet paper stuck to my shoulder! Speaking of which, what are the small tassels, around the edge of a shemagh’s, purpose in life?? And what is the print on the shemagh supposed to represent?? Mine has a look of a of cross between a horny tom turkey displaying and a gladiator’s helmet but that’s just my impression.

      Wearing a shemagh everywhere?? Well, I would not recommend wearing one into your friendly neighborhood bank to drop off your monthly rent check. It probably would not be a wise idea either to have your shemagh closely wound around your face when stuck in traffic on a Saturday afternoon while you are riding your motor scooter to the beach with your wicker basket of picnic goodies tied to the carry rack. Walking through a restricted neighborhood late at night is not a safe option at all, especially if there are posted signs throughout the ‘hood notifying all who enter that “This is a Neighborhood Watch” area. Those old guys mean business and are apt to be carrying Dirty Harry arms the likes of which would make me faint from fright, even if they turned out to simply be pellet pistols!!

      Otherwise, I see no problem with sporting a shemagh down here in “Paradise” where all the retirees dress in flowery Jimmy Buffet shirts and own golf bags large enough to easily hide an RPG launcher with extra rounds in them. Some of my best friends look like they may be asked to star in a “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” redux, should any be in the works but they also know how to “get down” if things head South and the SHTF actually becomes another prime time show on the tube this season! ……………….. I can see it all now, living room lights turned down, full dress “Preppie” togs, a SOG hanging from one side of their battle vest, a canteen full of lemongrass flavored mineral water close at hand, the perfect plan for a Saturday night at home, the Safe Haven for all who want to live their dream and enjoy their Golden Years in comfort.

      • Pontificant April 11, 2016, 9:36 am

        I use a stapler to hold my shemagh in place on windy days. The gauzy material is effective at stemming any untoward leakage.

      • CJ April 12, 2016, 11:45 am

        I swear that’s Steve Buscemi in the middle.

        Jeans with a sport coat is probably the best get-up. You just look normal/classy.

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 12:57 pm

      What the heck is a shemagh?

      • Larry April 11, 2016, 1:39 pm

        My thoughts exactly.

  • Ellison Rodgers April 11, 2016, 5:24 am

    Great article and great communication in the comments. Some things can’t be easily disguised, however much that is desired. I was a LEO for 30 years in and around a sizable town on our sedate and peaceful southern border and it shows. When retired cops from the heartlands tell of careers where they never pulled their weapon, I laugh out loud. But the weapon is as much a part of me as my feet and I NEVER walk out my door without either. Loose, dark shirts with an undershirt, Levi’s, heavy leather gunbelt, commander 1911 + 4 mags on my 6’8″, 240 pound frame works well enough. I could blend in like a tree or a power pole, maybe. My point is, my movements, behavior, carriage, posture and gestures would radically change if I were not armed. If it is completely part of you it is not noticed. For confirmation, cut off one ear and see how you change.

    • Larry April 11, 2016, 1:42 pm

      I too am LEO (in an earlier life). That’s why, if you’re going to carry, you need to do it 24/7. Make it feel like you forgot to put on pants if you walk out the door without a gun on your person.

  • Mr Robert Anton Novak April 11, 2016, 4:13 am

    I’ve got three “gun” shirts. One that depicts an AR with the words, “Its because I’m black isn’t it” on it. I get a load of comments when I wear that one. Believe it or not, I get the more positive comments from blacks. White liberal idiot tell me I’ma racist. I ask why, why am I racist pointing out that NOTHING or NO ONE should be judged according to color. The second gun shirt I have depicts an AK 47 with the words. The last person on Earth will be carrying an assault weapon.
    When I carry, which is every day, everywhere, I choose my clothes for comfort, and if I print, I’m not going to worry too much about it. My CZ-82 is easy enough to conceal with a long T-Shirt, or a button down.

  • Andy April 11, 2016, 4:09 am

    I see your point well, and I’ve practiced these same principals off duty. Ya know all those training tapes on how to survive the streets and you have to sit and watch officer after officer murdered in cold blood. Then they ask the actor why they did it? They always responded “they let me”. So my argument is this. In India they wear masks on the back of their heads to deter tigers from attacking people. Predators don’t like to attack someone watching them, it will cost too much. Criminals are the same if you act too much like dumb sheep the wolf will attack. There’s something to be said about looking like a sheepdog! We’re going to stand out, no matter what you do, or how you dress. We’re not sheep, not wolves were sheepdogs! Not to say the heck with it and open carry with my cut off BDUs and 1911 t-shirt, but even in total concealment and our best field craft were going to stand out.

  • Thagg April 9, 2016, 11:13 pm

    I got rid of all my gun shirts and 90 percent of my law-enforcement related shirts and hats. (a) I don’t want to be the first guy shot in an armed robbery. (b) Cops hate impersonators and if they find you wearing a badge shirt saying US Marshal and a hat that says US Marshal and you’re carrying concealed, my guess is you’ll probably wind up having a conversation with a US Marshal. You may not get charged or lose your gun but it won’t be a pleasant chat.
    I have one bottom line when I carry. The only time I touch the gun is when I put it on and take it off or if I’m confronted with a life-threatening emergency. I was a cop for years so had to overcome a casual attitude toward concealment and hand gestures are a real giveaway, I also to every reasonable extreme to keep from printing, which means a couple of loose, dark-colored shirts even in summer. I make a real fashion statement, let me tell you.
    They say that the head swivel is another way to identify someone who’s carrying. Tough. I try to practice a decent amount of situational awareness which means having a 360 field of view. I’ve never been able to manage that subtly. If you can, tell me how. Even SecServ agents I’ve known couldn’t teach me.
    I also tend to wear narrow frame dark glasses. Always have. Now I see they’ve become part of the package for operators and cops. Oh well.
    I take comfort from the fact that the average joe won’t ever have a clue that I’m armed. If a cop notices, I have the appropriate card in my wallet and the training to know how to handle the contact. Part of that training is to remain calm and, like the old joke, do everything the nice officer tells me to do.
    If a bad person notices I’m carrying, well, I guess we’ll see . . .

    • Aaron April 10, 2016, 1:47 am

      Your layers in summer would trigger SS. They wouldn’t trigger a gangbanger.

      Review security cam footage of armed robberies. Hardened criminals go in hard. Crack skulls, possibly just open fire to open fire.

      The meek who attempt this drop their unloaded gun or kitchen knife. Or they don’t and consistently present a threat to individuals’ lives.

      I learned in college that the unconscious mind isn’t unconscious. You’re never not totally processing your environment. The issue is dealing with the reasoning required to correctly decipher the relevant patterns impacting safety.

      I suggest watching that footage from inside the Great White fire in the northeast. It’s a gut churner and be prepared that you’re watching hell on earth engulf real human lives. But the fact is, folks were not prepared to see the pattern. They came in when it was dark and didn’t see the copious sound deadening styrofoam ceiling treatments. They didn’t expect pyrotechnics, or they did but didn’t see the pattern of ceiling-licking flame.

      Every situation can be like this. Whether it is a mob of teens coming to swarm the 7-11 or it’s an earthquake in Vegas, folks don’t know the possibilities.

      Covering your eyes adverts anyone seeing the pattern your eye movements create. Until you go indoors. Then your glasses out you as weird. Then you get further scrutiny from the less than apathetic.

      You want to blend, blend, blend. Be nothing. Be everything. Study the Tao Te Ching. Be the water – not the vessel.

      Study the hoodrats. Why do they wear hoodies…? Best concealment of front tucked IWB POSSIBLE. EVER. PERIOD FULL STOP. You can even touch it, rearrange it. You’re only putting your hand in your pocket. Appendix carry prints. Gut carry doesn’t.

      It’s up to you to cut the sleeves off for that macho summer carry. I don’t have a good solution for Arizona. Living there is just insane anyway…you’ve got water scarcity that ruins humans. I digress…

      The fact you care you’re carrying prints. Be the water, not the vessel carrying it. So no rigidity. Don’t dart your eyes, your head. The swivel exists with smooth, circular motions. Think about how you drive.

      The cycle of left hand mirror, front, rear view mirror, front, right mirror, front, sides, front, mirrors….that is fluid. It isn’t staccato. James Dean wouldn’t dart his vision.

      Even if they come in hard, if you can be cool, that can eliminate you as a threat. You want to not exist because your arm movement will print. If you have to pull it out, that act is hugely visible.

      You want their attention directed elsewhere while you draw. Be nothing.

      I cannot recommend the Tao Te Ching highly enough. Free, online or buy it bound. They make cute little versions you can read on the john.

      By hoodie, I mean the full sweat shirt with a hood and pocket that extends across the full front gut. Not a zip up jacket with hood. The zipper isolates the pockets, aiding the identification of printing. Plus, zippers come undone.

      • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 1:07 pm

        Maybe you should suggest “The Art of War” by Sun Tsu.

        • Aaron April 11, 2016, 10:56 pm

          I agree.

          One needs tactics and strategy.

  • Talon April 9, 2016, 11:02 pm

    Good calls, all of these, including the comment section 🙂

    But there are many more too. I personally practice the Grey Man Theory daily. I have a face that always seems to look grumpy, so I HAVE to practice not looking like a threat
    Inconspicuous clothes, various hats (or not). Beard but not Viking long, just ‘average’. K-Swiss cross trainers, or black leather work shoes, Construction jeans, or just wranglers, or a nice Kohl’s suit, if needed.
    However, I always am armed, and you won’t know. Years of practice at NOT letting it be noticeable

    • Aaron April 10, 2016, 1:47 am

      I’m very impressed with the way humor conveys serious matters. When I write, my humor never comes across. This article is a real gem.

  • Aaron April 9, 2016, 2:01 pm

    I read a government issued report about this.

    Limp walk
    Touching the gun, either with the hand or elbow
    Touching the shirt, rearranging it
    Having a knife
    Keeping ones back to the wall
    Bending over weirdly

    Did I mention touching it?

    • Aaron April 10, 2016, 1:50 am

      Link to the PDF I referenced – https://info.publicintelligence.net/USSS-ArmedIndividuals.pdf *PDF download link*

      • Garry D Yeager April 11, 2016, 6:39 am

        I enjoyed your article, it was done in a fun way but how true it is.
        Every time I purchased a pistol a got some kind of brand name decal with it, IE; Sig,Glock,evan and even NRA decals. After awhile I notice these decals on more and more vehicles.
        I don’t put these decals on my vehicles fearing it will give away that I am carrying.
        Some of these decals might get you in hot water if you every have to use your weapon.

        • JOHN DOE April 12, 2016, 3:28 am

          Yup. Not to mention Leroy can look at your vehicle, see all the gun stickers and say, Hmm, bet there is a gun in there. Ill just break out a widow and have a look. So I recommend NO Gun stickers on your vehicle.

      • The Original Brad April 11, 2016, 7:32 am

        Good stuff Aaron. I’ll add to this list if I may:

        1. In the middle or Walmart (or where ever) using the tactical stance as I call it – standing with feet should width apart, arms close in and bent at the elbow, hands bladed. This one is usually associated with “head-on-a-swivel” behavior.

        2. Readjusting gun, constantly. Not just elbow bumping it or hand checking, but a full on grab and readjust.

        3. Alongside the tactical vest is the tactical Hawaiian shirt. I say Hawaiian shirt because a lot of times it is, but in truth, it can be any short sleeved button down shirt worn with a T-shirt underneath and untucked.

        It’s nigh impossible to avoid some carry behavior tells, but many are avoided by carrying a weapon that fits on your body easily. I am not here to tell you what to carry, but it should factor in in how well you want to stay “concealed. A 115 pound woman is going to have a harder time hiding a full size pistol, that’s just fact.

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