They stand right behind you in the checkout line of the grocery store. They stroll past as you walk to your car after work. They sit across from you in the restaurant where you are enjoying dinner. These people are concealed carry proponents and they are armed while still appearing to be just another face in the crowd. They have mastered hiding in plain sight. The concealed-carry movement has expanded dramatically over the last several years with more and more people looking for the peace of mind that having a handgun on them in day-to-day life brings. To many it is a natural extension of who they are. These people find it easy to carry concealed, yet there is a large percentage of gun owners that may be just cutting their teeth in the concealed carry weapon (CCW) world. With that in mind, it’s worth a few minutes of our time to look at what goes into CCW, and how we can carry while showing no outward signs.
There are many components that go into successful CCW. First, we will discuss firearms. The choices are many and growing. The CCW gun market has exploded with many manufacturers offering an entire line of concealed-carry pistols. While the focus has been on micro pistols, I encourage you to also consider full-size handguns. With the proper gear and clothes they can easily be concealed.
Choosing a Handgun
As a rule of thumb, I suggest that the smallest caliber you carry is .380. This is considered by many to be the floor in regard to defensive power. At the top end, I suggest no more than .45 ACP. A hand cannon may be a serious fight stopper, but the chore of carrying that firearm on your person is problematic. The firearm must also be very comfortable to shoot. If it isn’t, then you will tend to train less with it and that creates a huge problem.
You MUST train with your CCW weapon. As with many things, I encourage you to go try several models before you buy. In the smaller gun realm, the Glock 43 is a good choice as is the Kimber Micro 9 for 1911 fans. Revolver wise I am a fan of the Kimber K6s in .357 Magnum.
Now that you have selected a handgun, let’s get you into a holster. There is no shortage of holster options in the CCW world. From exotic leathers to rigs designed to be attached to a bra, the choices are endless. The two most common holsters are an inside the waistband holster (IWB) and an outside the waistband holster (OWB). There are a few items to consider in picking a holster.
Comfort and durability are the top two considerations. The loops and or belt fasteners of the rig need to be high-quality and rugged. This is where most holsters will fail as thin plastic clips break off. A company known for high-quality rigs is Alien Gear. They offer a variety of options. While Kydex seems to rule the roost right now, leather is a great option as well. If you go that route, know that there is a breaking-in period. One of the elder statesmen in the leather holster world is Galco and for a good reason. Founded in 1969, Galco has a longstanding history of producing high-quality leather rigs. If you are going to go au naturel, they are worth a visit. If possible, I encourage you to try before you buy. Try the holster on and walk around with it. Have a seat and see if it has any sharp or uncomfortable edges that show themselves. A well-made holster will be with you for years.
Heading to the Closet
Now onto clothing. The painful truth is that we need to dress around our firearm. For those who are extremely fashion conscience this can be a pain, but it is a necessity. You need to make a choice. You can remain stylish yet make concessions for the blaster on your hip. For the most part pants need to be a bit larger than normal in the waist if you are going to carry with an IWB holster. Shirts need to provide sufficient room so your gun does not print or become obvious because the shirt is too tight. Printing occurs when the handgun and holster shows the outline underneath your clothing. Cooler weather allows for the greatest asset we have, which is a jacket.
It is important to remember that the idea of concealment goes beyond just your firearm. You need to conceal yourself as well. What I mean by this is that you should avoid standing out in a crowd. While your handgun may be concealed, your woodland camouflaged pants, infidel t-shirt and Glock hat make you a target. There are options as many companies are making clothes to bridge this gap. Pants wise, some of the best come from Vertx. Their Delta stretch pants allow great function for CCW applications yet are mostly benign to the average citizen. They are comfortable and a great option.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The check list is almost complete but there is one more thing we need to factor in: practice. You must practice drawing and shooting from your concealed-carry rig. There are many moving parts, including clearing your shirt away enough to get the gun out without interfering with the draw. This takes training and practice to do well. Carrying a gun is serious business and if you need to draw it, it will be a bad situation. You need to have mastered the fundamentals of not only carrying the gun, but getting it into the fight. Taking a firearm training course from top-notch professional can help you continue to hone your skills and drawstroke.
Hopefully you will never have to use it, but it is better to be prepared than caught off guard. With some thought, practice and training you can easily conceal your gun in plain sight.
To learn more about the Kimber K6s, click http://www.kimberamerica.com/pistols/revolver.
To learn more about the Glock 43, click https://us.glock.com/products/model/g43.
To learn more about Alien Gear holsters, click http://aliengearholsters.com.
To learn more about Galco holsters, click http://www.galcogunleather.com.
To purchase a concealed carry handgun on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=concealed%20carry.