New Wardrobe suggestions wanted for Conceal


Hungry Seagull
March 7, 2009, 04:48 PM
I finally managed to find a Serpa Holster made for my S&W M&P .45 ACP. I test fitted an actual gun to the holster and voila it fits.

Now it rides on my belt rather well with that plastic positive locking to prevent trigger from being pulled or gun to fall out. Much easier than the Uncle Mike's Holster which I was using in the past. I will still use the uncle mikes holster as a range holster, pretty convient for that service.

Now. I tried to conceal the whole thing under a rather large shirt. Anyone can see a print on that shirt a mile away. Put on a jacket like a Levis and the whole thing hangs down. So much for concealment.

I have been wearing the gun alot around the house trying to forget about the weight, shifting around and bent wing arm syndrome, Im getting it settled pretty good.

I am in need of wardrobe suggestions because I ordered a Right hand under shoulder RIG that will go under the coat to one side of my torso. I obviously will have to go to more generous sizing to cover the weapon and holsters etc. When everything is put on and hanging on there to the side of the rib cage, there is going to be a one hell of a print.

Just try it in the summer time when it is 120 degrees out and you have shorts and a tee shirt. I see no way to Conceal carry in that situation.

Suggestions anyone?

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March 7, 2009, 04:52 PM
SERPA holsters just don't conceal well. They are OWB, and position the gun pretty far out from the body.

Anyways probably the best you can do is position it between 3 and 6 o clock, and use a muzzle rearward cant, that might bring it in a little.

Look for a quality IWB holster, like Blade-tech, Comp-tac, or Raven Concealment systems.

March 7, 2009, 04:54 PM
Seagull, I am really sorry, but you are not going to like my answer:

Those plastic SERPA holsters are great for open carry or duty use, but they are not conducive to concealment IME. Not without a heavy cover garment like a thick insulated shirt (hot), a jacket (hot), or a coat (hot). For summer here in the South, you need a good IWB. I have a dresser drawer that holds some SERPAs right now that have done nothing but collect dust. The only time they see use is for woods carry, etc. They are great duty holsters, but they are just too bulky to keep from printing, especially with a fullsize pistol.


March 7, 2009, 04:56 PM
Try the Phantom holster from Raven Concealment Systems. You'll like it!

March 7, 2009, 04:59 PM
The Comp-Tac C-TAC holster is an excellent IWB for concealment. I can carry my full-size GLOCK 17 under a dark t-shirt and it disappears.

March 7, 2009, 05:31 PM
Hawaiian shirts. All the colors, shapes, and patterns make odd bulges more difficult to see. It's simple camoflauge.

From personal experience, I believe that collared, button-up shirts conceal much better than t-shirts.

Hungry Seagull
March 7, 2009, 07:35 PM

-I agree they dont conceal well, I try to make the best of it.

Jason G

-I value words even though I dont like to hear them. I respect and hear what you have to say. The south is challenging to me because back home (Gah...) it's either cold or colder with brief steam between.


-I will look it over, however Im trying very hard to keep accumulated "Stuff" to a minimum. I fear that there is a slippery slope to a closet full of stuff. Most challenging with a budget.


-I will examine the possibility of larger darker shirts.


-I recall those flower shirts. I agree with the color break up, but dont wish to look like a dumb tourist (Prey, target of oppertunity etc) if possible. That's kind of hard to do when trying to blend in.

I have managed to minimize some printing and thinking about car positioning and walking it's not too bad. But when bending over or twisting to load groceries in the truck or something similar then we see all kinds of printing.

I dont know if I have others thought about this but after I get my CHL or CCW's whatever they are called. I probably will wear something and make a walk through a walmart or something, repeating until no one notices the gun under the clothes. Since it's mostly military and pretty heavy on LEO's.... I probably aint gonna be fooling anyone anytime soon.

I thought about converting a medical carry box to carry the pistol with some kind of fake oxygen line to the neck or some kind of colored tube leading to the upper chest collar; to really throw off the big bulge and camo the true nature.

Have to sit down and ponder things a while and keep trying.

Appreciate everyone's input. Make me think about things not yet thought about.


March 7, 2009, 08:23 PM
I have to agree with the other posters, and suggest you try either an inside the waistband holster, or a tighter-fitting nylon or leather outside the waistband. The Kydex/plastic OWB just add too much bulk. For most people IWB is by far the easiest to conceal, and I am partial to Blade Tech, which makes a universal IWB for the S&W, You might also want to look at something like the Uncle Mike's belt slide, which is about $20. The next time a gunshow comes close, there are usually a couple of the nylon holster booths with some good deals. As for clothes, I prefer untucked button up shirts, and usually hunt for bargains on Dickies work shirts, etc.

March 7, 2009, 10:42 PM
+1 on the Raven concealment holster. The thin kkydex makes a huge difference in comfort IWB. The Serpa is a poor choice for concealment in my opinion. I carry a S&W M&P 9c or a P7 in a Raven Phantom holster under a t-shirt or polo shirt in the summer with no problems. The best advice I can offer is to spend the money on a good holster that suits you body type and holds the weapon in tight and at the right angle for good concealment. This will give you a lot more freedom with your wardrobe choices.

March 7, 2009, 10:51 PM
Well, there's also the camp/safari/fishing shirts. They're much more conservative looking than the hawaiians, and can do the same job... they just don't have the chaotic pattern/multiple colors. They ought to work about as good, though. I'll probably get some myself, as summer is coming and I've bought several belt holsters...

March 8, 2009, 12:49 AM
I OC with the SERPA, but carry IWB when concealing. The difference is night and day. I can carry my government model (daily carry, only handgun) under a T-shirt all day and no one can tell even if i have them look for it. The SERPA is a great holster, just not a concealment holster. For IWB, I recommend any variations on the Milt Sparks Versa Max- 2. For OWB concealment, holsters of this type work quite nicely:

Rafter S. Gun Leather also makes a nice, affordable OWB of this style.

I also try to keep from accumulating a box of unused holsters. I have one IWB and one OWB now, and I have sold/gotten rid of 3 others before them. Unfortunately, experimentation is necessary to find what works for your needs, body type, etc.


March 8, 2009, 12:59 AM

I've been seeing this picture circulating for a while. Maybe it'll help. Makes me want to get one for my hk45c :D

March 8, 2009, 01:28 AM
Long tail t-shirt like those from Duluth Trading company. On top of that wear a button front SS shirt or LS shirt, open. The t-shirt covers, the over shirt conceals.

Obviously, the smaller the gun the better.

I personally can't stand IWB carry. I settled on a Gaco SOB holster, worn in the 5 o'clock position. In the car, I can slit it forward a bit for more comfort, and still have it accessible.

The Lone Haranguer
March 8, 2009, 02:26 PM
Well, there's also the camp/safari/fishing shirts.
I am a fan of those.

Hungry Seagull
March 8, 2009, 02:45 PM
My wife said something to me this morning that was thought provoking.

Thanks to the previous poster who reminded me of it.

The gunshops are FULL of chothing that are.. nice. Not flowers, loud with (Well sometimes) orange range patches etc etc... but some of those clothing in the right sizes can really go cover things over well.

But I ask this out of curiosity.

Suppose I had a minor print problem despite my best efforts in fair weather clothing. Should I cheat by having a local tailor install a sort of leather pad in the general area under the garment to stop the printing? I suppose that the OXY-Glue man that screams alot on his commericals sell a glue that can do clothes.

Just a random thought from the wife.

Here is another.

Instead of blowing a wad on new clothes, I hate to shop clothes anyhow... rather eat bread and lose weight than go up one more jean size. I was thinking of just buying a particular set of clothes so that if I happen to wear this specifically for CCW while going down town or whatever... I can feel pretty covered.

What think ye?

March 8, 2009, 02:51 PM

You can get the RCS holster even closer by moving it behind the hip, and using the pancake wing attachment or one of the IWB attachments, and using a FBI type cant.

March 8, 2009, 03:15 PM
What think ye?
JMHO: I think the money and fuss spent on a new wardrobe or messing up your shirts with leather and glue would be better spent on a decent carry rig.

You can get a functional (not the best, but one that works) belt for $30-$40 (, and a decent IWB for a full size pistol for $80-$90. (

That shouldn't cost you more than $150, and you could probably do much better if you shop around. I just pulled up the first links that contained what I was looking for. Even if it cost you $150, that's cheaper (and easier) than buying a bunch of oversized new clothes in crazy patterns that will make you look like a circus clown or a tourist on vacation. And you'd probably still have the "lump" anyway.

Get yourself a new rig, trust me, BTDT.


March 8, 2009, 04:34 PM
OK, here is my best CCW clothing suggestion. Look in Cabela's. They have a wide variety of casual clothing. I like most of it. You can go for a more pocket utilitarian look to a no pocket semi-dressy look. This is in regards to pants.

Now for the top. I wear either a standard collared shirt tucked in with a cover garment or an untucked shirt with an undershirt. Normally, untucked shirts look like they are supposed to be untucked if they have a square cut bottom. Regarding pattern, anything that makes your eyes dizzy when you look at it is good. Also, texture can do this well. Colors can do this, but I prefer color to match my style, not hide my weapon. So, in this case, I buy the tall, if it needs to cover an OWB holster. I also have a few travel vests. I buy the longer ones. Frankly, I have done well with these on EBay. I avoid vests with slits at the sides. I have taken to sewing the slits together also. This can be an issue.

Now, the real trick in my opinion is dressing for carry and weather. Sure, I can hide a big gun under a coat, but usually the coat has to come off. So, I tend to wear the basic CCW outfit with a single coat over it. I would suggest a person dress a little cold for the weather. For some reason I think my 1911 makes me feel warmer! I also think it looks bad to break a sweat and refuse to take an overshirt off. Better undershirts can manage this for you. I do prefer the polyester under garment for a colder feel to it. Helps manage sweating and avoids causing sweating. Cotten has a narrower comfort band.

The Lone Haranguer
March 8, 2009, 05:00 PM
It is easier to carry if you think in terms of being unobtrusive instead of not even a hint.

March 8, 2009, 06:24 PM
I just picked up a couple of these, which look very promising. Duluth's stuff tends to be cut a little bigger and longer than many others.

Dan Crocker
March 8, 2009, 07:38 PM
These shirts are made for it and actually work very well: Now that being said, the SERPA does blow as a concealment holster. You can't go wrong with the Raven or some of the others that have been mentioned here. A concealment holster really needs to suck the gun tight up against the body, and frankly, the SERPA just doesn't do that.
Do you like your M&P .45? They seem pretty awesome.

March 8, 2009, 08:48 PM
I've carried a concealed handgun every day for 19 years. I've used shoulder rigs, ankle holsters, OWB, and IWB. I now carry IWB with an XD45c in a Comp-Tac MTAC at four O'clock and I absolutely love it. I have it adjusted for maximum forward cant as this makes the butt of the grip disappear. I have "upsized" all my pants 2" and it works great with everything: jeans, slacks, shorts, cargo pants, even swim trunks (though not for swimming!). Unless I need to wear a tux I can't imagine ever using my other rigs again. I'm not a small guy, but a typical XL T shirt is loose and looks "right" on me. An un-tucked T in any color other than white covers my XD perfectly as do all manner of button down shirts, tucked or not.

Every practical form of concealment is going to print a little bit some of the time, and a lot once in a while. The truth is: Unless they see your actual weapon nobody is going to notice. A little rant: I think OWB holsters that do not completely enclose the muzzle are terrible for concealed carry! If your shirt lifts a little and somebody sees leather or plastic that's no big deal as people carry all sorts of stuff on their belts. But anyone that's ever seen a TV will spot the muzzle of a firearm instantly, even if they aren't paying attention or "looking for it". Remember: The bottom of an enclosed holster is still legally concealing your weapon even if it shows once in a while!

In all these years no one has ever said anything to me and I've never noticed anyone staring or suddenly moving in the opposite direction. I *think* my situational awareness is very good and I think I would notice any negative reaction. There were times that I know I printed really badly in public for hours at a time and nobody reacted. This was in the early '90s in Seattle, so I think anybody that noticed would have reacted badly! :what:

There are a few "tricks" that you should/will learn as you get used to carrying concealed. One is that if you need to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store use your weak side hand so your shirt isn't lifted on the side with your gun. If you need something off the bottom shelf bend at your knees keeping your back as straight as possible (like they teach in back school) and retrieve the item with your weak side hand while touching the butt of your gun with your strong side forearm. Zero print doing it this way. You mentioned loading things into your car or truck: Unless it's something heavy, stand at a 45 degree angle with your weapon either toward the vehicle or away from the table of Democrats signing up new voters. :)

There are times when you are going to have to print badly and you will know it in advance. (Loading bags of concrete into my Unimog comes to mind!) When these situations come up use your situational awareness, it's good practice anyway. Minimize your exposure and choose who gets to see what. Notice where people are and which way they are looking. Time your squat to lift a bag off the ground when they are looking the other way. If you are moving rapidly chances are nobody will see anything anyway. If there is a troop of Girl Scouts walking by take a breather until they pass. :rolleyes: If it's just the guy at the lumberyard don't even worry about it, he's probably carrying too! If you need to do something "low" in public like tie a shoe drop to your strong side knee and you'll barely print if at all. Plus your weapon will be well below "see level" for most people. Bending forward at the waist is the biggest way to print in concealed carrying IWB or OWB. Avoid it whenever possible.

If you wear a shoulder rig and cover with a jacket or unbuttoned shirt put a roll of dimes or nickels in each pocket to keep it from blowing open in the wind or when you bend forward. An added benefit is your suit jackets will always hang perfectly and look custom-tailored! No joke.

We've all read on a gun board where somebody dropped their gun in a bathroom stall but nobody seems to mention how to prevent it. I never unholster my weapon and set it on something, I think that's setting yourself up to knock it on the floor. Plus I treat all surfaces in public restrooms as "infected". When you use a public restroom "seated" hook the waist of your underwear over the butt of your firearm and it will effectively hold it against your strong side knee. This will keep your holster from flipping upside down and dumping your CCW on the floor. Try it at home, you'll be surprised how well it works. Oh, if you go commando you can hook your belt on the last hole and tension it with your knees to keep your rig upright and ready for a quick draw too. Don't ask me how I know this.... :evil:

It took me a while to think of these little "tips" as they are just part of everyday life for me. I'm sure there are others that I do and am not even aware of anymore. I'd like to read what anybody else has come up with. Even if it seems obvious or automatic to those of us that have done it forever there are a lot of new people carrying these days that we should try to help.

Hungry Seagull
March 8, 2009, 10:43 PM
Im humbled by some of these tips. Thanks to all.

Hungry Seagull
April 2, 2009, 12:22 AM
Digging this back from the dead.

I bought a smart carry holster that is made for the gun in white to match the undies. (Like anyone needs to know... sheesh...)

Put on a regular short type pants with a one size larger waist than my body over the holster, gun and all in the front.

Packed on a very close T shirt went outside and asked the wife if she sees anything strange on me. She didnt see nothing until I pulled on the belt outwards allowing the handgun to show. No printing, no bulges and no strange body language like bent arm or bowlegs etc.

As far as Im concerned it's pretty deep concealment and with the good belt on a looser fitting pair of pants there is room for all down there. I would not want to wear it all day, but it will be very doeable when summer hits full force. And you can still draw pretty fast when need to.

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