Carry options for when you positively can't be "made."


October 4, 2010, 05:39 PM
So what are the opinions of the various methods of carrying with concealment is critical? I can legally carry at work, but if my boss discovers it, I'm history. I'm looking for a way to carry a respectable sized auto, most likely a SW 3913. I'm planning to have a small auto or revolver for pocket carry as well, but would prefer to carry the larger gun when possible.

For reference....I'm tall and skinny, I work retail that requires lots of standing but not much bending, and I wear slacks and a buttondown/snapdown pretty much all the time.

I was looking at Holster Shirts. How well do they work? Comfy? I wear western-style snap down shirts, not button downs, so that speeds access. Looks like a kinda pricey option.

What's the consensus on belly bands? I hear some good stuff about them, and some horrible stuff about them. Anyone had some success?

Pocket carry is a thought, but not with a bigger gun.

How do people like thunderwear/smartcarry? I'm not so sure how I feel about this one....

I considered ankle carry, but that's not gonna happen with a 3913. The smaller backup gun, maybe, but I suspect that if it's small enough to be comfy on an ankle, it'll be more comfy and easier to access in a pocket.

Anything else I'm missing that would be good? Comments on these options?


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October 4, 2010, 05:47 PM
Get a good tuckable IWB holster if you're going to pack your S&W ... belly bands are only good for light/small guns (in general pocket sized guns ... so a pocket holster is better).

The problem with holster shirts is that in addition to the problems with a Belly Band, you also run into the problem of either buying a dozen of them or wearing a dirty undershirt every day.

As I said in another thread earlier today:
Ages ago when I started carrying I packed with a belly band ... based on that experience I can NOT recommend a belly band or "Smart" carry or any other sort of cheap one-size-fits-all floppy nylon holster that is not molded to your specific gun.

If you carry "every once in a while" I imagine such a system would be fine, but if you pack 24/7/365 I guarantee you that a molded leather or kydex holster designed specifically for your gun is going to be significantly more comfortable, concealable and secure.

A quality, tuckable IWB holster will do just fine. As has been mentioned the Crossbreed Supertuck (,ProductName) or a Comp-Tac Minotaur (* (which I think has better tuckable clips as they're thinner and you can get them in various colors and fabric covered) or any number of other regular leather holster makers make good tuckable holsters.

If you're concerned about the clip(s) showing, Fist makes a great system ( that velcros to the back of the belt.A side note on Belly Bands. When I started CCWing I started with a Steyr M40 in a belly band ... I can't say 100% for sure, but I believe that the pressure from the belly band causeed what turned into several years of IBS (

*I don't see the 3913 listed for the Minotaur, but it is for the Crossbreed.

October 4, 2010, 06:51 PM
I carry a 3913 myself. I am probably a bit shorter than you (I'm a little over 5'6") but in my experience, at least for us short-waisted guys, a 3913 is just a shade too big to comfortably carry in a Thunderwear-type holster. The problem is twofold; the vertical length makes the rear tang want to print against the fabric of your pants, and the grip length makes the grip want to print.

I did find that with correct choice of pants, and a strategically placed pocketknife case or cell phone to cover the print of the grip on the right side (I'm right handed), it concealed pretty well, but then you get to problem #3--that style of holster works fine for a couple of hours, but after about four hours the muscles over your pelvic bone near the crease of your leg start to ache, and after about eight hours it is excruciating. If you were tall enough so that the gun sat higher (or if it were shorter in the slide), maybe that wouldn't be an issue, but it was for me. The elastic straps around your waist dig into you from the weight of a 3913-size gun (again no problem for short durations, major discomfort for longer). Finally, there is one other potential source of discomfort if you're male (ahem), surprisingly less of a problem than the pelvic bone issue, but again more uncomfortable the longer you wear it.

The final problem with the Thunderwear type holster is that the draw is very, very slow, completely negating the advantages of carrying a larger gun, IMO, unless you are in a situation where you would have a few seconds' warning.

If you can wear untucked golf-style shirts, I have found a much better carry method *for me* is one of these:

The thumb break was a little loose around my 3913 Ladysmith model for some reason, so I ended up carefully removing it, but it should fit a standard 3913 pretty well. I have used mine for probably twelve years now and it's still going strong. Positioned in front, on the right side, nestled into the hollow just to the right of your abdominal muscles ("appendix carry"), the gun completely disappears in the natural folds of a shirt. The golf-type shirts with the slightly elastic bottom band work great, but any shirt that's not too long (and not too short) and is designed to be worn untucked works very well. In the winter, sweatshirts and sweaters work great also. The draw is also very fast (for me, as fast as a gun carried openly in the traditional hip position) and you don't have to telegraph a draw. Sitting is comfortable also since the gun is high enough that it doesn't interfere with your leg bending, at least if you're built like me.

I have not found any holsters to this point that conceal well in a behind-the-hip position unless you are wearing a coat, and even then you can't squat down or else you will print. A behind-the-hip position covered only by a shirt is also prone to the shirt getting lifted and not falling back down.

If you have to wear your shirts tucked in, then I don't have any experience to help you there, except I would suggest that appendix carry may still work better than behind-the-hip carry (experiment to see what works).

Do consider your options carefully, and whatever carry option you choose, try it out thoroughly (for hours, not just minutes) to make sure it's comfortable and practical.

WNC Seabee
October 4, 2010, 07:21 PM
I carry my XD 45 compact all day in a Crossbreed SuperTuck with a tucked in polo style shirt. Nobody has "made" me yet.

October 4, 2010, 07:27 PM
You can legally carry at work, but if your boss discovers it, you're history?
Does that mean your company prohibits employees carrying on the premises? If so, you may not be able to legally carry at work.
...Or does it mean that if your boss sees your gun, you're fired for "printing?"
Just curious.

October 4, 2010, 09:35 PM
You can legally carry at work, but if your boss discovers it, you're history?
Does that mean your company prohibits employees carrying on the premises? If so, you may not be able to legally carry at work.
...Or does it mean that if your boss sees your gun, you're fired for "printing?"

Well, my immediate supervisor has the authority to fire me, and Florida is a right-to-work state. She doesn't need any reason at all, really. I've checked with an attorney, and while it's legal to carry on the premises, it's against company policy.

My immediate boss is highly anti gun. As a number of us went through the orientation process (new store opening) she told us that just before leaving her last job, she fired an employee for keeping a gun in their vehicle. I noted to myself that this was in violation of FS 790.251, and decided to keep my mouth shut all the way around. So, like I said, while legal, I'd be fired. The general manager would probably be ok with it so long as only she knew, but would do what she had to if anyone else came to her with it. She's ex-military.

I'm actually leaning strongly towards appendix carry. I'm six feet tall, and I'm thinking that with a high-riding tuckable IWB, I can get away with this. I've made a point of keeping things in my belt since I worked there (Flashlight, pocketknife, etc.) My boss said something one day, and I offered to move them to a pocket. She told me "Nah, that's ok."

But, I still want to know about some deeper concealment alternatives. I don't really wanna mess around with worrying about it when the really big boys come down from headquarters, which is why I'm curious. I think pocket carrying something much smaller would be the most advisable in those situations.

October 4, 2010, 11:52 PM
J frame on the ankle is almost invisible. It's not a perfect solution, but it may be the best approach given your situation.

October 5, 2010, 07:15 AM
j frame airweight in an uncle mike's hoslster in front pocket. Simple. I have a smartcarry, and it's not very comfortable for me. I only wear it running.

October 5, 2010, 07:33 AM
If you wear slacks and a tuck-in type shirt, I see your three options either being a tuckable holster, an ankle holster or a shoulder holster.

I have some experience with a "one-size-fits-all" shoulder holster. It printed badly. The shoulder straps print and the gun prints plainly through a dress shirt.

No experience with an ankle holster.

Tuckable is the way to go for business attire IMO. However, they require additional time to put on and tuck the shirt in and require continual monitoring during the day to ensure you are still concealed. And every trip to the bathroom is going to require a private stall and additional time to ensure that you are still concealed.

Vern Humphrey
October 5, 2010, 11:12 AM
Tuckables are not hard to manage.

1. Dress for the sport in which you are engaged -- you wouldn't go swimming in a tuxedo, or skiing in a Speedo. Similarly, if you carry concealed, buy your clothes loose.

2. Dress normally, with the shirt tucked in, belt unbuckled. Insert and fasten the holster, then holster the gun.

3. Pull out your shirt from behind the gun, and tuck it in between holster and pants.

4. Postion holster and buckle belt. Check your gig line (the line formed by your fly, belt buckle and shirt front.)

5. Blouse your shirt -- pull a couple of inches out all around and let it hang down naturally.

In the men's room you have no problem -- a tuckable won't interfere with you using the urinal, and to use the commode, you have to go in a stall anyway.

I wear cowboy boots, and when I use the commode, the .45 goes in the right boot shaft.

October 5, 2010, 12:32 PM
When I was in a situation where I couldn't be made for similar reasons, I switched to a smaller auto (Kahr PM9) in a High Noon Hidden Ally. This gave me no problems whatsoever. Work uniform was slacks or khakis and a button-down.

A couple times I tried to move up to a duty-sized auto in a Tuck This by Desantis. After several hours on my feet, lots of bending, moving, and twisting, it became somewhat uncomfortable. This was before I discovered good gun belts, and I would say I got what I paid for with the holster (only about 25 bucks). No major issues, but I'd look for something with more stability now.

I've also carried a J-Frame on the ankle occasionally. The downside is the slow draw. Concealment and comfort were fine for long stretches for me. AirLite Smith in an Apache Ankle Rig (DeSantis again, I believe). Never used the calf strap.

October 5, 2010, 02:12 PM
First, are you on your feet most of the day or seated? You mentioned a "store" but haven't given us a lot of insight into your job or manner of dress.

Second, I assume you mean that Florida is an at-will employment state. Meaning - your boss can let you go, not for cause, without a reason, i.e. "We've eliminated your position." That does not mean, however, that they can discriminate against you. If there is not workplace policy against carrying weapons or firearms and you were "let go" for carrying one that would constitute discrimination. Your lawyer should have told you that. If not, find a new lawyer.

Finally, carrying something like a Kahr CW or Walther PPS in a tuckable holster like a CrossBreed would keep the weapon concealed well without placing undue stress on any particular area of your body. I've carried my CW40 in a CrossBreed SuperTuck for more than 14 hours straight doing physical work. During that time, I've literally forgotten that it was there.

October 5, 2010, 03:01 PM
I'd just go with pocket carry, a .380 with a wallet holster is just a wallet to an observer. You're indoors and sooner or later any large handgun is going to print no matter what you do.

November 11, 2010, 09:35 PM
Yep, something like a Seecamp 380, Ruger LCP, new S&W in a pocket holster, Hedley are very nice.

November 12, 2010, 09:49 PM
I used to carry this outfit while working as a Cashier - An older S & W, .38 Special Revolver: (

IWB cross-draw at like 11:00 O'clock or so.

Front Trouser-Pocket Carry is excellent also for shorter Barrel Pistols or Revolvers, so long as you get the Pocket re-inforced or re-built.

I am not as tall as you are, though I am thin, and I can carry my K-Frame Snubby in my front Pocket and never be 'made'...this with just 501 Levi's and a Tee Shirt tucked in.

I never wear Shirts with their Tails 'out' so...

Winter it is easy to carry anything of course, even a light Sweater, lobng as you have smoe sense in how you are carrying, no one is ever going to make you.

I carried a J-Frame Snubby in my front Pants Pocket just about every day for 20 years, non-re-inforced front Pockets, and was never made once.

Best have a Bobbed or Shrouded Hammer ( abnd a 'rounded', non-catching Front Sight ) if Pocket Carrying a Revolver of course.

The old COLT M1908 .380s are great for re-inforced Pocket Carry also, and are of course slimmer than a Revolver would be.

November 12, 2010, 11:36 PM
In my opinion, pocket carry can't be beat when carrying in a situation where you can't be made. Ankle carry would be second--concealment is pretty good (because nobody pays close attention to your ankles) but it is much slower to access while in most positions. I actually carry a BUG on my ankle some now, but that's mainly because that is easier to access than a belt gun while driving.

If we can get campus carry passed in Texas this legislative session I'll be carrying a S&W 642 in a pocket holster. I may get an LCP to carry the same way too.

November 14, 2010, 01:10 AM
"...but if my boss discovers it, I'm history..." You think it's worth getting fired over?

November 15, 2010, 09:41 AM
You think it's worth getting fired over?

Yup. I'm not interested in the odds, I'm interested in the stakes. In the past 3 weeks, we've kicked 4 people out of the store after they became EXTREMELY agitated. We've also called security on 2 more who refused to leave. The General Manager has had a gun pulled on her 4 times over her career. There are only two males who work in the store. ALL the other employees are female and more prone to getting bullied.

I've selected my 3913 in a High Noon at appendix position. It's next to invisible. Alternatively, I have a J-Frame that occasionally gets dropped in the front pocket.

Regarding the type of work, it's an optometrist office and eyewear retail store. You'd be amazed how upset people get in this environment sometimes.

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