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How concealed is concealed?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by nigelcorn, Jul 6, 2011.

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  1. nigelcorn

    nigelcorn Member

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    I am fairly new to carrying concealed, so I am very cautious about printing. Because of that, I have been carrying in a smart carry. While I am happy with how well it conceals, I worry that the draw is so slow and requires two hands so that if I ever needed my weapon, it would be difficult to get to in time.

    So, I am thinking about getting something like the crossbreed supertuck (or one of the many knock-offs that use the same design). I am looking for something IWB for my XD9sc.

    My question is, how concealed will I be with this? I usually wear shorts and a t-shirt, or jeans and a t-shirt. I live in Vegas, so throwing a vest or something over it isn't really an option I am interested in. I am about 5'11" and 175 lbs or so, so probably average body type. Is it going to be obvious that there is a big bulge under my t-shirt with this type of holster/gun setup? I don't wear shirts that are skin-tight, but I also don't wear shirts that hang down to my knees.

    Thanks for the help, it is a lot of money to spend for something I can't try out first, and I am really hesitant to go around with an obvious bulge that sticks out--of my t-shirt, anyway ;).
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    That's funny... there's an almost identical thread going on today: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7424030

    An excerpt from my post over there:


    Being "cautious about printing" -- i.e. fidgeting with your gun and tugging at your clothes to make sure you're covered -- will get you noticed a lot more than an odd bulge here or there.

    I can't imagine too many common situations where a gun in a smart-carry or thunderwear type holster would be of any use at all. None of the scenarios I've trained for would give me the time to drop trousers or go fishing for a gun carried that deeply. I know there are very specific scenarios where that kind of concealment is necessary, but none of them seem to apply to me as an average joe citizen going about my daily business.
     
  3. chhodge69

    chhodge69 Member

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    You have to dress for concealment and style may suffer. With a tee-shirt as a cover you aren't going to find any type of IWB carry that simply WILL-NOT print. My solution to this problem is to wear my gun IWB at 3:00 with a light tee shirt tucked in and a light polo un-tucked or short-sleeve button down worn open and un-tucked.
     
  4. NMBrian

    NMBrian Member

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    Button up shirts are your best friend.
     
  5. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    I think most people are paranoid about it when they first start. This will gradually go away... currently, a spandex muscle shirt about two sizes too small is about the only thing I would consider inadequate as a cover garment. No one will notice a "bulge", and they wouldn't care if they did.
     
  6. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    you don't need the silly gunderwear, you might want to switch to a looser T-Shirt over an undershirt or a camp shirt over an undershirt.

    If you have pants that are sized properly, a good belt* and a shirt that will cover your belt-line reliably, you can conceal IWB with a CB ST type holster. Adding an undershirt will increase comfort.
    I posted pix a while back of my first SuperTuck:
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=439381
    One of those pictures is with the shirt pulled tight across the gun.
    I occasionally wear a T-Shirt over the ST, the elather on your skin can get irritating over hours, but adding a thin cotton undershirt makes the rig comfortable for cross-country driving or sweaty outdoor work.

    And I have two more SuperTucks and another (better design) magazine carrier from that company since ... they're making good stuff!

    *good belt ... order a purpose-made gunbelt, CB makes an OK one, BeltMan makes a superb one, various companies make an "instructor belt" and there are lots of leather belt makers out there. Your wal-mart or Sears belt will need to be cinched uncomfortably tight to keep your gun from sagging outwards. But don't worry, you'll never need to buy a belt again. (need is not want, of course ... I have one bullhide BeltMan, one cowhide CrossBreed, and a horsehide from BeltMan I bought for myself as a reward for being less of a fattie - the BeltMan belts get worn all the time and the CB belt is an awesome work belt for hanging my radio/keys/tools/etc off of)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  7. catnphx

    catnphx Member

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    nigelcorn - I live in Phoenix so I feel your pain on the heat issue and how to conceal with the minimal clothing we wear in this type of weather. I'm always wearing shorts and a t-shirt or shorts and a button down shirt. Printing is something to consider but not to the point that you hide the gun so far away that you don't have access to it when you need it (which is usually during an emergency situation). I've got three carry guns that I switch around based on weather, activity, clothing, etc...:

    • M&P 9c in a Crossbreed Supertuck IWB
    • Kahr CW9 in a Kholster Crescent IWB
    • S&W J-frame .357 in a Galco Kingtuk IWB
    All three work great and conceal very well. Most people will never know that you are carrying and the ones that do are probably carrying themselves and looking for it. Regarding you wearing "skin tight shorts" well first thanks for that visual. :rolleyes: With most IWB holsters, you will need a slightly extra sized pant to carry the gun. For example, if you were a 33" waist then you'll want a 34" waist. Finally, like a couple of others stated, get a damn good belt; very important.

    Good luck!!
     
  8. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I should probably just add this to my sig line, but the first (and possibly most important) component of concealment is mindset.

    If one walks around like they're confident that they're not printing, they will likely get away with printing better than someone without that confidence that is NOT printing.

    Note that I have a decade of 24/7/365 carry ... so I've had plenty of time to develop that confidence.


    Anyway, as to the OP ... yes a CBST with a good belt and pants an inch or two larger waist size and you can pack an XD sub-compact under a t-shirt (unless its tight). Darker colors would work better than white. Patterns even better.

    Of course in a city like Vegas one can easily get away with Hawaiian shirts (which are the absolute best cover garment ever made)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  9. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  10. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I stopped caring about printing a long time ago, and now just throw a t-shirt or a loose button down or polo over it. No one really notices, and it is perfectly legal here, so why care? The only places I am cautious about it is at church, and that's more of a respect thing than anything else. As I mentioned, and others mentioned before me, confidence is important. You aren't doing anything illegal, and there is nothing to worry about. After a while, it will grow on you and you will feel something is missing without it.

    If you do really care though, get a good IWB holster and start wearing untucked shirts, particularly dark colored or random printed shirts. Stay away from stripes and light colors, unless they are really loose.
     
  11. 4thPointOfContact

    4thPointOfContact Member

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    If you can't see it when standing on the other side of me from it...... then I'm happy.
    98-degrees and 110% humidity aren't conductive to sports jackets, 'shoot me first' vests, or much of anything else.
     
  12. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    I'll second that. I assumed for a couple of years that concealed meant 100% concealed and I'd be outted somehow or someone would notice me carrying. I found it to be untrue once I experimented with my concealment method. After carrying fully concealed, partially and not even remotely concealed...I came to the conclusion that people in my area don't notice. Even open carry gets fewer responses than I had imagined.

    I now go on a "best effort" basis on what is comfortable for me. I don't care if I print a little.

    Of course it all depends on your local laws and your local social climate. You'll never know until you try.
     
  13. RedAlert

    RedAlert Member

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    Then too, our society is so accustomed to cell phone holsters of one kind or another on a man's belt, they would figure the "printing" is from a phone first.
     
  14. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I actually had a woman bump into my gun at Walmart ... she said "I hope I didn't damage your phone".
     
  15. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    Got the same comment after an unsolicited (but appreciated) hug.
     
  16. nigelcorn

    nigelcorn Member

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    That may be true, but I think people with cell phone holsters and bat-belts look ridiculous, so I try to avoid that whenever possible.

    I guess you are all right; I have read many times that it just takes some getting used to and people won't notice anyway. I live in Vegas, I don't think it is a particularly anti-gun area (at least I haven't noticed it). Seems like it is kind of like learning how to swim- best just to jump in and go for it.

    Thanks for all the replies.
     
  17. hvychev77

    hvychev77 Member

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    i'm not a big fan of cell phones accessorizing my outfit either, however, most people in wal mart or sam's club or wherever you go aren't going to be focused on who's packing and who isn't. if i'm in the grocery store, and someone prints a little bit, i don't pay any attention to it, but i feel like "o.k., i got someone on my side if the SHTF." ......i do my best to be concealed, but if i do print, i'm not worried about it at all because i'm licensed and i know my legal rights........just my 2 cents....hvychev77
     
  18. Michael_2112

    Michael_2112 Member

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    In some regards it matters as to what your state laws are regarding concealed and open carry and "printing". In PA you can open carry... So overall I'm not all that concerned about it.

    I generally carry OWB (sometimes with a t shirt as the cover garment) and I'm covered up well enough that no one seems to notice. Keep in mind though I most often carry a LCP or G26 which are fairly small to begin with.

    It's all mindset really, and not overthinking and constantly adjusting it. The bulge can be anything from an insulin pump to PDA... And most people are oblivious.

    This is just one of those things that get easier over time. I really think everyone goes through the exact same when they first start "packing".

    Stay safe and regards,

    Mike
     
  19. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    I think we can find something in between. ;) T-shirts are a very poor cover garment for any kind of belt holstered gun, IME. I like the long-tailed, square-cut-hemmed shirts often known as a "camp shirt" myself. You will want at least an A-shirt under the shirt, between the gun and your skin, though.
     
  20. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    When you have to balance job security and life security, it's best to consider all the carry alternatives rather than focus on the advice of those who don't need or even care to. They aren't forced to accommodate deep carry to prevent job loss and a difficult rehiring process, which should be an indicator of just exactly what they know about it.

    When your work requirements force you to wear a tucked in uniform shirt, be in close proximity with other workers who will see you bending, stretching, lifting, and reaching tall shelves, or work in close proximity with retail customers, printing becomes a major issue. "Lumps" might be cell phones, as those could be equally proscribed by workplace rules - but not in IWB holsters, or underarm carry. Unless you are known to be wearing an insulin pump, don't count on casual observers mistaking a lump for some other innocuous device. It's a lump that doesn't really belong.

    Lots of casual IWB carriers who just "go about their business" should count their blessings, because in an active retail environment, nothing they enjoy is allowed - even carry. Most companies don't allow weapons in the workplace, and there are plenty of cases we fight as First Amendment users to restore their rights and employment. I find it naive at best to suggest anyone just do whatever they like in the obvious face of corporate rules requiring their employees be disarmed, or be unemployed.

    That's exactly why deep carry holsters exist, and the pooh-poohing of those who do everything but carry open isn't the best source of recommendation. They aren't able to do anything to prevent your employer putting you on the street. The first rule is to protect YOURSELF, and it's up to you to balance your security needs with your workplace rules. It's hard to support a spouse, family, or make money for your own needs and desires when somebody else's advice gets you burned.

    If you consider the risk of actually being endangered with lethal force at the job, and the risk of losing that job, and determine that trading off speed of access will allow you to keep working there, then that's your choice. Most of us aren't confronted in our workplace with gunmen intent with killing us - despite all the notorious news. Most often, if you are, it's a robbery, do what they ask (up to a point) and give them the cash. It's pretty lame to acknowledge you weren't aware of them in your environment and made no effort to counteract their presence - but many do.

    There's really not that much difference in carrying IWB or smartcarry - it's basically a method of keeping the butt of the gun just below the belt line. If you wear pants and a belt that tightly, you would have to make exactly the same change as IWB, size your pants for the rig. Training - same - you would have to move any garment out of the way, in this case, pushing the belt away to reach the butt is just part of the routine. You wear a smartcarry holster over the shirt tail, it's not in the way. With practice, it should come down to a fraction of a second difference. At that point, accuracy of fire becomes much more important.

    Then you can let management decide whether to continue your employment, which they likely won't. But you will at least be alive - or more likely so, which is the intended result, and perhaps some coworkers might thank you for saving their lives. At least if you are working now, you are more employable, and can move to a job that is less restrictive of your rights - rather than out on the street with a "man with a gun" reputation that keeps you unemployed.

    It's up to the individual to assess all the risks in their environment, and second hand recommendations should be considered in exactly that light. A well rounded and realistic appreciation of ALL the factors will have a better application than an off the cuff response that "all the big boys do it this way."

    They worked their way to a privileged position, not all of the rest of us have those rights, and it's pretty short sighted to think we do.
     
  21. Carter

    Carter Member

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    Dark, especially black, button up shirts work very well for me. They hide my shoulder holster very well and hide my iwb holster very well. They also allow very fast access to either one of my holster options. The black color helps break up shapes and makes it hard to distinguish anything is there except clothing.

    Since my state allows open carry I'm not worried about my gun flashing if I do some extreme movement and don't bother with deep concealment. I want fast access and comfort. Depending on the outfit I'll sometimes open carry with a baggy shirt and no one seems to notice.

    Its really not that big of a deal, unless your state makes it a crime to show your gun.

    Edit: Above statements for when not at work.

    When at work deep concealment of some sort or leave it in the car.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  22. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Since my state allows open carry I'm not worried about my gun flashing if I do some extreme movement

    It's not about the state much anymore, it's about employer rules. Flash a customer in a retail mall job and see just how lenient the typical corporate HR department views working armed. It's the same crowd up there that proudly announces gifts to organizations that many of us would never contribute to.

    Aside from the much more immediately lethal risk of our fellow citizens, the corporate structure is the next worst enemy in gun rights. They already have policies against even storing weapons in vehicles out in parking lots - and fire people who are discovered with a gun in the trunk, unloaded, put there to shoot after work.

    Take that same arrogant and highly restrictive attitude to the sales floor, and flash a gun in sight of a district or regional manager. I suggest you be prepared to be escorted by the police from the building. Good luck even being able to get your lunch bag from the refrigerator or desk.

    I have no problem with those who exercise the societal privilege of carry, open or otherwise, but the existence of unemployment is there, and it's ludicrous to ignore it. When workplace rules prohibit the carry of ANY gun, it's the wrong thing to recommend someone just go IWB and let the coworkers get over it. Some of those coworkers are already very much antagonisitic - either religion, lifestyle, or politics are likely flashpoints in conversations best left unspoken - but some make it very clear even so.

    If your workplace is known to be a diverse culture, and corporate unlikely to view firearms in a positive light, there's no leniency to be expected if it's discovered you didn't bother to carry concealed. It's even worse to take advice that it's ok to be sloppy about it.

    Apparently all too many have the pollyanna view that YOU'RE FIRED isn't in your manager's vocabulary. Having more states than ever with CCW and open carry is great - but inside a company owned building, things have actually gotten WORSE over the last 20 years, which is why deep carry methods have become even more important.
     
  23. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    I agree with IlikeSA, I do not worry about printing anymore...

    If it bulges a little, who cares ? It is not a problem for me as I use IWB holster and cover with a polo and that is it. I like cross draw and it is quick and easy with my Glock 19 or the Colt Magnum Carry.
     
  24. Carter

    Carter Member

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    I wasn't talking about on the job. I've never carried at a job because it was never allowed. If I did I'd take the same approach I did at church. Shirt tucked it with my supertuck.

    And my opinion wasn't arrogant, it was just anti-paranoid about being "made". The OP didn't ask about work, it asked about everyday carry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  25. two gun charlie

    two gun charlie Member

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    I live a life where I have to conceal carry due to the fact that if your fire-arm is spotted it makes you a target , firstly if you are going for this option you have to know and accept that you will probably never be quicker on the draw than your assailant, you carry for the situation where you will see a situation develop and you will draw pre-empt , otherwise you will duck behind something and hope you don't get shot before you have a chance to draw. Another fact of life will be that you will have to settle for the smaller pistols designed for concealed carry , larger pistols just won't do. and that is my humble opinion.
     
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