Dead Giveaways That You Are Carrying A Gun

A GLOCK 30 is a concealable 45 ACP pistol if you choose to use the caliber.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be the proud recipient of something of a ballistic nature under the Christmas tree this coming holiday morning. It could be ammo, magazines, or yet another firearm for your collection. However, as 2021 has shown, our Second Amendment Radical ranks have grown markedly - so that package under the tree might just be a brand new defensive pistol of some sort. After giving it the proper once-over, and heading out to your favorite range to test and learn the basics, undoubtedly you’ll want to carry it for defensive purposes. Whether you’re one of the fortunate ones to be in a Constitutional Carry state, or have to jump through the hoops to get a carry permit, there’s some nuance to the whole concept of carrying a firearm - that in some cases it doesn’t pay to advertise.

Of course, if you’re openly carrying your firearm, this doesn’t apply. Do yourself a solid though and get a holster expressly designed for open carry, which usually means purchasing a duty holster similar to what a law enforcement professional would use. But, if you’re carrying concealed, there’s still a few dead giveaways that you are carrying a gun

Concealed Is Concealed, Right?

Those of us who choose to carry our firearms concealed, or are legally obligated to keep them concealed, usually live by the mantra of “concealed is concealed”. For the most part, this is true. One can do a rather piss-poor job of concealment, and most people won’t notice. Buried in their phones, clicking away at their Metaverse profiles (god…), they barely even notice people openly carrying, much less poorly concealing. However, some people are attuned to look for concealed weapons, and not all of them have good intentions. Thus, one should be wary for the dead giveaways of carrying a gun.

Dead Giveaway 1: Clothing

OK, I’ll bite. When I first got into this thing of ours, that Second Amendment Radical lifestyle, I went full-on into the attire. 5.11 All The Things, GLOCK T-shirts, the whole bit. However, as I “grew up”, I toned it down a bit. Less obvious, but still utilitarian choices became the norm for me.

Part of the reason was “political” of course. Gun-centric attire became a conversational flashpoint rather than just a conversation. Don’t really have time for that.

Secondly, one thing I learned was that someone bent on violence and mayhem sometimes will seek the obvious “threat” and attempt to take on that person first. I live in the 305, a rather cosmopolitan urban area. Fashion does play a big role in a lot of people’s lives. Dressing decidedly unfashionable does make you stand out. In a sea of designer shirts and jeans, going all-out tacti-cool is a good indicator that you may present an obstacle to an attacker.

Same if you’re wearing a gun company-branded T-shirt or something with an obvious gun-related trope on it. “Cold Dead Hands”, that sort of thing.

You do you, but just kind of be aware that to a certain type of bad guy, you will be singled out. 99 percent of them are dumb opportunists, but there’s a few wily ones in the bad guy universe.

A thing on clothing though. It’s definitely regionally dependent. Here in the tragically hip 305, tactical duds do occasionally stand out. However, a few hours north of here, 5.11-ish attire won’t brook much notice. It looks like work clothing and everyone else is dressed similar. Same for out-and-out 2A-related attire like my cheeky line of subversive T-shirts.

That being said, you don’t have to forgo the comfort and convenience of tactically-oriented clothing necessarily. I’ve found that standard work shirts and labor-oriented pants work out real well and are just as comfortable. People like plumbers, construction site workers, etc - they all have to carry tools and whatnot on their belt for long stretches of time. Think Dickies, Red Kap, that sort of thing. You’ll still get to rock out with that GLOCK on your hip, but even to a trained eye, you can come across as someone who is in the trades, rather than someone going for that “private defense contractor” aesthetic. Maybe you’re there to fix the cable.

And for the love of all that is holy, don’t wear a Walter Sobchak-esque photographer vest. You don’t work for NatGeo, so the primary assumption is that you’ve got a gun on you if you’re wearing one of those.

Dead Giveaway 2: Dressing Warm

OK, if you live in the Rockies or the Arctic, you get a pass. I’m semi-immune to cold, but I’ll dress heavy when appropriate. However, it’s another thing entirely to wear sweatshirts and so on when the mercury passes 55 degrees or so.

Now grant it, to the terribly fashion-conscious, they’ll wear whatever regardless of the weather, but most people dress for the climate. However, when you decided to venture out into the world while armed, you gotta make some wardrobe decisions. The express route, of course, is to toss on a jacket or sweatshirt and be done with it. Unless you’re a fashion victim or homeless, this may raise some eyebrows during the summer months. An astute observer will think you’re either concealing something, or looking to conceal something, i.e. you’re dressing for theft.

That being said, one can dress for the weather, and even carry a full-size pistol. Things like fishing shirts come to mind, and the usual suppliers of “tactical” attire often have offerings that don’t scream “gun”, but will conceal quite nicely and have all sorts of clever methods for keeping you cool.

Ultimately, the fallback would be to have a “summer gun”, i.e. a compact 9mm pistol, which would make the attire question easier. However, you’d have to gain proficiency with that firearm, which takes time.

Best thing to do in this case is to not overdress - you’ll get some looks, guarateed.

Dead Giveaway 3: Printing

The most obvious giveaway, of course, is “printing”. The odd angle jabbing out from the waist or back, the outline of something that looks like a gun under some clothing. Now, most people are too absorbed in their own BS to notice, but again, the type of person who knows to look for printing could potentially be someone who could give you drama.

It could be a law enforcement officer who looks askance on citizens being armed. Or it could be an assailant. If it’s the former, as long as you are lawfully present in the location you are in while armed, there isn’t (legally) much the cop can do other than bitch at you. Thankfully, in most jurisdictions where the carry of firearms is permitted by law, printing isn’t a crime.

However, if the person who sees you printing is an assailant, you’ve got some problems on your hands. You may as well be openly carrying at that point, because you’re going to be a concern of his.

If you’re going to conceal, spot-check yourself before you leave your home, especially if you’re new to this thing of ours.

Dead Giveaway 4: Body Language And Gestures

You’ve got your concealment game down pat. You picked the right ensemble of clothes, the right firearm that you’ve trained for months on, including drawing from concealment, and you’ve selected yourself a quality holster to keep that blaster in it’s proper place. You’re ready to rock out as a free citizen of the world. Welcome aboard.

However, you could still be blowing your cover. It’s often said that 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. We all react to body language and gestures and we often don’t even know it. There’s plenty of cultures where grand gesticulations is the norm in communication, even.

When it comes to carrying a firearm, we’ve all been guilty of it of course. Furtive gestures towards the gun on your hip to “make sure it’s still there”. Frequent nudges to get it just right. Using your forearm to nudge the pistol a bit to the right or left on your belt. Blocking the gun with your arm when someone comes close. Not engaging in public displays of affection, especially when it’s the norm in the area you live in or the situation you’re in.

Sure, when it comes to the latter, there’s only so much you can do. With friends and family, it’s actually wise to have “the talk” with them early on, that you’re armed. If they’re cool customers, they won’t mind a bit.

That being said, the trick here in general is to simply get used to the fact that you’ve got a gun on your hip. This is where the ideal combination of gun, belt, and holster comes into play. When all 3 come togehther, it’s a whole new world. Not gonna lie, you’ll run through a few holsters and belts before you find the right combo. It took me some time before I settled on my VP9 & Bravo Concealment setup.

Get A Good Setup To Carry Your Gun

Your mileage may vary. What works for me, probably won’t work for you. I’m about six feet tall and 12.8 stone. I’m being difficult today, deal with it, haha. You’re probably of a different height, weight, and body type. My concealed carry setup probably won’t work for you. Of course, if you choose to open carry, the process becomes easier. A solid belt, enhanced situational awareness, and retention holster and you’re all set. But for concealed carry, the process becomes more complex as the variables of clothing, body type, gun, and accessories come into play. If you’re new to this, spend some time at home evaulating various combinations and scenarios. Whichever one seems to be the best, go with it. Go somewhere benign and public, i.e. a supermarket. Walk around and buy a few things. See how it feels. You might have to do “the walk” a few times to get the hang of things. But in the end, it’s all worth it as you take these first big steps towards being a free and self-reliant Second Amendment Radical and armed citizen.

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