Concealed Means Concealed

by Drew Beatty

Concealed carry is not a hobby or some casual pastime; it's a lifestyle choice. Because of that, many of the decisions you make revolve around this lifestyle choice. If you decide to carry a concealed handgun, it is paramount that you take the idea of "concealed" carry very seriously.

Consider the following two examples of what can happen when a concealed firearm is not properly concealed.

Although the written account of this Philadelphia robbery does not mention the fact, the video account shown here is clear. The victim in the green shirt had a firearm on his person, clearly patterning under a tight t-shirt. It was obvious he was carrying a pistol. The thug who approached him saw it, and, as seen in the video, immediately tried to disarm him. The lawfully armed citizen found himself in a fight for his life. This may have been a crime of opportunity. The thug likely saw the man enter the store, saw from his poor concealment that he was armed, and took the opportunity to steal the pistol.

In another story from Overland park, KS, a suspect who was angry at seeing a man carrying concealed stole his weapon out of spite. Both of these stories have some common elements. Each person carrying a concealed pistol didn't take the idea of concealment as seriously as he should have, and an enterprising criminal was able to take his pistol.

Both of these incidents could have been prevented if the pistol had been adequately concealed, and each carrier practiced some basic situational awareness.

I carry concealed every day. I prefer to carry concealed rather than openly in public. I have no issues with open carry, I simply feel more comfortable with the firearm concealed. For my own safety and peace of mind, I've put effort into keeping the pistol hidden.

My most common carry setup is inside the waistband (IWB) with a long shirt untucked to cover the pistol. Note that the shirt might be a larger size than what I wore before I carried concealed. I can carry this way whether I'm wearing pants or shorts.

In colder weather I commonly wear a full zip hoodie or pull over hoodie, often camouflage or other pattern, or a longer coat to assist in hiding the pistol.

My most common carry weapons are compact or sub-compact striker-fired pistols. I've found that cover garments with a pattern — camo, plaid, Hawaiian — work best to break up any gun patterning that might occur while moving. I also ensure that the cover garment is long enough to hide the pistol even if I'm bending over to pick up a dropped item.

As a disclaimer, I'm a man, and carrying is relatively easy for men. Women have more complex fashion and body shape considerations. The Well-Armed Woman and the Cornered Cat offer advice for women who are looking for options to conceal a firearm under a variety of clothing styles.

Carrying openly, where legally allowed, presents additional problems. The open carrier may believe he is acting as a deterrent to a criminal, but he instead might act as a lure. Those carrying openly need to be diligently aware of their surroundings and may even consider avoiding certain places or events.

Because carrying a deadly weapon is serious business, it's important to put time, thought, and even money into proper concealment garments. Keeping the weapon concealed is your best option for avoiding a catastrophic incident where someone may try to disarm you.

Drew Beatty is a 50 year old husband and father, and a lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is an NRA Life-Member, and a long-time firearms enthusiast, as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.