3 Bad Concealed Carry Habits

by Trent Marsh

Carry a defensive weapon often enough and you will develop habits. Some good, some bad.

The single greatest advantage the concealed carrier has is the element of surprise. A hostile party who is unaware of a concealed weapon is unlikely to prepare for a defensive retaliation. Sadly, many inexperienced or uneducated carriers engage in activities that give away their defensive weapon.

While this may be enough to deter attacks from some aggressors, it may also allow them to make a plan to neutralize the defensive threat, or in the case of a coordinated attack, maybe even make the carrier a target to eliminate possible resistance.

Avoiding these three bad habits of concealed carry will make you a better, and safer, carrier.


Wear a shirt too short to keep your gun concealed when reaching for the cereal on the top shelf? Accidentally open the wrong pocket on your custom purse? The moment your gun is visible, it is by definition no longer concealed.

Study your outfit in the mirror. Make note of shirts or outfits that aren’t compatible with carrying. If your gun can become exposed, don’t wear it when carrying. Even if the gun itself isn’t visible that doesn’t mean the gun isn’t being exposed. Examine the area in which your gun is holstered for conspicuous bumps or wrinkles. If you can see it, others can see it.


Short of outright exposing your firearm, touching or checking a firearm is an obvious giveaway to even the untrained eye. Even if you don’t stop your hand on the gun, people in the habit touching their concealed firearm rarely do it only once. It becomes a nervous tick.

Holster shifts? Touch check. Stand up? Touch check. Sit down? Touch check. Enter a new room? Touch check. For a defensive firearm to remain effectively concealed there can be no observable item or action that would reveal the location of the firearm. Stop touching your gun.

Being “that” guy

Stereotypes may not be politically correct, but they exist because there is some nugget of truth.

Who doesn’t love the “This vehicle insured by Smith & Wesson” bumper sticker? Even something like carrying a “tactical” backpack covered with molle straps can convey the message to potential threats that you are a threat to them or their plans. Don’t look like someone who would carry a gun.

The sheepdog moniker is an appropriate one, and relevant here. The sheepdog was specifically bred over time to look as much like the sheep as possible. When wolves or bears surveyed the flock, they were looking for dogs that looked like dogs. Sheepdogs blend in. They don’t advertise their presence. They are effective protectors of the flock because the threats don’t see them until it is too late.

Carrying is easy. Effectively keeping concealed the fact that you carry can be difficult. Continually evaluate how you carry for weaknesses in your style or manner to ensure that you’re not developing bad habits that may not only make you less effective, but actually make you a target.

Trent Marsh is a husband, soon-to-be-father, and lifelong Hoosier. A marketing professional in the shooting sports industry, he also serves as the Gear Editor at WildIndiana.com and as a freelance writer for titles such as Whitetails Unlimited and Shooting Sports Retailer.