8 Things You May Do That Give Away The Fact You’re Carrying A Firearm


Let’s face it, even the most seasoned concealed carrier will sometimes find him or herself drawing a little attention to themselves and their firearms once in a while. After some time, the instances will become less frequent, but it’s good to be conscious of the things we tend to do when we first start carrying.

This article is mostly for people who are new to concealed carry, or haven’t even started carrying yet. It’s good to keep these things in mind, because a lot of the time we will do them without even noticing. While many people wouldn’t think twice about seeing you do these moves, some will know why you’re doing them.

Adjusting Your Rig

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Lightly touching the firearm and/or holster to make sure that it’s in the proper position is something that we all do from time to time, but it should be something that we do in private. A restroom for instance, is a great location to make any necessary adjustments. The number one time that I find myself doing this is right after getting up from a seated position. When we sit, our rig can have a chance to shift a little bit, and it may feel like it needs some adjustment when we stand up. If you can, do this adjustment quickly and tie it in to the next point; the shirt tug.

The Shirt Tug

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A quick tug down on your shirt to make sure that your firearm is covered never hurt anyone, but making a habit of it will draw attention to yourself and that area (right where your firearm happens to be). If you are wearing the proper clothing to cover everything that needs to be covered, there should be no reason to ‘tug’ at your shirt. An exception would be right after you’ve gotten up from a chair, in which case you may want to give your shirt a quick tug just to make sure it’s in the right spot. Again, this depends on your current outfit and will not be necessary for everything. After that however, leave it alone until you’re somewhere private.

With the first two points, if your rig is really out of place, you should realize this simply by how it feels. If you carry regularly, you should be very familiar with how your rig feels during your daily activities.

The “Making Sure It’s Still There” Move

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Especially if you’re new to concealed carry, this is something that happens often until we are used to carrying on a daily basis. It’s usually just a quick touch of the back of the firearm while it sits in the holster. It’s part ‘make sure it’s seated in the holster’ and part ‘make sure it’s still there’. It’s also part ‘unnecessary’ because if you have a proper holster, it’s not going anywhere.

Some on our Facebook page even made note of the fact that they’ve been guilty of ‘resting’ their arm/hand on the firearm.

Pull Up Your Pants

Pulling up your pants is a little more difficult when you add a firearm into the mix. If you ever find yourself needing to lift up your belt and pants to a correct position, you may want to make a few adjustments. The first one would be to make sure that your belt is tight enough, and that you’re using a proper belt for concealed carry. Remember that you have an extra pound or two (or more) that’s being supported by your belt, so it’s important to have a sturdy belt to keep things up.

Wearing Shirts That Just Don’t Work


I tend to put an emphasis on printing because I’m not a fan. Some think that it’s not that big of a deal and that’s fine, but I do what I can to avoid any printing of my rig. The entire point of concealed carry is keeping it concealed and unnoticed so that no one knows you are carrying.

The only way to tell if a shirt is going to work is to throw it on with your rig and check yourself out in the mirror. Some of your favorite shirts may simply not work anymore and should not be worn. If you see excessive printing, it’s best to avoid that shirt and move onto another one. Or, throwing on another layer (weather permitting) may solve any printing issues.

Wearing Firearm Related Attire

If I’m wearing a Justin Bieber shirt (I’m not, I swear), chances are I enjoy her his music. If I’m wearing a firearm-related shirt, chances are I’m a gun owner. While it may not mean that I carry a firearm, it definitely supports the thought. Be mindful of what you wear if you’re worried about being profiled, because chances are you’re being profiled.

Some people will fight me day and night on this point, but I stand by my reasoning.

Put it this way; if you’re at the bank with two other people and you’re the only one with an NRA hat and an “I love the 2nd Amendment” shirt, guess who the bank robber is going to watch the closest. Sure the chances are slim, but the reason we carry is so we’re prepared. This is just another step in preparedness, and it’s called blending in.

Not Swinging Your Arm On The Side You Carry

For instance, if you carry on your right side, your right arm is likely to swing much less than your left when you walk. It’s a way that we protect our firearm without even noticing that we’re doing it.

Yelling “Tyrants!” After Seeing A Business With A “No Guns” Sign

This one is courtesy of Scott, and it’s a nice humorous way to end this list.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • fish1552

    Guilty of the first and last ones. :)

  • Nate Culbertson

    guilty of the arm swing, but i did it before i started carrying

  • OneManITDept

    I open carry…no tugs or adjustments needed.

    • Jonathan Willis

      My concealed carry instructor informed the class that open carry wasn’t wise. If someone wants to harm you and they can see you have a gun, they will get your gun from you and then use it against you.

      • OneManITDept

        Well, I am not really that impressed with your instructor though I can see why he or she said to not do this. But, rest assured, I have personally introduced many many many ragheads in the Persian Gulf Theatre to Allah and you can bet your last dollar that one or more street punks may find themselves meeting the same grisly end.

        • Michael J Carter

          Until they shoot you in the back first cause they know your are carrying. Than again some of us lost our open carry hand gun rights when we got the right for CCL.

          • OneManITDept

            You are right my mistake…that is why there are thousands and thousands of people every single day who are killed with their own guns for open carrying which was your initial point and now the bad guys see people open carrying and kill them on sight.

          • Steve Moody

            It is not common that someone is robbed of their gun while open carrying, but it happens. The risk is low but it is still there. If you are happy taking this minor risk, then don’t let anyone’s opinion worry you.

            I no longer open carry, but it is because I got tired of memorized court cases that prove cops wrong so they would leave me alone.

          • OldNYFirefighter

            That is the problem with open carry, as it gets the bed wetters & anti-gun weenies in an uproar. Personally I would rather be unnoticed & if a bad guy decides to be bad, his first mistake is to my advantage not his. His mistake is my call to action before he realizes his mistake too late. I personally have no problem with someone carrying openly!


          • That’s the way I feel, too. I mean, as soon as they see a woman with a gun, I’m immediately seen as the weaker of the sexes…I just feel more comfortable CC’ing. The last thing they will hear is, “Dude…what’s that red dot on your forehead for?” LMAO

          • nick

            Some foreigner who’s spoke little English was admiring my gun while I was open carrying as I was filling the 5g water bottle and the conversation turned into an attempt at a snatch from my holster I got it I’m my hands and struck him with my free hand while pulling the pistol close to my body and preparing to fire consecutive shots. This all happened very very fast and no shots were required to defend myself

          • Scar

            Some bad guys see a person open carrying and they call the cops to report some nutter waving a gun around in public in the hopes the cops come and shoot the open carrier.

            Though they tend to call themselves members of moms demand attention

          • You are hilarious!! But you are right. I’ve not heard of people killed from open carrying. Do you know anything about losing your right to open carry if you have a CC permit? I’ve never heard of that!! I live in VA.

          • USMC69

            Some states take your right away when you get a CC permit. That may be changing now that states are moving to constitutional carry.

        • Anonymous

          Am a combat Vet and believe that a true warrior does not “wave his confirms”. Semper Fi RVN

        • Michael R

          Well, I agree with the instructor, in the event of SHTF, I’ll appreciate you being in the same building as me. You’ll be the target, I’ll be ignored.

      • roselyn flores

        I have to say, we live in AZ where open carry is permitted. My husband and I openly carry. Our holsters are set up in a way that only the carrier can pull the gun out. Unless you are wearing an older holster that the gun just sits in the pocket, I think you’re alright. I also like to open carry because it lets any criminal know that there is someone around that can, and will, protect others around them.

      • Dave Notarianni

        Open carry simply means you get shot first if something goes down around you. It’s called eliminate the threat and it doesn’t just apply to the good guys

        • Ctclassic

          Really Dave? Why don’t you cite one instance where that happened…oh yeah, you can’t!

          • OldNYFirefighter

            It happens to LEO’s more often than most people like to believe, but it is usually somebody that has a grudge against LEO’s not gun owners in general. I think a citizen open carrying would be safer than LEO’s for that reason.

          • ramv36

            I’m sure the flashy uniform has zero to do with such targeting /s

          • Could be an off-duty LEO. Trust me, they remember your face…

        • mslady269

          We have one Pawn Shop in my city that has never been robbed. Want to know why? Everyone over 21 open carries. No one goes in there starting any problems.

        • Thomas Moeller

          A stupid assertion to bolster your own preference and opinion as superior to the alternative. Surprise the criminal in the act or prevent the criminal act? Explain how one is better than the other as the question is framed.

          • JOHN_CURRIER

            Mr. Moeller if you respond to this please try to start without an insult. My purpose in carrying concealed is not to deter criminal activity but to respond to it when it turns deadly. Most criminals don’t really want to shoot anyone for selfish reasons. If a criminal attempts a robbery where they see an armed citizen most of the time he will leave and sometimes he will use the tactical advantage to take out the open carry guy first especially if the crime is drug fueled. To put it another way, if you open carry you leave the tactical advantage and tactical decision with the criminal. You are essentially betting your life on either his cowardice or good sense. A druggie has neither of those at hand. If the purpose of carrying is to protect innocent life then clearly concealed is a superior choice.

          • Thomas Moeller

            A stupid assertion is not an insult unless you take a correct characterization of your position as insulting. That would make it your problem but no less true.

          • JOHN_CURRIER

            Actually, characterizing an opinion different from your own as “stupid” is insulting to most people though certainly in this day and age it seems to be the norm for many people though I believe not a majority (hope springs eternal!). Putting that aside, do you have a substantive response to what I said?

      • thedougbob

        I’ve grown up around guns. Used them all my life since I was 13 and that is a commonly stupid comment from so called instructors hell bent on deterring open carry. It’s based on personal preference only with NO basis in fact.

        • mslady269

          I completely agree. I conceal the majority of the time simply to avoid the hassle of living in a place where seeing a gun in the open in uncommon, but when I want to carry a full sized pistol and it’s hot out, I throw on one of my OWB holsters and go.


        I agree with his conclusion but not his reasoning. You give up a major tactical advantage when you carry openly. It’s fine for making a statement about your rights. Not so much for serious self defense.

        • Ctclassic

          John, the reality is most C’ store robberies happen in the late night/early morning hours. That said, if a perp walks in to rob the joint, they are there to rob not get into a possible murder situation (shootout). If he/she see’s a customer with an open sidearm, chances are they walk back out and pick another target.

        • Anonymous

          I agree. The loss of the element of surprise, is a significant tactical advantage. I carried concealed for 30 years.

          • Thomas Moeller

            It is a ridiculous assertion that tactical surprise is better than preventing the criminal act with a show of force. CConlyism is a poorly thought out exercise in simplicity.

      • M. Snyder

        I get it. I open carry in certain circumstances. Camping for one.
        However, If I’m running errands I do not open carry. My instructor also said it wasn’t wise, only for the fact that if you are at a gas station, browsing through the candy section and someone comes in to rob the store, they look directly at you and notice you have a gun, they are going to go after you first. If you don’t open carry, they will never know. Let me guess though, you’re a super hero and can mentally determine who is going to be the bad guy in this situation…

      • ramv36

        Lol, I’m sure they’d TRY.

        To test that logic, look into how often what you described works on police officers, the largest population of open carriers.

        It doesn’t happen very often. Bottom line, if your negligence allows you to be disarmed by an unarmed person wishing you harm, that’s basically your fault. You either failed to be aware of and/or properly assess a threat and/or avoid the situation.

        Besides, at least to me, open carry means you’re carrying a rifle. I can ccw a pistol, but if you’re expecting trouble to the point of needing to open carry, why not go all out and strap an AR?

      • deputy346

        Well let’s hope that you are able to keep someone from taking your firearms away from you. That’s part of responsible firearms ownership.

    • Meep


      • OneManITDept

        Ahhhh…I was wondering when I would get a Liberal asking about the Avatar…only Liberals do so it is always good for a laugh.

        Yes…that avatar I am using is a card-carrying, Left-wing, Democrat / Socialist symbol…and if you look closely, you will see it is overlaying an OBAMA symbol complete with little ‘fro:)

        • Anchovy Garbanzo

          Troll much do ya?

    • aorobert
    • Why do you put a swastika on Obama’s sign…you know damn well he’s a muslim…LOL

      • USMC69

        No, he’s a socialist. OneMan got it right on that symbol.

  • Joseph Alves

    How about the fact I open carry a big ass .45?

    • ramv36

      anyone can do that. Try doing what I do, IWB carry a H&K USP fullsize in 45 everyday.
      The N82 holster is perfect for this, and you’d be amazed how comfortable such a large gun an be for ccw. It’s also firepower peace of mind with it’s 12+1 capacity

      • Aaaaaannnnnddddd that’s why they attacked Paris instead of the USA!!! You notice no one played the “knock-out” game in Virginia where we carry!! LOL

      • Joseph Alves

        Glock 21 13+1
        Impossible to conceal for someone my size in my climate

  • Joseph Alves

    I think the only thing I’m guilty of when I do conceal carry is the shirt tug.

    • OldNYFirefighter

      Rubber grips have a tendency to grab your shirt when you sit & get back up. I prefer non rubber or plastic grips for this reason only on my CCW. My compact .380 with JHP fits in my pocket just fine & I often carry both depending on area I am in.

  • Saint_Barry

    For me, the adjust move followed by a shirt tug is almost impossible to resist when getting in or out of a vehicle.

    • mslady269

      I’m forever guilty of pulling up my pants as they slide down, even with a belt. I suppose it’s the extra weight I’m carrying.

      • David Hirsch

        I am small framed guy, with pants sliding issue also- after some hit and miss solutions, I switched to aliengear cloak tuck 2.0 holster system . the neoprene backing pad helps keep everything in place. 5 ft 3 ,150, springfield M1911, and spare clip== no pants drooping here

    • USMC69

      I do the shirt tug even when I’m not carrying. Always have. Can’t stand shirts that are not hanging down lose.

  • Tyler M

    Also, swinging your arms too wide because you don’t that nasty moment where your funny bone hits it. At best? It’ll hurt. At worst? Your gun falls out. Also, always looking down at your belt is a dead give away. Also? The constant shoulder checking. Doesn’t mean someone is packing just because they’re doing it BUT IT DOES DRAW ATTENTION FAST.

    These problems are again why I prefer open carry.

  • Rick246

    you missed one, sharing this on your FB page…

    • Kathleen LaBonte

      Rick – come on. On YouTube and a slew of sites we can learn anything from A to Z. To supplement my classes I go to many online sources, including Facebook, to be kept up to date, or refreshed. It is proactive. In this subject matter the more ways women are reached of how to learn about self defense and be safe the better. Another thing I learned – don’t carry your gun in your purse. From someone that lived in NYC for many years, I agree with this warning for the many ways I’ve seen bags stolen off of a women. I think I would be safe to speak for other women and say thank God for proactive 2nd Amendment SISTERS out there to keep us informed in all ways!! You need to catch up or be still!!! Smiling

      • Michael J Carter

        Anyone that is on my friends list pretty much all ready know what I do or don’t do for the most part. It’s folks that aren’t my friends and on any of my social media sites I would worry about.

  • Kelly Ryan

    So I guess me walking around in the 2 handed “low ready” position would be a giveaway too!

    • ScottieDont

      Soooo…I should NOT hug corners and slice the pie at Costco?

  • Scar

    What about the pocket carry folks? No love for them?

    • Hands in pocket doesn’t give away concealed carry, they just think you’re playin pocket pool.

      • OldNYFirefighter

        Or have an itch you must scratch! Lol!

  • Hans

    If your gun is buried behind clothing you might not get the access speed you need.

    • ramv36

      Situational awareness. Ideally if you’re paying attention you see things coming from far enough off you never need to draw, because you’ve exited the situation already.
      You always win the gunfight you prevent.

  • Cknarf

    You gotta shirt tug once in awhile, especially if you’re in and out of cars all day.

    I’m thinking about getting some different grips for my Bersa. The rubber ones are really comfortable, but they make my shirt ride up all the time.

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  • Jebediah1203

    I don’t worry about printing at all. I don’t try to, but its not the end of the world to me if it happens. Its still concealed and doesn’t violate the law.

    • USMC69

      That depends on the state you live in.

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  • I conceal carry and want to start a clothing line for women who wear dresses, because I can’t wear one and carry…ugh…(or invent an awesome thigh holster!!) Great tips!! I’m guilty of all of these…but not for long!!!

  • Tim K

    These little tugs and checks will really not be noticed by the majority of people. People adjust there clothing all the time getting out of cars after going to the restroom. Checking for their keys and wallet and so on. Too much is made of this topic.

    • USMC69

      I think it’s going to be used as a reason for stop and search by LEO. It could be my cell phone. It causes me more trouble then my weapon.

  • John Ferrante

    New to concealed carry here. If there is “printing” going on and it’s clear you have a gun under your shirt is it still technically concealed carry? Could you get yourself in trouble with law enforcement?

  • Lucy Mauterer

    This article obviously targets male carriers. I am female and have carried in my purse for several years. My purse has an interior compartment about halfway up from the floor of the purse that is easy draw. The shoulder strap is just the right length for my hand to slide into the purse and grip the handle. Women reach into their purses all the time and no one notices. Also, I am a senior female and much less vulnerable to profiling. I can see where it would be much more obvious for men

  • Griff

    I’m a victim of the tug…but then again, I tug my shirt even when I’m not carrying, for some reason, unless I wear uncomfortably baggy shirts (I mean EXCESSIVELY baggy), they always ride up on me.

    • Griff

      Side note: I’m 6’5″ so that might contribute to the issue

  • 4TruthandJustice

    Missed: If someone asks if you are carrying a gun – say, “I never discuss that subject.” Don’t say “yes” or “no” – just refuse to talk about it. I found this works well in places where I know our right to carry firearms isn’t accepted. It avoids wasting our own time trying to explain, justify or defend the fact that we’re armed. Such people are living on ignorance as it is, I don’t owe them an explanation or the time it would take to inform them individually. I like getting in their face if they “insist” that I answer: “You are NOT that important that I have to explain myself or tell you what I’m doing.” :-)

  • Edwin Webster

    Concealed carry or open carry…the important thing is to carry…if I walk into a room of twenty people and half are open carrying that’s cool, if half are concealed carrying that’s cool too. But, if everyone is carrying that’s the best.

  • Rob Hill

    Out here in Cali there are times when I want someone to think I’m packing since CC is almost impossible to do legally. Thanks for the tips.

  • The real question is, should I care? As long as I’m following the local laws, should you care if anyone knows or not. I carry concealed to avoid the basic “shock response”, but if they are that interested in what I’m doing, they probably have more to answer for than I do anyway.