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Hidden In Plain Sight; Concealed Carry Tips & Tricks


This is what concealed carry is all about right? In this article I will share a few tips and tricks that I have learned from being a concealed carry permit holder for almost 20 years.

First and foremost, nothing beats a quality ccw belt and holster. As for the belt, do not under any circumstances use a department store belt. I made that mistake when I first started carrying. They work great for holding up your pants, not for holding your holster rigidly in place. A purpose made gun belt is obviously thicker, double stitched and durable. There are many quality brands on the market and even more styles.  I have two, one is plain and great if I’m carrying with my shirt untucked. The other is more appropriate if I’m wearing my shirt tucked in. Purchased mine from, they turn out a quality product.

Here’s a simple trick to disguise your spare magazine. Use the pouch from a multi-tool. It works and is stealthy. I use the one for my Gerber multi-tool, wear it on my belt upside down and practice mag changes at the range with it. Practice breeds proficiency. For my 1911, I use a leather case for my Buck folder. If it happens to show, well you’re just another person carrying a pair of pliers or a pocket knife. No big deal.

Now that you have a quality purpose made belt and stealthy mag carrier… Another piece of wisdom to pass along; darker is better. I have come to realize that a darker shirt tends to mask the print of a gun verses a lighter colored one. Also, a slight pattern on a darker shirt really fools the eye. It’s not like wearing a cloak of invisibility, however it works very well. Whether it’s a polo style shirt or a T-shirt, this applies. I’m 5’8, medium build and I can easily conceal a full size 1911.

Sometimes I will wear my T-shirt tucked in and wear a button down shirt over it untucked and unbuttoned. As long as it has a pattern to it, it works. Only problem, not good on a breezy day.

Be aware of your movements, they can give you away. The shirt tug is a biggie. Also, people tend  to “check” their gun. As in, run a hand against the butt or holster. It’s a bad habit to develop and harder to break.  I tend to buy a shirt one size larger and rarely have a problem with it riding up. When you’re at the grocery store, think before you reach. Especially if it’s on the top or bottom shelf. Bottom shelf, don’t bend over, bend at the knees in front of your shopping cart. Top shelf, I’ll straighten my arm against my gun and reach with the left. I carry on my right side at four o’clock, therefore I generally reach for anything with my left hand.


A few things I avoid: The photographers vest. This is the classic “I’m carrying a gun” vest. First off they are out of place in almost any situation, kind of like a sore thumb, you’ll stick out. Second, there are other ways to wear an outer garment to cover your gun.

Wearing a T-shirt with a gun logo on it, that’s another one I avoid. I have plenty of T-shirts with my website logo on them. Only wear them at the range or around the house.

The fanny-pack, they were popular a while back. Galco made a great one with a neoprene holster mounted inside. I used to wear one in navy blue. Actually took it to an embroidery shop and had a Canon logo stitched on it. Thought that was fitting.  Now, you rarely see anyone wearing a fanny-pack, like the photographers vest, a little out of place. If you choose this method of carry, pick any color but black.

Above all else, keep in mind most of the public is oblivious to the fact that you are carrying.  I was very self conscious until a friend of mine pointed that out to me. Remain conscious of the fact you are armed, however not to the point of making deliberate movements that will give you away.

As for me, I carry either a full size 1911 or a S&W MP9 compact. Both are easily concealed with a little thought and planning.

So, this begs the question… What tips or tricks do you have to share? We can all learn from each other. Share them in the comments below.

Categories: Beginners Guide
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  • Dan Moore

    Jason L. What holster do you have for your M&P 9c? When I carry mine the rear of the slide prints like brick.

  • Mark

    I appendix carry a full size M&P 40 with a Strongside Clandestine kydex holster. I’m a skinny guy too, at 5’10” 160lbs and it conceals VERY well, but only works well for me in the appendix position. I’ve tried 3:00, 4:00 different cants and so on, but the grip ALWAYS prints ridiculously when its on my strong side. So my tip would be to experiment with different positions to find what conceals best and feels the most comfortable. If you do appendix carry, I’ve found that hiking your pants up before you sit down helps with pressure points on your stomach when you’re appendix carrying.

    • Steven Chehey

      Appendix carry truly is the best option IMHO. I carry a Glock 20SF in a MIC holster. However, I need to find a stealthier option for spare magazines as I have a standard DeSantis pouch. Besides the obvious printing issues of 3&4 O’clock carry you take your strong side arm out of the fight when you are forced to draw from this position

  • Steven

    I’m new to carring an iwb holster any tips on best spot to carry thanks. Btw it’s a full size springfield xdm thanks for the help.

    • anonymoususerx87

      Some people seem to hate it but I recently started using an aliengear cloaktuck (the newer one/ not leather) fits my full size glock .40 cal very well. Appendix carry seems the way to go for me but it could be different for you. I’m more on the chubby side of average for comparison purposes.

      • Steve Copeland

        +1 for the Alien Gear CloakTuck 2.0. I carry at 4 oclock, full size XDm40, and an XDs9. Smith SD40VE also rides well in that rig. I am a bigger guy,250 and 6’1″. I conceal easily, comfort is another thing altogether. The Alien Gear rigs are comfortable, IWB and OWB.

        • Rich Auen

          I add a third to the alien gear 2.0 I have a full size Springfield 1911 range officer that I carry works great and I’m 6′ 315 athletic build I carry at a 3 or 330 position

  • 1inidaho

    You guys who are appendix carrying a striker fired pistol are in extreme danger of a AD. You should only carry a double action pistol or revolver or one with a manual safety. Too easy for that thing to go off in a gunfight situation.

    • bahlers

      How so? The a Glock will only fire if the trigger is fully depressed. Period. And what makes appendix carry more dangerous with one in the pipe as opposed to 4:00 or any other way for that matter?