These 15 concealed carry gear items are a must for a host of people whose profession and interests rest on their ability to properly conceal a firearm on their person at all times: police detectives, security guards, military personnel and government agents. And, of course, we should add American citizens who prefer to be armed. All these people need a reliable way of keeping their firearms discreetly handy.
WHAT TO CARRY
The most important consideration when selecting a pistol to carry is its width. An awkward and unnatural bulge under your coat, pant leg or waistband will be obvious and attract unwanted attention. A low-caliber, single-stack magazine is best.
You want a firearm to have stopping power without size. For example, a Rohrbaugh R9 9mm is a light and small-framed pistol that is easily concealed, while the Smith & Wesson Model 642 .38 Special tucks nicely into a waistband or small pouch. Don’t have or want a holster? Get the Taurus Curve .380, which has a built-in belt clip. Other good examples are the Glock Model 19, Kahr PM9 and the Walther PPS.
CONCEALED CARRY GEAR STYLES
Just as there are dozens of different styles of handguns, there are as many holsters on the market that are made to carry them. The second step in concealment is to decide where you are going to carry your weapon.
Hip carry outside the waistband (OWB): This is the most popular method of carrying a handgun, but it is the least concealed. It is simple and cheap, because holsters are plentiful. However, it takes only very small movements to expose the gun. In addition, this method provides the largest bulge. Most of these issues can be removed by pushing the holster to the small of the back, but this decreases the ability to draw quickly.
Shoulder holster: A shoulder holster also requires a coat to conceal it—but that coat can easily expose the handgun. And, because of the way the weapon is drawn from a shoulder holster (by the opposite arm reaching across the body), it can be dangerous to bystanders who are exposed to the barrel during the 90 degrees of rotation it takes to aim the gun at the intended target.
Inside the waistband (IWB): This is the most popular method for concealed carry, because the sheath holster tucks inside the waistband of your pants, and the only thing that needs to be concealed is the exposed grip. A T-shirt is all that is needed to conceal the gun. The disadvantage of this method is that extracting the gun when you need it can be a delicate procedure.
Pocket: The least-expensive carry method is merely shoving the pistol into your pocket—no holster or special clothing is needed. The effectiveness of this method depends solely on the size of your gun and the configuration of your pocket. A disadvantage is that the gun might shift in your pocket, making drawing it awkward if it is upside-down or backward. Plus, it may slop back and forth as you walk if it isn’t secured.
Ankle: This is the least-popular location for concealed carry. It is time consuming to draw, and only the smallest of handguns fit under your pant cuffs. Used primarily as a backup, it does offer excellent concealment, because most people don’t look at a person’s feet.
PLAN YOUR WARDROBE
The next step is to plan a wardrobe around your choices. Different people have different clothing needs based on profession, environment, societal norms and events. A coat over pants and a button-down shirt fit in almost anywhere. The coat conceals several concealed carry methods. There are many specialty clothing options to give you many concealment choices—from concealment jackets and vests to pants and shirts that have special pockets sewn into them. When all is said and done, the point of concealed carry is to go about your business and life
unnoticed and blended well into your surroundings.
The new inside-the-waistband holsters (IWB) from Fobus are designed to keep a low profile, simulating the natural way to carry a weapon inside the waistband. The IWBL (shown) is for large-framed pistols, the IWBM is for medium-framed pistols, and the IWBS is for small-framed pistols. The IWB holster requires no shell replacements when changing between pistols of the same or similar size. The holster is constructed of a flexible and ventilated backing, a non-collapsing polymer shell that covers the pistol and two belt clips to position the holster at waistband height. They are lightweight, completely washable, durable and comfortable.
• Universal design fits multiple same-sized pistols
• Non-collapsing holster body allows for single-hand re-holstering
• Synthetic flexible backing conforms to user’s body
• Low-profile contour design offered in S, M and L
This system of concealed carry gear contains a vertical shoulder holster harness system. The holster is thermo-molded directly to the handgun to get the perfect fit. It features an adjustable quick release to fine-tune the fit for safety and allows quicker draw. The shoulder holster contains a belt loop for a more stable carry. Vega holsters are designed to fit a 1.6-inch belt.
• Entire barrel is covered
• Closed-muzzle design
• Thumb break
• Vertical shoulder carry
• Available in right- and left-hand models
• Two-year limited warranty
• Colors: Black and mahogany
Part of the Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck Series, the 3.0 IWB holster is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster for both semiautomatics and revolvers. It offers concealed carriers, improved retention, enhanced flexibility and superior comfort. Construction features include an ultra-strong stainless spring-steel core, a new layer of ballistic nylon and an engineered thermo-elastomer “Alien Skin” texture, which enhances holster retention, drag and durability. It is easy to adjust this holster’s cant (angle) and ride height by simply relocating the provided holster clips. In addition, it is possible to customize the holster retention to your gun with the turn of a few screws.
• Size: 10×9 inches
• Neoprene body
• Kydex gun pocket
Galco’s update of the traditional bellyband allows concealed carry for multiple weapons and accessories around your waist and midsection in an infinite variety of configurations. The UnderWraps holster also enables you to make instant additions and changes to your rig. Two leather holster pockets facilitate stable positioning of one or two firearms simultaneously, while two accessory pockets accommodate badge, cuffs, ammo, etc. The Under Wraps Belly Holster is constructed of heavy-duty elasticized nylon and is 4 inches wide.
• Accommodates strong-side, crossdraw, appendix and small-of-back carry locations
• Sizes: Small (30 to 34 inches); medium (36 to 40 inches); large (42 to 46 inches); XL (48 to 52 inches)
The Battle Axe was specifically designed to look like a guitar case externally while accommodating carbines up to AK47 length. The Battle Axe fits most electric guitar cases, but has tie-downs for rifles. Additional external pockets are designed to carry magazines, a cleaning kit, spare parts and everything you need to transport your work gun or for hauling urban gear through crowds.
• Plush lining is standard
• Main compartment has locking zipper sliders
• Internal size: 40x4x18 inches (widest); 7.5 inches (narrowest)
• External size: 41.3×18.1×4 inches
• Colors: Black, coyote
The all-purpose style of the Simple Bling tooled cowhide shoulder bag makes it one of Gun Tote’N Mamas’ most popular models. The foldover flap makes access easy and quick, while the design remains feminine enough to go undetected. This bag will hold the Ruger LCP and similar-sized guns. The purse features an embossed, understated roseleaf pattern, and its hand-rubbed color creates graceful, multi-tonal highlights.
• CCW compartment opens on three sides for maximum access
• Total compartment size: 8x7x1 inches
• Designed for left- or right-hand use
• Special padding to prevent gun printing
• 11-ply steel cable strap reinforcement
• Includes mini holster designed by Mernickle Holsters
• Magnetic closure
• Size: 8.5×2.75×8 inches
The 1700 Shirt combines style and comfort with concealment features. The textured seersucker fabric is lightweight, which helps reduce the profile of firearms when you’re carrying. The breakaway snap placket provides quick access to firearms, while a vented back delivers breathability. Coated with Teflon Shield+ that is capable of repelling oil, water and stains, the 1700 Shirt enjoys many concealed-carry features.
• Cotton/polyester/spandex fabric blend
• Hidden document pockets
• Vented back yoke
• Relaxed fit
• Sizes: S to 4XL
• Colors: Admiral plaid blue, slate
MSRP: $59.99 to $64.99
This is a traditional-style vest with unique, eye-catching details for a perfect look. It features top-grain, naked cowhide, four snaps to close the front, two outer pockets, a large, single back panel (for patches or airbrush/embroidery art work) and two concealed inner gun pockets made of special nylon with built-in holsters.
• Sizes: S to 5XL
• Color: Black
These concealed-carry pants are designed to resemble a classic style of unassuming khaki pants—but with the added benefits of cargo pockets. With no exposed manufacturer’s logos or names, the pants are made with 8.5-ounce, 100 percent cotton chino twill. The two side pockets are fully adjustable for any size handgun, while internal hook-and-loop points can be used to store additional magazines. The breakaway panels expose the firearm easily and quickly.
• Two integrated pockets designed for handgun carry and concealment
• Breakaway snaps disguised under the waistband to enhance firearm withdraw speed
• No side pocket billowing
• No leading edge catch points for worry-free movement
• Sizes: 32 to 44W; 30 to 36L
Designed to provide a quick, comfortable and covert solution for concealed-carry wear in casual environments, the Holster Shirt features durable fabric pockets under each arm that provide space for a compact handgun and extra magazines or firearm accessories, while a shoulder yoke distributes firearm weight. A layer of outer mesh fabric that disrupts the outline of your firearm helps maintain a covert profile in any situation.
• Hook-and-loop fasteners keep gear secure
• Inner padded neoprene layer for comfort
• Moisture-wicking material
• Form-fitting fabric
• Sizes: S to XXXL
• Colors: Black and white
The 3-Season Concealed Carry Jacket will keep you warm from the fall to the spring. It features a washed, 100 percent cotton outer shell and polyester inner lining. This casual jacket comes with two inner concealment pockets (one on each side) with hook-and-loop closures and four inner mag pockets with hook-and-loop flap closures.
• Two inner concealment pockets
• Four inner mag pockets
• Two tricot-lined front zipper pockets
• Button closure wrists
• Button waist-adjustment straps
The Propper Cover Hoodie is designed to be unassuming while featuring tactical elements. Slick, midweight fleece conceals a magnetic closure within the kangaroo pocket, giving you silent access to your weapon. (Magnets might interfere with medical and electronic devices.) A pullout arm panel allows you to access your identification quickly.
• 100 percent polyester smooth-faced midweight fleece
• Zip pocket on left arm for secure storage
• Thumbholes at cuffs prevent bunching and twisting
• Optimized for use with appendix holster
• Colors: Black, charcoal, khaki, LAPD navy
Designed to be worn across the chest, the Sling Bag offers quick, efficient access to internal storage and is designed to look like a regular sports bag. The main compartment has a rigid back panel with a hook-and-loop surface, allowing the user to customize the bag with any hook-sided accessory. This bag is available in left- or right-hand versions and fits the user’s holster and two mag holders.
• Internal pockets for handcuffs and credentials
• Zippered internal storage pocket
• Two external pockets
• Padded, quick-release shoulder strap
• Dimensions: 14×8.5×5.5 inches
• Volume: 4.10 liters
• Weight: 14 ounces
• Colors: Night Sky/Gray, black
Vertx Phantom Ops Pants are streamlined for velocity, flexibility and mobility. They maintain a professional look and comfortable fit while offering maximum tactical utility in the field. The poly/cotton ripstop prevents tears and ensures long-lasting durability. There are two concealed zipper pockets, two rear pockets with flap closures,
slimline hip pockets for optimal storage and expandable, triple-bellowed cargo pockets. The IntelliDRY treatment prevents staining and also manages sweat for a cool, dry fit. With reinforced knees that offer a wide range of motion, these are the ideal tactical pants in any situation.
• 6.5-ounce, 65 percent polyester/35 percent cotton fabric
• Mini ripstop pattern weave
• Sizes: 28 to 54W; 30 to 36L
• Colors: Black, smoke gray, khaki, desert tan, OD green, navy
This ankle holster easily and economically hides small and medium guns and even compact, large-frame autos inside the pant leg. The Uncle Mike’s Kodra nylon with soft, knit fabric offers durability and comfort. The nylon web retention strap with reinforced thumb break secures the firearm and offers quick access. The wraparound design snugs the holster strap around the ankle, while the removable and adjustable hook-and-loop calf strap
secures heavy guns.
• Finish: Black
• Material: Cordura nylon
• Sizes: 0, 1, 10, 12, 16
• Soft, knit fabric lining
• Nylon web retention strap
MSRP: Starting at $24.97
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2017 print issue of American Survival Guide.