Hey all you cool cats and kittens! Recently I was asked to do a guest article for LOX... I started writing it and finally asked, "Hey, this is going to be long. Want to turn it into a mini series?" And I got the green light! So, to get started, let me introduce myself.
My names Michael and I'm a hobbyist when it comes to firearms. I got into them around the end of 2015 and bought my very first handgun, a CZ 75B, in 2016. After that purchase I realized how much more there was to know about defensive firearms, carrying a firearm for defensive purposes, and more. That's when I decided to start TacCat; a personal blog where I logged my own experiences with firearms as a novice, and worked my way up.
Basically, a way for me, and in turn you, to learn from my own embarrassment. So far though I've only taken a couple of impromptu courses, but now that I've settled on the platform that will be changing once I get all of the modifications I've deemed necessary done.
"Concealed Carry Is A Way Of Life"
A phrase I saw when I entered the first firearm related group on Facebook, a phrase I thought was a joke, but it turns out... it really isn't. So, what's it mean? In short, it means you're either going to be dedicated to having a defensive handgun on you whenever and wherever you're able to, or you're not. And this is where you will make your first decision as a first time, or soon to be concealed carrier.
Will you dress for the gun?
Or will you pick the gun for how you dress?
Believe it or not, there's a gigantic difference between the two starting out, and whether or not you decide to switch things up later on.
If you're picking the gun for the way you currently dress, you're going to be limited. What type of belt do you traditionally wear? What's the typical fitment of your shirt and pants? What position will you carry the gun at? Each answer can/will play a part in which kind of gun you're able to carry without major printing.
If you're wearing skinny jeans constantly, you might not be able to pull off a Glock 19 due to it's thickness.
If you don't wear belts, you may be restricted to an "Airweight" revolver by Smith & Wesson so it doesn't sag your waistline outwards.
If your shirts are on the tighter side, you might not be able to carry at 6 o'clock without severe printing; which is arguably a good thing since 6 o'clock isn't necessarily a good carry position (more on that in a later part of this series).
Each thing can affect how well, or what you can carry concealed. Regardless, if you're going to carry IWB (inside the waistband) it would be a good idea to buy pants that are 1-2 sizes larger in the waist. This will allow ample room for your chosen holster as well as the gun... and speaking from experience it'll be a lot more comfortable.
If you're going to dress around the gun, it's important to not drastically change your style. If you're the person always wearing short shorts, don't randomly start wearing cargo shorts. If you normally wear a tucked in button-up, consider picking up some Discreet Carry Concept Clips that allow you to tuck with ease.
There's little work arounds for every style out there and it's just a matter of finessing those work arounds to work out for you. For instance, if you usually wear a tighter fitting graphic tee, consider throwing on an unbuttoned short sleeve shirt as a cover garment.
Pro Tip: Sew some fishing weights into your unbuttoned button-up, it speeds up how fast your shirt flies to the side when you're going for the draw. Weight and size will be dependent on the shirt (The one time I did this, I used 2-1 ounce weights)
Starting off, I would recommend picking a gun that suits how you currently dress as it will take less work, which will result in you carrying it more frequently. Remember, the name of the game is to carry whenever, and wherever possible. It will also require less set-up costs as compared to dressing around the gun. Your current clothes will more than likely function fine with it which means you won't drop a bunch of money on new clothes and there's no need to go extravagant on the holster.
If you're wondering what will work with your current dress style, here's a little guide:
If your clothes are already a little baggy, you can probably pull off a subcompact double stacked handgun (like a Glock 26), or a compact double stacked handgun (like a Glock 19) without issue.
If you're wearing tighter fitting clothes, you might need to start off with a single stack subcompact (like the Walther PPS), or a Smith & Wesson Airweight Revolver.
In general, the tighter your clothes, the smaller the gun. The baggier your clothes are, the larger the gun. Of course, this is dependent on if you're wearing a belt; if you don't you'll want something lighter as I previously mentioned.
Beyond picking what you're going to do, be it dressing for the gun, or picking the gun for how you dress, there's a lot of other things that go into being a responsible concealed carry; including being able to discern bad habits from good habits. So, be sure to look out for the next segment of this series! Also, make sure to treat yourself to some Black Diamond Salve after you've made a decision on what you're going to do (Psst, Cat10 gets you 10% off!)
Here's how you can get around not wearing a belt visibly if that clashes with your typical style:
Huge thanks to TacCat for writing this article and the rest of the forthcoming Concealed Carry Articles!
Stay Sharp. Stay Savage.®