Effective concealed carry is not just about having a permit and a firearm; it’s also about how you dress. Your clothing plays a pivotal role in maintaining the “concealed” aspect of concealed carry. Striking a balance between comfort, style and functionality of your concealed carry clothing is crucial to ensure your firearm remains hidden from public view while still being easily accessible in case of an emergency. The goal is to seamlessly integrate your firearm into your daily life, ensuring you can confidently and discreetly carry a firearm without compromising your style or comfort. 

Basics of Concealed Carry Clothing

Functionality should be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing your wardrobe. Whether winter or summer, your typical “carry outfit” should allow for smooth and immediate access to your firearm. If you can’t get to your gun quickly and easily, you may as well be unarmed. It is imperative that you practice drawing your gun, dressed exactly as you will be when you go out into public.

At the same time, your holster and concealed carry clothing choices should enable easy retention. To ensure nothing will move around while you’re carrying your firearm in day-to-day activities, practice your typical movements at home with your unloaded carry gun in your usual concealed carry position.

It’s also important to keep visibility in mind. Concealed means “to hide or keep secret.” If your concealed carry gun is printing — a visible outline or impression through your clothing — or if your actions — such as touching or adjusting your everyday carry tools — draw the attention of an observer, you have failed in your endeavor. Your goal is to carry on in your everyday life just as you did before carrying concealed. The convenience of carrying concealed has to be given strong consideration as well. Your concealed carry tools have to be as convenient as putting your wallet or phone in your pocket.

How to Choose Your Everyday Carry Wardrobe

Unless your everyday dress is tactical boots, trousers with side pockets and a tactical flare topped off by a photographer’s vest, don’t wear this attire. It advertises what you don’t want to advertise — that you probably have a gun on you.

The CCW Breakaways Work & Casual concealed carry pants in honey gold.Now, before you spend a lot of money on a new wardrobe, there are a few more things to consider. Your hand size is a good place to start. If the gun’s size precludes handling, drawing, firing accurately and re-holstering with one hand, you need to find one that fits that bill. Carrying a gun that you can’t employ with one hand is a trap that many fall into. Keep in mind that you are not on the range shooting static targets when it matters the most.

Concealed Carry Pants

After you find a gun that fits the hand and enables one-hand operation — as well as pointing naturally, you can continue to your physical size and shape as well as ranges of motion and capabilities of movement.

For example, if you can’t reach an ankle holster without having a chair available, consider either inside-the waistband (IWB) or outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters instead. Some changes in attire will be necessary as you live the concealed carry lifestyle, however.

If you wear jeans most of the time and have decided on IWB carry, buy the same jeans with an extra size or two in the waist. For ankle carry, make sure to purchase the fuller leg cut for your trousers. There are also companies out there offering options, such as concealed carry pants or jeans, specifically for the everyday carrier.

Concealed Carry Shirts

A concealed carry shirt may be referred to as a cover garment, but this term can also apply to jackets or vests. A loose-fitting shirt with plenty of room to breathe can really help you conceal a firearm carried at your waist. Such shirts reduce printing and provide for rapid access to the firearm. Thicker fabrics or shirts with patterns can distract the eye and obscure the shape of a concealed gun.

Like pants, there are businesses that provide shirts specifically for the concealed carry lifestyle. Some of these are T-shirts with built-in holsters or concealed carry button-ups with discreet access.

Dressing for the Weather

A woman in a puffy winter jacket draws a black Glock pistol out of an olive drab OWB holster attached to her belt.However, when it comes to dressing for weather conditions, the game changes a bit. The key here is balance. You need to ensure that your clothing allows for effective concealment without compromising your comfort or safety in any given weather condition.

In warmer weather, lighter, breathable fabrics are crucial while still considering clothing styles that allow for easy access to your firearm while still offering optimal concealment. Untucked shirts or lightweight jackets can be ideal for warm-weather carry

On the other hand, dressing for colder weather provides more flexibility in terms of layering and garment selection, but it also presents its own set of challenges. Bulky clothing can make accessing your firearm difficult, so strategic layering is key. 

Everyday Carry Wardrobe for Women

Women face unique challenges when it comes to choosing concealed carry clothing. The differences in body shape, clothing styles and societal expectations can make effectively and discreetly carrying a firearm more complex.

The fashion industry has come a long way in recognizing the need for women’s concealed carry clothing, allowing women to carry their firearms securely without sacrificing their personal style or comfort. Today, there are numerous brands that offer a wide range of options, from concealed carry leggings and shorts to specially designed tops and jackets. These garments are crafted with hidden pockets and compartments that allow for effective concealment and easy access to a firearm.

Tactical Footwear

Just like your choice of firearm or clothing, your shoes play a crucial role in the overall concealed carry experience. The right footwear can significantly impact your ability to effectively carry and use a concealed firearm. Good tactical footwear provides the necessary stability and balance, which are integral when aiming or moving quickly.

Moreover, comfort is key. Uncomfortable shoes can distract you or even hinder your movement at crucial moments. And, just like your clothing, your shoes need to maintain a low profile. After all, the essence of concealed carry lies in its discretion.

Dressing for Concealed Carry Every Day

Choosing the right concealed carry clothing is just the beginning. There are various factors to consider, such as the type of firearm you’re carrying, your body shape, your lifestyle and your comfort level with different carry positions. 

Dressing for concealed carry is about much more than just concealing a firearm. It’s about blending functionality with personal style and comfort. From choosing the right clothing for different weather conditions to selecting suitable footwear, each element plays a crucial role in creating an effective concealed carry system.

This article is a compilation of previous blog posts authored by George Harris, John Caile, Scott W. Wagner, Beth Alcazar and Eugene Nielsen.