7 Movements That Give Away Your Concealed Carry Advantage (And How To Fix Them)

If you carry a concealed gun, there was a “day one” when you went out into public carrying your handgun for the first time. Or, maybe that day is coming for you and you're here for tips.

To some degree, you probably were (or are) concerned with the general public finding out that you were carrying a concealed gun. This concern is natural and never completely goes away. But the reality is that the average person isn't paying close enough attention to identify you as a concealed carrier.

Who may be paying attention? Police, criminals, or other gun carriers. This may or may not create a problem for you if they do figure out you are carrying a handgun.

You may be in a location that you are not able to carry a firearm, or open carry may be illegal. Accidentally exposing the gun could cause legal issues in these cases. However, there is a common misunderstanding that someone will be arrested for “brandishing” or “inducing panic” because the wind blew their shirt up exposing a part of the firearm.

I am not aware of any criminal ‘brandishing' or ‘inducing panic' law that doesn't include some sort of purposeful brandishing in order to intimidate or challenge a specific person(s).

Some criminals who identify someone as carrying a firearm may look to target someone else. However, there are criminals who are not afraid of someone carrying a concealed handgun. These people are not afraid to commit extreme acts of violence in order to meet their goals.

In these cases, someone who is identified as carrying a gun, but not having situational awareness is the perfect target for someone who wants a firearm but doesn't want to go through the usual methods of getting one.

If another gun carrier identifies you as a concealed carrier, it's probably not an issue. In fact, as a carrier, it doesn't hurt to look for other gun carriers as this builds the habit of being observant of those around you.

Jacob and Riley spoke about this topic on Episode 411 of the Concealed Carry Podcast. If you want to listen, you can just hit the play button below:

If podcasts aren't your thing, no worries, I have you covered with the below text and GIFs.

Here are 7 movements that tell others you are carrying concealed

The Top Shelf Reach:

If you barely meet the height requirements for the adult rides like me, you likely find yourself reaching for things on top shelves at the supermarket. Reaching like this causes the shirt to lift in a way that can expose your concealed firearm.

This is especially true if you carry small of the back (SOB), inside the waistband (IWB), or outside the waistband (OWB) on the strong side hip. Even 12 o'clock, IWB Appendix (AIWB) carriers can expose their gun with a top-shelf reach.

The fix:

Some things you can do to reduce this is to wear shirts made specifically for concealed carry. These are typically a bit longer to address this very issue. As always, be aware of your surroundings, and if you must reach high, do it when no one is around or in a way that limits exposing your gun.

The Bend over:

Trying to pick up something you dropped, or just leaning over as you push a shopping cart is probably one of the most common ways concealed carry guns are inadvertently exposed.

Bending over can cause the shirt to get tighter around the torso. This may not only cause the gun's silhouette to be seen beneath the shirt (printing) but it can also cause the shirt to raise up and expose the gun or holster underneath.

This is especially true if you carry SOB or strong side hip. A major concern is that if you are carrying SOB you may not even realize your gun is partially or completely exposed. Carrying SOB provides almost no ability for retention against a gun takeaway. This, among other reasons, is why I highly discourage small of back carry (6 O'clock).

The fix:

To mitigate this you can carry in the appendix position (Big guys can appendix carry too). You can also try not to bend over directly at the hips but use a partial squat that allows you to reach what you need to reach. As we will cover next, an awkward squat can also be a sign you are carrying.

The Awkward Squat:

People can generally pick out someone who moves or squats down in an odd way even though there may be other reasons why you're moving this way.

For example, this could be caused by an injury or maybe a woman who is pregnant.

Then again, it could just be someone who is carrying a large, heavy object in their pants.

The unnatural squat is partially a squat and partially a bend over and looks like you want to squat, but something is keeping you from doing so. I have seen some people who carry AIWB with an improperly adjusted holster perform this uncomfortable squat.

The fix:

Adjusting your holster so that the gun/holster doesn't dig into your femoral nerve which runs down the inner part of your thigh makes all the difference. I have had several knee surgeries and my squat sometimes has to include me taking a knee.

This can alleviate some of the issues with an awkward squat.

Clothing Adjustment-Puling the Shirt Down:

Sometimes new concealed carriers are hyper concerned about people seeing their firearm because of it printing under their shirt. So purposefully or inadvertently, they repeatedly pull the bottom of their shirt down or smooth it out. To a trained eye, this preening is a dead giveaway that someone has a firearm concealed on them.

The fix:

Eliminating this habit comes with confidence over time. One way you can help eliminate this is to carry concealed at home early on before you go out into public. Getting used to having your firearm on your body helps put those fears to rest.

Another helpful tip is to purchase clothing that is a bit thicker, has patterns, or has layers built into it. All of these things help conceal your firearm and keeps it from printing.

Clothing Adjustment-Pants Pull-Up:

Concealed carry guns and Kydex holsters are smaller and lighter, but when filled with a full magazine, they can cause your pants to sag.

This creates an ugly habit of constantly yanking up your pants. Even if you're just checking pipes under the sink, you don't have to wage this battle all day long. There are lots of reasons someone may be fighting with their pants. One reason could be an indication that they are carrying some steel (or polymer) on their hip.

The fix:

This is actually a simple fix. Get a good quality gun belt (like this foundation belt) that is reinforced and made not to sag.

Your average belt will break down very quickly and offer no support to your firearm and holster. You are then stuck getting the support by cranking down on the belt to an uncomfortable tightness in order to keep your pants and gun from sagging.

Yes, you may have to wear your pants a bit tighter than you typically did before, but then again you weren't carrying a firearm before, were you?

The Touch:

Constantly touching the gun or adjusting the cant of the holster is another indicator that someone may be carrying a gun. Loaded guns are heavy so without a properly adjusted belt and a good holster, they will shift as you move about your day.

This creates a habit where you touch the gun to see if it shifted or readjust it as it moves.

The fix:

Again, the fix is simple. Get a quality gun belt and a holster with good clips or, even better, loop fasteners. Wear your holster inside the home under different conditions. Sit in the car, reach down, reach up, bend over squat, etc., and see if it moves out of place. If it does, adjust it so it doesn't shift during routine daily movements. Identify and fix this issue before you start wearing it outside the house.

The Side Hug:

The side hug is what you give when you want to hug your relative that loves Joe Biden's gun control plan. You don't want them to notice because trying to explain that guns cannot be purchased easier than a library book would waste too much of your limited time on Earth.

During the side-hug, one blades the gun side of their body away, creating the awkward twist mid hug. This actually can draw attention to the fact you are carrying a handgun.

Now I am going to assume you're not hugging someone you are worried may try to disarm you. So if the person momentarily feels your firearm, they may ask or they may not. I had this happen on one of the rare occasions I carried IWB strong side hip. I nonchalantly brushed it off as my cellphone and moved on.

The fix:

Hug people less. In the age of Coronavirus, this should be easier than ever.


So there you have it. A few things you may be unwittingly doing that can give away the fact that you are carrying. We would love to hear any of your stories of times when you caught yourself or someone else in one of these moves.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Joshua on May 22, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    I’ve seen a quite a few guys accidentally expose their firearms at Home Depot. I usually see it whenever they reach for something high as they load their trucks.

    Also at the Utah state fair. One guy had his shirt tail ride up over his gun.

    Is it polite to tell someone that I can see his gun?

    • big K on June 20, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      DO tried to tell someone e once that they were not doing a very good job of concealing. But wearing a thin button up shirt that was not a little bigger plus, as I later figured out, he must have been using duty style of LAB holster. Anyways, the guy was real jerk about it, I’m a Denver cop, Bomb Squad, I don’t really give a f&%$! I apologized and backed away slowly. I just wanted to finish my slice of pizza and get out of there. He gave me the stink eye the whole time, and I think he was about to get in my face and escalate things, so I hurried those last few bites.

  2. BillyBob Texas on May 26, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    I’d guess it depends on how you say it – and if you’re smiling or not. Going over and chewing the guy/gal out might not be a great idea.

    Something like “Glad to see ANOTHER guy packin’, too” might be a NICE way to tell him….and be smiling or give him/her a thumbs up!

    • Joshua on May 26, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      Good one, I’ll have to try that.

  3. Rick on May 26, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    While I don’t live in Florida, my understanding on the ban on open carry includes accidental exposure as well.

    Worth verifying.

    Good overall point about people not noticing, though.

    Oh, another hug workaround (if hugs return) is to reach for the waist, either with both hands or with your carry-side hand. It forces the other person’s hand away from your gun.

    • Matthew A Carberry on June 17, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      Yup, if you go low they have to go high.

  4. Jeff on May 29, 2020 at 9:42 am

    For the first problem, try reaching with the opposite hand only.

  5. Miguel on May 29, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    That holster is ridiculously huge….might want to reconsider even if you follow all the tips.

    • Matthew Maruster on May 29, 2020 at 7:09 pm

      Nah, it’s actually not big at all. It’s a Glock 19 holster that can be concealed just fine. I have holsters that are the same size and conceal a Glock 17 without a problem. The fact that it looks big and frumpy is the point of the article. I’m showing how loose belts and carrying in less than ideal positions creates all kinds of issues for concealment.

  6. LaVetta Brown on June 8, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    I can’t get used to carrying my gun concealed so I just open carry. Whats the best way for a female to conceal without it being in their purse

    • Clarence W Chapman on September 24, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Hi LaVetta

      Dont know you clothing style but I really love wearing a belly band holster when the waist is not an option. Say when you are wearing sweat pants or flimsy shorts or in your case maybe leggings.

      I have worn mine with T shifts, Hawaiian shirts. Even a dress shirt and sweat shirts.

      Not female but I would think that women would love them too due to being able to wear just about any shirt . They can even be worn at the waist and are comfortable. Only caviate to that is they are neoprene so in hot /humid conditions they can be uncomfortable if wearing against the skin. The solution to that is to wear a light tshirt or equivalant under the band.

      It also takes a while to find the best way for YOU to conceal. Dont rush it and stick with it and you will get more confident and comfortable Concealing.

      God Bless

  7. Austin Phillips on June 17, 2020 at 8:51 am

    As a retired LE officer when I meet a former partner we usually give each other a hug. We don’t care if we can feel each other’s weapons and it’s always a reassuring feeling that we still have each other’s back if the need arises.

  8. Matthew A Carberry on June 17, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    The “pants tug” is often a result of people wearing their trousers well below their actual waist, down on their hips. If you wear your pant’s waistline at or just below your belly button, your natural waist, your belt and gun will be at the naturally thinnest part of your body and your hips will keep the whole rig from sliding down without needing to reef on the belt.

    Also, since even men’s hips are naturally slightly wider than their waist (though the belly may change the math), with the belt above the hip closer to the waist the grip of the gun, especially in IWB Awesome and Less-Awesome* side will be forced into the body’s natural inward curve rather than sitting vertically away from it, perched perpendicular to the hip like a gunfighter rig.

    * I have no acknowledged “weak” side 😉

  9. L. BETHSCHEIDER on June 28, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    To eliminate pants sag or pants tug, I use a pair of suspenders I found at Wal-Mart. These suspenders use plastic clips that clip under my gun belt, thus helping to support my pants and all my edc items. Traditional suspenders either need buttons sewn onto the pants for attaching the suspenders, or they pinch-clamp onto the top edge of the pants.
    The plastic clamp suspenders can be used on any pants with any belt..Along with a good gun belt, my pants stay up where I want them.

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