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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.