What is a Concealed Carry Shirt?

photo of a man wearing a concealed carry holster shirt.

A concealed carry shirt, or holster shirt, is a comfortable and low-profile shirt that provides quick access to a concealed carry weapon. 

One of the biggest issues facing those who opt to carry a concealed firearm is how to dress appropriately and maintain that concealment. Choosing a good, concealed carry shirt for the job can be an often-frustrating challenge for those not sure where to start and what to look for. 

Here we’ll take a look at what factors to consider when choosing a concealed carry shirt and how it differs from a regular, everyday tactical shirt. We’ll also explain what a holster shirt is and help you decide what the best option is for your circumstances. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Concealed Carry Shirt 

A few factors are important to think about when deciding what kind of shirt to wear while carrying. Our goals in selecting a holster shirt are threefold – comfort, style, and CCW access. 

A good, concealed carry shirt should be comfortable to wear, fit in with the rest of your wardrobe while discreetly hiding your firearm, and afford you a quick and effortless draw. 

You will want to consider your work and everyday environments, your body shape and style, and what manner you wish to carry your weapon – outside the waistband (OWB), inside the waistband (IWB), shoulder holster, etc. 

Your Environment 

Consider where you will be carrying your firearm. To work? To run errands? What kind of job do you have? Is it a formal business environment or do you spend most of your time outdoors on the job site? 

You’ll find that when looking for shirts, many designed with concealed carry in mind trend toward being tactical in nature. That is, they look like a tactical or military shirt, with extra pockets for storage and in camo patterns and colors. 

Your goal is to remain inconspicuous and fit in with whatever situation or environment you find yourself in. 

Body Shape and Style 

We are all built differently, coming in many shapes and sizes. You want a concealed carry shirt that allows some extra room to help conceal your firearm. In other words, try to avoid ultra-fitted shirts that will show you are carrying. 

Look for a shirt that is designed with a longer tail to help give more material to tuck into your waistband and hide your holster. 


How you plan on carrying your weapon will help determine the style of shirt best suited to concealing it. But it is imperative that you maximize your ability to draw your gun quickly and effectively. If you buy a shirt that makes accessing your weapon more difficult, then nothing else matters and you must find a different shirt. 

The most important attribute of a concealed carry shirt is that it gives you the ability to clear the cover garment so you can easily access your weapon. 

How Does a Concealed Carry Shirt Differ from a Regular Shirt 

The truth is many “regular” shirts work fine for carrying a concealed weapon. But when choosing the best option for concealed carry, you want a shirt that is low-vis (low visibility) and doesn’t draw attention to you so you can easily blend in with your environment. Additionally, you’ll want a shirt that gives you a faster draw. The 5.11 Holster Shirt features snap functionality instead of traditional buttons, meaning faster access to your method of self-defense. 

This is especially true if you’re aiming for a gray man look.  

Those with an eye toward fashion know that styles are ever changing, and today’s clothing tends toward more form-fitting or slim-fit styles. These are not ideal for concealed carry, so a regular shirt may not provide the extra material you need as cover. 

Holster Shirts 

Also known as concealed carry undershirts, holster shirts are designed with built-in pocket holsters under each arm where you can place your weapon. They offer unparalleled security and concealment. However, the downside is accessibility. Typically, you would wear another shirt over the form-fitting holster shirt, so the ability to quickly access your gun is hindered. 

These shirts do offer many great benefits and the downside can be remedied to a degree by taking the time to practice clearing any cover garments and drawing. 

Other Concealed Carry Shirt Options 

If you choose a regular shirt to wear while carrying your firearm, there are ways to optimize its performance for concealed carry. 

For example, you may want to go up a size from your usual fit to ensure there’s ample fabric to cover your waistband. You can also look for a shirt with an extra-long tail, like a button-down, flannel-style shirt that you can leave open. Some shirts come with hidden pockets and while these are not necessarily designed specifically for concealed carry, they can be utilized just as well. 

5.11’s own flexible button-up shirts provide just such an option. For example, our Freedom Flex Long Sleeve Shirt is constructed of lightweight, snag-resistant fabric and boasts our RAPIDraw™ front placket for ease of use. With a variety of colors available, it makes the ideal, discreet concealed carry shirt. 

5.11 Holster Shirt - The Best Concealed Carry Shirt 

Our Holster Shirt is designed to offer a quick and comfortable answer to your concealed carry needs. It can be worn under any shirt making it ideal for any environment, whether casual or off-duty. It features twin shoulder pockets for your firearm, as well as an outer mesh layer that enhances the concealment.  

This shirt is lightweight and moisture-wicking, yet durable, with strengthened seams and bartacking so that it can thrive under the extra weight of the gun. 

CAMS Short Sleeve Baselayer 

If you are looking for an alternative to carrying inside the waistband (IWB), our CAMS Short Sleeve Baselayer is a next-gen compression shirt that looks like your typical, everyday shirt, but boasts a body pocket on either side so you can safely and discreetly carry your gun. This low-vis option offers the requisite quick and easy access required of a good, concealed carry shirt. 

Concealed Carry Clothing and Gear from 5.11 Tactical 

Whatever your concealed carry clothing needs are, count on 5.11 Tactical to provide the very best options for any situation that may arise. Our goal is to ensure that you’ll Always Be Ready®.


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