Carrying Discretely: How to Keep Your CCW Gun from Printing
Carrying concealed means tucking away your firearm so nobody knows it’s there – but if it’s printing or showing through your clothing, you may as well open carry. This guide covers the best concealed carry holsters and the best shirts for concealed carry so you don’t have to worry about your CCW gun printing while you’re on the job or going about your daily life.
CCW Gun Placement: Almost as Important as What You Wear
The way you carry your firearm has a lot to do with whether it prints through your clothing, so a lot of CCW experts suggest the "FBI cant." FBI agents tilt their firearms between 18 and 25 degrees forward to help conceal them – and when you carry between those two angles, it’s easier to draw from a sitting position than a straight drop is. Getting the FBI cant down is easy with a good adjustable concealed carry holster.
The hip might be your most comfortable carrying spot, but your firearm is almost always going to print when you carry there. Try moving it behind or in front of your hip by a few inches, which can minimize how much it shows through your clothes.
Winter guns – those that aren’t easy to conceal except under concealed carry jackets or heavy-duty clothing – are more likely to imprint than their lighter, more compact counterparts. When you plan to carry concealed, you might have to leave your bigger model at home and opt for a slimmer, sleeker gun. In that case, you can switch to an LBE Compact Holster because it’s thin and less likely to show up under your clothes. If you wear a narrow belt rather than a 1.5-inch belt, which is a common requirement for most holsters, you’ll also want a holster belt adapter that lets you keep your firearm under wraps without dragging your pants down.
Dressing for Concealed Carry: The Basics
A regular T-shirt is going to cling to the butt of your gun, so that’s out the window when it comes to CCW shirts. To properly conceal your firearm while you’re carrying, opt instead for a holster shirt, a polo or a button-up.
Here’s a list of features to look for in holster-friendly tops:
- Twin shoulder pockets for your firearm and accessories
- Built-in hook and loop fasteners that keep your items secure
- Strong, reinforced seams
- Bartacking at key stress points
- An integrated shoulder yoke (holster shirts only)
- Moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you comfortable
- Generous length to conceal your waistband holster
The pants you wear matter, too. You can choose relaxed-fit jeans or trousers that are about one waist size higher than you typically wear, or you can get specific about sizing pants to fit your IWB holster. Narrow-leg pants, like skinny jeans, literally aren’t cut out for concealed carry.
You can completely avoid printing if you choose the right firearm, cant and clothing. Nobody but you needs to know you’re carrying – and that’s exactly how it should be.