As most can attest, inside the waistband carry is better for concealment, but there are some folks who prefer outside the waistband concealed carry. It isn’t difficult to imagine why; it’s more comfortable to carry that way. You don’t need bigger pants and your pistol and holster poke you a little less while you walk around, sit, what have you.
The hitch, of course, is that concealment is more problematic. Concealing an OWB rig with a t-shirt can be difficult or impossible. This leads to wearing more layers than you might want during warmer parts of the year. Or even the dreaded cliche, dead-giveaway of the
shoot-me-first concealed carry vest. Even in summer.
Unless, of course, you wear a suit all the time anyway. In that case, don’t worry about any of this and just keep on keeping on.
What can a person do if they’re determined to carry OWB, but still want to stay on the down low?
The older salts among us are already aware of a lot of this, so this is really more for the newbies. There are a few tricks and that can help. Your mileage, of course, may vary, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you.
To start with, you need to pick the right gun and gear.
As for pistols, compacts and micro- and sub-compacts are the best starting point, with pistols of shorter lengths being better suited. The typical CCW gun these days is frequently something like a SIG P365, Springfield Hellcat, Kimber Mako or similar. They work well and allow you to carry plenty of ammo. But they’re not for everyone.
Those of us preferring a full-size gun for daily carry (and there are plenty of people who do) will find that the Beretta 92, GLOCK 17 or — better yet — a government frame 1911 will either barely skate by or you’ll probably have to resort to another concealment scheme. Full-frame guns are awfully difficult to conceal when carried outside the waistband.
Also, the thinner the pistol the better. Part of concealment is being able to keep that bump from being noticeable and that’s harder to do outside the waistband.
If you like to pack a wheel gun, you might be able to get away with a K-frame revolver, but an N-frame just won’t cut it in all likelihood. Not to mention that you’re liable to give yourself back problems toting one of those every day.
Next is your carry gear, specifically a holster. You’ll do well to choose an OWB holster that rides high and tight. The closer the muzzle is the bottom edge of your belt, the better. Too far down and an untucked shirt won’t cover it. If it sticks too far out away from your body, it prints.
There are plenty of examples of such holsters out there. The old timers carried with leather pancake or Askins holsters, which work well for this purpose with a compact gun. Modern takes on the high-ride OWB are available from some pretty good gear makers as well.
Next is clothing. You can stick with the CCW vest with the sash and CCW badge if you really want. However, if you’d like to avoid those conspicuous cliches, here are a few fashion tips.
Try shirts in tall sizes, if they don’t look too ridiculous on you. Another inch or two of hem length can make a big difference.
Short-sleeve button-up shirts are a great option as they satisfy most dress codes and can conceal a pistol fairly well. You can wear them untucked and still look presentable enough for the office. A nice roomy polo also works well.
That said, placement matters a great deal. If you pick a good gun and holster, you’ll find it virtually disappears when carried in the right spot but sticks out — “prints” prominently in others. You’ll have to find the best place for it to ride on your belt.
Will what you end up with necessarily work for everyone? No, but if you’re determined not to carry inside the waistband, you still have some very good options if you’re willing to do the work and experiment a little.
Be careful out there.