If you’re just beginning the process of exercising your natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, the gun world can seem a strange and intimidating place. A world unto itself, with its own unique expressions. Maybe you’ve heard this one: “concealed means concealed.” If you haven’t, you should. It imparts an important lesson for anyone who carries a concealed firearm. Simply put, it means . . .
If someone doesn’t know you’re carrying a firearm, there’s no reason to tell them.
Once you tell someone you’re packing heat, you lose a major strategic advantage: the element of surprise. It’s better to maintain “operational security” (yeah, there’s lots of jargon). This is why some gun owners will never open carry a firearm — an entirely defensible position. So to speak.
The People of the Gun (that’s you!) also use the expression “concealed means concealed” as a nod and a wink to fellow gun owners. It’s code for “I wear a gun in places where I’m prohibited because I can do so without anyone knowing.”
Far be it for me to recommend violating a legal “gun free zone” (a.k.a., a target rich environment) by carrying a concealed weapon where it’s prohibited by law, or banned by a private property owner. But some concealed carriers do because they prioritize their self-defense, and so carry stealthily. Their choice.
At the risk of being labeled a hopeless pedant (nothing to do with kids), concealed does not always mean concealed.
“Outside of the obvious suspicious bulge, or an actual gun butt protruding from someone’s clothing,” policemag.com opines, “it is virtually impossible to know if an individual is carrying a concealed firearm.” Yes, about that bulge . . .
In the gun world, a bulge in your clothing does not always mean you’re happy to see someone. But it can mean they see you (happily or not). When a firearm protrudes from clothing, that’s called “printing.” Some people only carry in an inside-the-waistband holster to eliminate printing.
In the picture above, I’m carrying a GLOCK 19 in an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster — my preferred method for comfort and quick access — under a fairly tight polo shirt. Look closely and you can see the gun’s edge protruding. I’m printing. (When I want total concealment with my OWB holster I wear a bigger, looser-fitting shirt and/or carry my slim Commander-sized 1911.)
If you’re printing, concealed does not necessarily mean concealed. “Necessarily” because you probably don’t look like a potential perp and hang out where perps hang out. By the same token, most people aren’t cops and don’t notice anything. Also note: printing isn’t illegal. If you’re not looking for ultimate concealment, don’t sweat it.
So concealed means concealed — unless it doesn’t. Clear?