DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Got Kydex?">Previous Post
Next Post


Congratulations. You’ve decided to take proactive action to keep your family safer in getting a carry license. At the same time you’re a little uncomfortable about carrying a gun. It’s okay. You’re not the Lone Ranger.

According to John Lott’s research, just like you, about 1.73 million other Americans decided to get their carry license in 2015. If you’re like many, you’ve been mentally conditioned for decades that carrying a gun is unlawful. You may well think everyone will spot that subtle lump under your clothes and instantly know you’re packing heat and it’s going to be a big headache.

Fanny pack
Not the author, but close.

You’re not alone. I carried a gun lawfully in Illinois, via fanny pack, for fifteen years before I got my Illinois license. Lord, what a fashion faux pax that was. Yet even with all those years of carrying in that fanny pack – and risking arrest by cops at the behest of prosecutors who said they would prosecute me for following Illinois’ law to the letter on transporting firearms – I still wasn’t completely at ease carrying a loaded gun in my home state.

The first time a Bloomington, Illinois city cop stood not an arm’s length behind me in line at a fast food joint – well it just felt a tad uncomfortable.  I figured the cop would see my gat marginally concealed under my white polo and I’d have some splainin’ to do. He never noticed.

You’ll discover people – or “sheeple” – are terribly oblivious to the clues that people are carrying guns. “Example?” you ask. I saw a guy walking through a restaurant with his shirt tail hung up over his gun and nobody noticed. Another time it was someone I saw shopping at a Wal-mart.

“Psst. Your XD is showing,” I said softly.

He quickly covered it up and chuckled nervously. “Thanks man.”

There’s no need to be nervous that someone’s going to pay attention to a slight bulge under your shirt or in your pocket, much less know what it is – unless, of course, you’re a fetching female wearing skin-tight jeans or yoga pants.  In that instance, some might notice a strange bulge under your pants and recognize it as a gun.

Having said that, if you find yourself in a location where concealed carry isn’t allowed by an honest mistake, you’ll want to be extra diligent about making sure you are well concealed — as you’re heading back out to put it in your car, of course.

Other than that, concealment need not be perfect, either here in Illinois or many other states. Visit for more information on your state’s rules if you’re not familiar with just how concealed (or not) you need to be in your state. In short, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.

Other tips:  wear quality gear on a quality belt.  You’re going to spend a $50 bill on a high-quality leather or nylon belt with stiffeners built in.  If it’s made in America it might be twice that.  The good news is that it is a buy once, cry once affair.  It’ll keep all your gear discretely  against your body while you go about your business and it’ll last for years unless it shrinks – if you know what I mean.


Make sure your gun will stay in your holster and your holster will stay on your belt. Why? Because you don’t want to have your heater come out of your holster while you’re running into a store in the rain, or rolling around on the floor playing with your kid or grandkid. Or, heaven forbid, have to fish it (gun, holster, magazine, or all of the above) out of a toilet.

If stuff is prone to falling off your belt, Mr. Murphy will show up when you’re trying to pull up (or take down) your pants in the cramped 120 degree cramped port-john at the range. Your piece will go ker-plunk and you’ll have a very sinking feeling. Trust me, there won’t ever be enough toilet paper to keep it from sinking to the bottom.

Even if your mag pouch falls off your belt at a relatively innocuous place such as the fitness center locker room, it will invariably skitter under the 75-year-old man standing there naked, dripping with sweat. Don’t ask me how I know. It’s terribly embarrassing on several levels. “It sure is cold in here, isn’t it? Could you pass that back over to me, pretty please?”

“What’s that sonny? I can’t hear you!”

Speaking of potty techniques….

If you’re in a public restroom, you may find it necessary to unholster your firearm. Why? A host of reasons, including the dividers being high enough that your neighbor can see more than your shoe as you’re doing your business.

If you have do this, it goes in your underwear after you’ve dropped your drawers, not on the back of the toilet or on the hook on the backside of the door. Your hands are an equally prohibited location. This isn’t the time or place to fondle your (loaded) gun or look for dust bunnies. When you’re done with your business, put your gun in your holster and carefully pull up your pants.

Keep your gear maintained. It’s not something you need to do on a daily basis, but it’s something you should do monthly. Your holster is probably going to have screws in it for tension adjustments or attaching belt clips or loops. If you’re pro-active, you’ll Lock-tite those suckers (thank you, Tim Giblin).

If you’re more reactive (like me), you’ll need to check to make sure the screws aren’t backing out/working loose from time to time. No big deal, so long as you check and tighten as necessary. Ditto for your everyday carry blade.

Clean your gun now and then as well, slaying those aforementioned dust bunnies and ensuring you have fresh ammo at least once each year. I carry two spare magazines and I rotate the ammunition in those once a year – as well as what’s in the gun, just to be on the safe side.

After jiggling around for 16+ hours of daily life for 365 days, I don’t want to risk the powder breaking down into smaller pieces and increasing chamber pressures when firing.

Remember, ammo is cheap. Life is precious.

If you’re one of those people who think it’s safer to carry with an empty chamber and train yourself to rack the slide upon drawing, I’m telling you to STOP. You’re training to fail. The average deadly force encounter takes place at about six feet or less — patty-cake distance (and often in low light).

How long does it take a bad guy to close from six feet? The technical answer is not very frickin’ long.

How long will it take you to run the action on your pistol – assuming you’ve got both hands available to do so and you aren’t guiding a loved one away, or fighting off an attacker with your support hand?

Watch some surveillance, dashcam and bodycam gun battle videos on YouTube and see just how fast gunfights unfold.

Don’t train to fail and die. Train to survive and win. Carry your gun with a round in the chamber.

CCW Badge

Concealed carry badges? Save your money and aggravation: don’t do it.

Yes, your CCW badge might cause a cop to hesitate before shooting you. Here’s a better idea: drop your gun and put your hands up if challenged by a cop. If you reach for your belt to show him your piece of tin, or turn suddenly to face that voice issuing commands with your hands anywhere but up and open, your body may become rich in lead supplements.

Even worse, every day you carry a CCW badge, you risk catching an “impersonating an officer” charge – a felony here in Illinois and many other states. Don’t set yourself up for trouble. You don’t need no stinkin’ badge!

Practicing off-body carry, such as in a jacket? Don’t forget and leave it behind somewhere. Doing so may cost you your license…if you’re lucky. If some kid or a criminal finds it, you may lose more than that.

For the ladies, purses are popular over more traditional carry methods favored by guys. Clothing styles for women, especially “cute” clothes, often provide fewer locations to secret a sidearm.

Nickel and Lace’s “Spanx with holsters”.

There are options, though, such as the Nickel and Lace “Spanx with holsters” undergarment or the “Can Can Concealment” rigs which are basically belly-band holsters made for ladies.

As women are pretty much inseparable from their purses, the risk for “forgetting” a packing purse somewhere is almost non-existent, but at the same time ladies must be sure unauthorized people – such as kids or grandchildren – don’t have access to the purse at home or at relatives’ homes.  Ditto for kiddos riding in a shopping cart.

Concealed Carry Purses

Don’t just toss your heater in your shoulder-bag to roll around among your lip gloss and keys. If you’re going to carry that way, get a purse built for concealed carry with a dedicated compartment for the gun. And ladies, revolvers can be fired from inside a purse pretty reliably.

Semi-autos? You get one shot from inside the purse, then you’ll be feeling the burn (not the Bern) of a hot, spent shell on the web of your hand and have to clear a malfunction before you shoot again. Practice it sometime with a $5 purse from the local Goodwill store.

Your author practicing his purse shooting.  Practice with a Goodwill purse, not your Coach.

Hitting your target when firing from a purse isn’t at all difficult out to six-plus feet with a little practice. The great thing about not pulling the gun out of the purse (or pocket of a jacket) is that nobody knows you’ve got a gun in your hand until it goes bang. If it’s a false alarm, you can withdraw your hand and go about your business and nobody is the wiser.

We all know that carrying a gun can protect us from violent attack and potentially even save our lives and those of our family members. With some thought and practice, carrying your safety rescue tool will become an everyday, routine, non-event for you as it is for the other roughly 15 million People of the Gun with carry licenses. And unless you tell someone that you’re carrying, odds are 99.44% of the time they’ll never know.

DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Got Kydex?">Previous Post
Next Post


    • Life is precious. That is the reason the Lone Ranger cast his bullets from solid silver – to remind him of the value of a life.

      In my opinion, if someone has put me in the position where I have to shoot at him his life ain’t precious at all. It’s MY LIFE that’s precious and I would carry and fire solid gold bullets (Jacketed hollow points?) if that were the best way to put him down.

  1. “You’re not alone. I carried a gun lawfully in Illinois, via fanny pack, for fifteen years before I got my Illinois license.”

    • I’m from Illinois. “Fanny pack carry” was an ATTEMPT to circumvent the law. By having gun and ammo “separate”. EZ way to lose your rights too. Boch should know better…

        • I know ALL THAT. I had the same thing in my car-a gat and a separated mag. Never insane enough to fanny carry. A good way to get BUSTED. Terrible horrible advise then. Plenty of cops would bust you-especially outside of podunk Champaign /Peoria or Bloomington-like Cook co. where I live. And I’m from podunk Kankakee.

        • So because some politician makes an empty threat, you cede your rights?

          That’s not how I roll. I practice what I preach, and I don’t cower at bloviating politicians. Not only that, but I was high profile in my fanny pack carrying… and did it everywhere, including Cook County.

          Guess what? Nobody gave me a second look, much less arrested me. Probably because they didn’t want a 1983 lawsuit.

        • Here’s how I ROLL- I’m not having anything to do with Guns save life now tough guy.I WAS until today. Like I need to be arrested and file a lawsuit. Illegal carry is horrible advise.

        • John Boch does more for gun rights before lunch than you have done your whole life, Mr. Former Walker. He don’t mind “the ride”. All we get to hear about you is your friggin Queens, Illinois, California and antiques. Whatever.

        • Hey boys-I stated on TTAG GSL did good YESTERDAY. I’m not the one advocating illegal carry. And you goofballs have no idea what I’ve done(very few ever use a real name that you weirdo troll? Nothing to do with California or jwm…duh.

      • I’m not going to try to attack or defend it, I don’t have a dog in the fight. You may beat the rap, but you might not beat the ride, comes to mind. I applaud that people are finding, arguably, legal ways to skirt stupid laws (or at least the fine interpretation of); but it is/was definitely a risk in Illinois. Hypothetically in that situation, a cop would probably arrest the carrier and let the courts “sort it out”.

    • Prior to enacting their concealed carry law, Illinois law provided that you could transport (whether on foot or in a vehicle) a handgun in a container as long as it was not loaded. A simple, straight-forward interpretation of that law included a fanny pack as a container since the law did not define a “container” (or whatever specific word they used that is a synonym for a container). Furthermore, nothing in the law prohibited carrying a full magazine in that same container as long as it was not in the pistol.

      Combining those two simple ideas translated to carrying a semi-auto pistol in a fanny pack with a full magazine next to it … without running afoul of the law. If an attacker engaged you, your response time was opening the fanny pack, pulling out the pistol and magazine, inserting the magazine, and racking the slide. In the real world, that would probably take at least 5 seconds with practice at that. Nevertheless, having a handgun available for self-defense within 5 seconds of an attack is much better than waiting 10+ minutes for police to show up.

  2. Safariland L830, under $30. Looks like a normal belt, Even used it in a pinch will with a CZ75 or N frame Smith for IDPA.

  3. “New to concealed carry” with a pic of appendix carry of a *tiny* semiauto and advising ” Carry your gun with a round in the chamber.” is a potential lethal combination… to the new concealed carrier.

    A gun like a revolver with a long, stout trigger pull in my opinion is better for appendix concealed carry, *especially* if one is new to that type of carry

    Just my .02 and worth less than half that amount…

    • Get a double action or hammer fired gun and it’s not lethal at all. And a holster designed for it.

    • I concur and your .02 is priceless.

      I’m no fan of appendix carry, but I’ll cover that in a future piece.

      I do like Oleg Volk’s work and he’s given me blanket permission to use his stuff.

      As for carry in IL: Fanny pack carry is still the law of the land for those without carry licenses. It’s got to be unloaded, encased in a container (fanny pack) and the carrier has to have a FOID card or equivalent (out of state CCW). I used to say it’s sort of like Barney Fife minus the bullet. We at GSL called it “Six Seconds to Safety” because that’s about how long the average person would take to deploy, load and fire from a fanny pack.

    • I agree, TTAG shouldn’t run photos like that.
      There are plenty of images available to show how to do it the right way.

        • The photo I referred to (since removed) showed appendix carry sans holster. It was the lack of a holster I was objecting to.

  4. I believe folks put too much stock in shooting through a purse for females…

    Do it if you must, but most people base everything around it.

    My wife’s purse has a holster for her G26, so shooting through the purse is not an option. She’s going to have to pull it out and go to work, like everyone else.

    • That might depend on the lady’s lifestyle and daily routine.

      Thousands of women have no choice but to walk through dark parking garages and other places where nefarious characters like to stalk, on a daily basis. If my wife is in that situation, I want her hand in her purse, finger on the trigger of her Ruger LCR, before trouble starts.

      Purse carry has some clear disadvantages but there have been times when I wish I had one.

      • Flashlights are a must, helps you see bad guys and they can be good for striking.

  5. The first few years I carried, I used a Galco Stow-N-Go because it was more convenient. The single clip was faster and easier to take on and off. Until one day I slid out of my car and the butt of my gun must’ve caught the door frame, and the holster and pistol went clanging to the ground. Luckily I was not in a crowded area. I assume the underhook on the clip did not get seated under my belt, which allowed it to come loose.

    That made me reevaluate my holster decision. I went with an Aliengear Cloaktuck 2.0 with the 2 clips. It’s not as convenient or comfortable to me, but it’s more secure. Now, I just wear it all day instead of taking it off.

  6. Now I know what “semi-legally” in Illinois means. Which is the wrong term. One is either legal or not-legal. One would hope all eyes are on thy Queen rather than the gun bulge. Just don’t conceal carry illegally in California. Just don’t. You can’t count on a good-natured LEO letting you off. Way too much monomania out there.

    • People get run in for “legal” stuff all the time. Most cops don’t know what the law is, they only read the guidelines issues by the department. Also want is “legal” is never relay established until there is a court case. Case in point, In Illinois a center console in a car that is closed in now a “case” due to a court case (love the puns)

  7. People in public really are oblivious to someone who is carrying a handgun. I recently decided to go with “open carry” at a specialty food market with unusual, exotic, and “organic” food choices (both raw and prepared food items). The area where I did this is fairly averse to firearms: concealed carry is virtually non-existent and open carry is as rare has Haley’s comet. To compound matters, the sort of people attracted to this venue are even more averse to firearms. I walked around in that market among 100+ people for over an hour and not a single person noticed that I had a handgun strapped to my hip. Mind you that it was Summer and I was wearing nothing more than a tucked-in short-sleeve shirt and shorts which made it very easy to see my full-size handgun.

    Aside from that event, I have only had two people see my handgun printing through my shirt and know what it was. Both are neighbors. One is a law enforcement officer who didn’t seem to really care. The other is a real-estate agent who did not care either.

    These experiences confirmed to me that virtually no one ever notices that you are carrying a concealed handgun, no matter how much your handgun bulges out from under a shirt. And the two people who will notice will not care.

    • “Never even noticed!”

      Well maybe, maybe not.
      Think about it. If you spot someone carrying, are you going to react in a visible way? Even anti-gun types usually have sense enough not to confront someone with a gun. And if they know it’s legal, they aren’t likely to run away screaming, either.

      I agree that most people are oblivious to their surroundings, but if someone does notice the bulge on your waistline, holster clips or whatever, you aren’t going to know about it.

      • Curtis,

        In that particular environment where I was openly carrying my pistol strapped to my belt, anyone who would have noticed it would have had an obvious change in facial expression or even moved away. Neither happened. And a couple family members who were near me were watching and did not observe any reaction.

        I have carried openly in several venues and the handful of people who finally noticed and are averse to firearms reacted in an obvious manner.

        Imagine a man walking around wearing pants that are totally normal except for a giant hole in front that totally exposes his male parts. You would have no trouble figuring out who actually noticed that situation: their eyes would look down initially as a glance and then, as the situation registered in their brain, their eyes would lock in and open fully as their facial expression changed. It is quite unmistakable. Even the people who “don’t care” would tend to lock their eyes on the item/area of interest and some might even grin. People who don’t approve would lock their eyes and they would scowl, grimace, or exhibit some other expression of dissatisfaction. I would go so far as to say that the facial expression is involuntary.

    • Chances are they though you were a cop. Most people who someone open carrying who doesn’t look like a thug will assume that you are a LEO because who else would be open carrying in a high end organic grocery store? It is not usual gangbanger hangout.

    • In my experience 75-80% of people don’t notice OC. The rest do and fall into three categories. They don’t care, they figure you’re a cop or they call the fuzz. The last group is far and away the smallest.

      I agree with the OP. The majority of people don’t pay enough attention to notice. They’re too busy playing with their phone or their children or thinking about what to make for dinner or checking out the fit girl in yoga pants to notice your pistol.

  8. Great article. Funny and insightful. I remember the first time I carried concealed and thought everyone could see my piece. Nobody did (or at least nobody said anything).

    GSL fights the good fight. If you drive I-55 between Chicago and St Louis you will always see their signs.

    • I have to say I love GSL’s attitude; during the runup to Ferguson, when they reported a three fold increase in gun sales, their headline read, “More, Please!”

  9. New carriers will get over their paranoia about being “made” by performing a right of passage known as “The Wally Walk.”

    Strap up, go to your local Walmart (they are not usually posted, since Walmart is the biggest gun retailer in the US) and walk around. Bend down to the lower shelves, stretch up to the higher shelves, and just shop as you normally would. Buy some ammo or targets while you’re at it.

    You’ll be relieved to see that nobody will know, nobody will see and nobody will care.

  10. How long does it take a bad guy to close from six feet? The technical answer is not very frickin’ long.

    here’s some food for thought….don’t forget the 21 foot rule…

    • The point John alluded to, but needs to be repeated, is that a thug will close from six feet before you can even get your hand on your gun. You’ll need one hand to push him back while you draw with the other. Racking the slide will not be an option.

      A gun with an empty chamber is as useful as a brick.

  11. I’ve carried in CA for a couple years now, mostly in the unfriendly Bay Area, I still get freaked out I think everyone can spot me every now and then. I actually hurried to the bathroom in Costco recently to adjust my gear, I’m sure nobody actually noticed anything, but I was way to up in my head about it.

  12. I highly recommend a Vanquest “VPacker” ambidextrous hip bag with shoulder strap featuring a hidden EDC compartment. They are small-ish day packs with plenty of room for water bottles, flashlights, compact tools, sunglasses, cellphones, first-aid packs, cameras, maps and anything else you might want to carry on an all-day excursion without weighing you down or being too burdened to defend yourself instantly. I have both the Mobius 2.0 for larger-frame carry and the Tolcat 2.0 for compact carry. I Exhaustively researched all of the available brands of these kinds of bags and concluded correctly that these offered the most reliable features to equip me for light or medium carry capabilities, and using the stiff 1000-Denier compact holster and dual magazine holders attached with velcro to the EDC compartment, can hip-carry without making it obvious. These things rock! I carry my HK USP Expert in the Mobius and Glock 22 in the Tolcat and transfer the velcro holster & mag holder between them. In addition to the locking shoulder strap, they both have an additional waist retention strap, and the shoulder strap may be removed and the the bags attached to your belt. Attention to small details and highest quality construction adds real value.

    I am not an employee of Vanquest and did not receive compensation for this recommendation.

    Mobius 2.0:
    Tolcat 2.0:
    Adjustable CCW Holster:
    Dual Mag Holder:

  13. I use a leather fanny pack but only because I hate carrying a purse, has all things women need on daily basis: car keys, lipstick, wallet, cash, a fold up brush, etc. Holstered small LCR goes in right side pant pocket, grip sticks up slightly but properly positioned fanny pack strap covers it. In summer it’s T-shirts In winter, have a number of jackets, coats with built in CC holster.. Used to buy cargo pants for concealed carry but now wear skinny jeans, works even better. When first started CC, was very self conscience.
    Then you realize most people are obvious!

  14. I’ll add just for the noobs since I was one a mere 3 years ago. I bought a “pocket 9” (Kahr pm9) and 2 holsters. One pocket holster and one IWB. I am able to wear cargo shorts to work and I’ve found that the pm9 fits perfectly into a cargo pocket. If you can do that it’s a VERY easy way to ease into concealed carry.

    I’ve never had anyone confront me about carrying with either method so I must be doing something right…

  15. You are wrong about empty chamber carry
    I carry my gun every day
    I handle it administratively every day as I go in and out of gun free zones
    The risk of a negligent discharge is real
    You can talk all you want about ” my brain is the safety “, follow the rules of gun safety etc.
    Rules will be violated due to fatigue, unfamiliar holsters etc
    An empty chamber CANNOT go off!
    Yes, it takes me 3 seconds to present and rack and it takes you one second without racking
    So there is a 2 second difference
    I accept that penalty for the increased safety
    Don’t forget that the military mandates empty chamber carry as does the armed nation of Israel
    Where plenty of armed civilians have stopped terrorist attacks while empty chamber carrying Israeli style

    • The downsides of empty chamber carry far outweigh perceived positives from “safety” for the average person with a quality firearm.

      Loaded guns just don’t “go off” either, so that one is a straw man.

      You’ve addressed the ‘time’ issue, but few really care all that much about that. The far bigger issue is the two-handed draw-presentation required to get the gun ready for a fight…while you might ALREADY be “in the fight for your life.”

      Carrying loaded allows one to draw AND FIRE SHO or WHO for whatever reason the other hand is out of the action. Maybe it’s injured; maybe it’s fighting off the bad guy; maybe a LOT of things.

      Yes, there are methods to ‘rack the slide’ with one hand. None of them are as good as simply having the gun loaded to begin with. And again, these methods require a bit of practice and thought while you might well be FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE.

      All that said…your carry, your choice. But for the ‘newbs’ that read here and are trying to get good information, or, “The Truth About Guns” one might say…saying unloaded vs loaded are somehow defensively “equal” is simply not true.

      It’s another trade-off each individual has to measure…but ignoring ALL the downsides is foolish, and advising people that might lack the experience to properly assess the differences incorrectly is just wrong.

    • 12 years so far in the military and I am required to load a magazine into my M9 and release the slide forward, chambering a round (using a clearing barrel) safety off and into the holster before I can leave the armory. Your military comment is wrong.

  16. For issues specific to women concealed carrying the YouTube channels limalife and faliaphotography are good.

    Anyone know of a good place to get one of those $50 stiffened belts? My ariat belt is falling apart and if I can get a carry belt for a similar price that would be awesome.

    • “For issues specific to women concealed carrying the YouTube channels limalife and faliaphotography are good.”

      Add to that list the Cornered Cat blog:

      Good general blog, but geared toward women. Good stuff on the whole.

  17. let’s people mark businesses and restaurants on a map, so that anyone can see if they allow weapons on their premises. This is super helpful for people new to CCW.

    I’ve found that not a ton of cities have places marked on the map right now, but hopefully more will get marked. I’ve personally marked over 50 places in Wisconsin 🙂

Comments are closed.