If you hang around the concealed carry crowd for long, you’re likely to hear about the issue of “printing”. That’s the informal term that describes when the the outline of a gun is visible through a garment even though the gun is technically covered. This is generally considered a bad thing, and many people will go to great lengths to ensure that their carry gun isn’t printing before they venture out into public.

I remember the first time I carried after getting my permit almost a decade ago. I stuffed a S&W snubby into the inside pocket of a heavy wool coat and went to Target to buy a birthday card for a friend. Even though there was no possible way anyone could see even the hint of an outline of the gun through that coat, all I could think the whole time was, “Holy crap. I have a GUN in my pocket! Everybody knows and I will be shunned from society!”

Relax, dude… nobody knows.

After having taught concealed carry permit classes for a few years, I learned from former students that this sentiment is not uncommon among first-time carriers. Assuming you carry on a regular basis, the paranoid feeling eventually fades and stowing a blaster in your trousers every day becomes as natural as getting dressed in the morning. But for most people, there is still a lingering desire to avoid getting “made” and having someone accidentally discover there’s a holstered pea-shooter underneath your shirt.

Motives for wanting to be armed discreetly will vary from one person to the next and could be for social reasons, legal reasons, or to maintain a perceived tactical advantage. There are a few different ways you could potentially be “outed” as a CCW-holder, printing being just one of them, but its one that a lot of folks tend to be very cautious about. Oftentimes too cautious, in my opinion, because it often leads to them carrying a smaller or less powerful gun than they should, or to not even carrying at all. Chances are, you have little to worry about, and here are a few thoughts to consider to help put your mind at ease:

1. It’s not as obvious as you think

If you’re worried that the slight bulge in your shirt is really obvious when you’re looking down at it, be sure to check in a mirror. From a couple of feet away, it’s probably barely perceptible. So unless you’re trying to carry a six-inch revolver in a spandex tank-top, a slight protrusion from the base of the grip that looks huge to your eyes when looking down at it will most likely blend in from the perspective of the people around you.

2. Nobody’s looking

With belt holsters being the most common method for concealed carry, printing is most likely to occur around the body’s midsection. Fortunately, in our society it’s generally impolite to stare at other people’s “crotchal region” and most people have a sub-concious aversion to letting their eyes drift toward staring at a strangers belt line. Even if your gun is blatantly printing, few people in public will ever notice.

3. Printing rarely looks like a gun

So let’s say you’re printing a little and somebody happens to notice something a bit odd about the way your clothes fit. The average person is not trained to automatically think “gun” when they see a little wrinkle in someone’s shirt. If they even give it a second thought, they’re more likely to assume it’s something mundane like a belt buckle, cell phone, keychain, or a beeper (that is, if your town happens to be perpetually stuck in the year 1997.)

Concealed Carry Printing
On the left, carrying a compact pistol with an inside the waistband holster, the outline of the grip is just barely visible, but unlikely to draw any attention. On the right, with a full size pistol in an outside the waistband competition holster, well… a few people might get suspicious.

4. Nobody cares

The only people who automatically assume that any object concealed under clothing is a gun are other concealed carry permit holders, and they’re certainly not going to give you a hard time. Okay, maybe some cops will notice too, but unless you’re acting like a complete moron, 99.9% of LEOs out there aren’t going to hassle you for a little printing. It’s unlikely, though possible that a “bad guy” might notice the lump under your shirt, but chances are he’s looking for an easy target and not interested in getting into a wrestling match with you over what may or may not turn out to be a gun.

5. Know the Law

In states where open carry is prohibited, it’s often rumored that any degree of printing is illegal too, even with a concealed carry permit. In reality, this is almost never the case. Since printing is not a technical legal definition, it raises the important question of what exactly qualifies as “concealed”. Laws vary from state to state, but in most places, as long as you’re making a legitimate effort to keep the gun concealed from the average untrained eye, you shouldn’t have to worry about printing. There’s a lot of overblown misinformation out there on this issue, so be sure to get your facts about state and local carry laws from a reliable source before making any assumptions.

6. Stop Touching It

If you’re overly concerned about printing, then you might be prone to constantly checking and adjusting your carry gun. More often than not, this will only serve to draw unwanted attention to your heater, not keep it hidden. As our pal Say Uncle is fond of saying, “stop touching it“. If you behave as if nothing is there, then most other people will too.

As always, a good holster and solid gun belt are key to maximizing the comfort and concealability of your carry gun. The setup should keep the grip of the gun close to your body to avoid excessive printing, and to keep the gun from moving around. Of course, you’ll probably have to “dress around the gun” to some degree, which may require going up one pant size, and avoiding excessively tight clothing. But with decent gear and some common sense, printing shouldn’t be much of a concern for the average legally armed citizen.

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  • Nathan Brackenridge

    Great article? Question, how did you get into teaching cpl classes. I’m looking into it myself.

    • Alex Erickson

      nrainstructors.org on the top righthand side of the page under “general information” there’s a tab labeled become NRA certified instructor. The prerequisites aren’t difficult, just time consuming!

    • LG Chris

      It varies from state to state. In NC where I taught, you needed the NRA basic pistol instructor certification (or equivalent military credentials) and then an additional CCW instructor class through the state DoJ. Find out which gov’t department administers the carry program in your state and they should have the info on the process for becoming an instructor.

    • John Wahl

      nra has training courses you can take, along with ngra [national gun rights association]

    • John Wahl

      i was trained by a ngra course and was very happy with it

  • Douglas Quinn

    Great advice!

  • Kurt Schneider

    Solid advice for new (and not-so-new) CHL holders. I know I went through this phase.

    • LG Chris

      Thanks, Kurt. Do you use the pink Jeep as a misdirection tactic?

  • Guy Gryder

    Good advice.

  • Cecilia Driscoll

    good information, thank you

  • Ann Strength Childers

    I wish we had some instructors in our area. I only have 38 revolvers and would love to have a 380 Body Guard, but I’m just not sure how to work it, so I stick to what I know.

    • John Wahl

      a .380 in most cases is under powered ,, you can get 9mm in a small version ,, much more stopping power and isnt that the idea to stop someone

    • David Jackson

      I carry the ruger sp101… in my opinion the .38 has better stopping power than a .380, but any cal is better than nothing..

    • W Harold DeMent

      The two previous responders are correct that the .380 is somewhat under powered compared to a .38 or 9 mm, but it is still a good conceal carry gun. Go with what YOU are comfortable with. As to working it, read the manual, watch some videos on semi’s, practice with dry fire for awhile and head for a shooting range. My wife has a Bodyguard and loves it.

    • Deacon Maxwell Gowan

      I love my 5 shot Springfield XDs .45 ACP and extra magazine.

    • Joe Mathews

      Somewhat agree with the .380 being under powered. Fact is it will still stop the threat, rather have the .380 and hit my target than a .357 and miss on followup shots. So many people say the .380 is crap. Still cant find anyone that wants to get shot with one. Carry what you shoot well.

    • Troy Henderson

      Ann the 380 Body Guard is a great carry gun.I carry mine in my pockets of both my shorts and jeans. Yes the 380 is a smaller gun but you have to go with what is good for you, not them.

    • Bill Ellis

      I have both a Ruger LC9 and an LCP 380. I love both of them but my daily carry is the 380. The slight difference in bulk and weight is amazing over the course of a day. The LCP slips right into my pocket and just looks like a larger cell phone. I prefer not to have the holster issues required by the LC9. To each his (or her) own!

    • Ted Fisher

      Check out new Glock 42 its a nice 380 Walther has a nice PK380 but Glock smaller I like them both I have a 9mm for colder months 380 summer

    • Guin Campbell

      I carried my 1911 for years and today I carry a reliable .380. yes I know it’s under powered but it’s cheaper and I’m not as concerned about it getting worn out by the constant stresses of concealed carry and lets be honest, if someone draws a Gun, no matter what it shoots, your still going to be scared.
      I think we have taken these caliber wars way to far.

    • Ann Strength Childers

      I just don’t know that much about the 380 type of guns and wonder if they would go off easier if I carried one in a flashbang with one in the chamber???? I ALWAYS carry a .38 and feel pretty safe and secure with it, its just as I said, heavy and bulky to carry in the flashbang. Thanks for all the help guys.

    • Jim White

      get a 9 mm and an inside the belt…. versa vary… nobody can tell

    • BigBill O’Brien ClanMullin

      .380 is not under power. relax dude

    • BigBill O’Brien ClanMullin

      380 is perfect. the body guard has a short sight radius and is a good close up gun but distance shooting beyond 15 feet for a causal shooter will take practice. carry on

    • M Em Rachal
    • Dominique Mary Wilson

      Ann I carry a .380 I’m only 5ft & 150 it’s perfect does take sometime to get used to using however before my ccw I carried a .40 so the little one I kept slicing my thumb open when I first got it.

    • M.l. Woodall

      If you can learn to drive a car, you can learn to safely operate a pistol. It’s not that hard.

      9mm is the lowest I care to go, but a .380 on my person beats a .45 in my safe at home. Anything is better than nothing.

      Best wishes!

    • Mel Meskill

      Go to a range and rent one. They will show you how it works. Try it out and see of you like it.

    • Lucas Fontenot

      I carry the SCCY CPX 2 9mm small, light, and good stopping power. Good price too

    • Alan Rollins

      John Wahl You put 2 .380 rounds in the chest and one in the face it works just fine

    • Michael Weniger

      Want to know the perfect carry round? Its the one that you can shoot comfortably, accurately, and consistently. No round is a good one if you can’t get it on target! On the note of carrying a revolver have you considered a carry purse such as those sold by gun totten mamas?

    • Gary Hendershot

      John Wahl I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be shot with one! They may have a little less velocity than a 9mm, but the slug is the same size and I’ve seen a .380 hollow point explode a watermelon. At close range, a .380 is quite deadly.

    • Scott Hill

      For those saying .380 is under powered. A correctly placed shot with a .22lr will take one down. Learn to shoot and place your shots. Learn to shoot in different positions and angles. Learn to shoot with opposite hand. Get out of your comfort zone. Ann Strength Childers. Any reputable dealer should be able to show you how to use a semi automatic weapon. If you have a Gander Mountain with shooting range they have classes as well.

    • David Lelievre

      The bodyguard slides into your pocket, easy yo conceal

    • Charles Wiley Sr.

      I have a Bodyguard .380 that I carry every day. It might be underpowered but if you hit what you are aiming at it doesnt matter.

  • Janelle Hastings

    lol…that’s what my purse is for…

  • Michelle Baker

    Good quality holster that fits you and you gun correctly makes it less noticeable. I fell more awkward when I don’t have it.

  • Jacob Peterson

    I stopped carrying about printing before I started concealing… I open carried cross draw on the front of my pants with an extra magazine before i concealed, and I realized that %98 of people I talked to had NO idea I was carrying a gun. At one point I apologized about so blatantly open carrying to someone I was talking to to see if they noticed, and they looked down, and their eyes got as big as saucers.
    Our world is complacent my friends. Carry full sized, and just stop worrying. People will pick you out quicker if you are acting odd or trying to hide something than they will if your “concealing” a 870 in your shorts lol
    Bottom line, wear what is comfortable, train drawing, and keep your mind on the next point of cover and concealment.

    • Michael Giza

      I used to be in the goth scene back in HS and have Tripps, the pants that have all the chains and stuff on them. The deep pockets make for concealing even a .357 mag easy. The only one who will know, is you.

    • Matthew Wilson

      870 lol! “Is that a… giant steel tube in your pants? Jesus Christ! Why didn’t you tell me you broke your leg???? Come here have a seat!”

    • Patrick James Deats

      Michael Giza haha i found your comment. lol but no with tripps people will already picture you as someone with a gun. so when i wore tripps with my ccw, i just open carried it

    • Open Carry Michigan

      Patrick Deats As a law abiding citizen there is a certain image you should maintain when out in public. most people these days have sensitive eyes and when those eyes combine an image of a pistol with a form of goth dress. they have a tenancy to become worry some . Our goal as gun owners is to educate people and renew the image of gun owners. I’m not bashing you for your dress in anyway. You are a free american. i have no anger or hatred toward you based on your dress. Because i understand that that gun is not gonna jump out of it’s holster and start going off by itself your gun is only gonna be an issue if you try using it against me. and i certainly don’t provoke confrontation.. But those libtards and sheeple think that your gun will go off by itself. So it’s just the thought that majority of the time if you open carry. It’s often a better idea to dress slightly formal or what would be perceived as ”appropriate” or ”respectable” by those with lower I.Q.’s than the rest of us.

    • Kurtus Orealous Maximus

      I to could care less. But check your state info especially if you travel. Most Conceal states (ones that do not allow open carry) if you don’t show due diligence to conceal, it can be considered brandishing if someone complains.

    • James Grill

      check your messages

  • Aaron Freeman

    A guy should just stuff his cod-piece and look proud.

  • Ken Cultraro

    Great article!

  • Buddy Hammonds

    Yea I have that problem caring mine I feel weird somebody going to notice

  • Ron Schunk

    ‘Banded Bottom’ pull over shirts work really well…in dark colors as well.

  • Rob Miller

    Yea I was at a men’s discussion group once and got ” made” I was wearing a light Red Sox top and I must have printed the way I sat down . I noticed the guy looking at me funny and after the meeting had the nerve to touch my side. I wanted to punch his face for that

  • I didn’t serve in combat, but

    Great article, I went through all of that. One thing not addressed is my initial paranoia over being hugged while carrying. I was afraid someone would feel it and know. What I’ve found out since is that in nearly every case where someone has touched my piece they thought it was a cell phone or something like that.

    • LG Chris

      I used to worry about that too, but most people that I’m on a “hugging basis” with already know I carry. But the occasional ambush hug from someone outside of the circle of trust has not yet resulted in me being outed. I’ve also had strangers accidentally bump into it in crowded places, but like you said, I’m sure most assume it’s a cell phone or belt buckle.

    • Andrew Corrado

      I’m a black belt so when hugging people I don’t want knowing about my weapon I direct their grab away from my item with out making it obvious. Just a little bump is usually all it takes and totally explainable. Or I’ll cross plane my arms so my strong arm (draw arm) is underneath and they don’t even get close to it. Small of the back carry just go underneath with both arms and you will stay hidden. (EDC 5 in 1911)

    • Craig Rabb

      LG Chris “Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me.” Reportedly, Mae West spoke the line to an escorting LA police officer who met her at the LA railway station in February, 1936. The line was repeated in her final film Sextette (1978) to co-star George Hamilton.

    • Del Bender

      In my case, ab carry, a hugging friend thought it was a brace and she’s aware I carry all the time, but still thought it was just a brace. Well….kinda…. 😉

    • Chuck Leggett

      I used to drop my right (gun-side) arm under, but I don’t even do that now. Nobody notices, even when they “hug” the gun itself; even had one jump on me, wrap her arms and legs around me (long time/no see, very dear friend), with the gun squeezed between her thigh and my hip as she hugged me like a monkey on a tree, and she didn’t notice. All this, and almost everybody I meet “assumes” I carry – I suppose because of my personality or disposition, I don’t really know. But one of my dearest/oldest friends still thinks I use a shoulder rig (never have) so I guess it’s hidden enough.

  • Alisa Long

    I have this problem because I don’t usually wear loose shirts. I am self conscious, but I’m still willing to carry.

    • Judie Porter

      Check out this: FLASHBANG HOLSTER …… just google it

  • Stan Kasperek

    About the only people that are going to notice are ones that are looking for it to begin with.If you have shirts that have prints (think like camo for people) that will minimize it even more.

  • Lee Statzer

    good advice

  • Greg Tabor
  • David Jackson

    Brandon Jackson

  • Josh Kampmeier

    A good article, for sure… but can we please stop referring to our handguns as a ‘heater’? It’s almost as bad as ‘gat’.

    • LG Chris

      You don’t like “heater”, but no objection to “pea shooter”, “blaster”, or “crotchal region”?

    • Josh Kampmeier

      LG Chris lol, I don’t really care for blaster either. Pea shooter is pretty harmless… and what’s wrong with a crotchal region? 😛

    • Ryan Waitz

      I would never call it a heater. I prefer burner.

    • Skip McGee

      Ryan Waitz I must be Very Old School… how about”Smoke Wagon.”

    • Rod De Leon

      LG Chris I’ve always preferred the term “roscoe.” But then I’m an old-fart revolver guy.

  • John Patrick Mullan

    All good advice. I rarely worry about printing because the only people who will be looking for it are trained professionals.

    • LG Chris

      True, and I think they typically have better things to worry about anyway.

  • Dick Turner

    I carry a Kahr Pm9 in my cargo pants I forget it is there. My family says it kicks to much. I want something that kicks if the stuff hits the fan. I have carried for 10 years I was made once by a cop who said he could see the butt, because the velco came lose on my vest. For different mods of dress,I have 4 favorite holster. Do not carry with out a pocket holster! Anything in your pocket could pull the trigger. For pocket carry i have only the gun in that pocket

  • Joe Mathews

    I carry an XDS .45 in the appendix IWB carry position, have a tucked in T-shirt. No one even knows its there. Zero printing, just tuck your shirt and pull it out just enough to take out the tension.Carry 24/7.

  • Bobby Wojciechowski

    i always wear bigger t shirts if im carrying

    • Dennis Dunlavey

      Fuck that if and when I get mine it’s goin right on my thigh

  • Timothy Goodman

    with the right ammo the 380 has more knock-down power than the 9 mm. i use the personal defense ammo for my nine which is 147 grain

  • Kenneth Dunlop

    “That’s my insulin pump. And yes, I’m self-conscious about it. Thanks for noticing.”

    • Bob Hurley

      Exactly my prepared reply in case I print bending over for some canned goods on the bottom shelf. Or TENS unit, or colostomy bag, or some vague “well, after the next surgery I can hopefully do without that”.

      And as has already been mentioned, most people these days are preoccupied with their cellphones, or searching for something in the store, looking down at their feet as they walk or in some other way not paying attention.

    • Benjamin Sampedro

      Yea, I call it my Glock portable pancreas

    • LG Chris

      Now I want someone to call me out for carrying just so I can say this.

    • Lee Towle

      I use colostomy bag.

    • Gerald Burton

      Anti zombie defense mechanism!

    • Kenneth Dunlop

      Bob Hurley “The doctor told me I’d only have to wear these until after the surgery.” One of my favourite lines! Skip to 1:00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j93GN5K-Rfg

    • John Terrell

      Funny, I actually have an insulin pump. (though it’s on the opposite side of where I carry).

      “Oh, that’s my OTHER insulin pump. ” 🙂

    • Ryan M Grimm

      Tell them it’s a colsimy bag

    • Melanie Lopez

      No one has ever said anything, but I always said that this would be my excuse! Not that I need an excuse!

    • Shawn Wade

      That’s my colostomy bag…I just pooped…

    • Robert Cat

      Colostomy Bag would probably stop any further questions lol

    • Allen Kraus

      I’ve thought of saying “it’s my colostomy bag. now, I’m embarrassed… “

  • Phil Mill

    Another good idea, wear a looser shirt…

    • Erika Roza Shanina Feuerborn

      What???? Wear a looser shirt??? In this day and age??? You must be joking! 😉

  • Bennett Frumer

    Good info thanks!

  • James Licurgo Jr

    Excellent advice.

  • Glenn Smith

    I think this is a(normal) paranoid new carrier thing!!! I don’t look for any printing myself,couldn’t care less! I’m sure I probably thought in my mind the same way back then though,but after 25 years of carrying concealed,it’s like second nature to me. It has become as necessary to my family’s safety as my belt to hold up my pants!! I forget its there,but always remember it is there in case it’s needed.I also hope I never will…

  • Roy Flores

    Very helpful thanks for the tips

  • Joel Maddeaux

    After 3 years of ccw I dlon’t even think of it.. it’s like it’s part of my body. i carry at 3:00 where it csn be pulled into the contour of my side. my 38 is never seen or printed.

  • John Condon

    I agree with all that said

  • Karl Proctor

    When I was street policing one of the first things we learned was that 1) bad guys don’t use holsters, and 2) the less experienced ones are constantly checking their “gat”. So we quickly learned that if we saw a young punk who was looking nervous and constantly grabbing around his waist, in the, say, appendix region, he was someone we might want to have a chat with.

  • Douglas M Moore

    FNX-45 auto. Carry everywhere I go even at work. No one ever notices it or asks me about it

  • Rod Schertz

    The only time someone noticed I was carrying was when I tried to hide some printing by holding a booklet in my hand. Rather than hide it, I drew attention to it. The guy was cool about it as he said, “Do you keep your gun loaded?” No more worrying about minor printing.

  • Ed Hopkins

    I fish without a shirt on with my kahr cw9 IWB in my shorts in a belly band. I just pull the shorts up and over it. No one sees anything.

    • Ed Hopkins

      That’s with an extra mag too.

  • Kyle Cain

    Open carrying eliminates this “problem.”

  • Dan Atwater

    I looked like the guy on the right when I carried my P220 OWB. Nobody noticed or cared enough to say anything, including the cop who was behind me in line at starbucks. Hell, I open carry at work and some people don’t even notice until I mention it first.

    Most people just aren’t paying attention.

  • Charles Cusumano

    Had the same concerns but eventually went away. A good article for every newbie

  • Rob Kight

    I rarely cover mine. I usually just open carry and most people either don’t notice or don’t care. I’ve open carried in lots of businesses, including malls and liquor stores. The liquor stores always resulted in a conversation about guns and I’ve seen a few of the employees’ carry weapons.

    • ConradCA

      When someone is considering robbing you they will give you a look see ahead of time if they have the chance. When they see that your carrying that is an opportunity for them to steal your weapon and maybe even use it against you. It’s better to have it as a surprise to use when the least expect it. That’s why I like concealed carry better than open.

  • Scott Killey

    Very good info some of which I never thought about.

  • Jason Davis

    Excellent article for the newly licensed CCW/CHL individuals; and honestly I was having “stage fright” when started carrying!!

  • Wendy Lee

    Can Can Concealment Check out the website

  • Sybil Schroeder

    Sound advice, enjoyed article however my concern on printing was short lived. Carrying for me is as natural as falling off a log.

  • Christian Joshua Bayon

    nice 1

  • Debbie Wolf Diamond

    Great article! I went through this phase in the beginning as most CWP holders do.

  • Scooter Cox

    A bloodclot in the heart or brain will drop someone, why do you think a small caliber will not do the same? Anyone shot with a .22 .25 .32 .380 in the heart lungs or brain will drop. More accurate shots can be fired consecutively than with larger calibers. And there is really very little difference between a .380 and a .9mm when it comes to being shot…a bullet is a bullet.

    • LG Chris

      Wrong post, buddy. We finished the Great Caliber War of 2014 a few weeks ago.

  • Craig Rabb

    In Texas the statute for failing to conceal is based upon “intent.” Printing, bulging, riding up don’t count under the statute. INTENT must be proven – hard to do if one makes an effort to conceal. Concealment does not equal invisibility. Your mileage may vary.

  • Republic Forge

    Good read and right on the money

  • Helena Zielinski

    My biggest problem has been that my two yr old comes running up and throws himself at me for full-contact hugs. Multiple times now, he has smashed his forehead into the grip, which is at JUST the right height to leave a mark. And we just had to have a discussion with the 5 yr old about not pointing out the “no guns” signs and saying (very loudly), “Mommy, you can’t wear your gun in here!”

    • LG Chris

      Yeah, I know it’s not very “operator” of me, but I don’t carry in my house and one of the reasons is that my kids would be constantly injuring themselves when they run into me at full speed.

    • Helena Zielinski

      LG Chris I carry as long as I am awake. 😀

    • Open Carry Michigan

      Lol this was an issue for me also. only i carried. owb and my sisters little chihuahua would jump onto the couch next to me as i sat down. Arrrr arrr arrr arrr arrra !! Tha’ts one reason i don’t like little dogs.

    • Steve Merrette

      Helena, that’s kind of funny, I was laying down a while back and my boy came in and flopped down on me and hit his head on the corner of my Glock’s slide (those of you who know Glocks, know they are square and bulky) he gave himself a nice little knot on the back of his head, anyway I affectionately refer to his head as my Glock-knocker now…

    • Kenneth Dunlop

      Helena Zielinski, I thought those “no guns” signs were shorthand for “no waving your guns around”. I try to remember not to do that when I see those signs…

    • Kurtus Orealous Maximus

      Center of back carry works well for this and will allow him/ her to still show their love.

      • Michael J Carter

        Until you get knocked down and get a spinal injury. Center of back carry is worse place (well prob not the worse). Maybe off to one side. Versacarry is a piece of crap, never put anything in your barrel. One guy did a review and mid review it snapped in half. Pure junk. Get yourself a well made good holster for your pref of carry and it’s worth it. I use a StealthgearUSA IWB holster for my .40 XD subcompact with no issues and it’s not in the way for any of my friends kids or such as I carry it 4-5 o’clock position.

        • buckeyeblitz

          yeah i agree,,, have a uncle that is a retired medically police officer that had a revolver in his mid back and was running after a suspect slipped and feel on his back and paralyzed his self… mid back is the worst to carry. i just show my kids and tell them not to do that because it will hurt you both… it took my son 3 times to figure it out and my daughter once… lol keep your pistol where your comfortable and where you train to draw it mostly…

    • Helena Zielinski

      Kurtus Orealous Maximus That is a good idea, and I have tried it myself. I found it is not comfortable for me to carry or to draw that way. I have just gotten into the habit of, when I see him coming, turn my body slightly to make sure he contacts with the side opposite the holster.

    • Kurtus Orealous Maximus

      Helena Zielinski What I’ve found (After many years in many places) is center carry with the but toward your grip hand (right handed, grip toward right). That way you sweep your hand (knuckles against skin) and pull right out. The Versa Carry system is real nice for this or a IWB holster from Savoy Leather (they will also put a second mag holder in it for you) http://www.savoyleatheronlinestore.com/in-the-waistband-conceal-carry-iwb/

    • Kurtus Orealous Maximus
    • Helena Zielinski

      Kurtus Orealous Maximus That was how I carried it. It was okay when I was standing or walking, but I sit at a desk for much of the work day, so it was not a good carry position for me. Thank you for the info, though.

    • Aaron Freeman

      I like it.
      She should scream and say, “You’re right, we must take our business elsewhere.”

    • Ronald Licari
    • Ronald Licari

      Its a flash bang bra holster

      • barb richards

        I wish i could get a flash bang holster for my gun. I use the sccy px2 and wish there was a gun similar enough that i could use the flash bang. Does anyone know what would work?

        • buckeyeblitz

          contact them they can make u a custom one to fit anything my wife has a g43 with a laser and they made one for her…. they ladies that own the company are awesome and will work with you. they only make the popular guns but can make anything u need!

  • Jim Durst

    I’ve been carrying for 40+ years and still am conscious of printing. There are some new carry options on the market that work very well in concealing your weapon.

  • Craig Rabb

    Link to relevant Texas penal code: http://law.onecle.com/texas/penal/46.035.00.html

  • Chris Wilson

    Only other CPL holders really notice.

  • Paul Te Prieto

    Great Advice. Thank you.

  • Vasili Zaitzev

    Great article Chris. The little Czarina and I are going through this phase now, and it’s been a little difficult to work around, but this will help ease the self consciousness quite a bit. Inside the waist for me at 4 O’clock works real well even with a T-shirt. I look like your picture, but sometimes to me I feel like that little bulge feels like a Mosin 91/30 in my pants!

  • Drew Baye

    Being fit also helps. The smaller your waist relative to your chest the more room between your waist and a normal shirt for your pistol and the less you’ll print (athletic fit is another matter altogether).

    • Danny Thompson

      Winter helps too.

    • Del Bender

      Or the bigger the boobs…..the easier to conceal, ab wise.

    • Alexander Covan

      Damn, another. reason to exercise.

  • Isaac Shelby Baker

    Nobody cares a whit here. Open carry is in our state Constitution and plenty do it. I carry concealed in town but it’s nice to have the option of removing my covering garment, which I do when we go inside and it’s warm. Nobody ever even looks twice.

    • Robert Chamberlain

      Wish we had same laws in New York!

  • Michael Wittenborn

    The biggest problem my father and I have is we have gotten fat over the years and printing stands out more then it did when we were in the Army. Any advice on that? FYI I use two shirts to help conceal but here in Southern Georgia it get’s too hot to keep doing that all summer.

    • Schoettlin Glenn

      Size 3XL helps. Seriously. Open up a button down shirt and throw it over a T shirt. Make sure that the button up dress shirt is made from light weight breathable material for keeping your cool.
      I tried wearing a 2XL T shirt and my gun still printed with an IWB holster worn at 4:30. It’s hard to hide the handle on the Ruger LC9S Pro.

  • Patrick Fultz

    The insulin pump explanation is the best! That would be my go to reply. Hasn’t been necessary yet. Ha

  • Greg Owens

    Why, yes….I am excited to be here….how YOU do’in?!

  • Gary Christian

    Wear a bigger shirt…

  • Sam Sorrentino

    It’s my PDA. (Personal Defense Assistant)

  • Andrew Vena

    I think more about what’s going on around me then I do about imprinting. I wear a shirt one bigger and I can’t see

  • John Mark Harris

    When someone says “are you carrying a gun” the reply is “are you talking about my insulin pump (pats hip where gun is)?” That way, because I don’t have an insulin pump, I’m not lying, I’m just asking a question. If they persist and are a representative of ownership/management of the property I say “does the boss not allow guns here?” and if they are pushy and say “show me your gun” (which has never happened to me) just say “If I were carrying, that would be probably illegal” then I ignore them.

  • John Mark Harris

    BTW, in TEXAS I believe the law was recently changed to reflect that people who unintentionally reveal their gun are not breaking the law. i.e. reaching for something on the top shelf or bending over etc…

  • William B. Drey

    I like the stop touching it part.

  • Jimmy Lea

    I have a holster that fits right inside my fly and looks like I have a large package.

  • Rick Conner

    It’s not a gun, I’m just happy to see you. 😉

  • Steven Pearse

    Great piece of information

  • Joe Salvatore

    I have been carrying concealed for 29 years. 18 in Florida. Tell you what. You are not going to win any fashion shows. Tight clothes are out when you carry concealed. You have to wear baggy shirts and comfortable pants if you dont want to print.

  • Keith Grimes

    Just move to Kentucky! you can carry open.

  • Brian Bean

    Very good and informative article .. Thank you

  • Gerald Hopkins

    I have found that if you wear a shirt that has some sort of print on it, it acts like camo and breaks up the outline of the gun making it less noticeable.

    • Jonathan Hardy

      That’s why I often wear Hawaiian shirts over my T-shirts.

  • Jay Hanig

    I use a Sneaky Pete holster that looks like an oversized cell phone case. It has a flap held shut with magnets so opening it is totally silent. Essentially my 9mm hides out in plain sight. It’s not for speed draws but nobody has ever questioned it.

  • Urich Dobrynin

    Будь уверен в себе,остальное само приложится.

  • Gary Johnson

    Very good article! Most people I know including me go do the wal-mart walk thier 1st time concealing! You really do get that “they know I’m carring” feeling that 1st time.

  • Lawrence E Simmons

    I always carry a roll of quarters with me… just in case. By the way, it’s nice seeing you!

  • Bruce Kahn

    Excellent, helped me quite a bit since I recently got my permit.i usually wear more baggy attire.
    Thanks again

  • Christopher Wingrove

    I mostly open carry, that being said, nobody even notices. I once spent 24 hours at a in laws house and their liberal sister didn’t notice till I was leaving………

  • Toby Kyle

    Colostomy bag, want a lawsuit! Lol

  • Mike Groll

    very informative very well written

  • Frank Smith

    In Illinois the law says “Mostly Concealed” I was always worried about it in March when I got the permit but now its no big deal I use the “Tall” length shirts and when I tuck it in I have a bit of material to Blouse over it and I have had conversations with people about the whole conceal carry deal and they never knew I had one on me.

  • Alan Rollins

    Alabama has an open carry law and I do open carry an M-1911-A1, “but you only have 8 rounds” yes you are correct but only in the magazine thats in the gun, I also carry ( open ) a 10 and an 8 round magazine, plus one in the chamber, that’s 27 rounds of 230gr copper jacketed serrated hollow points, I think that should cover most any situation, Hell most people don’t even see it anyway

  • Joshua Audorff

    if someone does notice just say “oh I am sorry does my colostomy bag bother you?”

  • Robert Bailey

    Is that a Barrett 82A1 in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

  • Robert Barrios

    Mine is colostomy bag. Want to see?

  • Mary Beth Holzwarth

    One reason I cannot wait to get my G42. My G19 on my tiny body is waaay too noticeable, no matter where I put it.

    • ConradCA

      G26 is lots smaller

      I wouldn’t go to a 380. Pick the smallest 9mm you can find.

  • Scott Svitak

    buy a stick on colostomy bag and stick it on above your pistol…LOL so you wanna check out my shit???

  • Stephen Deal

    colostomy bag, people look at me like I said plague. It works they go away fast.

  • Randy Talley

    It’s some young green horns that works for the city that has no clue what the gun laws are! This is no joke! That’s a very scary and dangerous think also!

  • ChristiAnne Elkins

    I guess people are too busy looking at my service dog than they are at the gun on my hip. Depending on where I am is what holster I am using. If I am someplace where I know 100% sure I am not going to end up near any of those anti gun places, then I have no problem with my Bulldog holster, And since open carry is allowed in my state, I have no issue if it prints or it’s right out there in the open. If I am going someplace where seeing my gun is likely to get somebodies tighty-whities in a bunch, it’s the Sticky holster. I am considering one of the belly belt holsters and/or a fanny pack.

  • Silvio Damasio

    São lindas essas armas para matar vagabundos

    • ConradCA

      Porque usted no hablo Inglés?

      • gtdav

        That should be “hablA”…

        • ConradCA

          Your right. It’s been a few years since I could speak and write spanish.

          • Gmnu92

            He was talking portuguese, not spanish.

            He commented something along the lines of “Those guns are beautiful to kill criminals”. LOL

  • Ken Mueller

    Try a Walther PPS. Nobody sees it ever and it shoots o so good and is very high quality. This article makes me want to try concealing a full size 17 round M&P 9mm though.

  • Tim Brown

    “What’s the matter, you’ve never seen a colostomy bag before?”

  • Ronald Bender Sr.

    Thank you for answering a major concern of mine, thanks..

  • Al Terrille

    Oh that’s my colostomy bag,its all good. Wanna see

  • Mutt Mike Rieck

    I don’t have a ccw permit, but tell me why I would be concerned with people knowing it’s there?

    • Renae

      Some people feel it’s an advantage if nobody knows you have a gun. The idea is that an open carrier may be robbed of his/her gun if a criminal knew they had it (and could theoretically sneak up and grab it). This has happened before, but it’s rare. Another reason to carry concealed is to not worry people around you (who may be anti-gun). Think of the man who was attacked in a Florida Walmart for carrying a gun. Lastly, some states do not allow open carry, and some even prohibit printing.

    • Barefoot in MN

      in Minnesota it is illegal to cause fear in someone. So if you are printing or (God forbid) “brandishing”, and someone gets fearful – even without what a jury would call “reasonable cause” for fear – you will be talking with police & possibly an attorney. Life is just simpler if nobody knows for sure “does she or doesn’t she?” 🙂

  • Scott Hill

    Act normal

  • Tammy Freed

    Received my CCL today. Have not carried yet and yes this is a concern of mine. Took your Dec 13 class. Thanks for a great class. I will now be able to join the ranks of legal and responsible carriers.

  • Marty Modine

    I was nervous as heck the first time I went out. I am a large person and I usually just wear jeans and a t shirt. My carry pistol is a Glock 17 so I am like buying shirts a size larger just to have the loose effect. I remember I was shopping once and I reached up to get something on the top shelf and up goes my shirt. The lady next to me just smiled and patted her purse and kept shopping.

  • Donna Thomas Shumaker

    My husband and I are first time concealed carry…I have an issue about the showing of the gun through my clothes….I am a husky girl…I get clothes way to big to make sure my gun doesnt show…does anyone else do that?

    • Jra

      I’ll generally go up a waist-band size when carrying moreso for comfort than concealment. I agree that most people aren’t even paying attention, so if there is a little printing, it’s not really a big deal. If I feel like it is too noticable, I just open carry!

  • L Bruce Gunter Sr.

    Good info. and it makes a lot of sence.

  • Aaron Wolfenbarger

    Agreed, I have had two IWB holsters for concealed carry: a Galco and an Uncle Mikes. Having worn both for some time to give them a fair shake I despise the Uncle Mikes. It sits too high in the waitband, does not control the gun, and often will come unclipped from my belt, especially in the car. The right holster makes a world of difference.

  • Chilibreath

    Retired cop here; Check out Bell Charter Oak. A guy by the name of Left Lewis makes quality leather holsters at a competitive price, many different designs to suit different needs. I carry a S&W 442 in an IWB holster and it really sits deep and comfortable.

  • milehisnk

    The other option, if someone mentions your printing, just say “oh, yeah, I’m soo paranoid I carry a pistol everywhere” then laugh it off. They usually laugh it off too, if they are anti-gun. If they aren’t, they might give you a dirty look, but you’re still on the same side as them anyways.

  • urbsdetector

    I’m a retired cop and carry a Govt mod 1911. I use an Alien Gear holster. Very comfortable. Adjustable height and cant. Very smooth to draw from and because of the way it’s built it helps to conceal. I have been using this holster for nine months now and love it. No printing problems here.

    • Schoettlin Glenn

      The Alien Gear Super Tuck 3.0 is very nice.

  • evi1joe

    I had my shirt accidentally caught on the grip the other day when I was coming out of a movie theater (which doesn’t allow guns–though it’s not illegal per se). In FL, it’s too hot to wear much more than a T-shirt most of the time, but the laws are pretty lax in that accidentally exposing it isn’t “brandishing” and even having a bulge isn’t illegal as long as it’s not completely gun shaped and obvious (from what I understand).

    • Canon-Dude

      in summer I am on pocket gun … small j-frame in the front pocket with a kydex trigger guard cover and a lanyard. I add a roll of medical tape into the same pocket, in front of the trigger guard, and it diffuses the print well enough to be hard to make out. The medical tape also comes in handy after you shoot someone, just kidding, my contribution of dark humor.

  • Slim Goodbody

    Cleveland holster IWB leather ……I carry a full sized Taurus .45

  • Aliengear IWB and 3.8″ Sprinfield XDm .45 with high capacity mag…nobody gives me a second look. The patriotic tattoos on my right arm get more attention (and I CCW on left because I’m a lefty).

  • Curtis

    Aim small miss small doesnt just apply to shooting. By maximizing the concealment of your firearm, you minimize the risk that it’s identified by a criminal prior to a situation in which you would need to utilize said firearm. Obsessing over printing is a good thing.

    • Canon-Dude

      yes and no… I have 13 pistols and 400 holsters and still no solution in sight 😉

  • southrnbelle31

    The Well Armed Woman makes an amazing concealable holster that, of course can be carried by men as well. I absolutely love my “Old Glory” Printed holster with my S&W Shield 9mm.


  • MrApple

    I used to worry about printing and thought that EVERYONE around could tell that I was carrying. I then did the Walmart Walk and realized quickly that the only one who cared… was me.

  • Terry Newberry

    Is that a pistol or are you just glad to see me…?

    • Canon-Dude

      appendix carry right there 😉

  • Great post about a subject that is rarely covered, but everyone talks about. Glad to see you address this in such a matter-of-fact fashion,while providing factual info to dispel a lot of the misinformation out there. The “printing issue” is also used a lot in advertising for concealed carry weapons, so hopefully this post will help some people make more informed decisions when they get ready to purchase their main carry weapon.

  • Dwight Maxwell

    I think in the beginning everyone is a bit paranoid about carrying that handgun concealed, and it is natural to feel that way. I actually have 3 carry guns. I carry depending on what I am wearing. This summer I have been carrying my Ruger LCR .38 special. I use a IWB holster with two belt clips. I find this keeps the handgun in place without a lot shifting. it also gives a good stable base to draw from. (a king tuck holster is a good example) The LCR I can effectively conceal while wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I also have a Glock G27, and a Commander size 1911.That I can carry in the same manner at any time. It depends a lot of what kind of activities I am doing.

    My biggest advice is to spend the money buy a good holster. I see to many people that will pay $800 for the handgun that they want, and have researched to put it in an inferior holster. I am not just talking about nylon holsters, there are cheap leather holsters out there I wouldn’t have.

  • Mike Johnson

    Ankle holster works for me. Not overly accessible, true. But you know guns – there is always a compromise.

  • Creekeris01

    I’ve been carrying a nylon double spare mag holder EXPOSED on my off side belt for 13 years and no one has ever seemed to notice except 1 rookie Homeland Security Cop while I was at a TEA Party Rally standing on the sidewalk beside a Cutoms facility. I was discreetly approached by his Supervisor, and all was well in the neighborhood. I told his Supervisor the kid needed a raise.

  • JohnnyCuredents

    Nice article. If you carry at the 4:30 – 5 o’clock position, even a fairly large compact (e.g. the SIG P-250) will not print, especially if you have selected a decent leather/kydex holster designed specifically for that gun. And the nice thing about these specialty holsters is that they tend to be on the low side of the price range.

  • Canon-Dude

    Good article, still valid another year later.

  • RightishLeft

    Sorry for posting on an old article, but figured people are still finding & reading this…

    I _vehemently_ disagree with your #4. The problem is not Mr General Public (who aren’t going to notice) or Mr Officer (who, at worst, will make sure you are a legitimate licensee). The problem is that your gun is a desirable item for criminals, and it’s far easier for them to plan and execute a sudden attack on you than it is for you to defend against it, especially in a fairly crowded place. That’s why open carry is great in some peaceful rural setting in Texas, but would be suicidal in Detroit bad neighborhoods. Concealment & not letting the bad guy know that you’re armed and where your firearm is on you are extremely important. I am not a very young or a particularly strong person, but given a piece of rebar, the element of surprise and a relatively crowded street where I could approach someone from behind without them noticing (how often do you look behind your shoulder when a stranger passes you in a mall ?), I could probably knock out pretty much anyone without them ever seeing it coming. And a criminal would be far better at this.

    • I don’t disagree with that, but I think you’re referring to a different scenario than what I described. I’m supposing a pistol that just protrudes slightly from the clothing so that an astute observer may notice that *something* is there but can’t tell what it is. If you’re printing so badly that it’s painfully obvious you’re carrying a gun, that’s a problem, and a magnet for trouble.