An inevitable part of concealed carry is printing and learning how to avoid it. The result of gear and clothes that just aren’t working together, printing can ruin any concealed carrier’s day; but with a few tips and tricks, concealed carriers can escape the printing problem and be on the way to comfortable, successful concealment.
What is printing?
The term printing is a simple way of saying that the outline of the firearm is visible through clothes or the cover garment while concealed carrying. The goal of concealed carry is to keep the gun hidden from sight, so printing is problematic as it signals to those around you that there’s a gun in the midst.
Printing is often the result of clothes that are too tight or aren’t quite practical for concealed carry purposes. Whites tend to showcase a concealed gun more than darker clothes and skin-tight attire doesn’t leave much room to house a gun and holster; but there are other means to break up the outline of a gun and they don’t require wearing oversized sweatshirts. To ditch printing and better conceal carry your gun, try out some of these tips.
Tip #1: Invest in a good holster/belt combo
A good holster makes all the difference in terms of concealed carrying, elevating your ability to wear more fitted attire without printing. A good holster brings the firearm closer to the wearer’s body and with the addition of a claw, wedge or wing can help rotate the grip of the gun towards the wearer eliminating that blocky, pointy look.
While a holster is a necessity for concealed carry, a solid belt also opens the door to better concealment by securing the holster to the wearer. A floppy holster will move around while the wearer moves, thereby alerting bystanders to the presence of a firearm. A good gun belt; however, will keep the holster in place and prevent it from moving around the belt line.
Tip #2: Get creative with your wardrobe
A common misconception regarding concealed carry is that gun owners must wear oversized, baggy clothes in order to hide the gun; but, frankly, that’s not the case. Using a little creativity, gun owners can still balance their regular wardrobe with concealed carry.
Dark colors and patterns are an easy means to break up the outline of a gun. When sporting my Glock 19, I opt for florals, plaid and polka dots to better conceal the midsize gun in the appendix position. While you won’t find me sweatshirts and sweaters, I do sport looser, flowing outfits that move while I move allowing the gun to stay hidden on my beltline.
Play around with the clothes in your closet and get creative with outfits. Often times you’ll be surprised by what you find works well alongside concealed carry.
Tip #3: Understand and test your gear
As much as we all want that unicorn holster and gun combo that allows us to concealed carry flawlessly, the reality is holsters come with their limitations. As concealed carriers, it’s up to us to understand this and determine what we can and can’t achieve with our setup.
Before heading out with a gun in holster, take a few minutes to evaluate how the clothing works with gear. I suggest twisting, turning, bending over and reaching overhead to understand what you can and can’t do with the gun in place. Knowing this ahead of time will prevent any slip-ups while out on the town and negate any anxiety you might have about concealment. This also gives you the opportunity to switch outfits if the clothing just doesn’t quite work with concealed carry.
Printing can be easily avoided with some simple techniques. Using a good holster paired with the right wardrobe and understanding of how your gear holds up day-to-day will eliminate any concerns about printing while conceal carrying.
If you’re on the hunt for a concealed carry gun, make sure to check out Guns.com’s inventory of new and certified used handguns perfect for concealment.