You guys might have noticed from the few pictures that I’ve posted that I’m a pretty little guy. To be exact, I’m 5 foot 6 inches tall, and weigh about 150 pounds, which means I’m small (visual evidence here). Combined with that, I like to dress well. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself metrosexual, more like metrotactical.
One of the problems that I encounter with my daily carry rigs is a combination of those two factors, one I’m small and two I like to dress well. The problem is that “well dressed” usually entails “clothes that fit well”, which is another way of saying “clothes that you can’t conceal a damn thing under”. When that gets coupled with me being little, concealing a respectable firearm in a decent caliber can become something of a challenge.
So, say you’re like me; you’re a young, upwardly mobile professional who likes to look good, but also likes to carry, what kind of options do you have? Well, since I’ve been dealing with this problem for several years now, I’ve got a good list of things that work and things that don’t work.
The first thing I take into account is jackets; in spring/winter/fall practical concealment is a lot easier because I can wear one of many of my lighter jackets which will cover anything up to a full size Beretta 92FS. But I still have to take into account concealing said firearm if/when I take my jacket off, which is essentially why I build my carry strategy around what I can conceal in summer time.
Rule numero uno for little guy concealment is that you have to pick your clothes around the gun, not the gun around your clothes. For example, most of the time I carry the aforementioned 92 series gun – a fullsize 9mm. It’s big but light, but too big to just drop into pocket. So it’s got to be in a holster, either an IWB holster or a belt holster.
I generally carry with inside the waistband holsters, because it allows me to still wear a motorcycle or bomber jacket without worrying about the bottom of my holster poking out under the jacket if I move. Knowing that I’ll be carrying IWB, I honestly buy most of my trousers at least 1 or 2 inches larger than my actual waist size. That allows me to get the firearm into the holster with my belt securely fastened without feeling like I’m going to bust out of my jeans. So like I said, rule number is dress around the gun.
But pants are the easy part; a good pair of Dockers khakis or Levis combined with a proper leather belt has more than enough tensile strength to support even a fully loaded 16 round 9mm. What about shirts? Personally, I can’t stand feeling the gun pressing into my skin, so I always wear and undershirt, which has the added benefit of protecting any exposed parts of the firearm from the harmful oils in my skin. So, undershirt, jeans, and IWB holster; so far so good. But what goes over the undershirt?
The answer to that depends on the season. In summer, I wear a lot of untucked polo shirts, or long sleeved button-downs with the sleeves rolled up, a lot like the shirts here. I generally prefer darker colors, because in the event that I am printing with the butt of my firearm, it’s less likely to be obvious with a brown shirt than it is with a white or light blue shirt. If you go with a polo, make sure that it’s not too tight in the waist area, because then you’ll end up printing your firearm right through the shirt.
In the colder seasons, a good sweater can work wonders. Again, with a good IWB holster, a well fitted sweater can and often does conceal a 4 inch revolver quite handily. You can also keep the long sleeved button down, and just roll the sleeves down for a bit of extra warmth.
Now, you’re mileage on this may vary, because what works for me might not work for you. But if you’re like me, and you want to dress well while carrying your concealed firearm, it is possible. To summarize my methods:
- IWB holsters are the way to go
- Buy your pants one or two inches too big to accommodate your carry gun and holster
- Wear a good belt
- Untucked polos/long sleeve button downs of a dark color.
Follow that advice, match your holster to your shoes, and then you’ll be metro-tactical like me.