The number of American citizens legally carrying a concealed weapon has dramatically increased over the last several years. This is a great thing. Whether you’re a conscientious citizen who jumped through the hoops to get a concealed carry permit or a brand-new cop carrying off-duty for the first time, you need training on how to carry concealed.
Before jumping right into the training aspect of everyday carry (EDC), let’s talk about some of the changes required for successful and comfortable concealed carry. The first reality is that you are probably going to have to change the way you dress. Most of us don’t have an impossibly narrow waist and incredibly broad shoulders, so the first thing to do is get some shirts that provide extra room around the waist to hide the butt of your pistol. Regardless of whether you carry appendix or strong side, the pistol butt is usually what gets people “made.” Because I carry appendix (front of body, just off center to the strong side), I easily get away with wearing a T-shirt as a cover garment. This is one of the reasons I started carrying in the appendix position nearly 20 years ago, even though most trainers at the time scoffed at it.
For those who carry at 3 or 4 o’clock on their strong side, T-shirts might not be the best bet, and you may need to add button-up shirts to your wardrobe. Some of the best purpose-built concealed carry shirts are those made by 5.11. The company understands the market and offers a wide variety of cuts and styles, providing a good fit and great concealment for people of different body types without the appearance of wearing your fat uncle’s button-ups. I gravitate toward the Freedom Flex button-up for its athletic cut, but my friend and collaborator Alfredo prefers the extra roominess of the Ares button-up.
Pant selection provides a little more flexibility. Generally, ensuring that the waist is an inch or two bigger than otherwise needed is all that is required to keep a pistol holstered inside the waistband (IWB). If you do not carry IWB, then it’s a moot point — or it used to be a moot point. EDC has come to encompass much more than just a gun and a reload. Easily accessible pockets for carrying items such as spare ammunition and tourniquets, as well as athletic cuts and stretch materials