Tips for Concealed Carry During the Summer
This entry was posted on October 16, 2018.
When the summer months come around, many gun owners find that it becomes more difficult to concealed carry due to the hot weather and light clothing that comes with the season. Holsters that work perfectly fine in cooler months can suddenly become uncomfortable in the summer as the heat and humidity cause the holster to become hot against your skin as well as cause sweating and chafing. You also will be switching wardrobes to something with fewer layers and lighter materials. This makes it more difficult to properly conceal your weapon. In the fall and winter, jackets and layers easily hide even the bulkiest of holsters. In hot weather, however, you will need to be more conscious of hiding your gun while maintaining your comfort. To conceal your weapon while staying as comfortable as possible in the heat, be sure to choose the proper holster, clothing and gun.
Choosing a Holster for Summer Months
In cooler months, you may very well be able to get away with shoulder holsters and OWB (outside the waistband) holsters. Your several layers of clothing and jackets will easily conceal these types of holsters. When it comes to the summer heat, you will want to switch to a holster that is more compact and made of lighter materials. There are lots of material options to choose from, and each one has its benefits. Take a look at some of the most popular holster materials:
- Leather - Leather holsters are usually made from cowhide or horsehide, but also come in more exotic materials like shark, kangaroo, python and bison. If you choose a leather holster, be sure that it is thick and has well-defined lines that are fitted to your gun so that the holster maintains its shape. While leather is a common choice in cool weather, it is not the best option for summer time. The leather heats up easily in the sun and can become very hot against your skin. You could wear an undershirt to protect your skin from the holster, though wearing double layers in the heat is not usually comfortable. Leather holsters should generally be kept out of extreme heat, humidity and dry air because they can begin to crack or become dry-rotted. Additionally, good leather holsters are fairly bulky and are difficult to hide under light clothing. So, if you have a leather holster, save it for cooler months and opt for something different when summer time rolls around.
- Nylon - Nylon holsters are easier to conceal than others because they are so flexible and lightweight. However, they are also less durable than other holsters and can begin to fray after several months of repeated use. The nylon is porous and will absorb liquids such as sweat. After several uses, the holster will begin to smell and washing it could cause it to shrink. While a nylon holster might be a good idea every once in a while for certain situations, they are not recommended for everyday use, especially in the heat of summer.
- Synthetics (Kydex) - Kydex is a synthetic holster made of a thin thermoplastic sheet. The plastic is heated and molded to fit the exact shape of specific firearms. The snug fit means your gun will be secure in the holster and the holster will never lose its shape. Since your gun will fit perfectly in the holster, it won't weigh the holster down, which eliminates the risk of your holster being spotted sticking out under your shirt. A Kydex holster is an excellent choice for a summer holster because the material is incredibly lightweight. Since the holsters are also very thin, they are easier to conceal under light clothing such as t-shirts. The material is non-porous, so it won't capture sweat or dirt. Kydex holsters can also be easily washed off with soap and water. Because of the lightweight thermoplastic material, Kydex holsters provide the most comfort in hot summer months.
- Hybrids - A hybrid holster is the combination of a synthetic holster with a leather backing. The leather pad is designed to sit snugly against your skin while your gun fits securely in the Kydex. If you don't want a full synthetic holster, the hybrid holster is the next best choice. The leather can still get hot against your skin, but the holster is more lightweight than an all-leather holster. Since hybrid holsters are more lightweight and less bulky than leather holsters, they are more comfortable and easier to conceal, making them a better choice during the summer.
While a synthetic Kydex holster is the best material for a summer holster, the style of holster is another important factor to consider. OWB holsters are appropriate for open carry or concealed carry in the winter time when you're wearing a jacket or overcoat, but IWB (inside the waistband) holsters are recommended for concealed carry during the summer. IWB holsters are tucked between your trousers and undergarments, keeping them out of sight and off your skin. With the proper clothing, these holsters are easy to conceal. While IWB holsters are commonly used, they aren't always practical. Sometimes, your outfit or environment will call for a different style of holster. There are lots of alternative holster options on the market:
- Pocket holsters - A pocket holster is just what it sounds like - a holster that fits inside a pocket. Pocket holsters are typically covered in a tacky material that helps them stay secure in your pocket without moving. They also usually have a squared-off design that helps to eliminate printing through clothing. Pocket holsters can easily fit in the pocket of a pair of cargo shorts or pants, making them a viable option when the summer heat comes around. Since these holsters come in all different materials and styles, be sure to choose one that works best with your clothing. Try your pocket holster out with several pairs of shorts and pants to find the best fit.
- Belly bands - A belly band holster is made from a stretchy material that compresses around your waist. These holsters are very lightweight, making them easy to conceal under even the thinnest athletic clothing. As an added benefit, a belly band pretty much eliminates the need to wear a belt. Many belly bands also have additional pockets for credit cards, a cell phone, keys, and more. The material is breathable and easy to wash, so it's a good choice to wear when it's hot outside. For women who concealed carry, belly bands come in a comfortable and more feminine lace material as well.
- Fanny pack - Storing a gun in a fanny pack is a last-resort option, and some people say that it screams "concealed carry," however, it can be a good option for traveling. Wearing a fanny pack in a touristy area is not unusual so you will blend in fairly well. A fanny pack should only be your holster option when none of the other options suffice. Of course, a fanny pack is also not practical for everyday use.
- Purse - Women may sometimes choose to conceal their weapon in a purse or bag. If you do this, be sure that the weapon is secured within the bag and keep the bag on you at all times. Do not leave your bag unattended. Again, this should be a last-resort option. It is better to have the weapon on your person for your own safety and for easier access.
Summer Clothing for Concealed Carry
As important as it is to choose the proper holster, it is equally important to wear clothing that will help you concealed carry. Choosing clothing for concealed carry in the summer is difficult because you will want to wear lighter clothing and fewer layers. The risk of printing or exposing your weapon increases with your summer wardrobe. Keep these tips in mind when dressing to concealed carry in the summertime:
- Increase pant size - If you're going with an IWB holster, it could be a good idea to go up a pant size or two. This allows more room for your holster and gun and can make concealed carry more comfortable.
- Loosen belt - If you find that you have to expand your belt to the last holes in order to accommodate your holster, you may want to buy a bigger belt. That way, you can adjust your belt to a comfortable position while wearing your holster. You won't have to feel like you are squeezed in tight with your holster on.
- Wear exterior layer - Wearing an undershirt or tank top with a loose exterior layer is a great way to concealed carry in the summertime. A short-sleeved shirt is a great outer layer because it provides ventilation under your shirt and also prevents printing.
- Choose longer shirts - You may want to wear a shirt that is longer than usual when you concealed carry to prevent your holster from sticking out. Another inch or two added to the length of a shirt makes a big difference.
- Avoid tight clothing - Wearing tight clothing in the summer months will make you sweat more, which can cause your holster to become uncomfortable. Tight clothing also seriously increases the chance of your weapon printing through your clothing, which defeats the purpose of concealed carry.
- Choose stretchy fabric - Stretchy fabrics that are made of sweat-wicking materials are your best choice for the heat. Linen, polyester blends and synthetic fabrics will all help to keep you cool and conceal your weapon.
- Wear dark colors - Darker colors conceal weapons better than light colors. Avoid wearing white or pastel colors. Also, avoid any fabrics that are sheer. Keep in mind that light colors, like white, become see-through when they get wet or damp. Wearing darker colors reduces the likelihood of printing.
- Choose textured clothing - Wearing textured clothing helps to hide printing because the textures make it hard to spot shapes and outlines. The textures will break up the lines of your weapon so it is more easily concealed.
- Avoid stripes - Stripes make it incredibly easy to spot a weapon. Printing is almost guaranteed if you wear stripes because the stripes become distorted as they pass over your holster. It will be obvious you are carrying if you wear stripes.
After you are dressed and have your weapon concealed on your body, check that the weapon is fully concealed. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and check yourself from multiple angles. While looking in the mirror, try various movements such as squatting, sitting, reaching your hands over your head and bending over. Notice if your weapon is visible from any angle. Some movements may need to be avoided in order to keep your gun concealed. For instance, it is better to squat than to bend over when wearing certain holsters.
Modified clothing is also a popular choice for concealed carry. You can find shirts, pants, jackets and more that have built-in pockets and compartments for your firearm. On top of that, you could even take non-modified clothing to a tailor to have special pockets added. Of course, let your tailor know that you are bringing your gun ahead of time to ensure that they are comfortable measuring the weapon to sew your pockets.
Switch to a Subcompact Summer Gun
To further conceal your weapon, you may have to switch out your usual concealed carry gun of choice for something more compact in the summer months. The most important factor to consider when looking for the perfect concealed carry gun is the width of the barrel and grip. The width is what is going to make the gun bulge more so than the length or weight. It is common to carry one gun in the cooler months and another smaller gun during the summer. Take a look at some of the most common concealed carry guns:
- - Beretta 92 Compact
- - Beretta PX4 Subcompact
- - Glock 26 Gen 3 (9MM)
- - RUGER LCRx .38 Special
- - Sig P320 Subcompact
- - Smith & Wesson M&P 40C
- - Springfield XDs (.45 ACP)
Many manufacturers have a line of subcompact guns that are specifically designed for concealed carry purposes. These smaller firearms will be easier to conceal under light clothing, making them an ideal choice during summer.
Other Tips for Concealed Carry During Summer
- - Cheap powders like Gold Bond or a roll-on like Body Glide can help prevent chafing when your holster rubs against your skin.
- - Any holster you choose should fit close to your body to prevent printing through clothing.
- - Wear a holster every day for at least two weeks to break it in and allow it to become more comfortable.
- - Be aware of your environment. Rain, wind and sweat can make your weapon easier to spot.
- - If you want to conceal a magazine, a single stack is always easier to conceal than a double stack.
High Noon Holsters for Summer Months
At High Noon Holsters, all of our holsters are custom made in the USA to ensure the best quality and fit for your gun. If you're in need of a new holster for concealed carry during the summer, we have a variety of Kydex and hybrid holsters available. If you can't find your gun model, we may still be able to create a holster for it. Just give us a call if you need something custom. Browse our store or shop by category: