Conceal Carry in Restaurants
If you've ever seen a guy at Buffalo Wild Wings, sitting on a high bar-stool, with the clear outline of his pistol grip showing through his tanktop, you've probably taken a mental note to avoid that behavior. First off, it's childish. If you're going to be armed in a bar (something that's often restricted in most states), don't be so immature you want to advertise to the rest of the audience.
In this article, we're going to address some of the major issues of carrying concealed armed in a restaurant and some recommended best practices.
Weapon Placement With Consideration To Sitting
What use is a concealed firearm if it's digging into you the entire time you're seated in a restaurant?Positioning your concealed carry firearm so you can sit comfortably in a restaurant is an important consideration you shouldn't discount. Certain holster positions may leave the barrel either digging uncomfortably into your inner thigh or pointing at your groin – two situations that don't make for light dinner conversation. Standard 3 o'clock provides a good streamlined approach to keep the concealed firearm consistent along the outer thigh.
Avoid: Adjusting your holster position in public
Consider: 3 o'clock firearm positioning beneath either a suit coat or untucked button-up shirt. Note: If you need to transition from one holster position to another, adjust in a stall in the bathroom. It is not recommended to transition your inside your waistband holster while in the lobby or main floor of the restaurant.
Body Placement Inside The Restaurant
Maintaining situational awareness in any environment is important. Consider positioning your self with your face naturally facing the main entrance and/or bathrooms. This will give you view over the main flow of people inside a restaurant. Avoid sitting with your back to a door or a window as this gives you a bad vantage point to react.
Avoid: Sitting with your back to doors or large windows.
Consider: Sitting in a booth with good visibility over the entrance, kitchen, and bathrooms.
Note: For high-traffic evenings, this may mean waiting a couple extra minutes in the waiting lobby until a server can find you appropriate seating. If your dining companion looks at you funny, just wink knowingly. This will throw him or her off for at least a minute or two.
Printing While Seated – How Much Is Too Much?
If you're wearing an inside the waistband concealed carry holster, positioned at the recommended 3 o'clock (9 o'clock for lefties), chances are good there will be some printing that occurs when you take a seat. If you normally position your pistol or revolver at 4 o'clock and are seated on a stool or other high chair, you'll find that the printing only gets worse. To get over this, consider wearing a light jacket or button-up shirt that will break up the outline of the firearm in your waistline. People just need a reasonable amount of distraction to take the heat off your firearm and keep it where it needs to be – on anything else.
Avoid: High seating arrangements (i.e. high bar stools)
Consider: 3 o'clock IWB positioning with a light shirt or jacket over the holster area.
Note: If you need to reposition, go to a bathroom stall to do so. If the only seats available are high seats, just make sure you've got some outer garment that is loose enough to not constrict around the pistol grip.
In conclusion, always ensure that you're in a state that allows you to be in an establishment that serves alcohol prior to carrying in the first place. And most importantly, always carry responsibly (not drinking alcohol).
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.