Tips on Dressing with Concealed Carry Weapons in Summer Weather
It can be difficult to dress around a concealed carry holster in summer weather. The sun’s sweltering intensity varies with the seasons – yearly chapters marked by noble professions like farming crops to fill families’ bellies. We react to and rely on summer heat in many ways, and while it may be getting hot, summer is not the time to cool down firearm carrying.
Beside agriculture, another honorable American identifier is the defense of liberty, family and friends – no matter the time of day, month or year. Owning a gun – and carrying it safely, for example, in outside the waistband holsters or inside the waistband holsters – is a right the founding fathers guaranteed in our constitution, figuratively written with the blood of those who have died protecting our land with firearms.
That being said, why let the sun dictate whether or not a firearm is comfortable enough to be carried during the summer? There are ways to adjust clothing options to both the heat in the sky and in your holster.
CCW Printing and Spotting Can Be Avoided
Drape is defined as the way a fabric hangs. Draping is not restricted to hanging velveteen or satin curtains in a living room window. The terminology is also not barred to a significant other’s “drapey” night gown.
In apparel construction, drape is the measure by which a fabric folds or hangs on the subject. A band t-shirt drapes. A suit jacket drapes. Your favorite, comfortable tank top has drape. Drape is the means by which concealed carry weaponry can be stored comfortably and without printing, and in turn spotting.
Printing is when a firearm is visible through clothing – often in the shape in of an obvious gun-shaped bulge. Spotting is when someone within the public sees the print of a firearm on another’s body. If and how they react is what drives many to be concerned about printing, especially during a time of the year when shorts and a t-shirt are both ccw acceptable and preferable for a large majority of society.
There is a good portion of the population that does not care about printing. That’s completely valid and fair. However, when carrying a concealed weapon, some want their line of defense invisible to their attacker’s eye.
Drape deters printing. This doesn’t mean find the baggiest t-shirt and oversized cargo shorts to jam a gun into and call it good. It is as simple as having an extra inch or two on the waist of a pair of shorts to compensate for an IWB holster. Pair that with a shirt that has room around the waist or anywhere on the torso a firearm will be located. Drape also provides ventilation in summer heat.
Fabric Content Plays a Role in Concealed Carry
Often knits will have more give than woven fabrics.
The difference between the two is simple. A knit is a continual thread interlocked and looped throughout a fabric, providing more space at the micro level of a garment for stretch. A woven has a crosswise and lengthwise grain (horizontal and vertical threads) that weave into one another and is stiffer. Why does this matter though?
The structure of a knit provides more natural give, and a woven is a stiffer structure. The drape hangs differently on both types of fabric. Bottom line: think about what’s going on the body. It doesn’t matter if it’s a knit or a woven, so long as they are fitted appropriately for their structure and performance qualities.
Speaking of fabric, the material in holsters matters just the same. This is pronounced during summer heat. A hybrid holster combines two or more materials in the product and can serve you well. Here’s an in depth explanation of hybrid holsters. The body reacts to the material you put on it.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 iwb holster contains multiple materials and components that exemplify what comfortable summer concealed carry looks like. These traits are reverberated in other holsters from other brands, but for the sake of example, these are a couple things a summer holster does well.
Neoprene is the starting point. In this holster, the neoprene is the layer that sits against the body. This fabric is smooth, flexible and performs well with liquid, which is why it is often found in scuba diving suits. It wicks away moisture from the body, which is a boon when the body is sweating under the summer sun.
The Cloak Tuck 3.5 also places less hardware against the body. When sweat and metal mingle for too long, the metal may be negatively affected. In addition, the ride height on this holster can be altered to sit lower, thereby requiring less of the gun to jut upward to be covered by an appropriate top. Additionally, this makes dressing with button ups an easier affair.
Concealed Carry Clothing for Summer
So, fabric type and performance on both apparel and holsters is something to seriously consider when warding against printing in summer clothing. This is predicated on concealed carry, however. Open carriers, if their respective laws applicable to them warrant it, do not have to worry about the marriage of seamless concealment and individual style.
At this point, your shorts are a bit wider in the waist to compensate for the space the holster takes up and your shirt hangs over the holster with the appropriate drape, but as always there are more options. Alternatively, your shirt can be tucked in with the appropriate type of holster with the right kind of clips to allow this. This will make the firearm more difficult to access.
In addition, women can choose between a wealth of bra holsters, often worn attached to the middle of the bra and tucked beneath the underwire. This type of concealed carry can be achieved even with fitted shirts, and it also means a dress is no longer out of the realm of possibilities.
No matter the season, clothing or where the holster is, any amount of varied holster types or compensated space in the dimensions of the clothing is useless if the gun owner is not appropriately trained to unholster and utilize their firearm quickly, safely and accurately.
When it comes down to the wire, muscle memory will be a saving grace, but the form and function of a firearm storage system is a critical component to consider and a wardrobe doesn’t have to be a barring factor for efficient carrying.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.