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Summer Concealed Carry

DC Reed/Director

Hey, hot weather concealment is a common topic now with the Concealed Carry of Weapons (CCW) crowd. I have found people who carry all but religiously 9 months out of the year then hide a gun in their car during summer months because of the temps and humidity and of course the lighter, skimpier, shorter clothing.

(Ahem) Um, it’s one of the things I actually like about summer! (Nuff said, stay on topic!)

As always these are my opinions based on 35 years of carrying a handgun, in uniform and out, but mostly concealed. Years spent operating and training weapons to military, foreign governments, and civilians on four continents. I can be wrong, but don’t necessarily enjoy hearing that. Your experiences may vary. Also I have not seen it all and consider myself more of a “professional student” than an expert. Experts are usually jerks.

So, for Spring to Summer carry (65-80 degrees) with a t-shirt and an untucked open lightweight cotton or rip stop over-shirt as a concealing garment you can conceal with the right Outside the Waist Band (OWB) type belt holster and belt. If it moves with you, good. If it moves on its own, bad. I also depend on Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holsters such as my Milt Sparks/Bruce Nelson Summer Special. For a Commander sized 1911 it can’t be beat.

Now when it’s over 80 degrees and up, it’s no longer “over shirt” weather but “under your polo or t-shirt” weather. With shorts and a t-shirt I commonly use a Bianchi, Galco, Uncle Mike’s, or DeSantis pocket holster with my M&P Shield or S&W 442 revolver. Very good with the Shield or my M&P 40c or even Glock 27 is the King Tuk IWB.

I’m seeing the trend towards one of the new broad rear panel (hybrid) inside the pants holsters and there are dozens now to try. I prefer the Bianchi Model 135 but there are many (Crossbreed, Foxx, etc. ) in leather and Kydex. I’m also a fan and frequent user of the Galco King Tuk, which allows me to tuck in a shirt over my CCW weapon. “Small of the back” holsters hide well, but then go try to sit in the car. Ouch. Gotta be a very flat semi-auto.

I’ve reviewed a number of “minimalist” holsters and keep coming back to the Galco Yaqui slide and the DeSantis mini scabbard open top, both worn OWB on the belt. Then a frequent flyer of mine, so to speak, is the Galco JAK inside the belt but outside the pants holster, which depends on your having an oversized by 2-4″ belt.

Speaking of Kydex, either IWB or OWB belt slide maker I’ve been impressed with Leadfarmers Inc holsters, but likely you can find a local guy or gal making open top “pancake” style in the $45-65 range. Make sure they mold to your body, retain the gun, are properly curved for your hips, and that your belt works with it. That said nobody does Kydex better than Blade Tech. I own almost 10 for various guns.

Lastly there’s the Belly bands, and they do work. I know many men and also female detectives, undercover officers, and body guards who swear by them. Under a loose shirt that can be pulled up quickly they work, but you will sweat. Much.

I also have a 5.11 and a Woolrich Elite summer concealment shirt to go with any holster. They look like a short sleeved untucked button up casual shirt. They have a combination of Velcro and snaps replacing the normal buttons for “pull up or tear-away” access to your rig.

Ok, here’s the sound of my mind closing…(slam!) on any piece of equipment that does not grant me a tactical advantage. “Never let your equipment defeat you” is a canon of policing survival. So (zing!) is also the sound of bad equipment flying out of my life and into a dumpster.

So, what I am NOT a fan of:

  • 1. Ankle holsters. I’ve worn them all and won’t again. Nothing puckers your butt like running in the dark and seeing the flash of your Smith snubbie flying off in front of you!
  • 2. Shoulder holsters. Only if I’m a driver doing protection and otherwise never again. Dirty Harry and Sonny Crockett be damned.
  • 3. Groin holsters. If I were suddenly 20 – 30 years younger working narcotics, wearing a wire, and carrying a 25 or 32 auto. So, in other words, no.
  • 4. Cross draw. Just stupid. Sorry, my opinion. One alibi again are seated body guard/protective drivers who stay with the car. Oh, maybe if suddenly I were hired as a Air Marshal. See number 3’s last sentence above.
  • 5. Appendix IWB carry. Popular with shooters using the ‘clip draw’ type weapons-mounted clip. It is bothersome to me and does not allow a solid, well executed draw stroke. I’m thinking if a right hander can carry well at the 2:00 position on their body, then why not 5:00? (For lefties it’s 10:00 vs. 7:35 or so.)
  • 6. Ballistic nylon pancake holsters. One size does not fit all. They close up after drawing and even if they don’t they are not molded for a specific weapon so as to allow friction to be part of retention. That and I’ve seen them ripped right the heck off a guy’s belt by only minimal effort during training. Un uh. Nope.
  • 7. Lastly, open carry. If a cop wearing a badge with the gun on the belt and on the job, got it. I think I’d still conceal. Gun Club meeting, in your own business, range days, Texas barbecues, ok that’s not what I’m talking about.


Open carry for civilians gives away your principle advantage, a surprise defense based off anonymity. Nobody knows you’re carrying so YOU choose whether to engage or not, based on when YOU decide you have an advantage. To those who say wearing openly discourages situations from starting I say, yeah, maybe. But this ignores those with death wishes and mental illness who then will have the advantage of timing, surprise, and position on you when they go lethal.
If you are reacting to an aggressor you are losing. If they are reacting to you, you are winning.

There are more holsters I like and probably some I hate I’ve forgotten, but how about you? Let us know what you think.

Again, if you have something new I might be open to learning from the discussion. If you think I’m just flat out wrong, well… See the first few paragraphs above for directions!

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