Summer months usually mean we get to dress in a more relaxed fashion and often need to shed layers. This can impact how and if we carry concealed. Here are some ideas for concealed carry options in the summer that don’t involve drastic changes to how you dress or carry a firearm.
Take It or Leave It
We can’t use a self-defense tool that we don’t have. If beating the heat means we wear less clothing, we have fewer options to conceal our self-defense tool—whether that’s a firearm, pepper spray or something else. Modifying or adapting what we wear so that we can still carry some sort of self-defense tool is an important step in staying prepared to care for our own and our family’s safety.
One of the simplest ways to ensure you carry when it’s hot and you are limited on places to conceal is to plan ahead. My personal preference is to wear pants or shorts (either jeans or something with a waistband, maybe even my favorite skort, that have a traditional button and zipper style waist), and a T-shirt or tank top. I add my concealed carry in a Sticky holster IWB (inside waistband) and I’m good to go. I live in a house with young adults and a teen ... we stash our every day carry firearms where we will pick them up with our wallets. It’s requires nearly zero effort to carry this way.
If I’m not wearing something that allows me to use a Sticky holster, this is where I need to plan ahead. I might make sure my tank top that hides a corset-held firearm is clean, or that I know where my favorite bag to carry concealed in is stashed. But by giving this a little forethought, there isn’t much you can’t wear and still have your firearm.
Cinch It Up!
I truly am not a fan of constrictive clothing in the heat, but the waste-trimming effects of a corset-style holster are a perk to wearing one. Find one that you like to wear; you might even don a pair of high-wasted concealed carry capris or bike shorts under your skirt or shorts. I would love to see Spanx with concealed-carry options!
But under a skirt or jean shorts, a corset holster is a pretty simple and easy-to-hide method of carrying. Most corsets also have a loop to keep your firearm secured. This one does, and it also has room for a credit card and my phone. This means I could go to the fair, walk the dog, or attend a movie in a skirt and tank top and not have to worry about my purse!
Bags, Fanny Packs, Belt Bags & Purses
You don’t always have to carry in a method concealed by clothing. In fact, when it’s hot, carrying your firearm in something like a fanny pack might be simpler. For the hikers, bikers and urban wanderers, a bag worn at the waist will give you hands-free carry while concealing your firearm in a utilitarian way.
I use a fanny pack from Tactica, and have incorporated a couple of modifications that work for me. First, I took Tactica’s Hook & Loop holster and trimmed one of the adhesive mounting pads to fit inside the fanny pack. Then I simply mounted the holster for my concealed-carry firearm where it sits best for me. Now I’m ready to run, hike, bike and wander without having to put on extra clothes to hide my gun!
Secondly, which does not affect how this bag works, but was more about my personal preferences, I removed the heavy buckle on the outer pouch. It was cute and featured a fun, military-inspired design that I liked, but it flopped around on aggressive movement. I simply cut the webbing, replaced it with a small carabiner, and sewed the end back together. But I love that this little bag also has a place to hook a pocket knife or a small flashlight ... maybe your pepper spray, and there is a hook-and-loop flap that goes over the top to secure it. I’ve lost too many pocket knives!
Tactica also makes a belly band holster that would be less constrictive than a corset. So do a little research, and you can find many options that won’t mean buying new clothes just to carry your firearm when the mercury rises.
Build Habits That Allow You To Carry
The last couple of thoughts I have about carrying in summer are that if you buy clothes knowing that you plan to carry, it will make choosing an outfit on any given day simpler. If you buy only tight T-shirts or form-fitting clothes, you’re going to have fewer options to carry that don’t involve a bag or purse. I like shirts with a loose-fitting waist and light materials that will drape off the upper body and hide what’s at my waist.
Whichever way you carry, you need to consider that the act of carrying, the reasons why you are doing it, are, for most people, about personal responsibility and personal protection. Taking those jobs into our own hands means daily and habitual practice. So if you decide on a new method of carry for summer, practice dry fire with it, and get to the range for some live fire practice if you can.