A big part of concealed carry is…you guessed it…concealing your CCW. A responsible concealed carrier takes this to heart and typically puts quite a bit of consideration into the concealment portion of concealed carry. There is no doubt many options out on the market. Some good, some bad.
And, for the end-user, their preferred carry method is likely to change often depending on the objective and environment they are in. One of the many options on the market are shirts designed to carry and conceal handguns underneath you out garments.
The best concealed carry shirts should accomplish a number of things to ensure you carry in a safe, secure, comfortable, and effective manner. Your body type, work situation, carrying environment, carrying style, and weapon type should all be given considerations when you decide the best option.
In this piece, we will be taking a closer look at the factors you need to keep in mind when making your selection. Before that, however, we will give you a quick list of some of the best concealed carry shirts we have seen on the market. Let’s get into it.
The holster shirts from 5.11 are some of the most popular with concealed carriers. The company has a wide range of concealed carry clothing solutions for men and women alike, and this is one of their flagship offerings.
The 5.11 Tactical Men’s Holster Shirt, like most undershirts they produce, is made out of a mesh-like, form-fitting polyester/spandex blended fabric, much the same as you see in Under Armor activewear t-shirts if you are familiar with those. It is a breathable, moisture-wicking material that prevents overheating and excessive sweating.
You will have two shoulder slots for your firearms or accessories, and these are helped stay secure by hook and loop fasteners. The padded neoprene layer adds to its comfort, and it comes with an integrated shoulder yoke that serves to distribute the weight of your sidearm for added comfort.
With strengthened seams and bar tacking at its stress points, it makes for a durable concealed carry solution. Get it in black or white.
This is a great holster shirt from ConcealmentClothes—a well-reviewed name in concealed carry clothing production. The Men’s Crew Neck Conceal Carry Shirt has many of the features of the 5.11 product above and includes the two holsters under the left and right shoulders. You can store additional accessories here, such as extra magazines, cell phones, travel wallets, etc.
The lightweight polyester and spandex blend makes it lightweight, breathable, and easy to wash, while enforced seams make it durable. They also have a long sleeve holster shirt option that will help keep off the cold if you find yourself carrying in chilly conditions.
There are plenty of options available to women when it comes to concealed carry clothing solutions. The AC Undercover Concealed Carry tank top holster shirt is a great example. It comes with two concealment pockets, one on each side, to accommodate both left and right-hand draws.
It is made from a tight-fitting, breathable material to prevent weapon sagging while holstered and it fits tight your body for better concealment. It manages this without restricting your movements.
The tank top design makes it ideal for pairing with all types of dresses, blouses, and tops as it does not show at the neckline or past the shoulders. User recommendations suggest the best combinations and pairings would be loose-fitting blouses, loose sweaters, jackets, or shirts with a button-down at the front.
It makes for a much more comfortable concealed carry solution than bra holsters or waistband holsters while being much safer and more convenient than ankle holsters or purse carrying (purses can be easily snatched away). You will also have a much smoother, quicker draw in comparison with some of the other concealed carry methods.
You can get it in white or black, and because its fit is true-to-size, we suggest going up a size if you happen to lie between two sizes.
5.11 has another great concealed carry solution in the 5.11 Tactical Sleeveless Holster Shirt that will work well for those who would like more flexibility when it comes to their dressing options and a greater level of freedom in their movement.
The polyester-elastane blend of the shirt effectively wicks away sweat and minimizes heat buildup, keeping you cool and comfortable. It helps to maintain a normal-looking silhouette thanks to the form-fitting qualities of this material.
Durability and comfort are two highly touted qualities of this shirt. Its spacious pockets, located underneath each shoulder, will allow you to carry your firearms and/or any other accessories you find necessary.
Another major point in favor of this shirt is its suitability for those participating in various physical activities like running. This can be a solid option for those looking for a solution to conceal carry during exercise.
Why Choose a Holster Shirt?
Concealed carry undershirts, commonly referred to as holster shirts, are shirts designed to provide another option in the concealed carry world. You may be considering other options such as ankle holster or inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters, so make sure whatever you decide fits your desired applications.
Various factors make them effective in fulfilling this purpose. They allow you to carry your sidearm in a position that makes it very hard to detect for the casual observer, as even those who know what to look for might have a more difficult time ID’ing your weapon.
They also fit closely against your body, allowing for a slim profile that helps look more natural when compared to wearing overly baggy clothing to aid in concealment.
However, a common concern raised by many when it comes to this carrying method is its effectiveness in accommodating larger or bulkier weapons. The reality is that these shirts come with surprisingly deep holster pockets, able to accommodate even the longest barrel.
Large grips and extended magazines may, however, pose a challenge to your efforts. These “printing” issues are common with most holsters types when combined with concealed carry. With that said, it will be useful to take a look at some of the factors you need to consider when dressing for concealment.
What to Consider When Picking Out Concealed Carry Tops
Having a sound understanding of how your choice of shirt will help you achieve your objectives here—comfort, functionality, and discretion—will help guide you when making your decision.
People do not wear the same shirt they wear to the movies when they are heading to work, and men and women have different preferences when it comes to clothing—most of the time. Regardless there are some factors you should consider when it comes to clothing options.
- Go for longer shirttails: You may need some extra material at the bottoms of your shirt because you will probably not be tucking them in as deep as you would while not carrying. The extra material can help add some extra ‘bagginess’ which can help with concealment if the weapon is riding slightly lower.
- Avoid fitted shirts: Fitted shirts can add an additional layer of difficulty when carrying. Even with IWB concealed carrying, the lack of surplus material to accommodate the dimensions of your weapon will hurt your efforts.
- Go up a size: The casual shirts you will typically come across come in standard sizes, and you may find that they do not offer much extra space to accommodate a concealed firearm, especially when properly fit. A good way to circumvent this restriction is to buy a size larger than you usually would so that you have a little more room.
- The right shirt materials: Different materials will have different concealment capabilities, but a good rule of thumb is that the heavier or stiffer the material, the better. Avoid thin materials, especially if they are on more of a form-fitting top, as you will run the risk of printing.
- The activities you will be engaging in: What you wear to the grocery store might not be what you want to wear if you go for a run. The types of activities you anticipate or expect to engage in should not only play a role in the type of shirt you put on but also the style you choose to carry your firearm.
Like with any holster, making a bad choice will only lead you to buy another option in the future. Keep in mind, a shirt like the ones mentioned above is not a solution for all problems. It’s merely another tool you can use when the conditions or environment calls for it. But, a quality concealed carry undershirt can be a good solution if it fits your needs. Good luck!