After carrying concealed for over 20 years, the answer to this question is, NO. Carrying a concealed weapon is physically uncomfortable.
Adding an extra couple pounds of metal to carry around daily isn’t going to be “comfortable.” The weapon will be rubbing up against your skin, causing irritation, sweating, jabbing you in the side or whatever part of the body it is resting against, and just general uncomfortableness.
“Comfortable” is subjective though. As stated above, it is uncomfortable to carry a weapon due to weight, irritation, and those factors. But it is comfortable to know that you always have a firearm on you for the protection of your family, yourself, and others. That piece of mind, knowing that I can do those things, far outweighs the physical discomfort caused by carrying a concealed firearm.
4 ways to make concealed carry more comfortable
There, are, however ways to make carrying concealed more bearable. The following 4 things will help greatly in reducing the uncomfortableness of carrying a concealed weapon.
- A good quality holster
- A proper gun belt
- Correct clothing
- Firearm size
A good holster will make a major difference in how comfortable it is to carry your weapon concealed.
Holsters come in many different types, though the main two for everyday concealed carry are, IWB (inside the waistband) and OWB (outside the waistband). IWB holsters fit inside of your pants’ waistband and secure to your belt on the outside of the waistband with what area usually called j-clips.
OWB holsters attach to your belt on the outside of your waistband. IWB holsters are usually made of Kydex material. While OWB holsters are commonly made of Kydex or leather. Carrying with an IWB will require you, unless you already wear pants that are big in the waist, to buy a larger waist size in pants to accommodate the holster and firearm.
They can also be worn in many different positions on the body. My preferred location is the 4 o’clock position. Think of looking at your waist as a clock. 12 o’clock is in line with your belly button, 3 o’clock being directly on your right hip, and so on. The thing to remember here is, what is comfortable for one person, will not be for another. You will have to work with positioning to find what best suits you.
Appendix carry has become a “newer” position to carry, with holsters being made specifically for this form of carry. It is considered by some tobe a “comfortable” place to carry and works really well for concealment purposes.
Just as a good holster will make concealed carry more comfortable, a proper gun belt will make just as much of a difference.
Normal belts you purchase are designed to hold up your pants, they are not made to hold the extra weight of a holster and firearm. The belt will begin to sag causing your firearm to sit lower and allow the firearm to move away from the body. This slack will cause the firearm to be able to slap against the body causing more irritation.
Belts that are specifically made for concealed carry, or “Gun Belts,” are your best option here. These belts are made with a solid core center and wrapped with another material on the outside, such as leather or fabric. They are designed to hold the weight of the firearm, thus reducing the sag in the belt and keeping the firearm closer to the body.
These belts come in varying widths, try to make sure that the belt width matches the size of the loops on your holster that you have chosen. Doing this will cause the holster to fit better on the belt, allowing less movement of your firearm, causing less discomfort.
These belts will also help in keeping your pants from sliding down. Causing you to not have to continually be pulling up or adjusting your pants. This will allow you more comfortability while carrying, with piece of mind, knowing you are not showing off your firearm while adjusting your pants continually.
This is an often forgotten about aspect of carrying concealed. Choosing the right clothing to wear will make your concealed carry more comfortable.
Considering that a larger framed person will have an easier time concealing a firearm and a smaller framed person will have a more difficult time, choosing the correct clothing for the seasons and size of the person, will greatly increase the comfortableness of carrying concealed.
You must also consider that most holsters will require you to wear a belt to secure the firearm to your person. For the most part, wearing gym shorts or yoga pants for women, will not work for this. There are other holster options, that we have not discussed, which will be discussed in a later article, that will work for these situations.
My normal go to for clothing while carrying, in the summertime, is either a pair of jeans or shorts with belt loops. I also wear an undershirt that I tuck in, between my skin and the firearm, this helps with the rubbing irritation and can also help in reducing sweating.
I then wear a larger shirt, larger than my normal size, if you’re a medium-size shirt, wear a large shirt. This will help in keeping the gun covered and not visible to other people. Allowing you to “forget” about it, not tugging at your shirt to make sure it is covered.
AIWB will usually negate the need to “up size” your shirts in order to conceal something being carried in other positions. Your pants or shorts are another story and will have to be adjusted accordingly.
During the winter or fall season, clothing is simpler, as most people are already wearing hoodies, jackets, or coats. These outer layers tend to be larger in size and allow for easier concealment of the firearm.
Firearm Type and Size
Another thing to consider when carrying concealed is the size and type of firearm you are carrying. It is easier to conceal a smaller, subcompact firearm than it is to conceal a full-frame firearm. Smaller firearms will allow for you to wear tighter fitting clothing. Larger frame weapons will require baggier clothing to keep the weapon concealed.
Now if you are only able to buy one firearm, get what is most comfortable and best for you. Then work your holster, belt, and clothing to fit the firearm and your preferred choice of carry location.
If purchasing a subcompact firearm for concealed carry, know that most inexperienced shooters do not like shooting them on a regular basis at the range. There is more felt recoil with these firearms. This is not a deal-breaker, it’s just something to consider if you are a new shooter.
For instance, my wife’s first gun was Ruger LCP .380. While the gun is small, very easy to conceal, and comfortable to carry, she did not like shooting very many rounds through it during a range session due to the increased felt recoil and smaller grip size.
In turn, this caused her to not want to shoot the gun and made her feel uncomfortable carrying the weapon on a regular basis. That old saying “train how you fight, fight how you train,” holds true here. Feeling comfortable with the firearm you are carrying; is just as important as all the other things we have previously discussed.
Once you have your concealed carry setup chosen, make sure to train with the setup as often as possible. Find a range where you can draw from your holster during your course of fire. Running drills while regularly drawing from your holster will allow you to have a more instinctive reaction in an adrenaline raised self-defense situation.
While concealed carry is not physically comfortable, the tips listed above will help with decreasing that discomfort.
There is comfort in knowing you could defend your life, your child’s life, or a friend’s life, in a life or death situation. In the end, this will help reduce the physical discomfort you may experience.