So you’re out for a walk with your shooting range buddy when he suddenly tells you that you’ve got a print showing. He indicates to your concealed carry – which you initially thought was pretty well hidden. You check and see, much to your embarrassment, that your shirt was outlining the shape of your firearm.
While this is nothing a little shirt-shimmy can’t fix, printing inevitably presents you with problems in the long run. The point of carrying concealed is to keep your firearm out of sight from the rest of the world. This gives you a tactical advantage, and from a legal standpoint, it shows that you respect the law.
However, printing is sort of the in-between of that as it presents the poor concealment of a firearm. In some situations, it may be all right to show printing, but generally, it just doesn’t send a good signal. What’s the point of carrying concealed when you’ve concealed your carry poorly?
How to Spot Printing
A telltale sign of printing is a bulge on someone’s clothing – particularly on their dominant side. Even with a loose shirt, printing can still occur when some of the fabric snags on the gun’s handle. This creates a diagonal silhouette that’s very telling.
Most newbies give themselves away by being overly conscious of how their holster is positioned underneath their clothes. Often, this blatant display of anxiety is what brings onlookers to look at where they didn’t think they would – and thus leading to the discovery of a concealed carry.
Once you’ve been discovered to be armed, people around you may not take to this lightly. The initial goal for concealed carry is protection, but if you exposed yourself unwittingly due to some off-fitting clothes, then you’ve unintentionally caused some hysteria – turning you into a target.
Even with the best of intentions, a gun is still a weapon. Unarmed civilians will wonder why you have one with you, and those with bad intentions may use it against you. There are a lot of risks to exposing yourself to be armed, so take the extra steps to minimize the printing of your concealed carry.
How to minimize Printing
While you’re eventually going to get used to carrying concealed and a confident gait will surely make you less conspicuous, it’s important to know the simple ways to lessen printing. You don’t necessarily have to buy expensive belly bands or get a new firearm. A few small adjustments could make a world of difference.
First off, get a good holster. Cheap knockoffs and unkempt IWB holsters will have parts sticking out – causing some unnecessary bulges that are obvious and uncomfortable. Not only that, the functionality may be compromised. You risk discovery as well as your safety. Imagine having to draw your weapon only to find it stuck to your faulty holster. Avoid this, and be sure to invest in a durable, efficient holster.
Next, pick the right outfit. There’s a reason why stylish bad guys on television are appealing; their patterned suits distract us from the weapon that they’re hiding. That being said, be sure to pick out a proper loose-fitting shirt when you carry concealed. Extra points if you’ve got stripes and prints that dazzle the eyes – as these are great at distracting people from the bulge of your firearm.
Certain fabrics stick to your skin more than others, so be sure to avoid these and choose the softer, breezier options. The last thing you want is a shirt sticking to your firearm and your skin. You’re going to have a hard time drawing out your weapon, for sure.
Lastly, adjust your holster to a sweet spot. A slight change in the position of your carrier will lessen the likelihood of printing. Depending on your body shape, this could mean moving the holster towards your stomach, or towards your back. Either way, you should balance this out with your drawing efficiency. You wouldn’t want to position your holster in such a way that you can no longer draw your weapon.
Carrying concealed is an art – and rightfully so. An improper exhibition of a firearm is illegal in most states, and it doesn’t take much for you to successfully conceal your carry. You won’t get into legal trouble if your gun is printing, but take it as a precaution to yourself.
Printing matters in carrying concealed because inevitably, it could lead to trouble. Not only is your safety at risk, but also those around you. So take the time to pick out a good shirt – buy new ones if you have to.