Concealed Carry in Summer: Tips and Tricks
Packing Heat in the Heat
Concealed Carry in summer has its own unique challenges. It's easier to wear a coat or heavy clothes to cover the gun holster during colder seasons, but what about when the weather turns warm? This post presents 6 quick tips on staying cool while keeping it covered.
In most states, a person is required to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. There are several (Alaska, Vermont, and Arizona to name a few) that allow residents to carry without a permit, this is called Constitutional Carry. The only places in the US that don’t allow any concealed carry is American Somoa and the N. Mariana Islands. Be sure to check on local laws regularly as they constantly updated. The idea isn’t that the weapon is simply “covered up”, it needs to be completely discreet and unobservable. There are safety reasons, as well as legal ones, to adhere to these guidelines.
Tips For Staying Cool in the Heat
Materials of IWB Holsters
The breathability of holster materials is crucial to a comfortable concealed summer carry. An IWB (inner waistband) holster is great because it offers maximum concealment, but since it’s next to the skin, it needs to be breathable. Nylon is a soft and cooler fabric option, but it has its own cons: lack of retention and a lack of overall structure. It’s an inexpensive option to try for the summer and is often the first holster that many gun owners purchase. Typical leather holsters that boast durability and comfort can also keep in the heat. Hybrid leather and Kydex IWB holsters, backed with mesh fabric, offer superior breathability.
An extra tip, suede leather is naturally more breathable than traditional leather.
OWB Holsters and Clothing
Some people just LOVE their OWB holsters and simply adjust their wardrobe to conceal their weapon in the summer. Longer or untucked shirts made of cool fabrics (100% cotton, seersucker, linen) are ideal for staying cool in the heat and will keep the gun covered. There is also clothing designed for concealed carry in summer, like tank tops with tactical pockets sewn in, on the market. Critics question the overall durability and retention of these untested articles of clothing.
The Belly Band Holster
One product that is popular among the exercise community is the belly band holster, which is just a tight piece of fabric that has pockets to stow a gun. Designed for the summer heat, they are smooth, breathable, and comfortable. And they usually have a built-in spot for extra mags, which is a plus. These can be worn higher on the waist or tucked into the waistband of exercise shorts. Many find this is a great option for concealed carry in summer.
Pocket Carry- Bring on the Cargo Shorts
This one is relatively obvious, just wear baggy shorts with lots of pockets. Cargo pants and shorts are perfect for carrying a handgun and extra mags. This comfy and very unfashionable option is also available for the ladies. It is highly recommended to have a pocket holster for this method, so you don’t end up with a hole in your pants… and your foot. Pocket carry will restrict the user to a smaller gun, and possibly slow down their draw time- so those are important to consider as well.
Among the many options for off-body concealed carry are tactical backpacks, fanny packs, large purses. This allows for total concealment and more comfort in the summer. It is still essential to have the gun in a holster and secured in the bag to avoid any mishaps. Here is a good article going over the pros and cons of off-body carry. This is a good idea for those who like to transport their big heavy handguns that are difficult to CC.
Have a Summer Conceal Carry Gun
Consider a smaller, lighter weapon for the summer. A smaller pistol is lighter and smoother under a thin shirt, plus it will be easier to wear with an IWB Holster. Most gun manufacturers make a smaller model pistol that still packs an incredible punch. For example, Springfield makes a subcompact that is only 6.75 inches long but can hold 13+1 9mm ammo. Overall, smaller guns are a good idea in theory, but how many gun owners choose the gun they carry according to the weather? (Seriously, let me know in the comments, I’m curious)
Conceal Carry Lifestyle: Active vs. Exercise vs. Business
Lifestyle will dictate how to properly carry in hot weather. Those with active daily schedules may consider using a belly band and a lighter weapon to conceal carry in hot months. Many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will carry in a tactical backpack, ones that have special compartments for easy access. Business-casual dress goes well with conceal carry, a person can choose lighter fabrics and looser fit to cover their OWB holster.
Sweating through a holster is a possibility, and chafing from one that is rubbing the skin is downright painful. A snug, breathable holster, and some Gold Bond, should take care of that concern though. When wearing an IWB holster, having a layer of fabric (from an undershirt, for example) in between the skin and the holster will help prevent chafing as well.
There is no magic fix to make it perfectly comfortable, but there are ways to help make it less frustrating. Prioritize the main considerations which are gun size, light-weight clothing, and breathable holster. Now its a matter of defining your own personal needs and making the best choice for you.
Quick Overview of Federal Concealed Carry Laws
Federal Law is simple when it comes to Concealed Carry, it simply states that an individual must be 1) Authorized to have a firearm, 2) have their photo ID available and 3) to have a concealed carry license from their home state. It is crucial to know gun laws in your state and the reciprocity of your license in any state that you visit. This NRA site is an excellent reference to use when searching for gun laws by state.
One more note about general legal matters. Brandishing is defined as “display, show, wave, or exhibit the firearm in a manner which another person might find threatening”. This definition is so broad and up to interpretation, that the proper concealment of a weapon is absolutely essential. Anytime a weapon is used to make someone feel threatened, it can be a civil AND criminal court case. You can read more about brandishing on this blog post. I bring it up here just reiterate how important discretion is in public.