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6 Tips for Keeping the Secret of Concealed Carry

Some people think the practice of carrying a concealed firearm in public begins and ends with taking a course and becoming certified. Whether you are preparing to get your license or you already have it, the following 6 tips will help you remain concealed.

Crossbreed Holsters

She Shoots 2 is sponsored by Crossbreed Holsters.

1- Gear

There are many choices in concealed-carry gear. Just stop into your local firearms store and ask anyone there to walk you through your options. Regardless of which belt or holster you choose, make sure it is high-quality. A gun belt is thicker and sturdier to keep your holster and gun in place.


Having a sturdy belt, like these from Crossbreed, make all the difference in the world with OWB holsters

Holsters are personal: Different styles work with different lifestyles. Before you buy, try on a bunch of different brands and styles. Make sure the one you choose is comfortable and functional.

As for spare magazines, some people carry them in pockets; others may not carry any at all. I’ve personally found the NeoMag pocket clip works really well for pocket carry. It keeps the magazine in the right place and right position for easy access if needed.

Finally, your clothing: Carrying concealed may require a slight change to your wardrobe. Darker shirts, and patterns especially, help to hide printing the outline of the gun. If you carry in the waistband (IWB), it may mean buying pants a size larger.  (IWB is not for me.)

crossbreed-appendix women

Crossbreed Holsters IWB Women’s Appendix Carry

The Internet is a great place to shop for options. Unfortunately, with online shopping you can’t try items before you own them. It’s the nature of the beast, and also why most of us have a box full of holsters in various stages of use.


2- Practice

Now that you have all your gear, practice, practice and more practice is in order. Work on your movements: standing, sitting, reaching. Can you sit comfortably? What happens when you stand up? Does the gun move? Practice getting into and out of your car. Did your holster shift? How can you correct it? Have someone observe as you reach for a high shelf. Can they see your holster? If so, how will you prevent that?

Practice drawing from concealment. Check to make sure your gun is clear of obstructions and follow the 4 firearms safety rules. With your unloaded gun, using all your gear, practice drawing from various positions, wearing different clothing. You can find out what works well and what really slows you down. Deep concealment will almost always slow you down, so you have to change strategies and tactics. No big deal.


Don’t share your concealed carry secret…it’s not a game!

3- Keep the Secret

As a child, it’s was always fun to say, “I know something you don’t know.” (Traditional sing-song voice is implied.)  As an adult, you should keep that in mind when you conceal carry.  By keeping your secret, you will maintain your element of surprise. Don’t let others know when or how you carry. What if someone asks if you are carrying? Katie Pavlich wrote about that in her recent column, “When Strangers Ask If You Carry a Concealed Firearm.” You need to be prepared to answer that question.

4- Hands Off

Be wary of telltale movements. These are movements that would cause a trained observer to know you are carrying a gun. Avoid bad habits, such as constantly pulling your shirt down. Trust that your cover garment will keep your firearm concealed. (Remember, you’ve tested it!)

If you are in public and feel something has moved or shifted with your gear, go to a private area and make your adjustments there. Whatever you do, keep your hands off in public. Some people are so obvious that almost anyone could tell they are carrying a firearm. Be more circumspect, and keep everything under wraps.


Printing is unacceptable when carrying concealed.

5- Relax

There is no reason to feel nervous when you are in public. You’ve already trained with your firearm, practiced with your gear and hopefully had someone observe your movements. Before you walk out of your house, ask yourself, “Do I look or act like I’m carrying a gun?” Remember how important it is to keep the secret!


6- Movement

Changing the way you move may help you feel more confident when you carry concealed. If you carrying on your strong side, start training yourself to reach with your weak-side hand. I carry on my right side at 4 o’clock, so I generally reach for everything with my left hand. When you’re at the grocery store, think before you reach…especially if what you’re reaching for is on the top or bottom shelf. For the bottom shelf, don’t bend over; bend at the knees in front of your shopping cart. For the top shelf, I’ll straighten my right arm against my gun and reach with my left.

If I have a cover garment that requires my support hand to clear it before drawing, I carry my bag in my strong hand. I drop what’s in my strong hand while I clear my shirt or coat with my support hand. I tailor my movements to my concealed-carry needs.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all that goes into carrying concealed. Take time to learn the ins and outs, then practice and train. Soon you will be comfortable and confident.

Looking for more WON articles on concealed carry? You can find many of them here.

Do you have any concealed carry tips to add?

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, entered the firearms industry in 2011 when Cerino Training Group was established. She immediately began competing in both 3-Gun and NRA Action Pistol, becoming a sponsored shooter. Michelle is currently a columnist and Managing Editor of Women’s Outdoor News, as well as owner of Pervenio LLC. She also manages social media for Vera Koo and GTM Original. Michelle encourages others to step out of the comforts of home and explore.


The Conversation

  • Sarah Smith says: July 6, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I just got a gun and am working on trying to get a concealed weapons permit and a license to carry permit. Thanks for the advice about relaxing and being certain that you don’t give away the fact that you have a concealed weapon. Hopefully, everything will go well and I can become fully certified and trained on my handgun.

    • Michelle Cerino says: July 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      I’m so happy to hear my article is helpful to you. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Good luck with your endeavor and please let us know how everything works out.

  • The Wraith says: June 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    I have to disagree with your “Printing is unacceptable when carrying concealed.” For the most part, almost every ‘concealed carry guide’ speaks of your average, ordinary citizen being too preoccupied with their own interests that you could be walking through the mall with a fury leopard pants on and very few would notice. The common misconception for people new to carrying a weapon is their assumption that EVERYONE will notice they are carrying. When, in reality – they could actually be very obviously be open carrying and only a few people would take notice. The general populous just doesn’t possess the situational awareness to dress down each and every person that walks past them to see if a weapon is printing through a shirt.

    There is nothing wrong with printing. In that picture you supplied – another individual would be hard pressed to even notice that ‘bulge’, or be able to confirm it was a firearm, or a cell phone, or a belt carried insulin kit. I realize not too many women carry a cell phone in a case on their belt…but, something pushing up against a cover garment doesn’t immediately scream “gun” to the ordinary citizen.

    The reality is in the picture you provided…no one would notice that unless they were specifically looking for it. And, in such case, that individual is likely a concealed carry supporter, or law enforcement, and employ a degree of situational awareness that 99% of the population does not.

    • Michelle Cerino says: June 30, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Mr/Mrs. Wraith, Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your opinion, however, the most effective person with a gun is the one who is unseen by the “Bad Man.” When you carry openly, print through your clothing, or allow other people to know you are armed, you may very well become target #1 to someone who believes you will stop their criminal act. We live and die by the decisions we make, and I prefer to remain my being armed to be unknown. My choice to carry and remain unknown will most likely serve its purpose by lending surprise to my defensive ability. Speed, surprise and violence of action have won many battles.

  • Tobias Armstrong says: June 30, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I like what you said about needing to find the right holster for you. Trying different brands and different styles is what’s going to get you the things that you feel most comfortable with. I also really liked the tips you had on how you have to alter your movement and little things like that are important to keeping yourself safe. Thanks for sharing!

    • Michelle Cerino says: June 30, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. Choosing to carry concealed can sometimes get overwhelming, especially when well meaning friends and family feel the need to give their two cents. It’s a very personal choice and I hope this article inspires people to make it their own.