Deciding to conceal carry in formal attire can mean a lot of different things to people depending on what the occasion is. Carrying in formal attire can either be like any other concealed carry day or a special occasion. Sometimes it can be a way to express yourself around other gun friendly people. Occasionally this will be the perfect time to take out the safe queen and show off to your friends. Everyone looks at formal attire differently so let’s dive into some of the challenges of carrying for formal events.
Challenges of Formal Concealment
There are a number of challenges that can make it difficult to comfortably conceal carry a handgun while wearing a suit. For younger people on here, it’s fairly difficult to appendix carry while wearing a suit. The real issue with modern suits are how they are tailored fairly tight. Having tighter fitting shirts or pants will make your gun print much more than a regular outfit.
Personally, I prefer to carry my gun at the 3-4 o’clock position when I’m wearing a suit. Carrying strong side in a suit will help with printing and typically the jacket will offer another layer of cover. Carrying appendix can be challenging with the extra layers and tie in your way. I think it’s important to be mindful in general about the extra layers you will have to fight through to get access to your handgun.
Sometimes people find it too difficult to carry a firearm inside the beltline with 2-3 layers of clothing over a gun. I’ve seen a few people switch out to a shoulder rig instead of traditional belt carrying. Carrying a handgun inside a shoulder holster is a great option, but most people don’t use shoulder holsters as their main carry method.
It’s always a good idea to have a consistent carry method. When consistent, it’ll feel natural drawing if ever caught in a bad situation. Shoulder holsters are sometimes tough to train with since they aren’t allowed on certain static ranges. Some ranges argue that shoulder holsters have the gun pointed behind the shooter and it “flags” other people. I do think shoulder holsters are a viable option if you put the time in practicing. The great thing about dry firing is you can practice drawing at home and then shoot at the range to be confident in the handgun. Practicing both aspects will help you feel more comfortable if you decide to try out a shoulder holster for special occasions.
Carrying At Special Occasions
I’m not sure why, but carrying a firearm to a special occasion in your life can be a really fun experience. I’ve been at a few different events where people have dressed up and carried their nicest firearms. Over the last couple of years, I have seen people carry everything from Cabot 1911s to SIG P220 Matches with the massive compensator on the front.
Every time I go to an event where people are carrying their best firearms, they’ve always done it responsibly without mixing firearms and alcohol. It may sound odd, but small formal events that people carry their best guns is what I love the most about the shooting community. It reminds me a lot of the car community when we all get together and just enjoy talking about common interests in the gun world.
A concealed carry handgun can say a ton about your personality based on the model, caliber, and overall size. When I get together with a group of guys who all carry, it’s fun to say what you’re carrying and why. When people dress up for formal events, the carry guns are usually dialed up to 11. Typically, there will be a couple of people in the group with some seriously interesting guns whether they are classics or hyper expensive models.
It’s important to be proficient in whatever you carry whether its a standard Glock 19 or something more exotic. I really think it’s special to carry something you otherwise might have left in the safe. Carrying with formal attire may not always be the easiest way to carry a gun. Luckily though there are different ways to comfortably conceal a firearm in a suit. It’s always important to practice and become confident in your carry method. Whether that method is in a suit or a pair of worn out jeans, the key is to be consistent and practice your draw from different clothes.
If I had to give one piece of advice to people about carrying in formal clothes, it would be to try everything out before the actual event and make sure it’s comfortable for you. Let me know what your favorite carry method is in the comments below. If you have any questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe and classy out there!