Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week we talked about creating a tier system instead of carrying everything on your person. This week we will be taking a look at some ways to make carrying concealed more comfortable. There are a number of situations when I personally remember being extremely uncomfortable either from a poor choice in clothing or not carrying the right handgun during a particular season. There are a number of ways to immediately improve your overall comfort level when carrying for a full 8-10 hour day. Let’s take a closer look at some tips for comfortable carry.
Pant Sizes and Clothing Selection
Probably the biggest influence on your overall comfort is your clothes and pant choice when carrying concealed. For beginners, the biggest issue with carrying a concealed firearm is jamming it into clothes you already own. When looking at my personal experience, I remember trying to carry in tighter-fitting pants and calling it good. I ended up having certain parts of my waistline being rubbed since my pants were so tight. My younger readers who try to fit in with modern trends will have to plan ahead more than some of my older readers because of this.
When buying clothes, it’s always important to have carrying in your mind when trying on pants. Personally, I will typically go one size up to give me that added space for a carry gun. This is depending on what kind of pants you go with but it’s better to have slightly bigger pants with a sturdy belt than being squeezed to death like an overstuffed sausage in a small casing. My tip for this is to carry your normal carry gun on you when going into the fitting room. If you have some privacy and there aren’t a ton of people around, you can typically try the new pair of pants with your current belt and firearm which helps a ton with sizing. Be smart about it but it’s a great option if you feel comfortable doing it.
Concealed Carry Belts
Finding the perfect carry belt can be the difference between being comfortable or being in complete misery. The pitfalls of a bad carry belt are only amplified with a heavier firearm, so it’s important to start out with a sturdy belt from the beginning so you don’t have issues later down the road. There are a number of different styles and both have their advantages based on your style and daily life.
The everyday carry belt is one of the best options on the market since it is a belt specifically made for shooters as well as carriers. There are a number of different options to choose from but after trying a number of different belts on the market, I carry with a Blue Alpha Hybrid EDC belt. These belts from Blue Alpha have a number of features most belts don’t include.
Looking at the Hybrid EDC belt, it has a compact cobra buckle for the main method of retention but also offers fine adjustment with a velcro section. Having the ability to adjust your belt with the fine adjustments makes life much easier if you change out handguns with different-sized holsters. It’s also incredibly useful if you have a little too much for dinner and want to loosen your belt a tiny bit without changing everything on your belt.
The other choice for carrying is using a sturdy leather belt. The key to a good carry belt is being sturdy enough to support the weight of your carry gun. The best trick I’ve found for testing the sturdiness is trying to fold the belt in half so the top section will touch the bottom section of the belt. If you can get the two sections to touch, it’s clearly not sturdy enough. Certain carry belts have little to no flex when doing this test and are some of the best for sturdy carry on a daily basis especially if you plan on moving a lot and need the extra support.
The one downside to stiff leather belts is their lack of fine adjustment and they can either be too tight which causes rubbing and overall discomfort or too loose which doesn’t give your carry gun support and it tends to move around. Leather most certainly looks nicer than a cloth belt but sometimes doesn’t have the features a dedicated carry belt will have. Personally, I think it’s best to have both options for whatever event you need to dress for but I know it’s not always possible.
Carry What You Need
One of the biggest mistakes I see with new carriers is either trying to carry too much or forcing a bigger gun in the summer months when you really need a compact or micro-style pistol. When the weather gets sunny and hot out, I will typically stop carrying my full-size P226 or Glock 17 in exchange for a Glock 43X or P365XL. Both of these have smaller weapon light options if that is your thing and offer excellent capacity for their overall size.
It’s always good to prioritize what you absolutely need for the day and plan your carry around that. If you’re in shorts and a T-shirt, it’s going to be much more comfortable carrying a smaller style pistol than a heavy full-size option. Some people do it every single day and that’s perfectly acceptable, but the vast majority of people will fatigue and get worn out after some time carrying a full-size firearm like that. Different plans require different tools so it’s good to be flexible and look at what you absolutely need to carry and work from there. Having different options to carry depending on the season and task makes life immensely easier.
At the end of the day, wearing the proper clothes and having gear specifically made for carrying will help you be more comfortable and carry with confidence on a regular basis. It’s always good to plan ahead when looking at new jeans or clothes when you plan on carrying concealed every day. Having properly sized jeans with a sturdy belt will immediately make you more comfortable and oftentimes will feel like you aren’t carrying anything at all. It’s beneficial to try out new systems to figure out what setup works best for you. Simply looking at what you need and prioritizing what you plan on carrying can be the difference between being comfortable or fatiguing halfway through the day.
What are some things you guys do to remain comfortable throughout the day when carrying a concealed firearm? Are there any specific tricks or tips you have for new concealed carriers? Let me know in the comments below, I love reading your personal choices and what you guys do to make things work while carrying a handgun. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.