In the early 2000s, as the War on Terror entered what would become a decades-long struggle, America collectively began to feel threatened. Not just overseas, but for the first time in a new way on home soil. Not just from a criminal element but an unseen and decidedly more deadly set of foes. In the gap came what is now a massive conceal and carry movement in the civilian world.
Fast forward two decades, and that culture is still pervasive. Though for the civilian market, the training space was primarily filled by those who had or have a military/law enforcement background. That provides an excellent fundamental base. However, an odd tendency emerged: normalizing “military-style” clothing as conceal and carry options. For years this was no issue, yet the everyday world has caught up and now recognizes that cargo pants, boots, and a polo scream, “they have a gun!” With that in mind, it’s time to update our way of thinking about what it means to be an honest, responsible concealed-carry citizen. After all, in plain sight and unseen is the goal.
First, let’s talk about ladies because they are often the last to be discussed and have a more challenging time concealing a firearm. Let’s make something clear, we at Skillset understand it’s not just about carrying. You want to look good while you do! Men might be comfortable with jean shorts, a white t-shirt, and Velcro shoes, but that’s often not the case for ladies. For years the solutions that have been presented for women are either off-body (a purse or fanny pack) or odd and uncomfortable (girdles). Those are no longer the only choices with the present state of fashion and revolutions recently in holster and firearms design.
With a loose-fitting shirt, no matter how it’s cut, there are options if the bottom moves quickly! Leggings are now being made available as they have surged in popularity, including internal and external pockets. There are now holsters that no longer require a belt to help with retention and the ability to carry on the waistband. These options for both men and women have genuinely moved the needle forward in what had become a stagnant market.
When it comes to men, we’ve always had great options in terms of fashion. However, the big difference is that those options have become limited by new societal norms. If you roll into a concert or a baseball game dressed “tactically,” even the casual onlooker sees that and will tend to assume a few things about you. The new way to go about it is to avoid the military look and embrace more of the outdoorsy/lumberjack options. Flannels, puffy jackets, and long sleeve shirts in colder areas are perfectly acceptable and great opportunities for concealment. Conversely, loose-fitting cotton shirts draw very little attention in warmer climates and are fantastic concealment options that draw little to no attention. As hard as it might be, avoiding the cargo shorts and pants is now the go-to. Also, consider that you might not want people seeing a pocketknife or flashlight externally.
This is a simple yet overlooked topic. In warmer climates, the inclination to reach for flip flops or sandals is strong. Here’s the question you need to ask yourself, can you run flat out in them? No matter how physically fit you might be, running with incorrect footwear is a serious consideration. After all, one of your best tools in the fight is fitness. Leaving that option off the table is wrong.
We all want to look good on some level but don’t make choices based on fashion. Do so with some education and a purpose–your survival might depend on it.