Suarez International and I are dedicated to advancing the art of gunfighting through perfecting its technical, tactical, physical, and mental aspects.

Winning The Gunfight

Concealment - Unseen in the Best Places - Part 1


This is the first in a series of articles discussing how to carry a weapon without detection, as well as how to detect others that may be carrying weapons. I have been carrying concealed firearms all of my adult life. I carried in spite of regulations before my life in law enforcement. I carried officially during off duty hours and while working various plain clothes as well as undercover details as a police officer in Southern California. Later, I carried weapons as a "private businessman" in various non-permissive environments overseas in Africa, and Latin America as well as Europe. There are some things to consider and some points to always observe.

  1. Always carry a gun, the biggest gun you can conceal (which means "hide") for the job at hand. If you cannot carry a big gun, carry a small gun. A Walther PPK in 32 ACP in the hand is better than a Glock 21 at home.
  2. If you can't carry a gun, carry a knife. Actually, you should always have a knife whether you have a gun or not. Be as good with the knife as you are with the gun. The power of the will to use the weapon is 90% of the matter.
  3. Dress to fit the environment. I recall a man I met in Latin America. I saw him coming a mile away. He sported the tactical attire of the day. 5.11 pants and vest, Oakley boots, and a Team Glock hat. It would not have mattered if he was not carrying a gun as everything about him said he was armed.

    Me? I was wearing what every other Guatemalan was wearing, and I was still carrying a Glock 17 with two extra magazines. The goal is to hide the fact you are armed, and not to call attention to it. When you are called to draw and shoot, it should be the biggest surprise the bad guys ever get.
  4. Match the weapon and the clothing. You can't expect to sport skinny jeans and skin tight "rock star" t-shirts and hide a weapon, any more than you can wear Farmer John overalls to a tier one restaurant in Switzerland and fit in.

    In the daily business attire of Latin America and the Caribbean...a Guayabera Shirt with slacks, anyone can hide a full sized pistol with a couple of magazines. If the attire was a black tie deal, you won't be able to carry the same weapons without being noticed. Be clever and remember that a 32 in the hand is better than a 10mm at home.
  5. Check yourself before you leave. Its easy to say nobody will notice, and often they will not. But when they do look, you should not have any tell-tale bulges indicating what you are doing. The danger may be from the bad guy scouting the place, but it may come from a well meaning Security guy that will now call attention to you because your Wilson 1911 showed under your ill-fitting shirt.
  6. Carry all the time and get used to it. You should not be grabbing at the holstered gun and repositioning it constantly. It should be as natural to your daily habits as the wallet by your right cheek, and the watch on your wrist. You can always tell the newbie gun carrier because they are always so uncomfortable. And by the way...forget ankle holsters. But whether a small pistol in the pocket, or a larger pistol under the arm, get comfortable!
  7. A normally proportioned and physically fit man has shoulders wider than the waist. When wearing a shirt, or jacket, the fabric will drape over the waist from the sides. The pectoral muscles will also create a drape of fabric over the front of the waist. You can get your clothing tailored to both look good, as well as accentuate that drape in the places it is necessary.

    Here is a take-home: Want to be able to conceal your guns better? Get into good physical condition. The more overweight you are, the harder it is.
  8. Beware of the bump frisk. I used to do this when I worked UC. I was clumsy and tended to bump into people like a pick pocket. "Woops...sorry apologies". Then I'd walk away knowing where his blaster was and a pretty good idea what it was too. Prevent this by avoiding crowds and trying to keep people at arm's length. A pro will do this so gracefully that the would be "bump frisker" will not even realize he has been deflected.
  9. If you have to go into a crowded world where your back will be unprotected from contact from others, the Appendix Carry will allow you to accomplish your objectives without being discovered. Short of an actual pat down by a professional, or a metal detector, most males will not hold a gaze anywhere near your belt line anymore than avert the straight at attention gaze while at the urinal.
  10. Its not about speed as much as timing and intent. Remember that the next time the speed draw champion begins to talk. To go undetected, you may have to compromise some speed of access. That is acceptable to either leaving the blaster at HQ, or being detected. Timing, and Intent.

Next time, how to spot the guy carrying the blaster.