By Firefield •
When the weather heats up, concealed carriers have a few concerns that need to be addressed. Wearing fewer clothes makes concealing a handgun more challenging and heading off to the pool, beach or lake pose a whole other set of questions and worries—where to carry, how to store it when you get in the water and more.
If you are new to concealed carry, this guide will help you stay concealed during the dog days of summer.
The Best Summer Clothes for Concealed Carry
The first-time carrier is always nervous the first time they venture out packing heat. Mostly because they think everyone can tell. With time, this feeling goes away and carrying your firearm will become second nature and you will stop worrying so much. There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to the legalities of printing and brandishing.
Printing and Brandishing
Printing and brandishing are two different things. Printing is when one can see the outline of the gun through a piece of clothing. Brandishing is when you intentionally reveal your firearm to elicit a response from someone. Accidentally revealing your handgun, say when you reach up to grab something, is another concern. Printing is not illegal. Brandishing can get you in big trouble and accidental revealing becomes a gray area in many states.
To compensate for and avoid any negative attention, many choose to wear a cover garment. However, cover garments can look suspicious or conspicuous when it’s hot—especially if you choose to wear a sports coat at a barbecue or long-sleeved cardigan to your child’s field day. Fortunately, there are lighter weight and breathable materials you can wear if a cover garment makes you feel most comfortable when carrying. Linen, cotton, jersey, chambray and rayon are all lightweight, breathable and thin fabrics that will keep you cool and covered.
A longer, button-down linen or Guayabera shirt over a t-shirt and shorts will cover inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters and will never look out of place in a casual environment. Cotton dresses allow for thigh carry and jersey short-sleeved or three-quarter sleeve cardigans are perfect for business casual dress at the office. There are undergarments specifically made for concealed carry constructed much like activewear that fits tight to the body and has sewn-in holsters.
Lighten Your Load—Summer Carry Guns
Many experienced concealed carriers switch guns in the summer to one lighter weight and more compact. Smaller guns are easier to conceal without a cover garment—not to mention more comfortable. Subcompact and micro polymer-framed .380 or 9mm semiautos will fit nicely in a pocket holster in cargo shorts and conceal easier in bra holsters and belly bands.
Concealed Carry Holsters
Like your choice in clothing when it gets hot, you want a holster that doesn’t absorb and hold moisture. Leather and Kydex will soak up sweat and be uncomfortable against your skin, with the possibility of rusting your firearm. Choose a holster made of neoprene or other synthetic material or a leather holster with moisture-wicking fabric covered in the back and wear a shirt between you and your holster if you belt carry. Popular ways to carry in the summer include IWB, belly band and bra holsters.
Remember, a good holster must cover the trigger guard and have enough retention to securely hold the firearm in place.
Carrying at the Beach
First things first—you never want to leave your firearm in a place where it could easily fall into the wrong hands. Does that mean you have to forgo a dip in the pool or fun watersports? Are you doomed to be a landlubber?
Carrying while wearing a swimsuit proposes a challenging question—is it even possible to conceal? Men can slip their handgun into a short’s pocket, but women have very little options.
So, what to do with your firearm if you decide to get in the water? You can swim with it but you want to be extra careful exposing it to sand and salt for prolong periods. Submerging it shouldn’t affect its ability to fire but you want to protect it from corrosion. If you decide to keep it on your body—always the safest and preferred location—you can keep it sealed in a waterproof bag. Just make sure you clean and oil it after.
If you don’t want to swim with it, simply wrapping it up in a towel and sticking it in the beach bag is not okay. Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure your firearm never falls into the wrong hands. If you want to leave it in the beach bag or cooler, keep it locked in a small safe and take the key with you. Or you can have another adult in your party stay with your stuff while you jump in.
Or…you can always leave the gun at home or in the car, but that’s another kettle of fish…