This is a discussion on Cover garments/dressing around your CCW and EDC gear within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Given that only about 5 percent of the population is licensed for CCW, and a slightly smaller number actually carries regularly, I'm at a loss ...
Given that only about 5 percent of the population is licensed for CCW, and a slightly smaller number actually carries regularly, I'm at a loss to see how the wearing of a vest would indicate that a person is carrying.
After all, I'm pretty sure that most vests are not being sold to people who want to conceal fireams, with the exception of specialty brands like 511 - and there, the label is going to tip off those in the know.
The only garment that signals a high level of threat is a long coat or trench, worn out of season.
More realistically, it isn't the garment that's going to cause a problem, it's the behavior - nervous adjusting of the firearm, constant touching of it, etc.
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It's not really a cover garment, but check out Columbia's Roc or Lander pants. They look basically like khakis, but have a small extra gear pocket on the right thigh that is good for a mag or speed strips. Mine has a smaller pen sized pocket alongside this that is perfect for Asp Defender OC. Then there is a zip pocket behind the right hip pocket (kind of hard to describe) that helps keep things separate. I use it to stow my "Old Timer" pen knife so it won't fall out where my kids can find it, since that's not something I'll ever need in a hurry. +1 on the "wife beater"/dark t-shirt combo (I like Russell Jerzees). TN_Mike, in the UK they call them "singlets," if that's any better (no matter how I squint at them, I can't see the "A").
(Yes, I know a right thigh pocket could present obstacles for ambidextrous access, but honestly, so does a canted tuck holster worn at 4 o'clock. Life is full of trade offs.)
I carry a full sized sidearm IWB, and a mag pouch opposite. I pocket carry a BUG in one back pocket, wallet in the other. Knife in one front pocket, cell phone in the other. I use an untucked tshirt, dress up a little with a polo shirt, or more with a Cuban style Guyaberra (a dress shirt made to be worn untucked). Of course, I can blend in with a Cuban shirt here in FL, not sure if it would fly in Maine....
When it gets cold here I bundle up with a Nomex or a leather flight jacket or a firefighters job shirt or swestshirt and usually a layer of thermal 5.11 style undershirt. For me thats like when it's less than 60 out. I can't imagine wearing a gun under layers of clothes for the snow.
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NRA Certifed Instructor
I have carried a Glock 21 and a back up gun along with Reloads for both, Knife, Flashlight, Phone, Wallet, Money Clip, and Pepper Spray. This was in the Summer waring T-Shirt and Shorts. Basically I carry the same thing every day. Since I sold the G21 Three Months ago I have been carrying Two Revolvers. Once in a while I carry a G26 but, I like my 357 Snubs better. Some of the Gear goes in ballistic nylon pouches on my belt. Some stuff goes in my pockets. The real challenge will be this weekend at a Wedding. Suit Pants Pockets aren't as strong to carry things and on the belt is ruff if you want to take off your Jacket. I really hate to leave things behind so I may just carry a small Knife instead off a Multi Tool, a smaller light, One Gun (I hate to carry only One) Speed Strips instead of Speed Loaders. I will figure something out.
GLOCK 19 in a CBST supported by a Crossbreed belt. In right front pocket: front pocket wallet, key to lock box, loose change, Spyderco Harpy clipped to pocket. In left front pocket: keys, cell phone carrier clipped to pocket. Back pockets: cash, but rarely. If it's above 50 F, I usually wear cargo shorts and I may slip a light and/or a spare magazine into one of the lower pocket if I'm gonna be out after dark. If cooler I wear jeans. I usually always wear a short sleeve t-shirt or a pullover if at work, untucked and I have no problem staying concealed with careful movements. I'd like to add a small AA powered flashlight and spare magazine to my daily routine but have not worked that out yet.
I too have heard a lot about the "shoot me vests". I think if you normally wear them and they don't have 5.11 tags and NRA logos all over them you may be pretty incognito, but for someone who doesn't normally wear one it could look suspicious. Yes my tin-foil hat is snug.
NRA Life Member
With great power comes great responsibility.-Stan Lee
I wear a vest as a matter of course when it gets to the cooler months...wool vest..., well dressed Stetson, with a conservative flannel shirt and jeans. In my opinion, it really dresses up the shirt/pants combo and adds an air of dignity to an otherwise plain outfit. I've never used it as a cover for concealed carry and find all of these references to vests being indicators of CC a little baffling, but then I'm not typically a CC guy either, so not "tuned in" to the mindset, I guess.
One thing I will say, when I OC wearing my vest outfit I get fewer quizzical looks than I do without the vest. My 1911 in a nice (not ostentatious) leather holster just seems to fit the whole package and people seem more comfortable if they notice a gun on someone who looks "put together" than they do if one looks sloppy and unkempt. This is my experience, anyway.
OP...sorry not cc related, but I'm a "vest" guy and had to opine that not everyone automatically sees them as cover garments for handguns. Before joining this forum I'd never considered it and I kind of wonder how many people outside of the LE/CC communities, bad-guys included give them a second-thought as well.
...maybe I'm just naive...
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For us gals, vests are very "in" at this point in time... Of course some of them are not long enough to conceal anything and some of them are very form fitting but they are the opposite of what you would consider a "shoot me first" vest.
You can do fun..
The possibilities are endless...
What I think of when I think "shoot me first" vest is this....
In fact, when I see these vests I do immediately start looking for the Wilderness Instructor belt, the 5.11 pants and other indications that someone is either armed or at least military/LEO. I kind of also internally laugh at them because they look like idiots when not on a firing range somewhere... (sorry if I've offended anyone who wears this kind of vest on a regular basis).
The kind of vests I think of as classy and do not raise any suspicion with me are these and the like...
Vests are very common this time of year and with a pair of jeans and regular shirt you would not so much as raise my eyebrow.
Polo shirts untucked in the summer, Goose down vests when it's cold. Not only in Colorado - Winter I wear a felt Stetson, summer a straw.
Just bought a Woolrich shirt that has the magnetic bottom button and velcro slits up each side. It's perfect way to carry. I carry PPK/S w/Crimson Trace in Galco Yaqui Paddle, which is OWB. No problem concealing under this shirt, and the upward yank to expose the gun for draw has proven very reliable for drawing cleanly.