How To Tell Who Is Armed

How To Tell Who Is Armed

This is a discussion on How To Tell Who Is Armed within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Courtesy of Gabe Suarez, boy do I agree with this guys philosophy: HOW TO TELL WHO IS ARMED - AND HOW TO HIDE IT WHEN ...

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Thread: How To Tell Who Is Armed

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    How To Tell Who Is Armed

    Courtesy of Gabe Suarez, boy do I agree with this guys philosophy:


    It is important that you have your gun with you all the time. For some of us, it feels strange to not have a gun so keeping one handy is normal. We have seen recently the importance and life-saving reasons to have a gun with you even in places that may frown on the notion, as well as the lefe-ending penalty for not having one recently. In Omaha, there were no armed citizens in place to stop the killer. In Colorado, there was.

    The lesson is this. ONLY YOU CAN INSURE YOUR SAFETY. Carry your gun!! With that, hiding the gun will allow you take it everywhere short of an airplane, or a truly denied area protected by magnetometers and such. Many emails have come in on how to hide the gun, and just as important, how not to be "made".

    Some things I have seen which will help you notice who is armed around you as well as to hide the fact that you are armed...when you don't want anyone to know it . Bad guys are not as easily spotted as the "good guys". I have not based my studies solely on what the good guys do, but rather have studied what the bad guys do as well...and some things they have thought out better than the good guys.

    Good guys are usually trained or told how to carry their guns and also tend to conceal along very conventional means. An example would be the predominance of "Traditional Strong Side Holster" carry as promoted by various academies and competition venues around the nation. Guys will carry that way and then seek a way to hide the fact they are carrying. The focus however is to carry IN THAT LOCATION no matter what

    Bad guys are not schooled in these "academies of higher skill-at-arms" so nobody told them they were doing it wrong. Subsequently, it is harder to spot them because they are really trying to hide their guns. A secondary concern with bad guys is the ability to divorce themselves from the gun if confronted by the police so a holster is simply an inconvenient hindrance. While I do not agree with this concept, I see why they do it and their need to do so.

    Bad guys also tend to have a fashion of sorts, just like cops and CCW people do. The bad guy fashions make it easier to hide a weapon in their baggy clothes and informal dress style. There is always a compromise between concealment and accessibility. The deeper the concealment the harder it is to get into action. If concealment is not a big deal to you, then its not a big deal, but if it is, read on.

    Things that give good guys away.

    1). Gun fashions - 5.11 means you are either an off duty cop or a civilian carrying a gun. Same goes for gun vests and other things that once served as good concealment. If you want to learn how NOT to dress, stand outside a police locker room at shift change, or peruse the ads in gun magazines.

    2). Gun belts. Unless you are using a closed-front cover such as a sweatshirt, belts like the typical police black basket-weave, or the Wilderness belts, proclaim to everyone what you are. If you will wear the belt in a way that is visible, at least get something other than black.

    3). Wearing range holsters on the street. I see this a great deal here in NorthernAZ due to certain academic influences in the area. Big leather or Kydex holsters that work great to pass a shooting test or demo a fast El Presidente from open carry to a group of students, look like big leather or kydex holsters under a vest or a shirt, when you try to conceal them.

    4). Carrying the gun in an inappropriate place. Because of the material written about gun work in America, some people believe the only proper place to carry a gun is on the 3:00 position on the “strong side”. While this may be the best place at a gun school, it doesn’t necessarily follow to be the best place on the street for accessing or hiding the gun. I had one student who weighed in at 300 pounds. He could not even get his hand on the gun where his original instructors told him to put it!

    Bad guys carry on the fronts of their bodies. Good guys carry on the back of their bodies. We might conduct a study about why this is, but I have seen it too many times to dismiss as coincidental. The best place for accessibility, concealment, and protection is Appendix Inside Waistband Carry. This is also banned from use at most gun schools (ours a notable exception), police academies, and in competitive circles. Hmmm.

    5). Carrying an inappropriate sized gun. You know the folks that advocate the everyone carry the XYZ Special Ninja Service pistol, don’t you? Well some people can’t. Period. A Keltec in the pocket, totally unseen and unnoticed, but ready, is worth twenty CQB Navy Seal SOCOM Specials left behind in the gun safe.

    6). Fanny packs. Specially big oversized black ones that say Glock, or whatever. Everyone…even the village idiot, knows what is in there so don’t try to convince yourself that you are hiding anything. You may be "legally concealed" but not really concealed. I wear one of these when I am running, but otherwise, I do not. Let me put it this way…a 2” 38 revolver in your pocket is worth ten times more than your 1911 or Glock in a fanny pack.

    7). Combination of the above – combine a black fanny pack with a basket weave black belt, and a Second Amendment Foundation Hat and someone would have to unconscious or blind to not think you were armed.

    8). Self consciousness. People who are carrying for the first time…or uncomfortable with carrying tend to be very gun sensitive. They constantly check and adjust and walk with a strange gait, constantly looking for someone looking at them. That is noticeable to those who are looking.

    Gabe Suarez
    Suarez International USA, Inc.
    One Source Tactical
    Office 928-776-4492
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    True that
    "We must remember that one man is much
    the same as another, and that he is best
    who is trained in the severest school."
    ~Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

  3. #3
    Member Array V-fib's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    good info gabe,

    In light clothes months I carry my 642 appendix with a Fist k-8 tuckable holster. Now that winter is here I have a reallly sweet way of using my smart carry as a chest holster which anybody can use and really easy to set up. First, wrap your smartcarry around your lower chest just under your nip line. wrap it loosely then have your SO or if you can sew, make a strap with suspender clips to go from front to back over your shoulder and clip it to the smartcarry. Now my 642 is located just to the left of my button line of my shirt. In situations such as driving or out on the street I just leave one button open and its really easy to reach in and pull my 642. When in more secure locations I just button the button. Unless your shirt is really tight there is no printing.
    livin in the woods...feelin mighty good

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  5. #4
    Member Array American Pit Bull's Avatar
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    When I see a guy wearing a camera vest at the grocery store; the first thing that I ask my wife is "I wonder what he is carrying?"

  6. #5
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    Array nn's Avatar
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    I agree in principle with the article; however the terrain and the situation can
    make the listed give away issues perfectly proper. A fannypac where old people live doesn't mean much. A western vest with western clothing items, + temps that require something warmer than a long sleeve shirt is ok. [ not a 5.11 type ]. A black belt with an appropriate buckle is also ok, ie: an eagle globe and anchor buckle.
    Now a 2" .38 in the pocket of most jeans won't work, actually won't work in any trousers I own; and the little guns in a pocket holster will print in jeans.
    So what is my point, it is you still need a cover garment [ vest, fannypac, long sleeve shirt, or sports coat, maybe a heavy t-shirt].
    In my case, I have issues with the sun and must have long sleeves and do not seem to attract attention when carrying or not with such a shirt tucked or untucked.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array elrey718's Avatar
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    really good read. i have been carry for a yr now and i still sometimes check and get a little "gun sensitive". i get really bad whn i pick up my daughter and people look at me. i think oh crap i am showing.
    “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?”


  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    All of these are true if the person who notices knows what they're looking for. Let's be real here, how many people notice what kind of belt or pants another person is wearing? You and I may notice because we think about that sort of thing since we have the same kind of gear and thought processes concerning it. Average Joe Sheep? He's unlikely to remember your hair color if he even notices your presence in the first place. To him 5.11 clothing has absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

    Fanny pack? Granted, if it says GLOCK or SIG on it, your average sheep might notice it and think gun, but otherwise he or she will just be appalled at your incredible lack of fashion sense. Same goes for a photographers vest. Cops and CCW permit holders will pick up on it instantly, everyone else will remain clueless. The bulges on your waist from a holster? Most people just think it's a cell phone if they notice it in the first place. My Dad once thought he had spotted my pistol when he saw the bulge from my cell phone. The only reason he thought 'gun' is because he knows I carry and where it usually is.

    Yes, it's true that you're advertising your carry status with a 5.11 or Woolrich Elite outfit to those in the know, but they aren't the ones you're trying to hide it from are they? IMO this list blows the importance of these things waaay out of proportion. How many first hand accounts are on this site alone of permit holders who open carried into a crowded supermarket and no one noticed? As long as you don't have an AK slung over your back not one of the sheep will notice what kind of belt, fanny pack, vest or other concealment device you're using.
    - Kurt
    “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” ~Pericles of Athens
    Primary Carry - Colt Commander .45 in a Brommeland Max-Con V

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    This is a great thread! I'd been thinking about this some and I think I've come to the conclusion that if I can't conceal it under my normal clothes, I can't conceal it. And BTW, I live in Sarasota (lots of old people, maybe all of them) and I haven't seen a fanny pack in years that I can recall. They're just not okay anymore (if ever they were) So, if you're wearing one, you're made (by us at least).

    The Ethics of Liberty
    The Survival Podcast
    How long have we watered the Tree of Deceit with the blood of patriots?

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array glock27mark's Avatar
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    good post. i happen to a people watcher and most people seem to just
    go about thier business and really dont pay to much attention to whats
    going on anyway.
    (SHERIFF BUFORD T. JUSTICE) "what the hell is
    the world coming too"



  11. #10
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    Got to go with Roadrunner on this.............

    The don't even notice you, unless you smack them on the back of the head with it. The BGs are going to be more concerned with their nefarious deeds, than to be observant enough to figure is Joe Six-pack is carrying concealed. Chances are good that you will notice them by some tell-tale sign before they notice you....IF YOU"RE PAYING ATTENTION!

    We that carry (at least those who aren't in condition 'white'), are the only ones that take notice, or look to see who might be a threat.

    Try it next time you're in a mall. Watch the & see who takes notice of you or even acknowledges you. Most people will not look you in the eye as they pass. A lot will even look away unless you step into their path. Even then, they will avoid contact. They are walking around 'white' & bleating while they go......

    Unless you have bandoliers strapped to your chest, aren't going to notice until the shooting starts.
    A vote is like a rifle, its usefulness is based on the character of the user -T Roosevelt

    If you carry a gun, some will call you paranoid. If I carry, what do I have to be paranoid about? -C Smith

    An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it. -J Cooper

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    During this time of year I like to go to Malls and watch people. I get coffee and sit and watch, or sit on a bench or in a chair just ovserving people. Last weekend while I was doing my thing I 'made' a newbie. He was walking through the mall and a security gaurde stepped out from behind a kiosk. This guy I am watching starts to adjust his clothes then holds his jacket to keep it from swinging open from the air flow on his right side. It was obvious that he was still in that uncomfortable stage one is in when you first start carrying.

    The only other person that I was sure was carrying, was a woman that had one of those special Purses for carrying, the way she carried it telegraphed that she had a gun and was not only aware of what was going on around her but was ready to access her gun if need be.

    Most of the people I saw were wool-gathering and were perfect targets for the BG. Speaking of which I noticed about 6 piople caseing others.

    I also noticed a presence of special teams of security, they were wearing BDUs.
    They were always in teams of 2. I noticed 6 different teams. all Had their shirts untucked and if they leaned over there were distinct bulges where one might carry guns. It made me think that the Mall was on hightened alert. The Mall I was in is owned by the same company that owns the Mall where the Shooting took place. Alderwood Mall has never been posted, so I don't think it's the owners who had the other Mall posted, but the local administrators who did.

  13. #12
    Senior Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Some I agree with, some not...
    Good food for thought...always something to learn.

    Stay armed...without notice...stay safe!
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
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  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    I'd been thinking about this some and I think I've come to the conclusion that if I can't conceal it under my normal clothes, I can't conceal it.
    I can conceal a full-size 1911 in an OWB holster under a plus-one size tank top in the summertime. (I'm a big guy)

    For more formal wear, there's always the Kahr PM40 in a tuckable or pocket holster.

  15. #14
    Member Array TimM's Avatar
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    BG's have the luxury of carrying their gun wherever they want seeing as how they are usually the first to deploy their weapon. The GG has the unenviable job of playing "catch up" - carry position is severely limited by this need.

  16. #15
    Member Array Puppy's Avatar
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    Well perhaps it's body shape and size but I admit to being skeptical when people say they can conceal a full sized 1911 under a T-Shirt.

    I guarantee I can't. The butt of the gun sticks out and no way looks like a cell phone. I've have tried it in various positions and it makes no difference. It just looks like I have a blocky tumor in various positions, and I don't care if it is IWB or OWB it is obvious unless I wear a heavy coat or T-shirt with heavy button type shirt un butoned and untucked over the T.

    In fact, if anyone is in the market for a left handed CTAC holster for a 1911 I will sell mine.

    And no I am not a newbie paranoid. My Kahr PM 9 in an IWB is well concealed and I don't even notice it's there. Nor do I check it constantly. When I get out of my car I check it once to make sure my T hasn't lifted up to expose it and that's it.

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