I was wondering how other people who wear a suit for work every day like to carry their concealed weapons. I have always carried IWB but am thinking about going to a shoulder holster and was wondering if anyone could share the pros and cons of the method.
Of the few times that I have worn a suit in FL, I have used one of two methods of carry...either IWB/SOB, or pocket carry.
Both methods allow the jacket to flop open without a weapon being noticed. The pocket carry allows one to take the jacket off without anything being seen. On those pocket carry days, my EDC would be locked in the car, and a smaller firearm remains in my pocket.:smoke23:
Blade-tech IWB with a Browning Hi Power either SOB or 4-5 o' clock. Can't see a thing.
Honestly a suit is one of the easiest (in my opinion) outfits to conceal a piece in. I've stuck N-frames in my belt and have been able to conceal them just fine though I would have hated to have packed it all day.:bier:
I am a fairly small guy (5'9 170) and I found it next to impossible to conceal in my old suits. However when it was time to buy a new suit I wore my gun in when it was time to get fitted. The tailor did something and the gun seriously vanishes but the suit still fits perfect. Seriously, it freaking amazing. I could carry a AR-15 and 4o'clock and probably get away with it.
Risque007 is right on - a suit is one of the best CC garments you can wear. The jacket covers the waist, the clothing is loose, and there are lots of pockets. So what's the problem? Actually, lots of problems, but what they all boil down to is that I've noticed that because many people don't wear suits much, they don't really have the "right" suit, holster, belt, etc to pull it off. I've carried with suits my whole adult life, and here's some hard-won tips:
1. There are two kinds of suit cuts - traditional and tailored (which is tighter fitting). Wear traditional - it will give you more options, and the looser fit is less constrictive. The same goes for pleated vs unpleated pants - wear pleats. In my experience, unless you are an unusual shape or carry a very large gun, you will not need to have your traditional-cut suits tailored to avoid printing.
2. The gun you like to carry drives almost everything else. Pocket guns for the front pants pocket work VERY well, especially if you wear suspenders (which are completely appropriate for good suits). However, the thin fabric of a good suit leads to printing, so this means a small gun and a good holster. If you carry at the waist (inside or outside), you'll need to get a good dress gun belt that narrows at the front so it doesn't look like a gunbelt. I use belts from Mitch Rosen, and it holds up well.
3. The final option is a shoulder holster, and that isn't driven so much by the gun as it is by weather, how much you sit, and whether you need to take your jacket off. A shoulder holster is murder in hot climates, because it prevents air movement under your shirt. A shoulder holder is a dream to use while sitting (especially in a car), and I'd say that feature is its main appeal. (Other than that, I don't think it has anything to offer.) If you need to take your jacket off, you're no longer carrying a concealed weapon, so consider that.
I wear IWB 3:00 with the shirt tucked in-between the holster and my body
I have my jackets tailored at Joseph A. Banks to allow some extra room and add material on my gun side that masks it a bit more and protects the liner from wearing out
they do a good job and do this for LEOs all around here as well as non-LEOs, no problem
When I wear a suit or sport coat, I usually use a shoulder holster for my H&K .380. It is perfectly concealed, even with my jacket unbuttoned. With a heavier wool jacket and my H&K USP 9mm I sometimes use a Tucker IWB.
The most important issue here is making sure it is comfortable with easy access. Practice, practice, practice ... but we all know that.
I wore suits on the job (non LEO) for 20+ years. I found that pocket carry was the best for me as the jacket was off in the office and it was inconvenient to "dis arm". PPK/Jframe and later P11 in the pocket and occasionally Thunderwear worked very well. I never even had to have my Brooks Brothers' suits altered for carry!
Milt Sparks VM II IWB with a narrow belt from Milt Sparks. I conceal a Government sized 1911A1 that way without a problem. Some of the "tells" when in a suit: cheap sports coat or obvious discomfort in wearing a suit, casual/comfortable shoes, wide gunbelt especially if the leather doesn't match the shoes or there is a lot of stuff hanging from the belt, and/or a firearms related lapel pin.
Make sure the suit is lined with smooth fabric and if possible get it reinforced over the holster area or else you will wear through the lining. Depending upon where you carry, you need to figure out if a single vent or double vent works better for you in the suit suit jacket. I now tend to keep my car key in my right jacket pocket, so that my jacket doesn't flap away in a breeze but when I draw it stays away from my holster during the draw. I've heard stories of guys sowing weights into the corner of their suits to do the same thing.
I have never had much luck with a shoulder rig. I find them uncomfortable and I tend to sweat more. I feel that the harness can print. I don't have the dexterity to carry a shoulder holster strong side and I don't like the sweep and arm motions with a crossdraw.
Best advise I received was to buy a good rack suit (Jos A. Banks, Brooks Bros., etc) and get it fittted while wearing your holster. I've been told that's what the Secret Service agents do. Avoid shiny materials or patterns (such as pinstripes) that will "break" over your holster. A plain dark blue blazer usually works.
Before I sold it, I carried a kel tek .32 in the front coat pocket in a square pocket holster designed for a back pants pocket. It was light enough not to distort the hang of the coat, and you couldn't see it. Small caliber, but I could take my coat off.
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