I’d like to apologize in advance for this week’s column. While it has not yet been rated by the American Internet Content Classification Association of America, there is an excellent chance that it will offend small children, Mayors Against Legal Governing (oops, I meant Mayors Against Illegal Guns), and possibly Mr. Rogers.
With that said, let’s take a look at some less conventional, concealment holster options. We’re not going to get into the pros and cons of deep concealment versus more accessible hip-carry methods. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume that users have a concealment need that discourages use of belt holsters.
I love these. And not only because the tight spandex makes me look more buff than I really am. When deep concealment matters, and you have to wear tucked-in shirts and behave civilly, the undershirt carry method can be a a great option. Unlike tuckable holsters, you won’t see belt clips or unsightly bulges at your waistline. Make no mistake, as with most of the methods covered here, speed and ease of access may not match that of a belt holster.
Undershirt holsters feature pouches or elastic “holsters” located on the side of your chest, under your arm. This placement provides outstanding concealment as your arm hangs down over the gun. Access is a skill that requires planning and practice. To draw your gun, you’ll need to deal with your shirt first. If you’re wearing a button-down, you’ll need to open (or tear open) buttons to quickly get to the undershirt holster. Ripping buttons off is harder than you think, so many folks fabricate “fake” buttons with Velcro tabs holding the shirt closed.
After years of using these, I’ve found two that I really like. 5.11 Tactical’s Holster shirt features soft, but reinforced fabric holster pockets on both sides. As the pouch is designed to completely contain your gun, it works best with small- to medium-sized handguns. I carried a Walther PPK and Glock 32 for years with this shirt. 5.11 also makes a sleeveless version cut specifically for ladies.
A Better Holster offers another excellent option. Made from compression fabric, this option uses an elastic holster pouch that allows you to carry a full-sized gun. The elastic is tucked up high, just under your arm, so that placement provides excellent gun security. The opposite side can be configured with up to three elastic magazine pouches. I’ve got several of these, and each can easily carry a full-size 1911 or Beretta 92.
The crotch bag method
There’s a good reason for this. These work pretty darn well for a lot of folks. People who use these are so adamant about comfort and concealability that they’ll fight you over the issue.
The basic idea of the system is a low-hanging pouch that holds your junk right near your junk. It’s like a strapped-on kangaroo pouch. There’s a (roughly) semi-circular pouch with pockets for gun and spare magazine that hangs a couple of inches below the belt buckle. Straps extend from both sides and fasten with Velcro in the back. To draw, you shove your hand down your pants and withdraw your firearm. Meaning your gun. Some folks prefer to use their support hand to pull the pant waist outwards while they draw to create more room.
There are two tips for success with this carry method. First, wear the pouch really low. The lower the better. This makes sitting more comfortable and helps with concealment. Second, make sure there’s some extra room in your pants. Pleated pants are great, skinny jeans not so much.
The very nature of this holster has a built in concealment advantage as people don’t tend to stare at your crotch. You could probably carry a frozen turkey or two down there and few would notice.
One more thing. If SmartCarry or Thunderwear users offer to let you check out their gun, remember where it’s been before fondling their weapon.
Ultimate Concealed Carry Hide-It Holster
Like the crotch bag carry options, the Hide-It Holster involves stuffing a gun down your pants. The difference is that you do it in plain sight.
This carry option uses a leather gun holster pouch that goes down your pants, just off-center, on the support-hand side. The leather pouch is supported by a normal-looking glasses or cell phone carrier that hooks onto your belt. So, in a sense, your are hiding your holster in plain sight. To draw, you use your support hand to pull up the cell phone/pager/glasses pouch. This pulls the hidden leather holster out of your pants, allowing you to access your gun with your strong hand. The only thing that’s visible is the phone/glasses pouch attached to your belt.
This method offers excellent concealment, especially if you need to wear tucked-in shirts. The drawback is that two hands are required to draw your gun. I used this method with a Walther PPK for a year in an office environment where the dress code made belt carry difficult and risky. As the leather holster and belt accessory are “hinged” with a soft leather flap, the holster is surprisingly comfortable. Walking, standing, sitting–no worries!
The Looper Marilyn
Let’s talk ladies-specific options for a minute, as many ladies wear underwear also.
By now, most everyone has heard of the Flashbang bra holster. Invented by Lisa Looper, the Flashbang is “capable or taking you from a 32 to a 45!” Those are Lisa’s words, not mine. The Flashbang is great assuming you’re wearing a blouse or shirt that is accessible from the bottom. To draw a gun from the Flashbang, you reach upwards and pull the gun downwards from the bra mount and out the bottom of the blouse or shirt.
But what about those elegant evenings when long dresses define the dress code? That’s when you reach for Looper’s Marilyn model holster. This one hooks on to the side of the bra and is accessible from the top, so make sure there is room in the collar. V-neck and scoop neck tops and dresses work best.
Whether going for a jog or a night on the town, The Marilyn will make you feel like a well-protected star.
There are many other ways to carry guns in your underwear, and many other places on your body. Heck, I wrote a whole book on gun holsters and that just scratches the surface of carry options, so we can’t cover all of them in one short article. If you’re stumped on the eternal question of how to carry a concealed gun, in a way that fits your specific dress and concealment requirements, be persistent with your search. There are ingenious folks out there always designing new ways to carry safely, securely, and secretly.