It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, including others who might be carrying a concealed handgun. Here are 10 signs to identify armed individuals and how to spot a concealed handgun on someone else. Avoid these common mistakes when you carry concealed to prevent others from spotting your handgun.
Printing is a big no-no when it comes to concealed carry. Read up on the many reasons why printing is bad in my other article. Having the outline of your gun showing through your shirt or pants is the biggest sign that a person is carrying a gun.
Handguns have a unique and unmistakable shape. Therefore, having even a portion of your handgun protruding through your clothes is a quick way to spot a concealed handgun on someone else. Even a sweat pattern can indicate the presence of a gun.
Choose your attire wisely, but you can read here for other tips to prevent printing when carrying concealed.
2. Touching Their Handgun (Security Check)
Watch for the “security check” when you suspect someone is carrying a handgun. Individuals who concealed carry will either consciously or unconsciously touch their gun. After all, nobody wants their gun falling out or discharging because it wasn’t holstered correctly.
Usually, this stems from inexperience and lack of faith in the holster they use. However, this can also be a remnant of a learned behavior from when the person began carrying a gun.
Unfortunately, breaking the habit of touching your gun is a behavioral change. Finding a good quality holster you are comfortable and confident in can help. However, ultimately you need to take deliberate steps to contradict your natural tendencies to touch your handgun.
3. Awkward Pant Sagging
Handguns aren’t light, and a fully loaded magazine only contributes to the weight. Therefore, the bulk of a holstered handgun and the weight of a loaded gun can cause the waistline to sag making it a telltale sign of someone who is carrying a concealed handgun.
People who carry a handgun on their hip are more susceptible to this tell. However, even those who carry appendix and other locations aren’t immune.
An awkward waistline angle can help you spot someone carrying a concealed handgun. An un-tucked shirt can help mask an uneven waistline. However, it cannot hide pockets that are also misaligned which is another symptom of the same problem.
To prevent yourself from being “made” you should wear pants with belt loops if you’re planning to use an IWB holster. A sturdy leather or concealed carry belt can help keep things tight and your pants from sagging awkwardly.
4. Constantly Adjusting Clothing While Carrying
Similar to the security check, constantly adjusting clothes during regular activity is another sign that someone is carrying a gun. For instance, do you notice them pulling up on their waistline to sit down? Or perhaps, you notice someone habitually tugging at the bottom of their shirt.
Generally, someone who is carrying a gun will be adjusting their clothing for one of two reasons. First, they may need to adjust their gun/holster to perform an activity comfortably. As an example, someone who carries appendix may need to adjust their holster position prior to sitting down.
Another reason someone will be adjusting their clothes is to ensure their handgun is concealed. Adjusting clothes may also be a byproduct of a security check. However, choosing the proper attire will prevent the need to second-guess if your handgun is secure and out of sight.
5. Oversized Clothing To Help Conceal A Firearm
Wearing loose fitting clothing is a great way to conceal your handgun. However, some people go a bit overboard. You may not be able to actually spot the handgun on another person. But having a shirt or jacket that is overly large for their frame may indicate that the garment is being used to conceal something.
As a general rule, I go up one size on my tops and 2 inches for pants. I avoid tight fitting clothing that would make my other garments look excessively large.
6. Favoring The Side Their Handgun Is On
People who carry a concealed handgun often favor the strong side where their holster is. Admittedly, I picked up this habit when I carry concealed.
Keeping their body weight on the strong side while standing or sitting may be done for several reasons. First, the person may be attempting to shield the handgun from view.
Alternatively, they may want to put the greatest distance between others and their handgun. This allows them to use the weak hand as a buffer.
Favoring the strong side manifests in various ways. Perhaps it’s extending the left hand for a handshake when they are right handed. Another example is leaning in for a hug at an awkward angle to prevent their gun from pressing into the other person.
Usually, these types of tells are subtle and often overlooked. However, to the trained eye, this behavior makes it easy to spot a concealed handgun on someone else.
7. Wearing Clothes That Don’t Match The Weather
Speaking of concealed carry attire, another way to spot a concealed handgun on someone else is to identify clothes that don’t match the weather. For instance, wearing an outer layer like a jacket in the summer can be a sign.
That’s not to say that everyone who wears jeans in the summer is packing a firearm. Generally, someone will avoid shedding layers if they are carrying a concealed handgun. It’s simply easier to conceal with an outer layer, and their underlayer may be insufficient to hide a firearm.
8. Avoiding Alcohol In Social Situations
If you want to know if someone else is potentially carrying a gun, watch how they act in public social gatherings. Any responsible gun owner knows that consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm is illegal.
Therefore, look for a person who avoids drinking with others as someone who might be carrying a gun. On more than a few occasions I have declined to partake in festivities because I was carrying my firearm.
Of course not everyone who declines to drink is carrying. Similarly, not everyone who carries a gun is a responsible gun owner. Thus, you’ll want to be aware of other signs that a person might be carrying a gun.
9. Modified Gait When Carrying Concealed
Oftentimes, you can spot someone who has a concealed handgun by the way they walk. An unequal gait when walking is typical of someone with a concealed pistol. Usually, the strong side or shooting hand side will be significantly shorter than their non-dominant side.
Unless you are paying close attention this can be imperceptible. However, this happens for a number of reasons. The weight of a handgun may cause a shortened stride length. Additionally, an improperly fitted or new holster can cause someone to walk differently when they are carrying a concealed handgun.
10. Bracing A Concealed Firearm
Another obvious sign that someone is carrying a gun is bracing the firearm. Usually, this is a result of running or other rigorous physical activity. Unlike a security check which is a brief touch of the firearm, the brace is constant throughout activity.
Sometimes a person won’t actually brace the firearm or holster. Instead, they’ll grasp their waistline to force the holster to hug their waistline. Like the security check, this sign results from a lack of faith in the holster or poor judgement in choosing attire.
Hopefully this article has helped you identify your own bad habits when carrying. Additionally, these signs can help you identify when someone else is carrying a concealed handgun. Don’t lose the tactical advantage of carrying a concealed firearm by ignoring these common tells. If you have found this article informative or useful, please share with your network or leave a comment.