The operative word in the phrase concealed carry is “concealed.” Today we’ll talk about printing, what it is and whether you should care about it or not. Mad Duo
Language Lessons: Printing
Application(s) of Use: Concealed Carry, CCW, EDC
Category: Tactics and Equipment
Related to: Effective Concealment (i.e., avoiding the risk of Brandishing, Improper Exhibition of a Firearm, Unlawful Display, and unnecessary escalation of encounters with others)
Definition: When the outline of your concealed carry weapon is visible through clothing or a cover garment.
Into the Weeds: For most people, concealed carry is intended to be just that: concealed. But, there are times when printing occurs. The actual amount of printing may not be visible to a random passerby, but to you it may feel so blatantly obvious you become overly concerned. This can create more attention by causing you to frequently readjust your weapon or just act awkward while feeling like everyone can see your gun.
The fear of printing isn’t so much about printing, but more so how it may be misconstrued as brandishing, or any of the many terms that boil down to the effect of threatening. For new CCW permit holders, they don’t want to lose the right they worked to get. So, things can get a little confusing or even downright intimidating if they can’t figure out how to successfully conceal the gun. This situation is prevalent among women with small builds and not a lot of real estate to hide a gun. Get into the summer months, when layers come off, and concealed carry options get even more limited.
So, how much does it really matter?
It matters because brandishing a firearm can get you in an epic shit ton of trouble. But if you’re a licensed CCW permit holder, if you’re doing the right thing and your gun makes a sneak appearance you should be okay. Back in 2015, this Captain Save-A-Hoe decided to tackle a lawfully-armed citizen after seeing a holstered gun under his coat. The attacker ended up being charged with battery and the CCW permit holder was deemed as not being a threat. While you may be covered where the law is concerned, that doesn’t protect you from the loons who think your intentions are malicious. Effectively concealing the gun will keep drama to a minimum.
Thankfully, options for CCW holsters have gotten better. Gone are the days of stowing your blaster away in a non-retention holster with a single clip that depends on a belt to semi-stay in place. Here’s a list of several good holster options for on-body carry (this list has been compiled from recommendations by our minions who have actually used holsters from the companies below):
Inside the waistband options:
Holsters specifically designed for women, options include holsters that don’t rely on a belt:
Even if you don’t want to admit it, printing is a problem (albeit not enough of a problem to go without a gun). The cliché of having the right tool for the job is applicable for concealed carry. Some holsters don’t fit well, retain the gun, or will cause too much bulk. The amount of printing can be decreased when you find a holster that’s made to keep the gun hidden away until needed. But if printing doesn’t bother you and you’re not concerned about possible repercussions, then do you, boo boo.
Question for the Crowd: How much do you care about printing?
Additional Reading (Point/Counterpoint Considerations):Claude Werner, Tactical Professor, Concealed Carry and Printing.
Chris Baker, Lucky Gunner, How to Stop Worrying about Printing.
Victory Gun Blog, Printing, no one cares.
‘]Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
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Printing is a thing to be aware of and I try to minimize it but I also recognize that the vast majority of people out there are not looking. It’s one thing if you’ve got an otw holster and your jacket moves, revealing a gun- people notice will notice that. But a brief outline under a shirt? That’s something almost anyone without training will miss.
I’m concerned enough to remember to stoop to pick up thing at the store, concerned enough to be aware that tight tee shirts aren’t my friends and that IWB is better than strong side external. But what I’m really concerned about is printing the small fixed blade knife I carry left side in front of hip. My CCW doesn’t cover any other weapon other than a handgun
I’m less concerned about the police and more about the reaction by a gun-phobic person or potential shooter/criminal who sees me as a gun resource.