What is Printing?
When you are “printing” it simply means that you are able to see the outline of your gun through your clothing. This is also the term to use when you can see the shape of your gun through the fabric of a purse. Printing can be a problem if you are around people who don’t understand or fear guns and those who carry them. It can lead to questions and confrontation. If they are extremely disturbed, they may call the authorities. As you can see, keeping your concealed carry gun well concealed is important… Are you really printing?
How do you Know You’re Printing?
I know that many of you think you’re printing and it can be especially nerve-racking when you start to carry, trust me, I know! I would look down at my waistband or look in the mirror and all I would see is “GUN”. It was larger than life! Because I was looking for the bulge, I saw a bulge. The truth is, no one is looking at you like you look at you! Most of the people around you aren’t paying any attention. Think about this; how many times have you noticed someone else’s gun? Have you ever noticed one without really looking for it? Likely not.
What’s the point of this? People do not know you’re carrying without really, really looking. Most people will assume that the lump on your hip is from a phone or some other item. A gun is most likely far from their minds. You can see your gun printing because you are hyper aware of your situation. If you are wearing a good holster properly and incorporate smart how to dress for concealed carry principles and avoid touching or adjusting your gun or holster, your secret will be safe.
How Do You Avoid Printing?
If you are printing and it is noticeable, or you would feel better taking additional precautions, there are a lot of steps you can take. First, think about the 5 C’s of concealed carry.
How You Carry Makes a Difference
Carry position is important to ensure your safety and your ability to draw from your holster quickly and safely. It is also advised that you carry in the same place everyday so you can get used to your holster and gun. However, there are times when this will not work. As women, our clothing options are limited especially in the summer. When your clothing becomes less, consider switching to a smaller carry gun and switching your carry position for to a deeper concealed holster. Options like an underarm holster, bra holster, pistol pouch, or thigh holster may be a better option when clothing is smaller, lighter and thinner.
Change Your Clothing
You don’t have to totally change your personal style! Just tweak it here and there. Here are some easy things to incorporate into your wardrobe: busy prints, loose fabric, cover-ups, high-waist pants, peplums, folds, and ruffles. Instead of buying that solid blue t-shirt, look for one that has a floral or paisley pattern. Anything that is not uniform will distract the eyes from any noticeable printing. The same can be said for any shirt that has billowing folds, a peplum, knots, or extra fabric on the bottom. Distracting the eye from your waist, if you are carrying IWB, is the key. You can also take advantage of trends. Are cardigans in style? What about kimonos or tunics? You can find all of these in light-weight fabrics that will not be too heavy for summer heat. If you need help, read my summer concealed carry fashion article.
Also, you can wear a hat, scarf or prominant necklace or earings to draw eyes up and away from your carry location.
Cant Can Make a Difference
You can leave your gun where it is in the holster it is in and completely change your situation. All you need to do is change your cant! If you seem to print and your gun is sitting straight up and down, you can shift your holster to sit at an angle. You can purchase clips that will allow you to cant your holster without spending too much or changing your carry position drastically.
If You Can, Carry Compact
Sometimes smaller is better. If you are loving your full-size firearm and can’t imagine carrying something smaller, stick with what you are comfortable with. If you are new and not sure where to start, look at the smaller gun options. Though many small guns are light and therefore have higher recoil than larger guns, they can be great for concealed carry. You need to be able to carry with relative comfort or you may avoid carrying all together. If you are comfortable shooting a compact gun, you should consider carrying one. The smaller your gun, the easier it is to conceal.
It’s All About Comfort
Yes, you should be physically comfortable when you carry, but it is always important to feel your gun and be reminded of the huge responsibility you are carrying. What is most important is your psychological comfort. Printing is more of a worry when you start carrying and becomes less worrisome as time goes on. Carry every day, do what you can to get used to having the firearm there on your body and the worry about printing and discomfort of knowing your gun may be slightly visible will diminish.
Printing can be a problem but it is easily remedied. All you need to do is take the time to look at what your specific issue is and what is causing you to print. What is one thing you can change that won’t cause you discomfort? Start with something small and work your way from there.