Go Big! Medium to Large Frame Concealed Carry in Hot Weather

By Ace Luciano published on in Gun Gear

One of the things that have always been a dilemma for me when carrying concealed is how to keep a weapon concealed in warm weather. A move to the desert southwest has led to several different carry styles and, yes, even though I’m several hundred miles from Area 51, an Alien (Gear) encounter.

pistol worn in an inside the waistband holster

For years I lived in the Midwest, where I experienced both extremes of temperature; each with its own set of challenges. If the temperature is below 40 or so, a jacket or parka can hide just about any firearm.

Some are even specifically designed to do so, with special pockets and integral holsters built into the garment. Alternately, in the winter a weapon carried inside the waistband and under a coat requires too much effort to quickly retrieve in my opinion.

On the other hand, when the temperature climbs, we shed layers of clothing, exposing our previously well-concealed firearm. Therefore, in the summer, I most often carried a smaller handgun in order to minimize its profile, as I believe that the best concealed weapon is:

  1. The one you carry.and
  2. The one nobody else—especially the bad guy—knows is there.

With the increasing wisdom that age brings, I recently moved my family from the upper Midwest to a place where removal of snow in any form is a conscious choice, but also a place that for several months of the year allows you the convenience of baking cookies on your car dashboard and frying eggs on your sidewalk.

Man with concealed firearm wearing a white dress shirt

Properly concealed – You can wear a small- or large-framed pistol with just a dress shirt.

We simply don’t wear a lot of clothes when it’s hot. This led me on an entirely new search and an encounter with an Alien that has become my daily companion.

Having carried a firearm daily for the better part of two decades, I have learned a few things in the way of carry and comfort. Because of this, my preferred weapon for everyday carry had been a subcompact .380. I alternate between my Taurus 738 and Glock Model 42. Both have an extremely small profile with the Taurus being slightly slimmer, and the Glock a bit more comfortable for me to shoot.
Both are also what some in the industry refer to as ‘Ballistically Challenged,’ meaning any larger caliber has a great deal more stopping power.

Much of my day is spent wearing slacks and dress clothes, with the occasional jacket worn for client meetings. Obviously, a suit coat makes concealed carry a breeze. However, when I carry in the summertime in the desert, I was previously relegated to 3 methods of carry: pocket, ankle, and tucked.

Anyone that watched Miami Vice in the ’80s is familiar with ankle and shoulder holsters—as they seemingly appeared in just about every episode. When carrying for ultra-concealment in warmer climates, this is a preferred method. It is almost impossible to detect, and you can carry even a midsized compact firearm. Wearing shorts with this method is really not an option, though.

Pocket Carry

One of the easiest methods of carry for small sub-compacts is in a pocket holster designed to hide the profile of your weapon while tucked into the front pocket of your pants. When carrying a micro- or sub-compact, this is also one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to carry. People tend to ignore reaching into your pocket, as it is a very common movement. Lifting your leg or grabbing at your ankle is not. The main drawback is that it limits the size weapon you can carry to something rather small in the .22 to .380 calibers.

Tucked

Most people who carry concealed like to wear their firearm on their waist between 3 and 5 o’clock. Due to the genetics of our population, most wear the firearm on the right hip.

I have never been that comfortable carrying this way, and, due to a few too many good meals at meetings and home, I don’t want to go buy new pants to accommodate the additional thickness of a holster.  Because of this, and especially when I carry one of my larger frame pistols, I prefer to carry just to the right of midline in the small of my back.

Until recently, I used a very simple holster from Blackhawk that is essentially a pocket for your gun with a clip to hold it to your pants. This prevents the gun from sliding down while tucked in your waistband. The up and downside to this method is that the gun can slide out relatively easily—good when a situation arises, and bad when you are exiting your vehicle and the gun slips out!

Man wearing a white dress shirt while concealing a pistol

It is important to ensure your firearm is not printing when move, twist, or bend.

My Alien Encounter

There are several quality holster offerings from Blackhawk, Crossbreed, Galco, Bianchi, and others, but after reading hundreds of reviews, I acquired an Alien Gear “Cloak Tuck 3.0” holster. This holster is rated highly in just about every review for its extreme comfort, and I agree. Most of this is due to the material used against your skin—neoprene—one of the softest and most comfortable, yet durable and breathable materials.

In warm weather, a gun against your skin can be rather irritating, and your sweat and body oils can do the firearm harm. Alternately, a holster not fit properly to your firearm can cause issues with unintentional unholstering. If accidentally dropped, there is a small chance of an accidental discharge and bigger chance of running afoul of the law. The Cloak Tuck 3.0 solves this by combining a custom ballistic nylon shell that fits several popular handguns.

As I stated above, I am a believer that the best concealed weapon is the one that is truly concealed – that way the bad guy can never tell who’s in the fight. My concern with a tuckable holster was that it would be noticeable (print) when I was not wearing a jacket, so I put this holster to what I referred to as the “white dress shirt test.”

If a holster can hide a weapon under a tucked in, white dress shirt, I consider it fully concealed.

While not as completely invisible as an ankle or pocket holster, the only sign that I was carrying a weapon with a tucked in shirt was two small clips that, when properly positioned, blended with my belt loops quite nicely. Better yet, my firearm was no more noticeable whether I was carrying a micro .380 or a larger framed pistol.

Every Alien Gear product includes an Iron Clad Triple Guarantee. Try Alien Gear’s holster, risk free, for 30 days. If you’re not satisfied with it for any reason, Alien Gear will buy it back. As a value added measure, all of its concealed carry holsters feature fully swappable shells for use with inside the waistband or outside the waistband holsters. If you ever decide to carry a different handgun, you can simply trade your shell for a new one. Last, but not least, every holster is covered Alien Gear’s Forever Warranty. If any part of your holster breaks for any reason, Alien Gear will repair or replace it for free.

Alien gear makes holsters to fit most makes and models, and sometimes can even accommodate a newer weapon if you give them a call. After several weeks of daily wear, I highly recommend it.

Do you carry a smaller caliber or framed firearm in the summer months? What are your favorite brands of holsters? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (26)

  • DaveW

    |

    Same meaning, different word…

    sub·due

    /səbˈd(y)o͞o/

    verb

    past tense: subdued; past participle: subdued

    overcome, quieten, or bring under control (a feeling or person).
    “she managed to subdue an instinct to applaud”

    synonyms: conquer, defeat, vanquish, overcome, overwhelm, crush, quash, beat, trounce, subjugate, suppress, bring someone to their knees; More
    informallick, thrash, hammer

    “he subdued all his enemies”

    •curb, restrain, hold back, constrain, contain, repress, suppress, stifle, smother, keep in check, rein in, control, master, quell;
    informalkeep a/the lid on

    “she could not subdue her longing”

    •bring (a country or people) under control by force.
    “Charles went on a campaign to subdue the Saxons”

    Reply

  • BenC

    |

    I live in Florida and wear shorts nearly year round. I carry either a Sig Sauer P238 or P938 in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster. The guns only differ slightly in length, otherwise they are nearly identical. Which one I carry on a specific day is usually based on the depth of my pocket to ensure the butt of the grip doesn’t protrude. The Nemesis holster obscures the gun’s outline but allows a smooth draw.

    Reply

    • Norm

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      I, too carry 238 or 938 in DeSantis Nemesis. I usually appendix carry IWB. No printing. Easy access. Great minds and all that…3

      Reply

  • DaveW

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    I don’t use a fanny pack, however, I don’t care how it would make me look. I don’t care if someone knows I carry and thinks me a paranoid nutjob. All I care about is my safety and the safety of others. To that end I prefer concealed in all it’s forms. I don’t want confrontation. I just want to be able to deal with it when the time comes… and be the one who can walk away.

    Reply

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