Concealed Carry

How to Carry a Gun When You’re Dressed to Kill

Jason Hanson demonstrating drawing from concealed carry wearing a gray suit, white shirt and striped tie

A guest article by Jason Hanson

Maybe you wear a suit to work everyday, or maybe you only wear a suit to church on Sunday. Either way, if you’re like me, you carry every time you leave the house, which means sometime you’ll find yourself carrying while wearing a suit.

Jason Hanson with concealed carry in a suit and tie
With a suit you actually wear, practice sweeping back the jacket. Different materials and cloth weights will respond differently to this simple move.

The thing is, for some reason, a lot of new gun owners think it’s tough to carry concealed while in a suit, which isn’t true at all.

First, when you go to buy a new suit, you’ve got to make sure to bring your holster with you so that you buy your pants large enough to carry inside the waistband. If you already have a suit and it’s too tight to carry inside the waistband, you’ll need to take it to a tailor to have it let out an inch or so.

When carrying inside the waistband, I usually carry a GLOCK 19, SIG Sauer P226, or Springfield 1911. Right now, the 1911 is the gun I’m carrying, and I carry it inside the waistband using a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 holster. Using this holster and carrying at the 4 o’clock position allows me to easily conceal this full-size gun. It’s a huge myth (on way too many Internet forums) that you can’t easily conceal a full-size gun.

Now, the key to making sure that nobody knows you’re carrying concealed while wearing a suit is to make sure the holster clips on your belt are covered. In other words, if you decide to take off your suit jacket, you need to blouse your shirt out enough so that the holster clips going around your belt are covered.

Before you leave your home for the day, you may want to stand in front of a mirror to ensure you can’t see the holster clips. Also, there are a lot of “tuckable” holsters available that allow you to tuck in your shirt behind the belt clips to make this even easier.

Jason Hanson with concealed carry in a suit and tie
Using an empty gun, practice your “suited” draw —you don’t want the first time you draw it to be during a gunfight.


In addition to carrying inside the waistband while in a suit, I also pocket carry. I carry a Ruger LCP in my front, right pocket. I use a Kydex pocket holster that stays in my pocket when I draw the gun.

Another important aspect of carrying while wearing a suit is training. I highly recommend doing dry fire practice while wearing your suit. Many people dry fire every day, but they do it in their casual clothes.


However, while wearing a suit, you have to practice sweeping back the jacket and then drawing the gun. It’s not difficult to do, but it’s something you should definitely practice because you don’t want the first time you’ve ever drawn a gun in a suit to be during a gunfight.

Jason Hanson with concealed carry dress shirt and pants
Does he, or doesn’t he? A bloused dress shirt doesn’t print and it does conceal holster, gun, and belt clips.

If neither carrying inside the waistband or in your pocket works for you, you can always carry using an outside the waistband holster.

For my 1911, I have a leather belt-slide holster that works perfectly when I have a suit jacket on.

Of course, if you do choose to use an outside-the-waistband holster, you can’t take off your jacket unless you’re in a place where open carry is legal.

The bottom line is, since I believe in always carrying a gun, it’s important to be able to do it in whatever clothes I’m wearing. So although I try not to spend too much time in suits (I prefer cargo pants and a t-shirt), I’m prepared to carry concealed no matter what type of clothes I currently have on my back.

Jason Hanson with concealed carry in a suit and tie
It’s a myth that you can’t easily conceal a full-size gun. It just requires some thought.


So how do you make sure you’ve got a gun with you, even if you’re dressed up for the office? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Comments (12)

  1. The place where I buy sport coats and suits will sew in a panel/s on the inside of the jacket to protect it from excessive wear where the pistol and mag pouch/handcuff case rub. My jackets last a lot longer now 🙂

  2. As a retired Secret Service agent of 24 years, understanding the term “concealed carry” is critical . Common sense dictates that the weapon is always hidden from view. SOP for most agents is a “pancake” holster secured with a belt (not a clip-on) that holds the weapon flat against the hip. Concealment varies with clothing and ease of access according to the preference of the individual. Working in an office with fellow agents does not require blousing the shirt to hide the weapon from fellow agents. Common sense, comfort and surroundings all play a part in effect concealment. Deployment and technique fall under the category of personal preference.

  3. Great article.

    As a double-breasted suit wearer conceal carry is a real challenge because DBs are form fit, leaving little room for even the smallest carry. Because I wear cowboy boots my solution has been to keep an LCP in a holster which easily clips inside my boot, on the inside of the leg. No, it isn’t easy to get at quickly but that just keeps me that much more aware of my surroundings. I know the standard is to be able to draw and shoot in 2.something seconds but that simply isn’t realistic with IWB or deep concealment for most. You just have to adjust and pay more attention to what is going on around you. When wearing street close, OWB, and jacket, sure, it’s easy to do 2 seconds but suits simply aren’t as conducive to drawing from concealment.

    As far as flipping you jacket back and out of the way, it doesn’t hurt to add a little wait to that corner of your jacket. Placing a medium size washer inside the lining really helps to keep the jacket moving in the right direction when you toss it back in order to draw.

    As far as comments about cops and FBI carrying…they are in a different class. They can get away with a lot more than the rest of us because they have a lot less explaining to do if someone notices their firearm.

    One more comment is that if you drive for a living you should consider a cross-draw because you are never going to be able to reach your strong side holster with your strong side hand in any kind of realistic time. Plus, if you are right-handed, the seatbelt is going to be more in your way on your strong side than your alternate.

  4. I don’t wear a suit too often for work, but when I do it’s not hard to conceal a full size in an IWB. Most of the time it’s “business casual”, so I go with a belt holster that looks like a smart phone holder for a sub compact 9mm. The other option is a “Belly Band” style carrier that goes under your shirt and no one ever sees a thing.

    1. Belly band carry in a business suit. I would appreciate any tips you have for wearing a belly band while wearing a suit. In North Carolina working in armed security requires an 80% day/ nightshoot in the gear , uniform or clothes you will be wearing. One of the first firing situations is a target at 2yards. The shooter has 2 seconds to put two rounds in the target. I’ve seen several people fail or score poorly when trying to qualify with an ankle holster and shoulder holster under a jacket. Belly band is a good idea…I suppose. But I, and many others would benefit from your further instruction on how to carry in a belly band and business suit and survive the 2 rounds from 2yards.

  5. blousing your shirt is fine as long as you don’t bend over or reach up. If you do you will be exposed.

  6. For suits, just use Galco’s Exective shoulder holster and forget all the drama of waist holsters. Pocket holsters are fine, too, but with the Executive, there is no binding below your armpit and it is WAY more comfy than most shoulder rigs. Just keep your jacket on.

  7. Jason,

    Good article. In particular, the idea of blousing a shirt solves a lot of problems.

    With your background, I think you could help many people in terms of threat assessment — what risks exist and how can we plan to handle those risks and in what priority?

    For example you mention “gunfight” in this article and I am thinking that there probably are more likely threat scenarios than actually getting into a gunfight. — such as a very up-close and personal event like a mugging or carjacking. What are the most likely scenarios where we might be called upon to defend ourselves?

    Another example: Is there any self-defense significance to the fact that we know there are cells of radical Islamists in the US, like the ones that recently activated in France? Are certain people or places more likely to be targets of these cells, and how can we plan for that particular threat?

    And, given the effort by some to undermine the basic human right of armed self-defense by fomenting violence (as in Ferguson, MO), how can we plan for that kind of threat?

    History might suggest that some risks are fairly minimal, but are we in a situation when a very different history of the future is being made today?

    With your background, I suspect that you could put a far better spin on this topic than most commentators.

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