Gear, Parts and Accessories

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

pistol worn in an inside the waistband holster

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.


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.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. Same meaning, different word…




    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”

  2. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. I have to mirror what the author says about the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster. I used to carry in a 2.0 and it was a good holster, but the 3.0 is even better. I carry a full size Glock 21sf .45 auto from dawn to dusk, every day of the year and can attest to it’s concealment ability and comfort. In the summer with shorts or jeans, I wear a t-shirt or untucked dress shirt. Easy to retrieve and very comfortable, even in the heat we get here. No affiliation, just a very satisfied used.

  5. So, the headline is about carrying big guns in the summer but the article is about carrying small guns in the summer. On a scale of 1-5 for click-bait this reaches a 0. We put up with misleading headlines from the anti-gun establishment all too often, why would we want to allow it in our pro-gun publications? Just say what the story is about in the headline, then tell that story.

    1. You probably should have read past the first couple of paragraphs before deciding what the article was about.

  6. Again fanny pack was not mentioned. As I noted in the previous article comment section, a fanny pack is the way to go. I can carry a .45 in a fanny pack all day and I never give a crap what others think of it.

    1. Fanny pack wasn’t mentioned because it is the corniest looking way to carry. You say you don’t care, and congratulations, but a fanny pack screams concealed carrry or I live in my mothers basement.

    2. Geez….it only screams gun to gun people….no one else will notice or care.

  7. Here in the sweaty southeast with 90+ degrees and 90+% humidity pocket carry is my only choice. Nothing else goes with shorts and lightweight tees. With proper selection of shorts, Ruger’s LC9s fits in two different pocket holsters I own quite nicely.

    1. Agreed. I disagree with the author’ss statement that pocket carry is limited to .380 or smaller. I have routinely pocket carried a Kahr PM9 or Springfield XDs, and more recently a SIG P923 in a pocket holster and have even carried a G26 this way. It does require making sure the pants or shorts you buy have roomy pockets, but thats never been a problem

      Capacity may not be what we’d like in the best of all worlds, but but the 7+1 in my P923 is more firepower than gets expended in the average gunfight and I have a spare magazine.

  8. The thing I find to be a problem with open carry is you have already advertised that you are armed. Anyone intent on doing you harm is more apt to wait for the opportune time and catch you from behind with an equalizer.

    That’s something I learned in martial arts training. Never advertise what you know for your opponent will seek to use it against you by using an equalizer from a dark doorway.

    I also learned that whatever your opponent does, if you can just walk away you should do so and ignore the insults. However, if pushed into a corner with no way out, you go for the kill. If you go in with just the idea of defending yourself, you have already lost because your opponent will surely be intent on killing you. You must adopt the mindset of being the winner in a confrontation. Once your opponent is subdued/incapacitated you can always stop short of a kill.

    1. If a situation occurs that requires me to draw my weapon I am going to make sure that the threat is totally neutralized, not just subdued.

    1. The issue with open carry is losing the tactical advantage of your potential opponent now knowing you are armed.
      Yes, open carry is a potential deterrent for a bad guy unsure of himself. The bad guy who has an over abundance of self may try to take it or attack you first ambush style. Additionally, the unknowing pubic calls 911 about “a man with a gun and I am scared” prompting a police response and messing up your day.
      A properly concealed hand gun is not noted by the public and/or bad guy/s, easily accessible by you (1.5 sec draw and shoot) and securely retained to prevent it shifting out of the holster.
      I too struggle in the Arizona heat with concealment, swapping between IWB and OWB as I too have too much extra around the waist to make either comfortable all the time.
      I open carry at the range or at weapons training except when training to draw from the concealed or am receiving training about concealed carry. Out side of those situations, always concealed, all the time. However, it is your choice and you are free to make it.

  9. I carry concealed everyday no matter the temp/ weather. It’s like carrying your wallet, pocket knife, or watch. A tool!
    I carry IWB at 4o’clock. I only carry one weapon. Only have one pistol to choose from and it’s a Glock 32.(.357 Sig). Yea, it’s a little bulky, heavy too. Would imagine there wouldn’t be much difference in mine and a 1911 I would think?
    But this weapon is the only one I shoot. And I like the feel and the power. Even on 90 degree days I carry it, but I don’t wear a t-shirt. I wear a shirt sleeve button down that I don’t tuck in. A relaxed look. Now, I have seen on The.V., a company that makes “dressy” shirts called untuckit or something close to that that look nice. Disclaimer: I have no vested interests in this company whatsoever. They just wear nice! It may help someone NOT to leave their weapon at home.
    Great topic, Thanks again and keep em coming.

    1. Sorry but a lifetime of school, military and corporate dress codes have ingrained in me an intense dislike for untucked shirt tails! LOL

    2. First, thank you for your service. It is much appreciated! Secondly, these new shirts I mentioned are pretty “relaxed” looking, and are made to be worn untucked. “Untuckit” shirts are a new idea, and still “dressy”. They’re not long tails, but sort of curve just below the waist/belt line. Again, I have no relationship with this company, just think it’s a great looking stylish shirt that other folks may find appealing. Have a great one.

    3. I had a bit of the same problem, and then I retired and moved to the country. With a little practice you’ll overcome that dislike. 🙂

    4. I also like wearing the short sleeve “button up” shirts. I like the Propper tactical shirts which provides options. They have “carry” pockets both left and right, have patterns that help conceal what’s in your pocket. I can carry my Glock 19 easily. It also allows the waistband carry with side vents in the shirt. By the way, it gets hot and humid here in Houston and these shirts are light and comfortable even in the summer (winter, we don’t have). As Deplorable Roberts said, I don’t own stock or anything, am just a satisfied customer.

  10. I too live in the desert SW, albeit at 7000 ft. During the summer , or anytime I really need to make sure I am concealed very well; I carry the Taurus pt709. This firearm is pretty much undetectable carried in a Foxx iwb hybrid. A little less easy to shoot with big hands, but reliable and fits the bill. I own several Foxx holsters and love these guys. They also will work with you and your application.

  11. Each gunfight has its own nuances, but they can be separated into two broad categories: brief shootouts and prolonged standoffs. The former is far more common, especially for law enforcement officers and average street citizens. NYPD firearms expert Frank McGee says the typical police gunfight conforms to a “rule of three:” three rounds, 3 yards, three seconds. Even that might be overstating the duration of the average shootout. Studies show that 85 percent of slain police officers are killed before firing a shot, and nearly 70 percent of gunfights take place over a distance of less than 2 yards. Under those circumstances, the rule of the Old West still applies: The faster draw usually wins. The officer may be able to anticipate the gunfight by keen observation.

    A confrontation of less than 2 yards, IMHO, counters your observation regarding .22 and .380 firearms, as well as the need to got to larger calibers. Modern .380 ammo is far better than it was in the 1970s when I bought my first one. At 2 yards, a .380 like my Bersa Firestorm is very effective. So, too, a .38 Special like my S&W Mod 60. In the right hands, a .22LR like my Ruger Mark III or my Browning Buck Mark can do the job. (Twenty-fives and .32s, I don’t know anything about.)

    Depending on the dress code at the time, I might carry a S&W .38 Spl, Bersa .380 ACP, or a Kimber .45.

    In summer, when just knocking around, I usually wear cargo pants with a pocket within a pocket on the right side. I carried my GI 1911 in there in Vietnam if I wasn’t wearing what we called a jacket (a cargo shirt) under which a shoulder holster was easily hidden. My flight vest had a holster for a snubby revolver sewn on cross draw and it still works today out in the forest.

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