Concealed carry in the summer is not just about swapping your regular jeans for shorts or trading your winter coat for a light shirt. There’s a lot more to consider. Unlike the colder months, where layers of clothing make it easier to hide your firearm, summer presents a different challenge. Lightweight clothing and fewer layers can make concealment more difficult.
As the mercury rises, so does our tendency to engage in a variety of outdoor activities. Whether you’re hiking, swimming, or simply enjoying a picnic, these situations can complicate your usual concealment strategies. Heat and sweat can also cause physical discomfort, which can distract from the focus needed when carrying a firearm.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Firearm
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Compact Firearms: Size Does Matter
The first step in successful summer concealed carry is choosing the right firearm. While it’s vital that you’re comfortable with the firearm you choose, in summer months, size and weight become even more significant factors. Compact firearms are often the preferred choice for this season because they are easier to conceal and lighter to carry.
Keep in mind that carrying a smaller firearm is always better than not carrying at all. If your regular firearm is too bulky or heavy for summer clothing, it might be worth considering a compact alternative.
Caliber Considerations: Striking a Balance
However, choosing a firearm isn’t just about size and weight. The caliber of the firearm is also crucial. If a firearm is too small or difficult to handle, or if it doesn’t have enough stopping power, it won’t be an effective tool for self-defense.
Striking a balance between size, comfort, and power is crucial. For example, while a .22 caliber pistol may be small and easy to carry, it might not provide sufficient stopping power. On the other hand, a .45 caliber firearm, while powerful, may be too large and heavy for comfortable summer carry. Mid-range calibers, like the 9mm, often provide a good balance between size and power.
Selecting the Appropriate Holster
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Comfort and Fit: The Foundation of Concealed Carry
One often overlooked aspect of concealed carry is the importance of a good holster. It’s not just about holding your firearm; a good holster is crucial for safety, comfort, and effective concealment.
The holster should be comfortable to wear for extended periods, even in the heat. It should hold the firearm securely, ensuring that it remains in place even during physical activity. An uncomfortable holster can lead to constant adjusting, which not only draws attention to your concealed carry but can also be a safety risk.
Material Matters: Breathability is Key
The material of the holster is another important factor to consider. Some materials, like leather, while durable and secure, might not breathe well, leading to increased sweating and discomfort in the summer heat.
Holsters made from breathable synthetic materials can be a better choice for hot weather. These materials allow air to circulate, reducing sweat and increasing comfort. However, be very careful to select a holster that completely and securely covers the trigger guard.
To be honest, I just continue to use a regular Kydex holster in the summer. The security and reliability of those holsters are just not worth the slight decrease in temperature.
Carry Position: Finding What Works for You
The position in which you carry your firearm can also affect comfort and concealability during the summer. Traditional hip or back carry might not be feasible with summer clothing, and these positions might also be uncomfortable in the heat.
One popular alternative is appendix carry, where the firearm is positioned in the front of the body. This position allows for easy access to the firearm and can be more comfortable and practical in summer. However, it’s crucial to practice drawing and reholstering safely if you choose this carry position.
Concealed Carry Summertime Clothing
View our article on the Best Concealed Carry Belts
Light Layers: Your Concealment Allies
Dressing for concealed carry in the summer can seem like a difficult task, but with a few strategies, it can be quite manageable. One key strategy is to utilize light layers.
For example, a lightweight button-down shirt, worn open over a t-shirt, can provide an extra layer to help conceal your firearm without causing you to overheat. The outer shirt acts as a cover garment, hiding the outline of your firearm.
Patterns and Colors: Concealment Camouflage
The colors and patterns of your clothing can also play a significant role in concealment. Darker colors and busy patterns are better at hiding any potential printing of your firearm.
Light-colored or tight-fitting clothing can reveal the outline of your firearm, so these should be avoided. Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothes in darker colors or with patterns that can break up the outline of your firearm.
Shorts and Belts: The Foundation of Your Outfit
When wearing shorts in the summer, it’s essential to choose a pair that can support the weight of your firearm and holster. Look for shorts with sturdy waistbands, or consider wearing a belt for additional support.
A good gun belt can make a significant difference in both comfort and concealment. It can help distribute the weight of the firearm, preventing your shorts from sagging and keeping your firearm in the correct position for quick and safe access.
Navigating Summer Activities with Concealed Carry
Beach and Pool: Special Considerations
One of the most challenging scenarios for concealed carry in the summer is a trip to the beach or pool. Obviously, swimming with a firearm is not safe or practical, and leaving a firearm unattended is a significant safety risk.
In these situations, consider using a lockbox in your vehicle to store your firearm safely while you’re swimming. If a lockbox is not an option, some places offer lockers for rent. While this isn’t ideal, it’s a better option than leaving your firearm unattended or not carrying at all.
Hiking and Camping: Outdoor Concealment
For those who enjoy hiking or camping, summer concealed carry can be a bit easier. Outdoor clothing and gear can provide additional concealment options. For example, a backpack or a fanny pack can provide a secure and discreet carry option.
Remember, no matter what carry method you choose, it’s crucial that your firearm is secure and within easy reach. You should be able to access your firearm quickly and safely, without rummaging through your gear.
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While the summer months can present unique challenges for concealed carry, with careful planning and the right equipment, these challenges can be successfully navigated. Selecting a suitable firearm and holster, dressing appropriately, and carefully considering your plans can all contribute to safe and effective concealed carry in the summer.
Remember, the most crucial aspect of concealed carry, no matter the season, is practice and awareness. Familiarize yourself with your firearm and your carry method, practice drawing and reholstering safely, and always stay aware of your surroundings. With these strategies in mind, you can enjoy the freedom and relaxation of summer without compromising your safety or your right to carry.