Giveaways Other People Know You Are Carrying

There are things you can do to give away the secret that you are carrying a concealed firearm. With some people, it’s actually quite obvious that you are attempting to conceal a gun. One of the major advantages of concealed carry is that nobody knows that you are carrying.


So, how can other people know you are carrying a concealed firearm?

Not only am I a firearm instructor but I am also a security guard. In this role, I am basically a paid people watched. What I have learned is very few people conceal their firearm properly making printing a real thing. You don’t need to be a security guard to catch people carrying, just be aware of your surroundings.

The purpose of this article is 2 fold. The first part is to be sure you’re not making these mistakes. The second is to be able to spot others who are.

Here are some of the indicators I’ve found which make me suspect the person might be carrying a concealed firearm and is worthy of some more observation…

  • Grunt Style shirts. Nine line shirts. Thin blue line shirts.
  • Cargo pants.
  • Tactical boots.
  • Pants sagging slightly more to one side or another.
  • Unconscious touching at the hip or appendix, where the firearm may be located.
  • Unusual or frequent clothing adjustments.

I’ve even seen the grip sticking out of one guy’s pocket once when in line to get coffee. One time while guarding a bank, I spotted a guy carrying on his way in, he was printing bad. He went to one of the bankers, did his business, as he stood up the grip and holster of the firearm were in full view of everyone.

This person covered the gun with his shirt and continued to walk. When he looked at me, he saw the smile on my face and he immediately looked away (he knew he was caught). The interesting thing is not one person in the bank, other than myself, saw what was essentially an open-carry gun, albeit only for a brief moment.

Just people watch sometimes. It’s fun.


In 2010 the United States Secret Service put out a multi-page document on how to spot someone carrying a gun. This 6-page document is titled “Characteristics of an Armed Individual”. [download id=”893″]


This article outlines what I described above, as well also talks about how to determine a person is carrying a concealed firearm by…

  • Determining a person’s strong hand.
  • Watching people’s body movements such as bending and leaning.
  • How a person might run while carrying a concealed firearm.
  • How and where guns are carried.
  • Spotting knives and other bladed weapons.


Be sure in your daily travels you aren’t giving away your secret. It is possible to go about your daily life and people will be none the wiser, that you have a firearm on your person with these following tips…

  • Dress accordingly. Don’t wear clothes too tight or too short. Don’t wear the “giveaway” clothes I mentioned above.
  • Pick the proper holster, carrying location, height, cant, etc, for YOUR body type. Everyone’s body is different and as such everyone needs to carry differently to fit their body.
  • If you pocket carry, please don’t carry anything in that pocket other than your gun. This is not only practical advice but is also a safety issue (and please always carry in a dedicated pocket holster).
  • Pick the proper gun for your body type. Not many people can properly conceal a full-size firearm. In fact, not many people can conceal compact firearms properly.
  • Wear a good belt that keeps your pants in place and supports the weight of the firearm. This reduces the chance of sagging and reduces how often you might need to adjust.
  • To spite everything I’ve written, most of the general public is oblivious, as my bank example has proven. For that reason don’t worry about constantly adjusting your shirt or clothing.



(Featured image from

1 thought on “Giveaways Other People Know You Are Carrying”

  1. Good article, Thomas. Besides being aware for our own carry, This is also good to be aware of if SHTF where and WHO one needs to be on the look out for. In a heightened situation one may find themselves in the line of friendly fire. OOOops.

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