While there are more female shooting mentors than ever before, it is still not uncommon for women to be introduced to the world of firearms and concealed carry by their male family members, friends and colleagues. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as female participation in the shooting sports increases, so too will the phenomenon of women taking on the mentor role for the men in their lives. Even now, there are things that women can teach men that will improve the efficacy of their concealed-carry strategy…specifically, how to keep hidden what they want hidden. These are tried-and-true methods that many of us learned at our mothers’ knee. Here are the top three:
1.) Know Your 360 Every successful outfit starts with the proper underpinnings…and it’s very important that said underpinnings remain invisible. In this case, your concealed-carry holster and gun are part of your underpinnings, and it’s extremely important—from both a tactical and a legal perspective—for you to keep them concealed. So you need to know what you look like from every angle and in every activity.
The key to this is to get a full-length mirror, and then another mirror that faces it or can be angled to do so. You need to be able to see yourself from head to toe, both front and back. Is anything sticking out that shouldn’t be? Now stretch your hands up above your head like you’re reaching for something on a high shelf. Does your covering garment ride up and expose your holster? Bend over, then squat, like you dropped something and have to pick it up. Does anything shift loose or angle out? If yes, you’ll have to make adjustments to the holster or what you have covering it up.
2.) Be Confident The key to pulling off a look is to sell yourself on it first. When a woman is self-conscious about something related to her apparel (“Are these heels too high?” “Is this purse too big?” “Why did I wear a white dress on Pizza Day?”), it will show in her body language. When you’re unused to carrying concealed, or trying out a new method for the first time—say, going from appendix carry to small-of-the-back—it’s common to feel very awkward and conspicuous…which can make you look awkward and suspicious.
To make your CCW strategy succeed, you have to internalize the message that you’re pulling it off and that no, nobody can tell. (See Step #1 if you’re still worried. And no, that SERPA holster doesn’t make your rear look fat.)
3.) The Art of Misdirection Part of looking your best is mastering the fine art of misdirection, which is different from concealment. For example: If you have a blemish on your chin, trying to cover it with makeup can make it look more obvious, not less. Instead, what many women will do is wear eye-catching earrings or a sparkly barrette to draw the eye away from the “problem area.”
In much the same fashion, if you’re trying to hide your hip-holstered firearm by wearing a fisherman’s vest…in the middle of summer…when you’re not going fishing…you’re attracting attention, not deflecting it. Wearing a brightly colored tie is going to be much more effective at drawing the viewer’s attention away from your waist area.
What are your favorite tricks to keep your concealed-carry firearm strictly incognito? Tell us in the comments (and don’t worry, you can be anonymous).