In this second in a series of articles I have planned on concealment tips, I wanted to look at the importance of color. In this case, I am not only referring to cover garments, or garments in general. Rather, I am referring to garments AND gear.
The Cover Garment
In Volume 1, I mentioned how patterned shirts tend to do a better job than solid color shirts of camouflaging what is concealed beneath. I did not mention—but probably should have—that, generally speaking, the darker the cover garment, the better. I suppose this is because shadows are naturally darker than surrounding areas, so that if we start with a darker shirt to begin with, there is less contrast when it comes to the shadows of our clothing. A secondary aspect is that lighter colored clothing could potentially allow what we are concealing to show through the material itself, a la a light-skinned woman wearing a black bra under a white blouse. Obviously, the sheerness of the material will play the largest factor here, but it is something to consider.
I am a big fan of wearing an undershirt beneath my shirt, no matter the weather. This undershirt serves two purposes. First, it keeps the pistol and holster from irritating me over longer periods of time, especially in hotter weather (I sweat a lot). Although some may argue that wearing a second layer might make me sweat more, I will take an increase in sweat over a holster/pistol combination that irritates my skin. If my skin is irritated, I am much more likely to fiddle/adjust my holster, and that could be a “tell” that I am carrying.
The second purpose of the undershirt is as a concealment aid. Here is where color plays a role. Choosing a black T-shirt as an undershirt can greatly aid in concealment. How? Keep reading.
Colors Colors Everywhere
I really like the look of two-toned pistols. Stainless slides with black frames, blued slides with nickel frames, black slides with OD frames, etc. I think they look pretty sharp and currently own a pair. However, for concealed carry purposes, I prefer a black pistol. Why? Keep reading.
I have seen an increase recently in the custom holster makers producing concealed carry holsters in an array of colors, and even patterns. Some of these look pretty sharp, but I have often wondered what the point of such colors and patterns are if the holster is to be concealed. I get the idea of a Multicam holster worn as part of a battle belt worn overtly, but for a concealed carry holster to be finished in Multicam, orange, Kyptek Highlander, etc., always seemed odd for anything besides individuality. I will submit, however, that such holsters can negatively impact the wearer’s concealment. How? Keep reading.
Back to Volume 1
One astute reader of our blog spotted, in one of the photos in Volume 1, how I keep the lowest button of my button-down shirts deliberately unfastened. I do this to make access to my pistol easier. See here:
I started doing this not based on something I had seen or read, but through direct experience. Losing a few Rabbit Drills in Mike Pannone’s Covert Carry class with my lowest button fastened convinced me there had to be a better way! Accordingly, ever since that class in the summer of 2014, I have carried with my bottom button unfastened.
While this technique improves the ability to clear the cover garment and decrease draw times, it comes at a slight cost. I have discovered that, on windy days, my shirt tails can catch in the wind. Depending on where the second-to-lowest button is in relation to the beltline, important items can become exposed. This is suboptimal. See what COULD happen (exaggerated for the camera, with different gun/undershirt combinations) in these photos:
Black is Good, Black is Right, Black Works
A useful workaround, I have found, is to keep things as black as possible. A black belt, black holster, and a black gun can hide very well under an upturned cover garment (be it due to wind or other forces) against the background of a black undershirt. Indeed, when I ordered my Ares Gear Enhanced Aegis Belt, I deliberately chose the model with the nitride black buckle. I don’t want anyone’s attention to be drawn to my waistline by bulges, shine, color, etc. That’s all there is to it.
Now, I must confess that I have not yet managed to replace all of my undershirts—most of which are grey—with black ones, but I am working on it because I really do believe in this concept. What are your thoughts? Please share below or on our Facebook page. As always, thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for future volumes of concealed carry tips and tricks.