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By Keith Coniglio
Pocket Carry Part 2: Leaving a Bad Impression
Note: For safety and to avoid serious injury from a negligent a discharge, always keep your firearm in a holster designed for pocket carry, while pocket carrying your firearm.

You may have the impression that a diminutive pistol in a quality pocket holster frees you from being mindful of your wardrobe and activity choices – that pocket carry is an alternative to “dressing around the gun” for concealment. If so, you might want to sit down, because it’s not good news. Underestimating the human power of observation (even when employed subconsciously) is a tremendous mistake.

Below are some real-world, first-hand examples of things going unexpectedly wrong with pocket carry. In each case, a small “pocket gun” was in use, as was a quality holster - but only a moment’s slip took the “concealed” out of CCW.

Remember, for safety ...

  • A father standing in line directly in front of me bent abruptly from the waist to scoop up his fussing toddler. I reflexively glanced down at the child – and my eyes were caught by the familiar sight of serial numbers stamped into a J-frame bottomstrap. The pleats of the man’s “business casual khakis” concealed the revolver well while standing still, but the design of the slash pocket allowed it to blouse open as he bent.
  • A coworker at a former employer revealed his armed status (grounds for termination) when the company ordered new conference room chairs. His rear pocket holster was covered by an untucked shirt during normal movement, but allowed him to leave the perfect outline of a grip frame and trigger guard in the soft, smooth leather that replaced the fabric-covered seats we’d been using previously.
  • An elderly couple in a dusty truck pulled up to my house to ask for directions. I leaned in through the window to point to their map, pressing my leg – and the Nemesis-holstered pistol in my cargo pocket – against their door in the process. As I stepped back, I realized the light colored road dust left a rubbing outline of the pistol on my contrasting black shorts. For the record, you can get the same effect with the contrast between dry khaki shorts and wet surfaces like freshly-washed cars.
  • My own experience with rear pocket carry once resulted in making a subtle “thunk” as I leaned against a conference room wall. Years behind a desk also allowed my magazine floorplate to wear a distinct pattern into multiple pairs of jeans, noticeable any time I failed to wear a shirt long enough to cover my pocket - even when I wasn’t carrying there. It also provided a small – but just large enough – lip at the top of my pocket, sometimes catching the hem of my untucked shirt when I bent at the waist to wash my hands. 
While the risk of exposure may be reduced with a firearm completely enclosed in your garments, there are still plenty of opportunities for Murphy’s Law to wreak havoc, opening the door to everything from mild embarrassment to loss of employment to criminal charges. Pocket carry is a viable option, not a perfect solution. It still requires mindfulness and some accommodation to keeping from “getting made.”

Part 3 of Pocket Carry will be next in our series, but you can read it here

Keith Coniglio is a father, software tester, NRA-certified pistol instructor, and devoted Second Amendment advocate. He is also the editor-in-chief of Descendants of Liberty Press, a site dedicated to rekindling Americans’ passion for – and defense of – their Constitutional rights and personal liberty.

Video: At the Range: Pocket Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk’s TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful. Watch the Video here
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