Monday, December 23, 2013

Well, I made it ten minutes.

Somebody was going on about how magwells on 1911s will zomg get your CCW gun spotted while a "bobtail" frame made it oh-so-concealable.

Personally? The idea that a bobtail vs. a magwell is somehow going to make a huge difference in concealability on a service-size handgun just doesn't ring true with observed reality for me.

I'm almost to the point where my opinion is that a trained observer is likely going to spot the 1911 either way, and Joe Sofaspud and Suzy Soccermom are likely going to be oblivious either way (and often don't even notice an un-covered IWB-carried pistol.)

Unless you're undercover po-po or carrying in a non-permissive environment, I think people worry WAY too much about the minutiae of concealability. As long as there's a gun burkha blocking direct view of the gun or holster, it's almost like it doesn't register with most folks.

(I've worn pullovers that would let you tell what LPI the checkering on the frontstrap was and not one person has ever mentioned the heater.)


Jay Dee said...

I often carried SOB on duty then wear a jacket or hoodie. No one ever noticed a full-sized 1911 back there.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"That 1911 magwell will give you away! You should get the bobtail"

"Maybe. What do YOU carry?"

"Sig220, why do you ask?"

rremington said...

I am NOT a Sofaspud! It's a recliner.

I think you are correct in that most people are oblivious. Seems to me the best way to keep people from noticing your gat is to wear it everyday for about 5 years. Then NOBODY notices including yourself.

staghounds said...

That seems a bit, um,unscientific. Just because no one says he notices doesn't mean no one notices.

Sort of like that down zipper, mistucked dress, or toilet paper stuck on the shoe.

Maybe it is different in a no-guns-ever place than in armed America.

Actually I'd be interested to hear from carriers what notice is taken of their being armed, bu police and others. Do you get thumbs ups and look me too? Do people get stopped much for permit checks? Does it vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction?

Tam said...

"That seems a bit, um,unscientific."

I made no claim to science.

"Sort of like that down zipper, mistucked dress, or toilet paper stuck on the shoe. "

None of which ever result in calls to the cops.

"Actually I'd be interested to hear from carriers what notice is taken of their being armed, bu police and others. Do you get thumbs ups and look me too? Do people get stopped much for permit checks? "

It was a little ten years ago that I started carrying a service-sized automatic on my belt every day, seriously and for real, as opposed to the previous arrangement of when I was at work, and sometimes other places, but usually a pocket mousegun or otherwise.

I am still waiting for someone to indicate their notice, official or otherwise, even in some moderately non-permissive environments.

No, it's not scientific, but I think the novice carrier's obsession with "OMG AM I PRINTING?" is way overblown.

LCB said...

My wife can tell I'm carrying witha tucked in shirt just because my pants are just a little bit wider (IWB) on my right. But I've never had anyone say anything to me. Doesn't mean they didn't notice...just that they've never said anything.

With a un-tucked shirt or sweater she doesn't even notice.

I agree with Tam. I think the only people who really would notice or look are fellow CCW'ers or police.

Stuart the Viking said...

I feel the same way Tam, all of that flapping and squeaking about "printing" is mostly wasted energy.

Certainly, when I carry, I make a valid attempt at concealing, but if it sticks out a bit, who cares as long as it's technically covered. Most people won't notice, and those who do (that matter) would probably notice anyway.

I still want a bob-tailed commander because I think they look neat. Who cares what anyone else thinks.

As for those add-on mag wells, they look weird to me so I don't want one. In the one-in-a-million chance that I'm actually going to NEED my gun one day, and the one-in-a-million chance on top of that that a mag well is the one thing that makes a difference "between life and death" (ooh aah), I guess I'll start my next adventure early. Beats dying of old age in some smelly "retirement" home, out of my mind with alzheimers, calling some complete stranger mommy anyway.


The Jack said...

I think LCB has it spot on.

Given that those who are most likely to notice printing are CCW'ers or police.

Okay, I suppose some criminals and some antis may be up on "spot the gun".

However, that still has the selection bias of Average Jane not noticing.

Because, well yeah, people tend not to notice. It's like the old saw about 10 witnesses to an accident having 11 stories.

staghounds said...

That was my point, I've never had a notice that was brought to my attention either, privately or by law enforcement.

staghounds said...

My limited experience is that gun carrying charges are always associated with something that forcibly brings the gun to law enforcement's notice.

I do not believe that I have yet heard of someone being criminally charged with carrying a gun when that was the only thing that happened- "He was minding his own business in a non criminal milieu, I noticed he was carrying, he didn't have a permit, so I charged him".

Lurking behind the closed businesses, hanging out on the street drug sale corner, having it show up on the x ray at the court house or airport, sure. But just picked out?

Tam said...

There was my co-worker's run-in with the po-po at the Turkey Creek Wally World for carrying a 1911 IWB w/no cover garment. That's one of the few of which I'm aware.

Angus McThag said...

I've only had one person notice in pushing 12 years of packing now and it was when I first started.

I was so concerned about exposing my gun at Wal Mart I was apparently moving like a shoplifter with merchandise hidden under my shirt.

Store security asked me kindly to see what I was hiding and I said, "um a gun." We went back to the office to show them it was really a gun and that I had a CCW. "Thanks have a nice day, Sir!" was how it ended.

staghounds said...

I believe they truly are rare. Talking about this with TG, she suggests that we are socially programmed to fail to respond to appearance differences. Which is odd, since we like all mammals are evolutionarily wired to notice out-of-context differences like crazy.

We certainly are socially programmed not to say anything about, and especially to, the different from an early age.

I mean, look at what people wear. They fly across the ocean in pajamas and wear flip flops to the white house.

I suspect that in middle class America, one could paint a big life sized eye on one's forehead and that no one over 25 would say a word.

Probably wouldn't get the same response in Ceylon or Somalia.

Thornharp said...

Reasons I just can't get any energy into the concealable - or - not discussion:

Ruger P90

Migration south-eastward is on my TODO list. (But there still won't be any way to hide that P90.)

staghounds said...

Mr. McThag, that's what I refer to, some behavior other than just having a gun brings the gun to notice seems to almost always be present.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

I think that everyone who makes the "OMG if you don't do 'X' you're going to print like crazy!" statement should be forced to Open Carry for a week.

After basically no one notices, they will get a whole lot more relaxed about pulling a t-shirt over their pistol and going about their business.

BryanP said...

Your experience mirrors my own. I see people open carry regularly and as far as I can tell most people around them don't even notice. Personally, I usually just have a j frame in a pocket holster and in all the years I've done that I've seen one security guard look at my leg and then give me the hairy eyeball.

Scott J said...

It is amazing how little CCW is noticed.

In fact towards the end of this Summer wife and I went to a concert at an amphitheater in another town.

Carry wasn't prohibited that I knew of and since we had to park on the street and walk a ways I did my usual SP-101 in the pocket thing.

As we go in the gate a college-age (I suspect volunteer) staffer comes up and says "I need to check you" then kneels and puts both hands on the outside of my front pockets. One of the grabs full hold of the SP-101.

It happened so fast I flinched then tensed up and cringed for the "you can't bring THAT in here" and the long hike back to the car.

Instead she gave each pocket a gentle squeeze, sort of shook the one with the gun, slid both hands to my knees then stood and said "you're good" and waved us in.

Either they weren't checking for weapons or she had no clue what she'd just felt up.

BryanP said...

Your experience mirrors my own. I see people open carry regularly and as far as I can tell most people around them don't even notice. Personally, I usually just have a j frame in a pocket holster and in all the years I've done that I've seen one security guard look at my leg and then give me the hairy eyeball.

Matthew said...

Given the nature of people, if the pullover was tight enough to count the LPI there might have been other reasons the gun didn't get a lot of attention from anyone.

Matthew said...

Sean. Definitely. My biggest concern anymore is people running into me in crowds and hitting the thing or it clonking the backs of chairs if I sit carelessly. Even then I've only noticed a few people seeming to notice anything odd.

Scott J said...

There was also the time in 1994 when my daily carry was a 6.5" 629 Classic carried reverse Mexican IWB.

I got stopped for speeding on the way to work. The state trooper asked me back to his car.

I got out of my car, into his passenger front then back into mine all without the hand cannon ever getting noticed or discussed.

Goober said...

Yes. This times 100. If you're worrying about whether someone notices your concealed rig, you're thinking about it too much and probably fiddling with the damn thing in discomfort and making it worse (you know, holding your arm down rigid at your side to hold the coat flap over it, or favoring that side in some other obvious way.)

Thing is, no one is noticing. I have to tell young people in my employ this same thing all the time - no one is thinking about you nearly as much as you're worried that they are. So stop worrying.

Besides, who gives a shit if someone sees your gun, assuming you're carrying it legally? I had a big .357 for years that I carried OWB under my loose, untucked shirts in the summer time, and it telegraphed like I was carrying a watermelon under my clothes. Who cares?

Mike_C said...

This bobtail v. magwell thing sounds like the old camera geek argument about whether a "black" body camera is more stealthy than a "chrome" camera. (For non camera-geeks, the "color" refers to the top deck of the camera, generally the part you grip is black leatherette in either case. Clicky on the miniature images in this link to see an example of black v. chrome.) There is a persistent belief on the part of some that a black camera body makes you a street photography ninja while a chrome body makes you stand out like a guy in a powder-blue tux at a funeral. Pretty silly, eh? After all, you're raising a thing bigger than a two-patty Quarter Pounder, with a shiny piece of glass on the end of it yet, to your face and pointing it at people. Is a 1/2-inch strip of silver v. black gonna make a difference? Sheesh.

@Staghounds, you (or TG) are absolutely right. IMO we've gone overboard from politeness (don't stare at the guy with the eyepatch, or the kid with that weird twitch) to maladaption (don't move away from the unwashed smelly guy muttering about bugs, bugs, bugs!!! who sits next to you on the subway).

Goober said...

Maybe it is different in a no-guns-ever place than in armed America.

I think this is a huge part of it. Eastern Washington is flyover country. Western Washington, including Seattle, is an elitist enclave. Eastern Washington folks see guns all the time and could care less. I know that when I'm on the West side, I take extra care to cover and conceal, and usually carry my smaller heater, because if I'm going to have a problem, it will be over there rather than here.

Actually I'd be interested to hear from carriers what notice is taken of their being armed, bu police and others. Do you get thumbs ups and look me too?

The only time I've ever had someone notice my heater, he was interested in what model it was and what grain bullet I was shooting. So yeah, "thumbs up."

Do people get stopped much for permit checks?

I never have, but I also think that no police officer has ever noticed me carrying. I'm a really, really dude, so there is a lot of me on which to hide a gun.

Does it vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction?

hell, I'll bet it varies from cop to cop!

RevolverRob said...

I stopped caring after about 6 months. Now I just stick the gun in my waistband and go about my business.

The biggest pain in the ass I have noticed is the prevalence of chairs that are open backed in such a way that my gun butt tends to stick out, when I sit in them. I solved this by moving to appendix carry, which conceals even better, is faster to draw from, and generally makes my concealment life easier.

As for the whole X + Z accessory, I'm over that too. If you can hide the gun you can hide the gun. I'm thinking about switching to a Glock with an ATOM mounted T1 for my next gun (damn eyes just need help). You want to talk making the gun bigger, that's a serious one. The issue of concealment was a concern for about ten seconds, then I just realized I'd use a custom Dale Fricke holster and now my only concern is paying for the thing.


Anonymous said...

I have had face to face interactions with cops who have not noted my CC until I told them or they see my permit. One of these is a State Police officer who does range training for the State and also for his Guard unit. I had done some work for him as part of my job and had gotten to know him on the job and he knew I had a permit and carried a Glock 19 off the job. A few months later I ran into him off the job and was talking to him when he asked me why I was not carrying, I just smiled and said I am. I honestly think that most of the time if you are not self conscious about carrying and are not acting suspicious or where you should not be 97% of the people will not notice because they are not looking.

Stuart the Viking said...

I was totally busted for concealed carry once by a firearm-phobic friend. At a party, everyone else knew I carried but we didn't say anything to her because we didn't want to put up with the crying and generally freaking out (she had had a LOT of guns pointed at her by an abusive ex at one point in her life so she was genuinely phobic, not so much "anti").

Unfortunately, near the end of the evening, she walked up and put her arm around my waist... her hand landing RIGHT ON the but of the 9mm I was carrying that evening.

There was some flapping and squeaking, but after a bit she realized it was ME with the gun, not some deranged asshole. So she (mostly) got over it. She's still a little frightened with OTHER people having guns around her, but it doesn't seem to bother her when I do it. She does get a little squirrely if I pull it out, but I don't usually do that because I follow the "Stop touching it Cletus" rule.


Rob K said...

Since I can't carry it into the office and I want it to be easy on and easy off in the car, I carry my Commander in a paddle holster. And I'm a small guy. I know it prints like crazy. I've carried it all over "West Collegetown", into Wal-mart, the grocery stores, the Asian markets, and any number of restaurants, frequently poorly concealed by only a T shirt and a Hawaiian shirt. Never has anyone said anything to me. If people notice the lump on my waist, I imagine most have no clue what it is, and figure it's a smart phone or something. Smart phones are what people carry on their belts these days, right?

People mostly see what they expect to see. They fit the things they see into the framework of their experience. Gun people notice guns when they see them, because guns are in the framework of their experience.

Erin Palette said...

If you're someone who really worries about printing, I recommend some time out in public dressed in the manner of a particular, peculiar subculture (goth, punk, raver, tranny, whatever floats your boat).

At first you will worry that everyone is looking at you and judging you -- much like when you first started carrying concealed.

Then, once the newness of the situation wears off, you will begin to realize how few people truly notice or care. Sure, they may look at you because you are odd or unusual, but they likely will not study or scrutinize you.

After years of travelling the D.C. metro wearing full Goth garb on my way to the club every Saturday night, the worry that someone here in Florida might see a bulge under my clothes and panic is pretty much nil.

Scott J said...

Can't recall if I've told the "gun in the shoe" story here so forgive if this is a rerun.

This is back in the 90's when the 629 was the primary carry but I used the SP-101 when I felt the need to be more discreet. Such as on a date.

Well I was on a date and after dinner we headed back to her place to watch a movie.

Hoping for some coziness on the couch and not wanting to have to answer "both" to the "is that a gun in your pocket or....." question I had to come up with a solution. All I could come up with at the time was to shove it deeply into my high top sneaker that I'd stashed then the bathroom because my feet really leave an odor in my shoes. I was coming off someone dumping me because I was a guncrank and wasn't ready to address the topic with my current date.

All is going well then she asked me to pause the movie so she could go to the bathroom.

She returns with a surprised look on her face and whispers " there's a GUN in your SHOE" in a tone that hinted I might not be aware.

Despite my best efforts this amuses me and after a brief joke I come clean about my crankery, getting dumped and that I CCW.

The short conversation ends with her saying "my dad has been a cop since before I was born and he's a hunter so I grew up around them. No big deal."

We celebrate 18 years of marriage this coming Monday.

LCB said...

Good story Scott...

B said...

If you are wearing a tight shirt or sweater, the gun is the LAST thing people who meet you notice.

At least the guys. :-)

Goober said...

*big dude.

Sherm said...

My non-scientific test was with LCP pocket carry. It took my wife six months to notice. I've never worried about it in any environment as a result. I've yet to test the MP9c IWB on her. I hope it doesn't take her as long.

Windy Wilson said...

"She returns with a surprised look on her face and whispers " there's a GUN in your SHOE" in a tone that hinted I might not be aware."
You win the Internets today. Since it is Tams blog you will have to pay a percentage of your winnings to her as a fee. Other taxes and fees may apply depending on jurisdiction.

Mike said...

CCW since '96, various guns. Last 7 or so, a Sig P229 or lately, a Diamondback 9 on occasion. In that time, only one person remarked about it; my question was: you a CCW holder? "Yeah, I look for 'em all the time". T-shirt draped that day, BTW. Guess I like the ales enough that it hides pretty well IWB Don Hume. I asked a Dallas cop once, and He said "You need to conceal it, not make it invisible". I think its like having a passenger on the bike; if you try to ride "carefully" it throws off your mojo. I would tell the passenger to keep their feet on the pegs, and enjoy. Same thing with CCW, secure and relax.

waepnedmann said...

Approximately two years ago a fellow employee (also a sworn Peace Officer)' his nephew, (Federal Air Marshal), and their wives were enjoying a day on Fisherman's Wharf. While crossing the street the nephew's coat blew open for an instant and some observant citizen glimpsed his gun and called SFPD. Shortly thereafter they were confronted by SFPD.
Badges, I.D.s, etc. were shown. They were asked to come down to the station, where they were told would have to surrender there firearms while in the City of San Francisco.
No. Not going to happen.
The back-and-forth lasted four hours which seems to be the maximum amount of time one can be held in this circumstance.
They went on their way still in possession of their firearms.

A few months ago, at a CCW class, the instructor related the occurrence of an almost identical incident that had happened to one of his students who was legally carrying concealed in SF.
Same four hour hold. Same, "Yes, you will! No, I won't"
Four hours later his pistol was returned to him un-loaded. He secured his pistol, loaded it, under the protest of the SFPD, holstered his piece and left.

Scott J said...

"You win the Internets today. Since it is Tams blog you will have to pay a percentage of your winnings to her as a fee."

:) Yippie, my first prize in about a year of hanging out here regularly.

I will gladly share the prize with our hostess :)

Goober said...

If you read this story and thought "jeez, I need to do a better job of concealing my gat" instead of "note to self: stay the hell out of san Francisco" then there's your problem.

Concealed does not mean invisible.

heresolong said...


I live on the west side of Washington. I carry open or concealed depending on the weather but don't go out of my way to conceal because I don't care. Never an issue.

Scott J, Love the story. I always struggle with what to do when going to people's houses. I generally fall back on leaving the gun in the car but I'm never super happy about it. I also generally carry a full sized Ruger .45 so it's not easily concealable in a social situation.

Scott J said...

"I always struggle with what to do when going to people's houses"

In the case of my story it was cold so my initial thought was to just slip it in my coat pocket and hang that on the back of a chair. But then I realize if she decided to move it for whatever reason she would likely notice it weighed down by a two pound hunk of stainless steel.

Nowadays I just keep it in my pocket. All our families know I carry so it's no big deal.

I have had kids bump into me and wonder why uncle Scott's leg hurt their noggin so.

My wife has also gone to smack me for a smart alek comment or off color joke and forgotten it was there hurting her hand.

Just My 2¢ said...

I recently watched a local detective stand up in a restaurant and get his Glock and badge tangled up in his winter jacket, which was obviously too short. It looked like he was wearing some kind of cheesy OWB holster. A good holster will suck the butt of your pistol into your waist and minimize the print. There are lots of people who carry 1911s in IWB holsters with shorts and pattern-disrupting summer shirts. You just need to practice and gain experience (and confidence) doing it.

Just My 2¢ said...

Concealed carry is about technique although a good holster will suck the butt of your pistol into your waist and minimize the print. If you're a dufus, a bobtail grip ain't going to save you.

I recently watched a detective in a restaurant get his Glock 23 and badge tangled in his elastic waist winter jacket. Bad choice of clothing, a cheesy OWB holster and clown shoes all contributed to the live entertainment spectacle.

mikee said...

Nobody here has yet mentioned the phrase "Barbeque Gun" which is used in Texas to denote that very nice & usually expensive handgun, the one with the burled walnut grip panels or the factory engraving, the one you carry concealed to highfalutin' soirees, to show off and compare against other folks' BBQ Guns.

This is Texas, after all, and I know you folks in other states have BBQ and soirees.

heresolong said...

Mikee, Nice. Never heard that phrase. We all carry so regularly in my social circle that we've seen everything everyone has. The only time anyone is showing anything off is when they buy something new.

Sigman said...

I teach CCW classes. I make it a point to wear a full size 1911 under a vest while teaching. Toward the end, when I get to the part where I talk about different ways to carry, I show the pistol and ask how noticed it. At most it will be 3 out of 20.

Anonymous said...

I've carried a full-sized Glock 22 concealed for years now. I drape a shirt over the holstered firearm (mag pouch and flashlight on the other side), and go about my business which, in many cases, involves being in public places where lots of people congregate.

I've yet to have anyone comment to me, or call the cops.

RevolverRob said...

I've lived 28 years in Texas, I have never once been invited to, nor hosted, nor otherwise attended, nor heard true tale of someone I know having hosted or attended a BBQ where people specifically intended to bandy about with their fanciest shooting irons strapped on. I am convinced that this is a mythical thing that does not actually exist.

With that said, were I invited to such a soiree, I would arrive thoroughly decked out with a the same gun I carry everyday strapped on. Because frankly, my carry gun and my finest are one and the same.

Scott J said...

It's my understanding BBQ guns are supported to be blingy.

So I'd have to bring my 1957-ish vintage nickel 5 inch K frame .38.

Boat Guy said...

I've open-carried/concealed carried in various times and places; I have yet to have anyone notice while I'm "concealing" unless it's someone who's felt the piece while hugging.
I've told of the very few instances of folks noticing while I was open-carrying; in over fifteen years they number in a single digit.
BBQ Gun is a 60's-vintage Model 27 5" worn crossdraw so people can look without having to draw the gun.

Arcticelf said...

I OC a lot, the only people who notice consistently are convenience store clerks and Korea/Vietnam vets. The latter group almost always want to talk about 1911s.

Anonymous said...

I was in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin last summer on vacation with my daughters and we were sitting on a sidewalk bench enjoying some ice cream on a hot day. A guy walked by and I pointed out to my #2 daughter that he was carrying concealed under a t-shirt. I must have said it a little loud as he got a self-conscious look and exited the area quickly.

I thought it was funny, he was probably another FIB carrying on a non-resident permit.


Matt G said...

The gun burkha is the key to spotting guns. Almost every gun that I've every spotted printing was when I was looking for it, having profiled the carrier by what he or she was wearing.

But that's the key. If you don't expect to find the gun? You won't see it.