Question of the Day: Is Printing an Issue?

From:,  by Jenn Jacques,  on Jun 29, 2017

When you put your gun on in the morning and leave the house for the day, are you concerned about printing?

The above picture was shared with me on Twitter. Taken by a man in a checkout line behind a woman whose firearm is only being thinly veiled by her light pink t-shirt, she could obviously care less about printing.

It’s a topic of discussion I’ve had with several instructors and an issue I’ve had myself – should we be concerned with whether or not our gun “prints”  through our clothing? Yes, but mostly because if you’re carrying concealed, the object is to actually conceal the firearm. Otherwise, you might as well open carry (and don’t get me started on that today).

For me, it’s more of a subconscious issue. My husband says my biggest ‘tell’ is that I tend to adjust my clothing over my firearm when I’m out in public and, since I don’t wear skin-tight clothing, no one would even think I might be carrying a concealed firearm if I would just stop futzing with my shirt or pants or whatever.

Obviously, winter in Wisconsin means lots of layers and concealed handguns are easy, well – concealed. But in summer, at least for me personally, it was hard to reconcile my warm weather fashion with firearm functionality when I first started carrying. Eventually, I ended up adding in new pieces to my summer wardrobe to accommodate different ways of carrying. Just like becoming a full-time concealed carrier, it was definitely a process.

So what about you? Is printing an issue – why or why not?

Here’s what Tyler has to say about it:


Personally, I’ve always taken the concept of “printing” seriously. I carry concealed primarily because I don’t want the bad guys to know that I’m armed. At the same time, I don’t want any grief from the anti-gun lunatics who might suffer a microaggression attack and run screaming for their “safe” place ’cause they saw an old geezer carrying a GUN and he may go berserk at a moment’s notice and shoot everyone in the zip code.

It’s summer in Texas and it’s been known to get hot, therefore the uniform of the day is shorts and tee-shirt (at least it is for me). I’ve changed my way of wearing a tee-shirt from tucking it in, to wearing it outside my shorts for the very reason of concealing my handgun. I’ve also found that dark colors don’t print as much as light colors, so as you might imagine, my wardrobe consists of a bunch of dark tee-shirts.

I agree with Tyler in that if your handgun prints, you aren’t trying very hard to conceal it. I can’t remember the last time I noticed someone carrying because of printing and we do have a significant number of CCW folks in the Dallas area. But, as Tyler noted, I haven’t been really looking to find a printing weapon on any specific individual. That tells me either that no one is carrying (very unlikely) or they’re hiding them pretty well.





Categories: General


9 replies

  1. As a professional, Kyle shouldn’t use the slang word “clip”. The correct word is magazine.

    I agree the point of concealment is just that. Obviously printing must be avoided. I wear an extra lightweight shirt unbuttoned, or most often a jacket when I’m carrying.

    I was taught not to carry in any position where drawing the weapon “muzzles” any part of my own body or any adjacent person other than a potential target. Thus I holster off the hip behind the bone, but easily accessible. During the draw the muzzle faces the ground to the “Weaver Ready” position, and only then to a target as fluidly as required by the circumstances.

    Further, always be aware of your color code of potential threat!


    • I can dig it, Curtis, and I was told the same thing and in those days carrying a concealed pistol in a position that “aimed” it at my male parts (or even worse, my femoral artery), was, at least for me, not a viable option. I’ve changed my mind on that issue.

      BTW, I apologize for the length, but I just realized that while I talked about my carry position before, I’ve never explained my reasoning, so …

      I’m committed to appendix carry now for several reasons:

      • My pistol is always where I can see it. If my cover accidentally comes up, I know immediately whereas in a hip position, it’s possible for a shirt to snag on something and expose the weapon – even without you knowing it.

      • I specifically chose a pistol with a safety. Some pooh-pooh the idea, saying an advanced or accomplished shooter wouldn’t want to take the extra time to flip a safety off. The safety on my Ruger LC9S is exactly the same in location and operation as a 1911, and it becomes automatic to flick your thumb down when drawing – releasing the safety.

      • Carrying is far more comfortable while driving.

      And, more importantly, the weapon is more accessible from the appendix position while seated in a car. While seated, a movement to secure the weapon and remove it from your holster is completely natural when using the appendix method. There are no unnatural movements necessary.

      The movement necessary to reach back to your side or back to grab your pistol could provide a bad guy with a clue that you may be reaching for a gun. I view this point as important if carjacking is a consideration.

      There you have it. Those are my reasons for choosing to carry in the appendix position. I wouldn’t carry a Glock in that position, certainly not with a round in the chamber, but the Ruger’s 1911-style safety gives me the confidence to carry that way.

      Of course, the finger never touches the trigger ‘till the sight is on the target anyway.

      The Ruger stays in a Kydex IWB holster and that slips easily into my shorts’ waistband, so it’s easy to get “armed” and just as easy to remove it.


  2. Good discussion topic, Garnet!

    I think you’re right that it’s better if people aren’t able to tell that you’re carrying. It’s an unnecessary distraction and could make you a target of anyone looking to make trouble. Besides that the element of surprise a big advantage in dangerous situations. It might make wardrobe choices more complicated but you do what you gotta do.


  3. Two issues in my mind. First, as you said, when your weapon clearly prints, any bad guys may easily know you’re carrying, making you the primary target. Now, this may also work in reverse, since knowing there’s an armed citizen on site may also act as a deterrent. But if it doesn’t — if I’m a miscreant intent on hitting the site where you’re at — YOU are going to my first target because you’re the biggest threat to me. And I have the tactical advantage of surprise.

    The second issue is also tactical in nature. If clothing is tight enough to print your weapon, there’s a very good chance it’s also tight enough to restrict your access to your weapon. Consider the lady in the picture. In order to deploy her pistol, she’s first going to have to clear her shirt away from that gun, and only THEN can she actually grasp it to clear it from the holster and engage a target. That adds an action to her engagement sequence, which means it adds time to the process, and time is of the essence in a gun fight.

    Clothing should be loose enough so that the first motion of your weapon hand both clears the weapon from the obstructing clothing AND grasps the grip during that same motion. One motion to bring your weapon into action.

    The lady in the picture could easily be dead before even making her pistol accessible for grasping.


    • You’re right, those same two situations often come up in a discussion about concealed vs. open carry. I’m firmly in the concealed school. Especially being a relatively small, old guy, I won’t likely be viewed as a threat by a bad guy, whereas if I’m sporting an open carry piece, I make myself one.

      I also agree that too tight clothing defeats the purpose of concealing a handgun if it outlines the shape of the handgun. That’s why my tee-shirts are all dark, baggy and somewhat oversized. It makes it extremely difficult to detect that I’m carrying – especially in my appendix carry position. I’m using a Kydex IWB from Ted Cori and it’s very unlikely that anyone knows that I’m “packing heat.”


      • I agree that concealed carry is preferable to open. First, there’s (obviously) less chance of someone nearby reacting negatively to the presence of a gun in their midst when they can’t see it.

        And as you noted, that openly-carried gun puts you at a tactical disadvantage when a Bad Guy’s making his threat assessment of the site.


  4. I live in Wisconsin and when I carry I fidget all the time worrying that my springfield xds might be seen or get uncovered particularly in the summer. It actually got to the point wear it stsys in the car


    • A lot depends on the holster. Were you using an IWB? You oughta fix that bescher, you know that you don’t want to be caught without your xds if evil bad guys confront you. Being back in the car won’t help.


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