The world we live in has become polarized in recent years thanks to a never ending assault on our civil liberties by politicians. Notice I don’t take a position left or right, liberal or conservative. Both of the majority parties in my opinion are bought and paid for by big corporate lobbying. But I digress. My point is, these are some pretty nerve wracking times my friends. We’ve got school shootings, theatre shootings and pressure cooker bombs at marathons. The bottom line is that we are living in a violent society. Sadly, like many others, I won’t enter a mall or theater anymore without my legally obtained and licensed concealed weapon. As a concealed weapon license holder, that is my right. The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution affords me that right. No matter what any bought and paid for politician tells us through the bought and paid for main (lame) stream media. I have a right to bear arms.
Now that we’ve established that right, I also have a responsibility that comes with that right. I must train regularly. My weapon must be an extension of my instincts and I must be able to discharge it when needed without causing undue harm to the innocent bystanders. Along with that, I must conceal my weapon so that it doesn’t scare the hell out of someone when I show up to buy lunch at a local eating establishment. As much as I know I am safely carrying my concealed weapon, there are always those who hate guns and will assume I am a lunatic for carrying one. So how do we go about concealing my weapon yet still have quick and easy access to it when the situation arises?
We have tested and identified a few of our favorite pieces of apparel that in our opinion address the two key points of CCW, “concealed” and “carry” of a weapon. When carrying our weapon, the obvious point is to keep the weapon concealed. So this means, safely holstering the weapon and disguising the sillouhette of the weapon. The last thing you need is to walk into a restaurant and have someone notice your Glock 22 protuding from your hip or bulging out from your shoulder holster. Today I will review the holster shirt from 5.11 Tactical and the button up Concealed Carry Shirt from Propper.
Before writing this article, I tested and wore both pieces of apparel so I had first hand knowledge of the items I was going to review. I typically conceal carry using a kydex holster inside the waist of my pants. I tend to carry on my right hip Because I am right handed and can easily access my weapon that way. Thus style of carry requires me to typically wear a longer shirt untucked to cover my weapon of choice, the Glock 22. It is a large framed gun and in certain situations, it is not the most practical way to conceal carry. I was anxious to test out the holser shirt because it allowed me to carry a weapon without a bulky holster.
The holster shirt has a soft harness style “holster” built right into the moisture wicking spandex style shirt. Essentially, there are two pockets under each armpit that will accomodate a large frame weapon. The 5.11 Holster Shirt™ is designed to carry a compact handgun and associated equipment such as magazines, handcuffs or speed loaders. Worn under the 5.11 Covert Casual shirt or the Propper Independent Button Up Shirt, the two concealed compartments are even more accessible when it’s time act. You won’t be caught off guard with this great system.
At first, I found the shirt to be rather tight fitting to my frame and thought I should perhaps go up a size to give me some “wiggle room”. So I wandered down to the warehouse and grabbed an extra large. I tossed on the shirt and it felt a lot better. I grabbed my Glock and put it in the holster pocket. I immediately understood why I had made the wrong choice. The larger size felt less restrictive, but my weapon was sagging forward under my button up shirt. You could see the sillouhette of the gun pretty easily. So, I tossed the large holster shirt back on, stowed my weapon and threw on the button up. No weapon sag. The shirt is intentionally tight to prevent weapon sag. Apparently the holster shirt’s designers did understand a few things about CCW.
The holster shirt breathes well and wicks moisture away from your body. Additionally, the weapon pocket is waterproof from the inside out, preventing a wet slippery weapon from perspiration. This feature allowes the shirt to serve double duty as a great workout shirt. With its two carry compartments you can put your keys in one pocket and your mp3 player in the other. You won’t have to worry about sagging or bouncing as the mesh shoulder yolk and spandex fabric keeps the entire shirt and its contents close to your body under any type of activity.
Since warm weather is upon us, shorts and short sleeves are the name of the game in apparel. When you head out for a night on the town in warm weather, you’ll want to conceal carry, stay cool and stylish whiloe remaining functional should the need arise to access your weapon. This is where the Propper Independent Button Up shirt fits the bill. Lightweight, stylish and functional, this shirt will be an excellent addition to your arsenal. With this shirt, you’ll blend in with the crowd without giving up your edge. The PROPPER Independent Button Up masquerades as a casual plaid shirt but offers you the full tactical advantage. With hidden quick-access features like a false-button closure, tear-away side seams and dual chest pockets with quiet magnet closure. Some of the features of this economically priced feature rich shirt are:
- Comfortable twill fabric for a casual appearance
- Snap front closure with false-button cover for quick CCW access
- Easy-access dual chest pockets with quiet magnet closure
- Tear-away side seams for quick side-arm access
- Underarm gusset allows greater range of motion
- Pen pocket on chest and sleeve
- Small, covert zip pocket for secure storage of accessories
I initially tested the button up while utilizing the holster shirt. My personal opinion is this is a fantastic summer setup. You can combine this stylishly with a pair of jeans or cargo shorts for a night out on the town with your lady (or man… props to our concealed carrying women!) After wearing this setup several times I found it to be comfortable however, wearing that holster shirt for an entire day felt a little restricting. I fly a desk these days people. With four monitors. Yep, its a dangerous lifestyle but someone has to do it! So, I started wearing my inside the waistband kydex holster with the button up shirt and a standard tshirt. The extra length of the button very adequately concealed my large frame Glock. It was comfortable and I didn’t look like I was trying to be “high speed” in a civilian world. All in all I really like this shirt.
In conclusion Patriots, the right to bear arms is your constitutional right. The responsibility that comes along with that right is yours to maintain and exercise. Why not be stylish and functional while you do both? Carry on Patriots!