Concealed Carry: Packing in the Heat

When outdoor media guru Kenn Blanchard worked in the protection unit of the diplomatic corps in Latin America and the Middle East, he contended with extreme heat as part of the job. He wore loose clothing and used natural holster materials to carry in the heat.

What can you do to comfortably carry concealed in hot weather? The standard advice is to dress to fit the gun, but that can be a little like dressing to hide a spare tire around the waist, which can be uncomfortable in scorching conditions.

I reached out to some experts to find what they do.

Match the Gun to the Clothing

Tarra Stoddard, editor of The American Woman Shooter magazine, splits her time between South Carolina and her home state of Georgia and knows how to pack heat when it's hot. Stoddard says she doesn't buy clothes to fit around her holster/gun combination. Instead, she finds a holster/gun combination that fits her choice of clothing.

Stacy Bright, a firearms instructor and gun talk show radio host in southern Missouri, does the same thing. She switches from her Walther PPQM2 in 9mm to a Ruger LCP in .380 for summertime carry. She places the Ruger in the new Crossbreed inside-the-waistband (IWB) appendix holster.

Made specifically for women, the holster is designed to be worn on the front of the body. It starts at $59.50. Crossbreed also offers standard-size IWBs for men and women. As with its cousins in the Crossbreed Holsters line, this holster can be adjusted to accommodate the ride height of a gun. Softer leather and round corners add to the feminization of the item.

Stacy Bright, a firearms instructor and gun talk show radio host in southern Missouri, switches from her Walther PPQM2 in 9mm to a Ruger LCP in .380 for summertime carry.

Bright wears shorts with belt loops in order to strap on her gun belt, and says she has no problem finding tops to provide coverage. The only problem is finding the right size loops in order to accommodate a sturdy gun belt.

Breathable Platforms

Stoddard says she was shocked to see the size of the StealthGear ONYX IWB holster, which retails for $79. She ordered one for her Sig Sauer 238. "It looks huge, but it has a reason behind the rise. Don't let the largeness of the holster deter you, because it breathes," she said. The ONYX line is made with VentCore platforms, which allows moisture to wick away from the body.

“You don’t have to wear a belt, because it comes with two clips,” said Stoddard. “If you have to use the restroom, just remove it and place the whole thing in your lap.”

When she gets more active, Stoddard moves her Sig Sauer 238 from her holster into her bellyband from The Well Armed Woman.

“You can wear it on your midriff or hip. It breathes, too,” said Stoddard. It’s sized from X-small to 2X-Large and sells for $40.99.

The SteathGear ONYX IWB holster looks huge, but it breathes.

Break It Up

When outdoor media guru Kenn Blanchard worked in the protection unit of the diplomatic corps in Latin America and the Middle East, he contended with extreme heat as part of the job. “When I was doing protection, it was always in a hot place. I usually wore a tank top undershirt, so that the firearm would not be pressed against my body. I wore a Guayabera (a man’s lightweight cloth shirt), Hawaiian shirt, or a man’s two-piece walking suit—the type you see overseas. I chose a natural holster, so that it would mold to me and not make my clothes black when the dye sweated out. Clothing had to be print, so that it broke up the printing of the gun. It’s the same consideration a heavy person would make with stripes. I looked for patterns that hid bulges.”

Now, the Maryland resident chooses a hybrid leather and Kydex holster, and carries a full-size GLOCK 17. “I know how much it weighs and I am used to it and have trained with it,” he said.

Extreme Covert Carry

Gun writer and former law enforcement officer Richard Mann always carries a gun. “Handguns are called handguns because that’s where they’re supposed to be carried. Carrying them anywhere else gets uncomfortable,” he said. “This is especially true in hot weather, when all you want to wear are shorts and a t-shirt.”

In hot and muggy West Virginia climes, Richard trades his full-size gun—either a Nighthawk .45 Commander or a Robar Browning Hi-Power in 9mm—for a compact Diamondback in .380, and switches from a leather holster to a Versacarry, a minimalist handgun-carry device that holds the gun by the barrel. An angle metal rod fits into the firearm's bore, retaining the gun in an inside-the-waistband position.

A Taurus 24/7 in a minimalist Versacarry holster, which retains a pistol with a metal-core, polymer-wrapped rod that goes in the muzzle.

“This little ingenious tool is not a range holster--it’s specifically designed to allow for extreme covert carry. It reminds me of the OSS string holster used by the French resistance during WWII, which is also a very clandestine carry method,” said Richard.

The Versacarry sells for $25.

The Versacarry IWB holster.