| October 21, 2016

Gun Skills & Safety, Manly Skills, Tactical Skills

How to Spot a Concealed Handgun

The following is an excerpt from 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition — The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared for Any Disaster. A follow-up to Clint’s first bestseller — 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation — this new survival edition offers primers on any survival situation imaginable, from wilderness scenarios, to terrorism and kidnappings, to natural disasters.

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CONOP: Concept of Operations; COA: Course of Action; BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

Individuals who carry a handgun professionally are well attuned to the range of mannerisms that can indicate the presence of a concealed weapon within their vicinity. Civilians, too, can learn to familiarize themselves with these signs and signals. When combined with suspicious behavior, the suspected presence of a concealed weapon should put bystanders on high alert.

Body Language: People carrying handguns tend to subconsciously telegraph the location of the weapon via their body language. They may reflexively palpate the gun to make sure the weapon is still safely in its holster, subtly re-position the weapon prior to sitting or standing, or shift their weight away from nearby bystanders to avoid accidental contact with or theft of the weapon.

Asymmetry: Another telltale sign is asymmetry in clothing. Guns are heavy and bulky, and thus will betray signs of their presence to anyone who’s paying attention. An outside-the-waistband holster may cause a visible midline bulge, while an ankle holster may cause a bulge or tightening of the fabric at the lower leg. A gun held in a jacket pocket will weight down one side of the jacket unevenly.

Environment: Hot or inclement weather can make concealed weapons easier to spot. Rain, wind, or sweat can reveal the outline of a gun, which will generally be much easier to hide under multiple layers of cold-weather clothing.

Negligence: Weapons are also frequently exposed due to temporary negligence, flashed or inadvertently dropped as a gunman reaches for his wallet. Dropped weapons are an all-too-common scenario at public urinals, where inexperienced perpetrators may thoughtlessly unzip their pants — thereby releasing the tension that was holding up the holster.

Last updated: December 1, 2017

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