Printing is when the silhouette of the firearm you are carrying can be seen through the clothing or jacket you are wearing. This can be due to thin clothing or poor placement of your holstered firearm.
No matter what kind of gun you are carrying as you go about your day or where you are carrying it, gun printing is not a good thing when you are carrying concealed. It doesn’t matter whether your firearm is large or small.
In most cases, unless you are a police officer who is expected to open carry, you really don’t want the gun showing itself, either directly or indirectly.
Why Gun Printing is Bad
There are several reasons why gun printing is not a good thing. Don’t get us wrong, if you are on a hunting trip or deep in the woods or on your own property, open carry and print all you want.
Likewise, if you are in an open carry state or municipality where open carry or showing the gun is not at all a big deal, than if it makes you feel more comfortable, feel free to open carry.
But in general, printing should be avoided. Showing the gun kind of defeats the point of
concealed carry, no? There are many reasons to not want to let others’ know you are carrying, a few of which are listed below.
This may not be a big deal, depending on what state you live in. However, in many states, both open carry and printing are considered illegal. You’ll have to refer to your local laws on both open carry and printing laws.
Even if printing is legal, it can just cause problems if someone notices and the police are called. The police officer may not initially know that you are licensed to carry concealed, so he or she will be very cautious and pretty authoritative when confronting you about it.
After all, he or she doesn’t know if you are a law abiding citizen or someone who just robbed a bank, or worse.
Although the issue will likely be resolved after a few minutes of questioning, do you really want to go through all that because you didn’t conceal your firearm properly?
Many law enforcement officials are pleasant to deal with, but all the same, why lose time out of your day having to answer questions when all you had to do to avoid it was conceal your weapon properly.
Printing may cause others to notice your weapon, including the bad guys. If a robber or other non-law abiding person sees your weapon, it may make you a target, depending on
What if you are at a store that is about to be robbed and the bad guys see it but decide, possibly because they are on drugs or crazy, that they are going to rob the store anyway. Who do you think they are going to confront (or shoot) first?
Don’t get us wrong; in many cases open carry can be a good deterrent in states where it is legal. But if you intend to conceal carry, it is probably for good reason and your weapon should do just that “ be concealed.
In several states, open carry and/or showing the weapon at all is against the law whether intentional or non-intentional. Many state laws that prohibit open carry will also include the printing in their definition of open carry.
In the unfortunate states that have laws like these, it is your responsibility as a gun owner to adhere to them. There is really no reason your gun should print if you follow the steps below. It keeps you both law abiding and safe, and it is really not that difficult to make sure your gun doesn’t print.
Ways to Prevent Gun Printing
You should do this anyway because it is better for your back. Bending with the knees will prevent the gun from showing whether it is inside the waistband or outside the waistband.
Buying the right gun holster is almost 75% of the battle to avoid printing. An IWB, pocket holster, or shoulder holster are the best holsters to buy to avoid printing. Ankle holsters are also a good method, but mainly for a backup weapon.
Use ankle holsters and pocket holsters for your smaller weapons, and IWB holsters and possibly shoulder holsters for your medium to larger ones.
Buying and wearing proper clothing is a large part of making sure the gun doesn’t print. Buy loose shirts instead of tighter ones.
Buy and wear shirts that you can wear loose instead of tuck in. It is possible to wear tucked-in shirts and still keep the gun concealed, but loose, tucked out shirts are more comfortable, hide the gun better, and allow for a faster draw.
4. Adjust the Cant of Your Gun and Carry Position
Sometimes a small adjustment in the cant of your holster can make a world of difference. Just a slight turn and the gun imprint can go from clearly showing to nearly invisible through the clothing.
5. Ask Someone
There’s no better way to see if the gun is showing than to ask a friend or significant other. They can make it easy to get an answer on this quickly instead of looking in the mirror for 15 minutes trying to figure out if your firearm stands out.
This may be the last method to avoid printing, but certainly not the least. Don’t go to the store and buy a Desert Eagle and think you’ll easily be able to conceal it. The smaller the gun, the easier it is to conceal.
You’ll need to balance your need for a larger caliber pistol with the need to easily be able to conceal it and stay away from it printing. Try the gun on in a holster the store may have if you’re unsure of whether it will fit comfortably and not show when you’re trying to conceal it.
The good news about all this is that people rarely notice others’ clothing details that much and wouldn’t even be able to tell someone what color hair you have if you walked past them 5 minutes ago. In other words, most people aren’t going to be looking at your waist very often or even think you might be carrying a weapon.
Unless you are very well trained law enforcement, many people just don’t notice too many details of others and would never occur to them that the small bulge in your shirt might be a firearm.
That being said, you still want to be a responsible gun owner by concealing your gun well both to be almost positive that no one will see it inadvertently, such as if you reach up for something or bend down to pick up something.
If you take some steps in the right direction and at least consider some of the above recommendations when concealing your weapon, your gun is most likely not going to print and you will save yourself a possible set of hassles.