Dressed to Kill: Sartorial Guidance for the Well Armed Man Part V

“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. We’ve all heard the expression. Well in this instance, Hell isn’t the biblical eternity of fire and brimstone, but clunky, poorly thought out suggestions that may sound good on paper, but don’t necessarily work in practice.

We talked about gear in the Part IV. There are plenty of people out there that offer and seek gear-related solutions. Why? Because they’re easy. You mean that shiny piece of plastic in my wallet can fix everything? Here you go! The challenge is that not everyone that’s selling a solution a) truly understands the problem or b) actually has your interests at heart (mind you, the good ones do)

Here’s a few things the “tactical” industry gets wrong in terms of products/solutions:

  • Unrealistic context: “Just put a jacket over it”. Seems easy enough. Until you try that at an outdoor summer wedding in Louisiana. Other than the preacher, you’ll be the only one in a coat. And some folks may wonder why. Drawing attention to yourself is bad and unnecessary. Plus you’ll be miserable. The idea here is that the right amount of knowledge will allow you to tailor any outfit to more suitably accommodating a firearm, not just slapping a cover garment over whatever you’re wearing like you’re headed to a shooting match.
  • Bad advice: “Just get the [pants/jacket] a little bigger than normal, and that way it’ll cover the gun”. I mean, sure, from a purely functional standpoint less fitted clothing will reduce your risk of printing. But one of the advantages of a suit is that it accentuates the male physique, even if you’re like me and occasionally skip your workouts on Taco Tuesday (cuz I mean, c’mon…tacos!). Because the jacket has fallen out of common usage, men don’t generally understand how to properly use it (kinda like a standard transmission). Due to this lack of familiarity, when the occasion to dress up IS called for, our hero is now wearing ill-fitting clothing that makes them look sloppy, and like his clothing a costume. We’ve all seen that guy “dressed up”, and the only place he could possibly be going is a wedding, a funeral, or a court hearing because he looks so unnatural in it.
  • Too inaccessible: Other than the jacket, the next most popular suggestion for going heeled while fancy is the ankle holster. Sounds like a good idea on paper, until you factor in that properly tailored trousers:
    • Are short enough that the ankle is exposed when seated and
    • Should generally taper, at least slightly, leaving less room to accommodate a gun.

Not to mention the fact that, while it’s better than not carrying a gun at all, ankle carry is arguably the hardest to access. You’ve stored the gun at literally the furthest possible point from where it will be needed. Access and deployment will be challenging even under controlled circumstances, let alone in the middle of an assault. It’s generally inadvisable to occupy both your hands when someone’s trying to cave your face in or stab you. I’m personally of the opinion that the ankle gun should be reserved to backup status only, generally when the primary gun is worn on the belt-line. YMMV

  • “Solutions” that “solve” the problem, but create others: In recent years, holster makers have tried to accommodate the more fashion conscious of us, and have come out with a myriad of “tuckable” holster options for us. The idea being that the shirt would go over the body of the holstered gun, hiding it from view. Well, while the firearm itself is in fact covered, you still have 1 or 2 of these big honking belt loops/clips in plain sight, that have no apparent purpose. Sure, you may go unnoticed from a casual glance, but not necessarily if someone is sizing you up for an assault.

In an upcoming post, I’ll be going in to a more comprehensive breakdown of a variety of popular carry methods, and what my experiences have been with each of them.


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