The choice to practice concealed carry is a highly personal one, but if you do, it’s imperative that you carry responsibly and in a safe manner.
It’s also important that your gear, being your holster or concealed carry jacket or bag, complements your carry and draw style, as there is no point in preparation if you are not committed to being fully prepared.
The concealed carry jacket you choose can make a big impact in how you carry, and on that note, how prepared you ultimately are.
There are also a great deal of jackets for concealed carry out there. This short guide should help ensure you pick one that’s a good fit for you.
Sizing: Should Fit Well, but a Little Extra Space Isn’t a Bad Thing
First, and possibly most important, you need to pick a concealed carry jacket with the right cut and fit for your dimensions. This is not a matter of fashion or style; it is a must.
You want a jacket with a middle of the road fit that is neither too tight nor too large. A jacket that is too tight will probably print your firearm, giving you away in a crowd.
On the flipside, if the jacket is too large, you can get “lost” in the fabric if you ever need to open the jacket and draw. A jacket that’s too large also may not support your choice of personal defense weapon properly.
With that said, a fit that’s just a little bit on the bigger side is not a bad thing. There are a few reasons for this.
One is that, as stated, a larger jacket is unlikely to print. Another is that, since some concealed carry jackets are not intended for all-weather wear, you can layer underneath the jacket if need be without compromising access to your firearm.
Finally, a jacket that’s just a little on the bigger side will probably give you more room for your holster (if you wear one that is not integral to the jacket itself) as well as larger pockets for spare magazines.
Durability Is a Must (Especially the Zipper)
Another thing worth taking into consideration is the material from which the jacket is made. Concealed carry jackets can look nice, but their main focus is not fashion, it is function.
Heavyweight and durable cotton and nylon fabrics or other comparable alternatives are a must. You’ve heard the expression “in for a dollar, in for a dime,” well, it’s worth it to pay more and get quality in a concealed carry jacket.
The stitching on the pockets is something to take note of, as failed stitching can compromise the integrity of a pocket; if this is the pocket that secures the holster, firearm, or mags, that can cause problems.
One more thing: buttons are a no-go on a concealed carry jacket. If you ever need to access your firearm quickly, buttons will trip you up. Look for a zipper, and a good, heavyweight zipper at that, one that’s easy to locate, access, and open.
If there’s a large pull loop or tab on the zipper, that’s a bonus too, but if the jacket doesn’t have one, you can fashion your own from a bit of leather or paracord, so it’s not a dealbreaker.
Must Be Comfortable Enough to Wear Through Most (If Not All) Seasons
You’re also going to want to choose a jacket, ideally, that you can wear through all seasons.
However, this may not be possible in all climates, especially with colder winters. It’s impossible to make a jacket that’s light enough to be comfortable in the summer while still having enough insulation to remain comfortable in the winter.
So, most jackets are 3-season jackets, light and comfortable enough to be worn in the spring, summer, and fall. This is one of the reasons we advocated for a jacket that’s a size or half-size larger than what you normally wear.
You can wear your jacket as a shell, and add layers underneath. This will guarantee fast access to your firearm if you ever need to draw, while keeping you comfortable through all seasons.
It Should Aid in Concealment and Compliment Your Carry/How You Draw
Your concealed carry jacket must also be compatible with your method of carry, and aid in concealment.
For instance, if you carry either inside or outside your waistband, and not in the jacket itself, the jacket must be short enough to raise up easily for access to your weapon.
If you shoulder carry, you want to avoid liners that will get in the way of access to your holster. Similarly, the jacket should be large enough, and padded adequately, to prevent printing.
If you carry your firearm in a holster or pocket integrated with the jacket, it should ride comfortable on your body, not drag the jacket down, and remain easy to access, whether you are standing or sitting.
Extra Space Is a Bonus
One last thing to look for in a concealed carry jacket is extra space, for additional reasons to those already mentioned.
For one thing, you’ll need extra space for spare magazines. An empty chamber is a dangerous situation and if you don’t carry a spare mag or two, you may be exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.
The other reason is because, on top of everything else covered here, your concealed carry jacket should still be comfortable enough to wear every day.
You’ll want it to be roomy enough that it doesn’t restrict your range of motion, and have side, internal, or chest pockets for your other accessories, such as gloves, warmer hats, phones, wallet, keys, and other personal effects.
Get Your Next Concealed Carry Jacket Here
Are you in the market for a new concealed carry jacket? By following some of the suggestions here, you can help make sure your next one will hold up to hard use, be comfortable through most of the year, and serve you well for many years.
Take a look through our collection of concealed carry jackets and give us a call if you’re looking for something specific. You can also visit us in our shop in Hawley, PA, if you’re in our area.