What Does Printing Mean Concealed Carry?

In concealed carry vocabulary, let’s first talk about what “printing” does not mean. Printing in conceal carry does not mean physically printing a weapon and using it as a carry weapon.

Printing when concealing a weapon is the definition that refers to the actual outline of the firearm on your body. Things such as tight clothing will naturally increase the amount of “printing” that is displayed when carrying a pistol. Learning how to reduce printing when practicing concealed carry is of the utmost importance for firearm owners.

How Do You Reduce Printing In Conceal Carrying A Pistol?

There are a number of ways to reduce printing when concealing a pistol. Of course, for most of us who carry a weapon, concealing it is very important. There are a number of reasons why somebody would want to hide the fact that they have a weapon, and the majority of them are simply to avoid any sort of confrontation. I’m not a confrontational person, nor are the vast majority of folks I know that conceal carry regularly. I am very thankful that owning and carrying a weapon (where legal to carry) are a constitutional right and that’s that. When my wife sends me to the grocery store for Saturday morning donuts, the last thing I’d like to do is spark a discussion on whether or not I should be carrying my pistol. Thus, concealing and reducing printing are of the utmost importance.

Enough on my personal opinion for the benefits of less printing. Reducing printing reduces the likelihood that somebody will notice you’re carrying a firearm. Better for them, better for you.

The three most effective ways to reduce printing while carrying a pistol are below:

  1. Learn Your Bodies Peaks And Valleys
  2. Don’t Use An OWB Hip Holster
  3. Adjust The Type of Clothing Worn While Carrying
  4. Consider Different Carry Locations

Learn Your Bodies Peaks And Valleys

One of my favorite carry systems of all time is made by a company called PHLster. They have a great video, which I’ve linked below, that discusses “Peaks And Valleys” and how that comes into play when you’re learning how to reduce printing while carrying.

Learning which Peaks and Valleys are naturally along the contours of your body is very important and one of the best things you can do to reduce the amount of printing caused by your firearm.

Don’t Use An OWB Hip Holster

Hip holsters in general are more likely to increase printing of the pistol against the owners body. OWB holsters only make it easier to see, because the weapon is further from the body. This isn’t rocket science, if you’re trying to reduce the printing of your pistol, get it closer to your body. This also means getting it away from your hips, a natural outline of the body. It’s far easier to break up the outline of a weapon when it is centered on your body, rather than when it’s on your hip. As a rule, IWB holsters are more effective than OWB holsters for printing reduction while carrying.

For most folks, this means using an appendix style carry method. We’ve covered appendix carrying here, so we won’t expand into a full list of the pros and cons. Appendix carry is one of the best ways to reduce printing of your weapon, period. With that being said, it’s still an issue there and my next best tip falls directly in line with that.

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Adjust The Type of Clothing Worn While Carrying

At the risk of getting booed out of the room, I’ll spend minimal time on this. When you’re carrying a pistol, it’s easier to conceal it wearing baggy clothing. Now, obviously, situations may dictate that you cannot wear a baggy sweatshirt, so finding something that’s comfortable but not skin tight will reduce the amount of printing created by your carry weapon.

If you’re a woman who carries wearing skin tight clothing like yoga pants, consider wearing a sweatshirt, or some other type of clothing that’s a little longer.

Why Should You Try To Decrease The Amount Of Printing Conceal Carry?

The number one reason you should try to decrease the amount of printing caused by the outline of your pistol and it’s holster is to reduce the likelihood that somebody notices you’re carrying. Concealing a weapon is not a crime, unless your local government has banned it, you lack proper documentation, or you’re a felon. If your local government allows carrying a weapon and you have the proper permits, you have the right to carry. For most of us who practice carrying a pistol, we utilize concealment methods. As a rule, it is far better (and safer) for those around you to not know that you’re carrying a pistol. Reducing the amount of printing will ensure that it stays that way.

How Can Women Reduce Printing With Tight Clothing?


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