When you first start carrying concealed, it's normal to feel like your firearm sticks out like a sore thumb. You may wonder if anyone notices you're carrying a firearm and maybe even get a little paranoid (which is also normal).
Trying to cover up those little bumps and bulges along your waistline may leave you frustrated, but as you get more comfortable carrying, you'll start to realize those little shapes aren't so obvious and people aren't staring at you trying to figure out if you have a gun under your clothing.
So, how much printing is too much? And how can you minimize it? Here are some tips to reduce printing and curb your anxieties about it.
What is Printing?
Printing is when the outline or shape of your gun or holster becomes visible through clothing. It's a big concern for many gun owners and can cause "discovery anxiety". Some gun owners feel that unless a gun is practically invisible, it shouldn't be carried. Getting over this anxiety is an important step in having the confidence to carry.
How to Minimize Printing
Even if no one notices, printing can still make you feel a little paranoid and less confident about carrying. The good news is that there are several things you can do to minimize printing - with just a few small adjustments, you can significantly reduce how much your firearm shows through your clothing.
Check your holster - Is your holster unnecessarily bulky? Sometimes it's your equipment and not the gun that's sticking out. If your holster has non-functional bumps or includes a lot of extra material, consider switching it out for something more streamlined.
Adjust your wardrobe - Wearing slightly looser clothing or adding patterns or prints to your wardrobe can go a long way toward minimizing printing. Stripes and complex patterns can do wonders for hiding extra bumps and A-line blouses can cover up awkward shapes around your waistline.
Switch up your carry position -Adjusting your holster placement along your waistline can be a game-changer. You don't necessarily have to find a completely different location - moving your holster just a couple of inches forward or rearward can significantly reduce printing.
Does Printing Really Matter?
It does, but not in the ways you might think. If you're distracted by the possibility of printing, then you're not fully present and that's not an ideal mental state. Situational awareness is extra important when you're carrying a gun and you need to have your full attention on your surroundings.
When it comes to being out in public, a small amount of printing isn't so important. The average person isn't paying much attention to the details around them, and they're not scrutinizing every lump and bump on your body. Even if they do see something that looks slightly odd, there's a good chance they won't know that it's a firearm.
From a defensive standpoint, it is beneficial to minimize or eliminate printing so you don't become a target should you encounter someone with ill intentions.
Printing from a Legal Perspective
Assuming you live in an area where carrying concealed is legal, there are no laws expressly prohibiting printing. There are laws against brandishing or "improper exhibition" of a firearm, but you would need to actually present or show your gun in some form for those laws to come into play. There are a few states with confusing laws on the subject. For example, Florida does have a law against improper exhibition, but printing isn't an issue because your firearm stays under your clothing.
Do you have any questions about printing? Feel free to reach out to us so we can help!