Clothing giveaways of a concealed weapon

Reading subtle cues that indicate concealed carry, you may be able to anticipate you’re dealing with an armed subject and gain a preventive edge of timing and positioning.

As you study a subject’s clothing, ask yourself:

  • Does it fit the season?
  • In cold weather, is a coat unzipped or unbuttoned?
  • Is the subject wearing only one glove, leaving his shooting hand bare?
  • Is he wearing a belt that’s not through the loops of his pants, thereby capable of cinching tighter against a hidden gun?
  • Is a coat weighted down lower on one side?
  • When he walks or runs, does his coat or jacket bounce off his leg as if something heavy is in the pocket?
  • Does a loose-hanging hood seem weighted down, causing the drawstring to pucker?
  • If a subject seems to have a wallet in his pocket but is wearing a fanny pack, then what’s in the fanny pack?
  • Is footwear mismatched, with one shoe larger than the other to possibly conceal a small handgun?

Read more: Officer survival: Spotting armed suspects.

About the author

The Calibre Column is provided by Calibre Press, Inc., one of the most recognized and respected law enforcement training organizations in the industry. Offering hundreds of courses each year on topics ranging from Street Survival®, Active Threat Engagement and Assault Detection & Response to Highway Patrol Tactics, Emotional Survival, and Leadership, Calibre Press has trained more than one million officers nationwide over its 40-year history. In addition to on-site courses, Calibre also offers an increasing collection of training-focused videos available through

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