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How to Spot a Hidden Handgun

If you’ve never seen the infographic below before, it shows different techniques for spotting a concealed handgun. This is useful not only for its intended purpose (things to look for, helping the good guys spot guns on the bad guys), but also for those of you who are legally carrying concealed (things to avoid).

When I lived in the Houston area, I frequently was able to spot someone I thought was very likely carrying. Since moving to Montana I’ve had fewer such opportunities simply because there are far fewer people here, and I live in a very sparsely populated area.

The two most common things that tipped me off that someone was carrying were the telltale bulge of the handgun and the ever popular “adjustment” that folks tend to make when they get out of their vehicle.

This was a sort of people watching game for me, as I tend to be fairly observant for whatever reason, and I must admit that it was kinda fun. Weird, I know. Anyways, if you are new to concealed carry (or perhaps even if you’re not) you might find this infographic useful. The one technique not shown here that I have had good success with is the aforementioned “adjustment tell” when people get up from sitting, like at a restaurant or getting out of their vehicle.

Click image for a larger version.

How to spot a hidden handgun

H/T White Wolf Tactical

15 Responses to How to Spot a Hidden Handgun

  1. amistoso September 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Guilty! I’m a noob! I pretty much carry all the time and find myself doing such things. I need to remedy that… Im so happy about SB299 though!

  2. jerbalmya September 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I too find myself trying to spot people…and consciously try to not touch my shirt on my carry side. I have heard that Police Officers are told to look out for people who might be carrying because they touch the area where they’re carrying (something like) every 2-3 minutes (probably a subconscious movement, to ensure the gun is secure).

    Anyways…..carry on folks – and when you’re bored, check out my FB page.

  3. Timothy Ivers September 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Since I got my INCOG for my shield I haven’t had any problems adjusting like I used to.

  4. dgdimick September 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I have to admit readjusting my hand gun with my forearm.

  5. Hillbilly Bob September 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    The weird clothes thing won’t work around here, us hillbillies wear some crazy stuff and this time of year everyone, well damn near everyone has an Ohio State shirt on

  6. Wasabi September 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Funny, these things all apply to people with heavier smart phones tucked into waistbands and pretty much any other heavy or bulky object that bounces around when your run or makes a bulge under clothes when you move around. Hardly, the definitive how-to-spot. On the other hand, now certain people will think everyone is carrying….

  7. MIKE B September 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    a good hoster and belt combo will fix that having to adjust problem or even worrying about it comming free while running. my biggest give aways is always making sure my shirt isn’t riding up and showing my guns. im a lefty so im a little less obvious because most ppl will assume im right handed but im definitly guitly of blading my gun aways from people when i talk to them, its mainly because i’m used to doin that while doing vehicle stops.

  8. J. Hall September 6, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    I have to say this is true for hip carry, but my ankle holster is magic, I don’t even know it’s there, except in winter when I stomp my feet do get excess snow off before entering a professional office. (It’s an employment thing.)

  9. Uncle Kenny September 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Re “adjustment tell” … I am guilty of this as many people are. My attitude is “so what?” People observing me do this are one of two types: 1) other carriers and cops who I probably don’t care if they know I am armed and 2) bad guys, who I may prefer to know I am armed. I, frankly, don’t see the downside in either case.

    Furthermore, I carry a mid-size .45 in 100 degree Houston heat. Anyone observing how I am dressed to accomplish this, will be 90% sure that I am carrying without any twitchy tells. So what?

    The oblivious multitude isn’t paying any more attention to me than they are to the bad guys stalking them.

  10. Lorraine September 7, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    what about us women that carry in our purse? do u have any ways that we give it away? i no longer hide the fact i carry a gun when i am going from my home to my car & car to home only becuz of the ppl that have moved in across the street. but i am curious to know if women give any signs that we have one in our purse.

    • Brandon September 9, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Nothing comes to mind Lorraine. I was tempted to say “walking with your hand in your purse” but if I saw a woman doing that, I wouldn’t necessarily think gun.

      • Hillbilly Bob September 9, 2013 at 8:36 am #

        If I noticed a woman with her hand in her purse I would think she is fondling her husband’s credit card

        • TK September 9, 2013 at 10:42 am #

          LOL spot on.

      • Uncle Kenny September 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

        Depends on the situation. In the parking at the mall or the supermarket, a women with her hand in her purse (who is not obviously looking for her keys) probably has a weapon in there. This reminds me, there’s a purse at Collector’s that the wife has her eye on. It has a slot/pocket in the back for a pistol. Damned thing costs as much as a well-used Glock, but Christmas is coming. May be a Monderno review coming. Does that make it a tax writeoff?

    • Jim September 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Just a thought Lorraine… city girls keep the purse cinched up tight (with out without something to carry, obviously if the item is in a “clutch” type it might seem extra heavy if you happen to be changing hands a lot… naturally protecting the bag (carrying or not) is going to be anyone’s Priority, would hate to see a purse snatcher get hold of a weapon because someone wasn’t being attentive enough …In a sense, you have to be 4 times more aware or wary and ready at a moments Notice to act… 🙂