Church Security and Concealed/Covert Carry

The following article was written by SMince2 who posts regularly in the forum.  I encountered Scott several years before Glen and I started this site. At that time I provided some basic information and an ear to bounce thoughts off of. He has established a very strong team in his home church and has had to deal with the need to keep the CCW issue very low profile. Scott has also attended several training sessions to enhance his firearms ability and training level.



Generally, there are two accepted methods for carrying firearms: concealed carry (CCW) and open carry (OCW). There are a few states that recognize open carry. Arizona comes to mind. Most states require concealed carry, if carry is even permitted.


Open carry is just what it says: the weapon/holster has no need to be concealed. Similar to law enforcement officers who carry openly.


Concealed carry means some type of cover garment. This is usually a belt or inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster of some type with a shirt, sweater, or jacket over the holster and weapon, thereby ‘concealing’ it. For most people in most situations , this mode of carry is adequate.


Another method of carry is the ‘covert carry‘, or very deep concealment. This mode is used when absolutely no one needs to know you are armed. Let’s face it, in the modern world, there are places where you need to be armed, and no one know about it. Non-permissive environments (NPE’s) abound these days. Schools, malls, theaters, etc all post various signs to prohibit CCW, sometimes even going against state laws.


While I’m not advocating violating the law, what do you do: leave your weapon home and pray nothing happens, or covertly arm yourself just in case? Even in areas where it is totally legal to CCW, there may be time when covert carry takes precedence over mere concealment.


Church carry is one place where covert may be a better answer. We want to protect our congregations and family, but we don’t want an ‘armed camp’ atmosphere during worship time. Covert carry can be the solution when someone finding out you are armed could be a stumbling block.


Now that we have some general ideas, what are some of the methods?


Tuckable holsters: These are similar to typical belt or IWB holsters. They fasten to the belt, but the attachment is placed in such a way that the shirt can be tucked in between the shirt and jeans. The shirt can be slightly bloused out over the holster to provide more cover.


Thunderwear/Smartcarry: Brand names for two similar holsters. These are worn as a belt around the waist, with a gun pouch located in front. Put the holster on over you shirt, then pull your pants up around the gun and button them. To draw, hook the off-hand thumb into the pants waist and pull out. The gun hand then draws the weapon out.


Bellyband Holsters: Similar to the Smartcarry, but carried slighlty higher. There are also holsters of this type that are carried around the chest, with a shoulder strap. A type of shoulder holster that is carried under a tucked-in shirt. I have a model I use from Kangaroo Industries. It is a band that fastens around the chest with velcro, has a strap for over the shoulder that prevents sag, and the holster pocket is positioned under the arm. To access, I unbutton my second or third button and reach in my shirt, drawing the weapon. Several companies make this type of holster.


Pocket Holsters: These are used often for small guns, such as J-frame revolvers or small semi-automatic handguns. Good ones will stay in the pocket during the draw, not come out with the gun.


Ankle Holsters:While they have their place, ankles holsters are difficult to access the weapon from, and impossible if you are having to move off the line of fire. I find them most suitable or a back-up weapon.


Off-body Carry: These are the various purses, day planners, briefcases, etc. that have built-in holster systems. While better than nothing, I would be concerned about being separated from my weapon so easily.


Covert systems will necessarily be slower to access the weapon from. You may have to carry a more compact (read: lower capacity and/or harder to shoot) weapon. This is the price for increased concealment.


Whatever carry system you choose, practice is the key. Practice moving and drawing, accessing from seated, behind a table, on the ground. What? You say the bad guy won’t ever get the drop on you and you won’t end up on the ground? Better practice it anyway. Just in case.


Hopefully I’ve given you some points to think about, or a place to start.


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