By Sam Hoober
One of the most common tropes about concealed carry if you read message boards, Reddit and other social media groups dedicated to it is concealed carry at work. There are some very basic principles about doing so, and here’s a basic overview.
The first thing is that you really need to think about whether you even should try.
Some employers allow it, some people are the boss or are self-employed and don’t have to worry about it, and some folks work from home. However, far more people do not fit into those categories.
Concealed carry at work requires great care and a lot of thought. It’s not an exaggeration or even hyperbole to say that it’s almost better to not carry at work unless you feel you absolutely must.
While workplace violence does happen, workplace homicides are very rare. Unless you work in a high-risk occupation (retail and healthcare) or in a high-risk area, it’s really worth thinking about leaving your gun at home or putting a safe in your car and leaving the gun in there.
Put it this way: can you easily replace what you do for a living? Or would getting fired be a detriment to you financially as well as professionally? It’s one thing to risk a job; it’s another to risk a career.
In some fields, getting canned for having a gun at work can have serious consequences. You can be blackballed from the profession. If you’re in customer service for an insurance company, that’s not such a big deal. If you’re a doctor or a nurse, that’s catastrophic.
So before you think about how to concealed carry at work, think good and hard about whether it’s even worth it. If your office or what have you is in a generally safe area, if what you do for work makes having a gun on you awkward, or if the consequences of getting caught are too great, you might as well not.
That or find a different job, if it’s that worth it to you.
So with the idea of whether you need or want to out of the way, on to some tips, tricks and strategies.
First, concealed carry at work needs to go beyond concealed to covert carry. In the workplace, regardless of whatever the policy is, nobody can know you have a gun. Nobody should know you even have guns or even like guns. Don’t talk about it, don’t mention anything that might remotely suggest you might have a gun on you.
Just throwing a shirt over your holster isn’t good enough; you need to be able to not telegraph the firearm at all.
Switching to appendix carry can be a good strategy, as it can eliminate the tell-tale printing that happens when you bend forward while wearing an IWB holster on the hip. Putting a micro pistol in a pocket holster is very viable strategy as well; a Glock 19 in a belt holster isn’t the hardest thing to conceal, but a J-frame in a roomy pocket is much easier. Ankle holsters are another possibility.
Belly bands are not a bad idea, but take great care in selecting one. As of right now, there are two choices of belly band or interior belt systems; there’s the PHlster Enigma system or a bad choice of carry gear.
A backpack can be a very viable choice if treated with care. Make sure your carry gun is in a quality holster, not just in a compartment. It should be in its own dedicated compartment, in said holster.
The best practice would be to take the gun and holster off and put it in the backpack before going into work, and putting it back on covertly (like in a bathroom stall) before leaving the office. Make sure the backpack is never out of reach, and don’t let anyone else go into the backpack.
The idea is that if you’re going to carry at work contrary to employer policy – and again, you need to think really hard about whether the risks of losing employment are greater than your relative need to carry a gun in the area where you work – then you need to minimize, abrogate and otherwise reduce the visibility of the holster and firearm to zero.
But what about keeping it in your car?
Get a car safe. A lockbox with a security cable is alright, but bolt cutters can make short work of one. A car safe, or other locking covert storage method – and no, the glove box or center console does not count – is the better idea.
It’s not really complicated how to store a gun in the car safely, or how to more covertly carry a pistol. What you should spend more time on is thinking about whether you should or not. Yes, your personal safety and your life are important, but so is not winding up homeless due to unemployment.
Sam Hoober is a hunter and shooter based in the Inland Northwest.