In Part 1 of this series, we looked at my 3 Steps to Buying Pants for Concealed Carry. And now in Part 2 I will provide you with insight as to the why and how these steps work together. To recap, our steps are as follows:
- Know Your Size
- Know Your EDC Loadout
- Try Them On
Pants buying alone can either be simple or frustrating, throw in a handgun and two spare magazines and it can become a nightmare that many dread. Knowing your size is half the battle. It gives you a place to start and almost gets rid of the need to wear a belt because your pants fit you so well. The general rule of thumb when it comes to pants for concealed carry is to buy the next size up. While this is decent advice, I find that it is one of those hand-me-down statements spread through gun forums and gun stores based upon age-old thinking from when most of the firearms available for carry had 5″ barrels and/or huge cylinders.
Looking for pants one size up is too broad; especially if you shop in real mens clothing stores such as Jos. A. Bank. Depending on the store (sometimes even the brand), the next size up could be 1 number or 2 (i.e. 30-32 or 30-31). When you know your size you at least know where to start on the rack.
Once you have your size now you need to know your gear. Not just your gun, but your holster, extra magazine carrier, keys, gun belts, knife, etc. Any and everything you carry daily should be accounted for.
Starting with The GunToday’s assortment of firearms is geared directly towards CCW; which is great for us! Not only do we have many choices of calibers, barrel sizes, striker or hammer fired, revolver or semi-auto but in case you haven’t heard……………………………………………………..THIN IS IN! Guns like the Springfield Armory XDs, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and many others all tout a thickness of 1″ or less. With a thickness of 1″, one can easily fit a firearm in pants that perfectly fit ones waiste.
With thin guns also comes thin holsters. Some made out of kydex, nylon, leather, or a combination. Many of which are far less than an inch thick. So with a 1″ firearm, a holster less than an inch thick, one would be hard pressed to make up an additional 2 inches of space inside-the-waistband. But we still need to factor in additional magazines, if you choose to carry them.
If we are sticking with the idea of carrying slim firearms, then those magazines are thinner than the guns that they fit in. Pair that with a nice mag carrier and you STILL do not get a full 2″ of space.
As far as belts go, most gun belts are either 1.4″ or 1.5″ wide; which is important to note because not all belt loops are wide enough to accommodate. Now if you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook you have likely seen several times that I have shown that I am not wearing a gun belt, but we will save that discussion for another post.
The rest of your loadout is either carried on your belt or inside a pocket depending on how dapper you are dressing. Pockets on pants come with all sorts of different cuts and depths. Knowing what you intend to put in those pockets is paramount in selecting pants. For example: If your EDC pocketknife has an unopened length of 4″, those snazzy chinos with the shallow pockets are probably a bad idea (unless you have a smaller knife to carry when you wear them). This is just one example of the myriad of things that maybe in your everyday carry that should be accounted for.
The Perfect Fit
Now that we have gotten sized for pants and have all of our gear in mind, it is time to grab some pants off the rack or shelf (preferably 1 that is your exact size, 1 size up if they have it, and another 2 sizes up) and head into the fitting room.
As if trying on pants was not already a tedious procedure, it is even more so when you add in a gun and a belt. But in order to get this right we have to include those items in this process. Of course we need to follow all 4 Gun Safety Rules as we remove our holster from our current pants (you did bring your firearm correct?). We are now going to proceed with trying on the new pants WITH our holstered weapon and OUR belt. This is important because here is where we find out if we can stick with our actual size, one size up, or two.
Once you land on a pair that is a comfortable fit, I like to make note (mental or actual) of the brand and possibly the model for future reference. This is great when you shop major retailers/brands such as Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, and Levis. With this information you are now equipped to shop for those same pants in different colors; in-store or online.
Carrying a gun does not mean you have have to dress like you are reliving high school. Neither does it mean you have to be uncomfortable while carrying. Whether you are purchasing a nice pair of slacks or slim fit jeans, these 3 steps will help to ensure you get perfect fitting CCW pants every time.
Feel free to add something you feel I missed down in the comments, and if there’s something specific you would like me to talk about, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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