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Don’t “tell” that you’re carrying concealed. (part two)

Posted by Rob Longenecker on October 10th, 2006

In part one of Steve LaBelle’s post it became clear that our habits while carrying concealed are every bit as important as the clothing and equipment we choose. In part two, Steve lists common “tells” to avoid and gives us a link to a report for law enforcement called, “Recognizing Traits of Armed Individuals.”

Here’s Steve’s list of common “tells:”

-Pulling down a shirt or jacket.
-Odd or inappropriate clothing for conditions. Vests/jackets in hot weather for example.
-Fanny packs when pants have plenty of pockets.
-Fanny packs that obviously have something heavy in them.
-One arm kept close to where a holster probably would be. This arm doesn’t swing freelywith walking motions. Shoulder holsters generally have this “tell” more often than waist holsters because shoulder holsters tend to flop around a bit.
-Hitching up trousers often. There is a reason those pants keep falling down. Could be suspenders are needed or it could be something heavy on the belt or in the pocket keeps dragging them down.
-Exceptionally long pant legs with one leg where the material doesn’t “flow” as well as the other when walking. Indication of a possible ankle holster restricting the pant leg’s motion. -Elbow checking gun.
-Belt at an angle. Possible weight pulling it down.
-Sagging pants or jacket pockets.
-Reluctance to remove a jacket when inside a building.
-One arm furtively holding a shirt from riding up when reaching for something.
-Shoulder going up before exiting a car as the gun is either reholsterd, checked for positioning, or clothing adjusted. -Keeping one side of the body at a slight angle away from the person in front of them. -Sudden “ramping up” of awareness level when a stranger gets too close to the gun side. -Changing positions to keep one side away when approached by a stranger.
-Swinging wider than necessary to get through a door.
-Taking an advantageous position in a room when there are plenty of other places available.
-Constantly scanning the area showing a high level of awareness and alertness but without any signs of fear.
-Keeping attention on a shady character but without any signs of fear or apprehension. 
-A hand goes into a pocket, and stays there, when a shady character is spotted.
-Even how a person walks can be an indicator. Heavy weights on one side cause a slight lean that goes unnoticed by the person carrying.
-Hugging with arms under the other person’s arms forcing their arms away from bumping a gun. 
-A dull “thud” if something is bumped into.
-General demeanor…………… Ever notice the mannerisms and vibes projected by an off duty cop? Concealed carriers have a somewhat similar but lesser degree of confidence and situational awareness that shows.

For those of you who want more detail, here is the report, “Recognizing Traits of Armed Individuals.”

Let me emphasize that these “tells” are not proof positive that someone is carrying a gun. But they are hints that many of us project to anyone interested enough to look for them. And because we project these “tells” without realizing it our “secret” isn’t such a secret after all.

What is sobering is the understanding that the most dangerous determined criminal, the very person we carry to protect ourselves from, has a very good chance of figuring out that we are carrying a gun. That means we lost any tactical advantage of surprise a hidden gun provides and also opens the possibility of a criminal “snatching” a concealed gun. After all, if we can get to our gun under a shirt or jacket so can a criminal who knows it is there. 

Thank you for the opportunity to share this information. 

Steve LaBelle 
aka/Bikenut   

       

   

 

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