Printing Your Firearm

Posted Posted by DetectiveEstes in Detective Estes' Corner     Comments No comments

‘Printing your firearm’ is when a firearm can be seen through your clothing.  The following is a good definition of printing:  ” the act of revealing the outline of the gun under clothing. Printing can sometimes cause public unrest when they realize you are armed ”

There are reasons that printing occurs. A) If the wearer’s clothes are too tight around the holster, it may cause a slight bulge, or imprint of the butt of the gun. (B) Problem with the holster. Perhaps the holster leans out from the waist. Maybe the belt isn’t tight enough to pull the holster in. Many holsters are now made with two types of belt holders – one type are belt loops, the other type is an attachable paddle. An example of that is Blackhawk’s “Serpa CQC” holster. Another example of this is the Safariland 5198 Open Top Paddle and Belt Loop Combo Holster Uncle Mike’s advertises universal belt loop and paddle for all their Kydex holsters. The problem with two piece holsters is the holster sits away from the belt loop. The problem with paddles on holsters in general is that the paddle is not held in tight so it tends to lean outward from the paddle. In either case, the holster is too far away from the user’s waist so the gun shows.

The above reasons though, are generally accidental reasons, or not well thought out purchasing by the person who is planning to carry a firearm. There is another type of gun carrier, however, that enjoys advertising the fact that he, or she is carrying a firearm. You may have seen this person – They are likely the person in a restaurant, or other business establishment that deliberately brushes aside their jacket so that all in view can plainly see their hardware they have on. Sometimes that hardware has a badge on the belt as well.

This person is usually young, though old enough to have a gun permit of some type. Or perhaps the gun carrier is a police officer, also usually young on the job. Generally speaking, this display will disappear as soon as someone who is a bit older and wiser in carrying a gun comments that really good gun carriers don’t display their firearms. Or that the only time the public needs to know that someone is wearing a firearm is when it is used. Otherwise, the public never knows that someone among them has a gun on.

There are some other firearms carriers, however, who deliberately carry a firearm in such a way that anyone with an eyeball will immediately notice an obvious firearm. Those who carry this way evoke a reaction from the public that isn’t good. Not for the carrier, and not for the public as well. Plus -it’s dangerous to all who are in the same location as well as being extremely dangerous to the gun carrier.

Let’s say you are carrying an obvious gun. Either it’s under a jacket which is pulled back so the gun is clearly seen, or you are carrying in open carry position. Today you have decided to carry a 6″ stainless steel Smith & Wesson Model 29, caliber 44 Magnum; a formidable handgun. You carry it because 1) you can (2) because you know it will kill anything that moves in front of you (3) you like the feel of the gun on your hip and (4) people should know that someone is carrying a gun to protect their little selves if something goes down.

You go into a small restaurant and sit down, facing the door of course. You are in a booth, so you take your jacket off. You order and get your food and drink. You are eating, and realize the buzz in the restaurant has quieted. You look up and stare right into the double barrels of the sawed off shotgun the robber that just walked in is carrying. He was going to rob the place, but as soon as he walked through the door, he immediately looked the room over, looking for the police, and here you are instead. With your obvious 44 Magnum on. So the robber points at you, because you are the only obvious gun carrier in the room, except for the robber. And when you look up, it’s the last thing you ever see, as the robber fires one barrel of his shotgun into your face. As you flop around dying, the robber completes his robbery, gets the money, walks away and escapes. Nobody gets a good look at him because of you, taking up the entertainment with your pain and blood and dying.

If you’re an open gun carrier, this article applies to you as well. If you are a police officer that routinely carries an open gun while on duty, but are in plain clothes, this also applies to you. That robbery scene could easily be you. Police detectives are especially susceptible to this scenario. Not only are you armed, but you have a shirt with a badge displayed on it as well! You are nearly begging to be killed first in this robbery scenario.

Open gun carriers should carry their handgun(s) in a holster close to their body. The holster should be a pancake type or some type of holster which can be pulled in close to the body. The gun should not be overly large appearing in the holster. That means something less than target grips for an N-frame sized revolver. If the barrel is long, wear an inside-the-pants holster. A holster drawn in close may not be seen by the majority of the public, especially if it is a dark color and your gun is dark as well. Even with a contrasting color shirt to the gun, most won’t ever see the gun. Because it isn’t obvious.

If you are a plain clothes officer, cover that gun. A plain clothes police officer, when outside the police station, should never display an open gun. Your gun should be displayed only when necessary, and then should come as a great surprise to the public around you. If you are in that restaurant when the robber entered and saw that obvious gun carrying nitwit, you should be in the position of removing your gun to remove the robber. You should not be in the position of the nitwit gun carrier. If the police are killed or injured, many more people in the restaurant might be killed because the robber would be angry and not see any sense in letting anyone live through this ordeal.

So cover that gun. Until it’s time to use it. The first time anyone knows you are carrying a gun is when that bad person sees the flame come out of the barrel.

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About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

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