Best to Carry Fully Concealed or in External case that MIGHT have a gun in it?

I have often wondered if it is best to carry fully concealed (like inside the wasteband under a shirt) or in a pocket with a square holster that does not print as a gun OR in an external case like a Sneaky Pete case (which says Power pack or MD symbol or camping gear etc. on the outside of it) or other external carry case on a belt which does not print as a gun but some might think it is a gun.
The idea of carrying externally in what “might be a gun” leaves me to think you may be less likely a target of some criminal if he thinks you might be carrying. Unless the criminal is so bold or crazy to think he can get it away from you (thus you want to have higher situational awareness).
I’ve carried all these ways but lean toward the external with a Sneaky Pete holster as it’s very fast access and just maybe it discourages any ‘wannabe’ criminals. What do you think?

My preference for concealed carry is to keep it concealed so no one knows you have a weapon.


I understand that philosophy and in some situations that is how I would carry. But my thoughts are that by having an external case that ‘might’ be a gun it may stop some would be criminals from picking you as a potential easy target and thus prevent trouble before it even gets started. I may be wrong - not sure and that’s why I started this conversation.

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Off body carry is fraught with problems and I would not recommend it.

Think how many extremely valuable laptops and cases go missing each year or are stolen?

In a rapidly unfolding critical incident how would you quickly access your firearm if it is locked in such a case?

Unfortunately carrying in such a manner is more likely to make a you a target because people only tend to carry things of value in such cases and that’s what thieves are looking for.

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Take a look at the Sneaky Pete cases. They are not locked. Not sure what you mean by off body carry - they attach to a heavy belt on my pants with two heavy duty belt loops. Only small magnets hold the flap closed on them and they are very fast access. I would say I can get my gun out from that case quicker than from an IWB gun under a shirt. I tend to stay very situationally aware at all times if people are around and don’t let anyone get too close. However I don’t live in a big city or tend to get into any crowded places.

There are times I will prefer pocket carry with a pocket holster that prints only as a rectangle. That looks like it would be a cell phone or camera case. While I’ve tried a number of IWB holsters I just can’t seem to be comfortable with any of them and can’t seem to find a way for quicker access with them except possible appendix carry. That just is something I can’t seem to be okay with :grimacing:

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this subject.

Off body would be in a bag, purse etc that is not physically attached to your body.

Personally I prefer to have it against my body and tight so I can control it at all times and never have to worry about the gun coming loose should I fall down or get in a scuffle.

Generally I’m a about a 3:30 strong side carry guy and prefer to go with an OWB type paddle holster I can shift around depending on what I’m doing particularly when transitioning from driving to walking.

When concealing I’ll always do so in such a manner that I can get to and present the gun from the holster with one hand.

There are rare occasions I’ll go to a shoulder holster particularly for a backup.

Like most people when I first started carrying I went through a whole lot of gyrations and got caught up in trying the newest and coolest but somewhere about twenty years ago I got over it.

My one big exception is when I’m backpacking, I still use a paddle holster but i’ll put it on my pack belt rather than on my body so it’s handy in case we run into bears or druggies. Unfortunately in both CO and NM we’ve had several run ins with both.

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My thoughts on the best way to carry sprung from reading some information from a well known author on how to stay safe in this increasingly violent world.
He had researched how criminals choose their targets. It largely comes down to this - they choose the easiest target. If they see someone who has some sort of side carry pouch big enough that it might carry a gun I think they will bypass that person in favor of an easier looking target.
That is why I’m currently favoring an external carry method like the Sneaky pete holster for most situations when I’m not at home. Still I’m open to every one’s thoughts on this.

If that is the case, why not open carry, assuming it is permitted?

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It is permitted to open carry here but I won’t open carry because

  1. It will annoy / scare / worry a lot of people that see someone who is not a LEO in uniform with a gun on their side. I don’t want to concern anyone except the bad guys.
    2 Most people won’t even notice what I have on my side and if they do they probably won’t give it a second thought. If they do look closer they’ll see what looks like a first aid kit , a power pack or any of the other common things that are marked on this type of carry unit.
    3 The bad guys sizing you up as a target will likely be the only ones to notice it and see it’s big enough to carry a gun. That will discourage them from picking you as an easy target.

By the way I don’t work or have any relation to Sneaky Pete holsters except as a customer who has a couple of them.

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There’s no statistical evidence to support that but there’s a lot of evidence to show that they will specifically target people carrying such a case because again, people tend to put valuables in them and that’s what they are after.

My responses to your list of reasons not to open carry:

  1. That will happen a LOT less than you think. Additionally this gives you an amazing opportunity to be an Ambassador for our (law abiding, responsible carriers of firearms) cause. When people realize you are not a threat they will stop being concerned. Bad guys will move on.
  2. Most people won’t even notice what you have on your side regardless of whether it looks like a gun or not.
  3. If the bad guys sizing you up as a target notice it’s big enough to carry a gun and deduct that you’re carrying then you might as well be open carrying to begin with. At least then they will have the opportunity to rethink their actions!

Open carry is not for everyone, but it should be done by those willing and able. We need more responsible Ambassadors to show that our community is full of good people.


According to a former CIA person who has studied this and some others I’ve read info on this they arranged with some former criminals to ride around with them to find out how they target victims. Again it was always the easy looking targets. A person with something that might be a gun is much more likely to be skipped as a potential hard target.

I think we have a long way to go before open carry will be ‘acceptable’ by the majority. I know from long experience ( I was born in the 40’s) that it makes many people uncomfortable to see someone with a gun in public who is not a LEO.
Regarding #3 I tend to disagree with your conclusion that you might as well open carry so they won’t have any doubt. I’m fairly certain they won’t take a chance if they think someone ‘might’ have a gun when so many other people appear to not have one. We may have to agree to disagree on that but that is my take on it.
I think I look at this way of carry as a ‘more civil open carry’ - might be a gun in some peoples eyes but they don’t know for sure. If they assume it is a gun they know at least that I’m not inconsiderate of those who may be seriously offended by seeing a gun. I’m not out to push my concern for self protection or philosophy of gun carry on everyone. I know many people will never accept the idea no matter what evidence is given to them and know this from personal experience.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. As people become more and more accustomed to law abiding folks just going about their day carrying the broader our acceptance will be and the more people we’ll win over to our side of the “Gun Rights” debate.

Just in case some haven’t seen what my latest external carry case is about I’m talking about the ‘Covert series’ of the Sneaky Pete which hopefully I can post a picture of below:sp-covert

I think I first saw these myself in an issue of USCCA’s great Concealed Carry magazine.

As much as I’ve been told by a relative that studied our genealogy that I’ve got Wyatt Earp in our family history I don’t think going back to those days where everyone had a gun in plain sight on their belt is really where we want to go. :cowboy_hat_face: Is it? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I don’t see an issue with that so my response to get around the minimum character limiting is simply, Yes.

Well I could almost see that maybe in Texas but realistically I won’t hold my breath for it happen :slightly_smiling_face: