I recently joined and one of the groups is on fighting.  Basically writer’s discussing weapons and how to write believable fight scenes.  I started a thread on Fighting and Fashion, to discuss what the stylish character wears about town to conceal (or enhance) weapons.  I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue of dressing to kill here 🙂

Dressing with weapons in mind is something my characters deal with often.  Since comfort and concealment is a problem in real life carrying, I make it a problem in theirs to lend it a note of truth.

Most of the time my main characters are petite women, and a lot of holsters and guns are made to fit larger people, and it’s difficult to get a flat thing to lay against a curved surface (as in, the hip). So my characters who carry often have small guns that are either not concealed or are concealed under a jacket on an under arm holster.

The best one I’ve found in real life was one you put around your ribs and the gun gets kind of tucked under your breasts and against your sternum and you pull it out from underneath.  Pretty nifty design.  You still have to wear a loose shirt with it though.

Here is another suggestion for people writing about characters carrying weapons: actually try one on (or have someone of a similar body type to the character you’re talking about try it, again, these things work differently for different body types) and see where you would realistically put it.  If your woman character doesn’t really have hips, carrying on the belt is a lot easier than for women with hips.  You have to also consider what clothes would be good if the character is carrying concealed.

Usually the clothes to keep it concealed are looser and baggier than a woman in modern America would wear, at least a stylish one  But that could also be a detail you point out.  Someone notices the usually well-dressed professional woman has a baggy shirt on and untucked.  Is she feeling grubby today or is there something else under there?

With men, it’s easier because they have more flat surfaces on them and tend to be longer than women, so a gun against their hip is flat on flat and there’s just more area of the flat, but that still takes getting used to.  Men’s clothes tend to be baggier as well, so even a nicely dressed one can have a dress shirt tucked into slacks, and just be loose fitting.

Whoever your character is, try to see the world through their eyes when carrying.  This goes for guns, knives, pepper spray, nun-chucks, throwing stars, ect…  And what they’re wearing also should be reflected in martial arts scenes.  If your character is a black belt but she’s wearing a pencil skirt, she’s not going to be able to pull off a kick without hiking that skirt up around her hips.

The reality is in the details.  The more you can nail down about how this person is carrying and pulling off their moves, the more people reading will believe it.



  1. Great points to keep in mind. It’s these subtle things readers will call us to task on if we’re not careful. I needed info on a small gun for my last book. Luckily, my niece is a police officer. She came in very handy as someone to bounce ideas off of. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also keep in mind the size of the weapon. When I carry my snub nosed .357 in my Crossbreed IWB holster it rarely prints if I bend over. However, if I carry my full sized 1911, it doesn’t matter what holster I use, it will almost always print if I move a certain way.

    For those that may not be familiar with the term, print is when your weapon outline is visible underneath your clothing. When you bend over and the butt of your pistol or revolver is sticking up and out from your body that is the worst form of printing.

    In some states if you have a CCW and you print, you can actually be arrested for not concealing your gun.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Just dawned on me that you may not know what IWB stands for. It means In the Waist Band. It’s a holster that actually goes in your pants instead of being outside of them on your belt. I use Crossbreed:

        Two things that were taught to me about carrying a gun:
        1: You get what you pay for when it comes to holsters. Many people buy cheap holsters to try and save money, after spending 500-1300 on a gun. Most often the holster is uncomfortable and cheaply made.

        2: There is no “One holster fits all situations.” You buy different holsters for different modes of dress, comfort, travel, etc.

        3: Dress for your gun, unless you have enough guns to pick a gun for every mode of clothing you have.

        I tend to wear an IWB because it conceals better, but admittedly is not as comfy as an OWB (over the waist band). However, when I am driving long distances I use a shoulder holster, especially if it is winter and I can put a jacket on over it. Shoulder holsters and OWB cross draw holsters (drawing your gun from your opposite hip), are better for sitting down.

        Oh, one more thing I learned, but it has nothing to do with carrying/concealing a gun. Don’t buy cheap magazines for your semi-auto pistols. A pistol relies on the magazine to feed it bullets and a pistol is no good if it can’t be fed bullets correctly. Why buy an expensive gun and then buy the cheapest magazine you can stuff in it?


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