Keeping It On The Down Low

Some weeks ago, I discussed my new self defense gun.  One of the things I revealed was the odd, gimicky holster I use to keep people from knowing that I am armed.

sneaky pete holster front

px4 storm in sneaky pete holster

This prompted long time reader knirirr to ask a question

“That holster looks like it does a good job of concealing the contents. But, it seems fairly large compared with a mobile phone holster – does anyone ever mistake it as that, or ask what’s in it?”

knirirr’s question was answered very well by Siergen, another long time reader, who said that he would tell curious people that it held a tablet or other electronic device.  This is a great bit of misdirection, as it leads onlookers to start imagining what kind of Internet capable gadget is nestled inside the square box, while banishing images of firearms that might otherwise dance in their heads.

But the exchange started me to thinking.  You see, I have never experienced anyone asking me what was inside the box.  In fact, it would appear that no one has even harbored suspicions that I was carrying a gun.

This is due to three very deliberate steps that I have taken to minimize the characteristics that people usually associate with advocates of armed self defense.


I am not a fashion plate by any stretch of the imagination.  There are no bespoke suits to be found in my closet, and all of my clothes were purchased in big box bargain chain stores.  But what I put on in the morning is just a tiny bit higher quality than the bottom rung.  The best way that I can put it is that all of my shirts have collars.

What do I mean by that?  Consider the difference between a polo shirt and a T-shirt.  One has a collar, and one does not.

black t shirt

black polo shirt

Please note that I also don’t wear anything with logos or pictures, and I certainly don’t advertise the fact that I am an advocate for armed self defense.

smith and wesson polo shirt

There isn’t anything wrong with such garments, of course, but the very essence of carrying a concealed self defense tool is concealment.  This purpose is defeated if one becomes a walking advertisement for their favorite firearms manufacturer.


I take a shower at the start of my day, and apply deodorant.  That is pretty much it.

There are some people who take great pride in their appearance.  They apply various products to their hair or beard, trying to create a distinctive look that will garner attention.

animal beard

That isn’t me.

I pretty much just keep my hair and beard neatly trimmed, and run a comb through both after I exit the shower.  I just timed myself, and it takes about three seconds.  Teasing and sculpting and working to get each strand to lie where I desire is not something I do.

comb through hair

The main idea is to present a tidy and inoffensive appearance with the minimum of effort or expense.  And by “inoffensive” I mean that I do not offend their sense of smell, as well as stand out in their eyes.

homeless guy with big beard




I am hardly an ebullient person.  Life of the party I am not.  But I also make the effort to present a friendly and encouraging demeanor.

big guy in suit and tie

It seems to me that there are a few people who arm themselves in order to resist a violent criminal attack also desire to make some sort of political or social statement.  What they are doing is important, dammit!  That means they are important!  And you had better acknowledge just how important they are!

cat with angry scowl

Remember, the essence of concealment is to avoid doing anything to stand out.  If someone acts like a jerk, they will be remembered.

So what do I do to prevent people I meet in public from discovering that I carry the tools I need to protect innocent lives?  My strategy can be summed up in three sentences.

Don’t look like shit.  Don’t smell like shit.  Don’t act like a little shit.


10 thoughts on “Keeping It On The Down Low

    • It is, but the number of people I have seen who ignore such advice (Including a few who were on their way to a job interview!) gives me a depressing view of humanity, or at least Western civilization – where what most people use to take for granted as being required of them, are now seen as ‘white supremacy,’ imperialist or colonist supremacy,’ ‘patriarchal supremacy’ to name a few.

      A part of me would love to see how those same people who react if they were dropped in an Asian culture…

  1. It does seem like a large holder. I’m surprised no one has asked. Great article though about ‘blending in’ and not standing out and being conspicuous.

  2. where what most people use to take for granted as being required of them, are now seen as ‘white supremacy,’ imperialist or colonist supremacy,’ ‘patriarchal supremacy’ to name a few.

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