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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As luck would have it, I get to attend a convention for work in a state where my carry license is valid. Naturally, I want to carry.

The dress code is business casual. I'm debating between wearing a blazer and carrying my 1911 in a high ride holster vs tucking the 1911 into a computer bag with a dedicated compartment for a pistol.

All things being equal, I would much rather have my pistol on my body. However, since I'll be interacting closely with people I know (some of which are very anti-gun) the risk of discovery is higher than usual.

If I put the gun in a bag, I think it's less likely to be discovered. I expect to be able to keep the bag around my body or at my side most of the time. A properly designed bag should still allow reasonable access times to my pistol. However, there could be moments where I'm clinging to my bag when it would be more natural to just stash it and go (e.g. leaving it in a vehicle while going to dinner).

I could also consider a smaller man purse type bag. It would be easier to keep with me, but it might draw attention for simply being a man purse.

Yet another option is a belly band. My shirt needs to be tucked in, though. So, I would need to superman my way to my gun if it were needed.
 

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I have a 5.11 briefcase that works very well. Not only do I have easy and quick access to any firearm that is in there, but there is a strap to secure the briefcase around my hip.

While being good at what it does, it also only takes a glance to pretty much know what is in it. Not the best option if you are trying to be a gray man.

They might have some newer ones that are less "tactical", but I haven't looked in a couple years.
 

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So there are a couple of things to consider when carrying off your body:
1. You need to maintain direct contact with your backpack/briefcase at all times. Too easy to get picked up and walked out the door with someone thinking, "Hey, free laptop!" and getting the bonus of a free gun as well. Then, when used in a crime, Uncle LEO knocks on your door.
2. Discreet- anything with MARPAT; camo; or MOLLE just screams 'I HAVE A GUN IN HERE SOMEWHERE'. So, it needs to look like something you'd carry on your way to a Mother Jones meeting.
3. Ease of retrieval. 5.11 has as couple options on the market that have a 'secret' access panel to get a pistol out. Because of this, I'd always recommend a messenger bag with single strap vs. backpack.

If you're going to be wearing a blazer, it really opens up a lot of opportunity for carrying in a pancake holster OWB or a shoulder holster vs a backpack/briefcase. I've done all of the above and found a quality shoulder holster worked best. Now, that means I'm stuck wearing the blazer the entire time, and I always made sure to button it when I stood up, but whatever works... works. You could always look into a tuckable IWB like the Crossbreed. I tried this with a polo shirt and it worked, but I give it a solid, meh, rating.
I'd also recommend you bone up on the state's laws you're visiting if you haven't already. Plenty of states have some off-the-wall regs on legal carry even with a permit. Like MI- you can't carry into a stadium that seats more than 2,500 people. Well, they use a very loose definition of a stadium. Movie theaters that seat more than 2,500 are stadiums. Same with other non-traditional venues. Now, you could open carry as long as you have a CCW, but you'll be kicked out by the management 99.99% of the time.
 

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A friend was carrying a “messenger bag” with a laptop in it. It was snatched at a bus stop, two guys working together. One to snatch the bag, another to block his attempt to case the thief.

I wouldn't carry off body unless i was in a rather safe area. I have carried a pistol in a day planner before, but it was to prevent leaving in car at an appointment in the city.
 

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I had great success using an ankle holster. My “formal”’pants and suits are cut much looser than jeans etc, so plenty of material to cover the firearm, and it won’t print. No you won’t win at fast-draw, but still much much better than off-body.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A friend was carrying a “messenger bag” with a laptop in it. It was snatched at a bus stop, two guys working together. One to snatch the bag, another to block his attempt to case the thief.

I wouldn't carry off body unless i was in a rather safe area. I have carried a pistol in a day planner before, but it was to prevent leaving in car at an appointment in the city.
Did your friend have the bag strapped around his body, or was the bad just sitting next to him?

I agree that bags are at greater risk of being stolen. Especially, computer bags. I'm thinking, though, if you have the bag strapped to your body while passing through higher risk areas (e.g. bus stations), that it will reduce the risk of a snatch and run.
 

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I carry a Colt Mustang in a BugBite ankle holster when I need to be very discrete. It also carries a spare mag as well. This way I can remove the jacket if needed.
 
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No joke, my old man carried a full-size 1911 in a man purse. He dubbed the purse his *** (rhymes with mag) bag. He literally brought that thing everywhere, grocery store, doctors visits, meetings, etc.

No one ever suspected that he had a loaded pistol and three spare mags in there. Or if they did no one ever said anything.
 

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Did your friend have the bag strapped around his body, or was the bad just sitting next to him?

I agree that bags are at greater risk of being stolen. Especially, computer bags. I'm thinking, though, if you have the bag strapped to your body while passing through higher risk areas (e.g. bus stations), that it will reduce the risk of a snatch and run.
Far as i know it was over his shoulder, really don't have the exact details.
I don't think I would strap a bag to my body, but i don't take the bus either.
 

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I carry in a backpack when I'm at work. I wear scrubs so I need something light weight in my pocket and leave the larger firearm in my bag at my desk.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all of the great feedback and advice.

I did a little experimenting with my blazer. I found that the ride height of my holster can't be too high, otherwise the grip gets pushed up into a region where there is no free space between the fabric of my jacket and my body. My high ride Warbird holster is a no go because of this.

I think my OWB Bravo Concealment holster will work. It rides high enough that the muzzle stays covered by the jacket, but low enough that the grip of the gun sits in the free space around my waist/lower back.

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I just have to be careful when bending over.

I may pick up a concealment computer bag anyway just in case I need to take the blazer off. There should be a bathroom near by where I can make the change over.

In fact, what I may do is keep the pistol on me while commuting to/from the conference center. Then, once I get inside, move the pistol to the computer bag. Odds of me needing to draw my pistol once inside the conference is pretty small. Its when I'm riding the commuter train and walking down the street that I need the quick access.
 

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Is this a summer conference gig? Is it somewhere with warm/hot summers? I love wearing a shoulder rig, but go to a different gun (J frame airweight) in a backpack that is secure at work as I wear scrubs. And use the same thing in a pocket holster when it is too hot for shoulder holster wear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is this a summer conference gig? Is it somewhere with warm/hot summers? I love wearing a shoulder rig, but go to a different gun (J frame airweight) in a backpack that is secure at work as I wear scrubs. And use the same thing in a pocket holster when it is too hot for shoulder holster wear.
Conference is in a couple weeks.
 
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