Adapting your everyday carry to summer attire can be difficult at times. Most casual summer attire is reasonably well fitting, from your t-shirts to polos and more. So, whether you are trying to bring a bit of Craig’s Bond into your wardrobe, or Connery’s summer attire in Thunderball (some of my favorites for weekend wear!) you run the risk of exposing your firearm or printing the gun more than you’d like.
What is Printing?
“Printing” is giving away the clear, unmistakable outline of your handgun from underneath your clothing. This typically happens when the firearm is too big for what your wearing, if you’re carrying in a poor position for that style, or you enjoy having your clothes painted on. No matter the reason, printing is very bad indeed. It is called Concealed Carry after all!
This is especially true for 007. When out and about, he is not trying to be identified as a man who is armed—that could be very dangerous, especially as he goes about his mission. Remaining inconspicuous while also having the essentials with you is tantamount to figuring out how to adapt your EDC to your Summer wardrobe.
So many times in the franchise, Bond works in an undercover role, with a cover that demands that he must stay as low profile as possible. Take the Kobe docks chase in You Only Live Twice. Bond is hunted down because it is discovered that he is carrying a gun—destroying his cover as an international businessman immediately. Granted, in this instance it isn’t his fault, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work our hardest to prevent these sorts of things happening in our lives.
Today, I will share with you some of the things I have noticed, and how I’ve adapted my own James Bond inspired carry to fit any clothing at any time.
Changing your Accessories
One of the first things I did to prevent my gun from printing heavily underneath my favorite Bond t-shirts and polos was replace my belt. I typically wear a simple and pretty thin leather belt, but every bit of material matters. Since I carry on the appendix, the buckle and doubled up excess leather adds significant bulk. Normally this doesn’t matter. With a sweater, or even just a polo and jacket, the bulk melts away. But in Summer, when layering is miserable, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Again, there’s little I consider worse than a heavily printing firearm. It’s incredibly noticeable, and the last thing you want while carrying—and certainly the last thing 007 wants while doing so—is having folks stare at you for all the wrong reasons.
Changing the Belt
All this said, I scrounged and found a simple cloth belt with a slim metal buckle in my closet. I use it with all my shorts, and with most of my trousers and jeans when wearing a t-shirt or polo in the summer months. Although the PPK has some heft to it, the belt still manages to keep the gun in position and concealed at all times. Companies like Groove Belt manufacture similar products with much higher standards—belts that can take the weight of a full frame, fully loaded handgun without folding under the pressure.
But this isn’t my Summer Carry. In fact, it’s never my carry. On my frame, I always find it best to keep the PPK on the body, with the CRKT Sting inside the waistband (IWB) and all the other essentials stowed away in my pockets or my bag/briefcase.
What creates your print the most on the appendix isn’t the vertical part of the handgun, it’s the horizontal. That magazine shoe on the PPK might be a part of its iconic silhouette, but it also has a nasty habit of making good friends with your short sleeve shirts, creating an immediately identifiable profile. Like the belt, this is an easy fix.
Usually, I carry the factory flush base magazine as a spare in the five pocket of my jeans. It’s not the best place for it, (cross body access for reloads and not the best retention in the world) but with the small profile, it actually fits really well. I prefer the flush magazine as the spare because it is in my best interest to have a positive purchase on my pistol when drawing. The magazine shoe holds the pinky finger loads better and makes my engagement of the target that much faster.
In the summer though, I find that the flush magazine is far better for combatting the dreaded horizontal print, keeping me low profile and carrying at all times. A simple swap of the magazines, and some dry fire to verify I still have comfortable access to the Walther, and we are good to go!
Overall, what I find to be most important about carrying like 007 is the versatility expected of you. Some days, I am wearing a camp shirt and shorts. Others, I’m suited and booted, or maybe just in jeans and a polo. My preferred and 00 equipment has to be able to transition with me, filling their set roles without creating any obvious lines or becoming inaccessible. While these subtle adjustments may feel very minute, I have found them to be instrumental in allowing me to continue carrying like Bond, and making it Back In One Piece (007).