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This page accompanies the 2023 PHLster Holsters concealment class. Follow along with the class presentation, or refer back to this page as a memory aid and resource. While this page is public, it’s not really designed for standalone teaching, so if you’d like to share this information with your friends and students who aren’t at class, please link them to the Basics of Concealment Mechanics page or the Concealment Mechanics section of our YouTube channel instead.

You can also download a PDF ebook of the Concealment Mechanics hereYou are free to use this in your own classes and distribute it to your students – please credit PHLster Holsters.

 Thank you!

About the Presenters

Jon and Sarah Hauptman, owners of PHLster holsters.

In addition to making cutting edge concealment gear, Jon and Sarah have helped thousands of people to improve their concealment. They share the lessons they’ve learned in their Concealment Tuneup class, as well as on their website, in the PHLster Concealment Workshop facebook group, on Instagram, and on their YouTube channel.

Holster Safety

The foundation of good concealment is the holster.  Whatever else the holster does, it HAS to meet these minimum safety requirements first. 

Teaching points: Help your students recognize the three essential functions of a safe holster, and understand why each one is important.  We recommend encouraging your students to invest time learning and practicing safe reholstering techniques as a separate, distinct, and important foundation skill.

Safe Holster Requirements

  • Full trigger protection
    • Rigid enough that the trigger CANNOT be manipulated from the outside
  • Retention through a FULL range of motion
    • Retain the gun in the holster
    • Retain the holster in a consistent position on the body
  • Safe reholstering
    • MUST be able to reholster without sweeping any part of the body
    • A safe mechanism for one-handed reholstering is STRONGLY recommended – the best way to accomplish this is with an unobstructed, rigid mouth

Test your holster thoroughly with an UNLOADED gun. Find the failure points before they find you!

Sweet Spot

A person’s sweet spot is highly individual, and is based on size, body shape, and clothing drape.

Teaching points: Often, students will say, “I don’t have a sweet spot.  I’m too fat/thin/round/square etc.”  This is not true. Everyone has some areas of the body which are better than others for concealment. Help your students understand that concealment is a skill and a process.

Finding your Concealment Sweet Spot

  • First, find your boundaries for full range of motion
    • Ride height vs centering
  • Next, make note of your peaks and valleys
    • All bodies are made up of organic curves
    • Curves are complex
      • When looking for your sweet spot, look for an area that is relatively flatter than the curves around it – it doesn’t have to be perfectly flat to be usable
    • Take areas of clothing drape into consideration
  • This is a process of self-assessment and experimentation

Poke and Check

Once the gun is in the ideal location, the next trick is to get it to stay concealed (stay within the clothing envelope). Use the Poke and Check method to identify what holster features are needed for each body shape.

Teaching point: While many methods can be used to achieve concealment, prioritize methods that don’t compromise grip access or consistency (unless you have no other choice).

Once you know where you need the gun to go, use the Basic Concealment Mechanics to get it to stay there. This link contains all of the Concealment Mechanics resources in one place.

Grip Rotation

The goal is to cause the grip of the gun to rotate toward the body, so the entire gun lays flat in the sweet spot. To accomplish this, we take belt pressure and convert it to grip rotation with different holster concealment features.

Mechanisms for Achieving Grip Rotation

  • Asymmetry
  • Holster wings
  • Wedges

Grip Tuck

The goal is to cause the grip of the gun to rotate toward the body, so the entire gun lays flat in the sweet spot. To accomplish this, we take belt pressure and convert it to grip rotation with different holster concealment features.

Mechanisms for Achieving Grip Tuck

  • Wedges
  • Longer holsters

Keel Principle


Invest in foundation SKILLS before buying gear. Comfort issues are very individualized, and require skill and care to troubleshoot.

For detailed information on how to  troubleshoot comfort problems for yourself or your students, watch the full comfort video here.

Root Causes of Discomfort

  • Pressure points
  • Friction
  • Skin shear
  • Skin microclimate
  • Imbalance
  • Overly tight belts

Teaching points:  When the root causes of discomfort aren’t resolved, the person will not carry. They may not be able to articulate why, and may come up with excuses or alternate reasons, especially if they don’t want to look weak.

Create an environment for your students where they can talk openly and frankly about their bodies and their challenges. This gives them the best chance of long term success.

For more information, including solutions, watch the full video.

Realistic Expectations

  • Things that make concealment more difficult:
    • Ratio between gun size and body size
    • Wardrobe
      • Not enough clothing drape
      • Fabric choices
  • Realistic expectations
    • Concealment requires sacrifices
    • Investing in knowledge reduces the number of sacrifices you have to make

Do you need extra holster length?*

*If you’re carrying a longer-muzzled gun or a revolver, adding extra holster length may not be necessary for you, but for short semiautomatic guns, it’s often helpful.

Guns with short muzzles can be top-heavy and difficult to conceal comfortably. To solve this, some holsters have extra length added to the muzzle end. Like the keel on a boat, the extra muzzle length helps balance the holster, making it more comfortable and easier to conceal. This is especially true if you have a bit of a belly, which tends to push the grip out more and make the muzzle dig in.

Note that while extra muzzle length reduces grip printing, it can increase muzzle printing, which can be a concern with lower carry positions and tight fitting pants such as leggings or yoga pants. 

Learn more about the Keel Principle here.