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This page accompanies the 2024 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.

Topics Covered

  • Holster Safety Fails (Real Stories From the Headlines)
    • Safe holster selection
  • Overview of Concealment Mechanics
  • Comfort Overview
  • Common Concealment Challenges
    • Skinny person problems
    • Large person problems
    • Gun size mismatch problems
    • Wardrobe problems
    • Holster problems
  • What’s the Most Difficult Body Type?
    • Lessons learned from observing thousands in the Concealment Workshop

Tip: For easier reading, turn your phone sideways and pinch to zoom.

Three 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!

Barrel Blok

Completely blocks the chamber and provides a visual indicator. Recommended for dry fire and holster testing. Buy here.

Concealment Mechanics - Brief Overview

For a full breakdown of the Concealment Mechanics, go here.

Tip: For easier reading, turn your phone sideways and pinch to zoom.

Poke and Check

Once the gun is in the ideal location, the next trick is to get it to stay concealed (stay within the envelope of clothing drape without showing). Use the Poke and Check method to identify what holster features are needed for each body shape.

Keel Principle

Tip: For easier reading, turn your phone sideways and pinch to zoom.


Solving comfort challenges is all about identifying root causes. Watch the full comfort video here.

Root Causes of Discomfort

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

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

Specific Challenges

  • Skinny Person Problems
    • “The Shelf”
    • Smaller available sweet spot
    • Fewer areas of clothing drape
    • Increased discomfort due to underlying bone and firm tissue
  • Large Person Problems
    • Areas of clothing drape are not always at waistline; often too near joints
    • Harder to identify sweet spot
    • Skin sensitivity, pinching
    • Pants too low
  • Gun Size Mismatch Problems
  • Wardrobe Problems
    • Pants too low
    • No clothing drape
    • Not dressing to fit the body
  • Holster Problems
    • Fails safety criteria
    • Doesn’t have the right concealment features for that person
    • Using niche holster for everyday
    • Hard to customize

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.