What is Printing?

Printing is when the outline of your gun shows through your clothing. It may look like an obvious gun, or it may be more subtle, like a corner poking out where your shirt should be smooth, or a lopsided shape that disrupts your silhouette. Even if it’s not obviously gun shaped, printing can make people stop and take a second look at you to try to figure out why you don’t look quite right.

The correct term is “printing,” not “imprinting.”

When your gun is completely hidden inside the envelope of space between your clothing and your body, it’s concealed. Note that concealment is dynamic, and it can change when you move, reach, or bend. To test your concealment, take a video of yourself moving around and see if you can spot the gun.

If you would like to stop printing and conceal better, check out our Concealment Mechanics graphics and video series.

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.