How to Choose a Concealed Carry Case for Illinois Concealed Carry License Holders

Choosing the right concealed carry cover is important to people in any state, but what about Illinois laws? Are there specific things to consider when carrying a concealed vehicle, either as a resident or a non-resident, in Illinois?

First, you need to understand Illinois law that applies to both residents and non-residents who carry concealment. Non-residents may NOT carry a concealed weapon on their person without an Illinois license. There is a subsidy for non-residents who are licensed to carry in their home state, but that subsidy only gives them permission to have a loaded firearm in their car. Therefore, non-residents without an Illinois transportation license have no reason to wear a holster while in Lincoln Land.

Second is the question of “impression” and what “hidden” means. In some states, if the weapon is detectable under your clothing because of the “fingerprint” it leaves on your clothing, you have committed a crime. However, in Illinois it is less clear. Since the law was passed in July 2013, not a single permit has been issued, nor has the law been proven in court. However, it specifies that your firearm must be “totally or mostly” concealed.

The meaning of “mostly” hidden is obviously open to interpretation. However, the legislative intent (made clear during the House and Senate debate on this bill in Springfield) is that momentary or accidental exposure of the weapon should NOT be considered illegal. In other words, if your jacket rises or the wind rips your shirt open and someone sees your weapon, you are protected by law.

Certainly, the courts will have to interpret whether the impression is also protected. The longest and shortest is that you need to choose a cover and a place on your body to use the cover, which eliminates accidental printing or exposure.

So what is the best concealed carry holster / position in Illinois? Unless you are wearing a jacket, the hardest way to wear concealed will be with a holster on your hip. While tactically it is among the best places to go, it is also the most difficult to hide completely.

A small pistol, such as a 380 or other “pocket pistol”, is easily concealed with a pocket holster. The holster should be selected to ensure that it covers the trigger for safety, keeps the pistol oriented correctly for rapid deployment, and provides a “lockdown” impression that is indistinguishable like a pistol when clothing is tight.

The other really effective holsters for those who would be concealed in Illinois are shoulder holsters and ankle holsters. Be sure to train to pull out of these holsters though, as they present very real challenges in terms of speed (ankle holster) and safety (shoulder holsters – think about sweeping unwanted targets with your mouth when drawing).