The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Best CCW For Working Out: Clothes, Gear, & Guns [Guide]



At RECOIL, we review every product fairly and without bias. Making a purchase through one of our links may earn us a small commission, and helps support independent gun reviews. Learn More

Heading out for a run or hitting the gym doesn’t mean you have to leave your firearm at home. Although it may take some forethought and extra planning, there’s no reason you can’t exercise your Second Amendment rights while exercising your body. 

The first step is making sure you are allowed to carry wherever you plan to work out. Before you tote a firearm into a facility, check federal, state, and local laws to make sure you are in compliance. It’s also smart to ensure packing heat doesn’t violate gym policy. Being a rule-breaker when it comes to concealed weapons could land you in serious legal trouble. You could also lose your gym membership or your CCW permit. 

Tips for Active Lifestyle CCW

Here are a few practical tips to help make concealed carry safer, comfortable, and more practical while you exercise. 

Practice Before You Hit the Gym

You don’t want any surprises once you get down to business. There’s nothing like finding out that your gym holster gets in the way of using good form or that your gun flops around when you’re doing burpees in the middle of your workout. It’s best to work out those kinks in the comfort of your own home. 

You should also practice accessing and drawing your firearm from its place of concealment. Maneuvering around an oversized sweatshirt or fumbling with the zippers on your fanny pack should be smoothed out in practice so that everything can be as seamless as possible if you do find yourself in a defensive situation.

Skip the Shower.

Remember, you are always responsible for your firearm, whether it is on your body or stored somewhere else. Although a hot shower after a long, sweaty workout might seem like a grand idea, saving it for later when you’re carrying a weapon is better. Even storing your sidearm in what may appear to be a secure gym locker means you’ve lost positive control of it. 

Choosing the Right Holster

While it might be your first instinct to grab your regular EDC sidearm and IWB holster as you head out for some circuit training, weight lifting, or serious cardio, it probably isn’t safe or practical. 

Most gym clothes are made of stretchy, lightweight, breathable fabrics that just aren’t designed to support the weight of a gun. You’ll probably need to ditch your favorite IWB and grab something more gym-appropriate. 

Here are a few options that will probably work better during your training sessions than your regular go-to holster. 

Belly Band Holsters

As the name implies, a belly band holster is a stretchy band that you wear around your midsection to hold your firearm. Usually made of elastic or some other flexible material (like neoprene), these holsters are designed to fit snugly against the body. 

The great thing about using a belly band holster during your workouts is that your gym clothing doesn’t have to support your holster or your firearm. However, not all belly bands are created equal. Avoid uber-cheap belly bands with sub-par edges that can roll down when you’re bending or twisting.  You should also look for bands with a hard Kydex shell that provides plenty of trigger protection. Hard shells also offer some protection for your firearm from corrosive sweat, which is a concern for anyone carrying during vigorous physical activity.

To get the complete scoop on belly bands and our top recommendations, check out Best Belly Band Holsters for Concealed Carry.

Fanny Packs

Once popular in the 1980s, the fanny pack is finally making a comeback, which means toting one around a modern fitness center won’t draw too much attention. Fanny pack carry is best for days when your workouts aren’t overly active, like slow lifting or static workouts. Too much bouncing can be unsafe and uncomfortable as the gun shifts inside the pack. 

We don’t recommend throwing your firearm in any ole fanny pack, either. Instead, look for one specifically designed for concealed carry, like the Vertx SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack or the 5.11 Select Carry Pistol Pouch. These usually provide better protection and easier access to your carry gun. 

Interior Belts

Instead of trying to attach a sturdy IWB holster to your jogging shorts, try using a hidden interior belt under your exercise clothing. Comfort Concealment’s Concealed Carry Blackout Belt is a great example. It’s like a tactical belt and a belly band got together and had a love child.  

This type of belt offers the best of both worlds, allowing you to wear comfortable gym clothing and your regular gun and holster at the same time. Just a heads up: wearing a belt and holster directly against your skin isn’t the most pleasant way to carry. It can also expose your handgun to copious amounts of corrosive sweat. You may need to wear an extra baselayer, which can cause overheating in warmer workout environments. 

Off-Body Carry

Off-body carry is a hotly debated topic in the concealed carry world, whether or not you’re a gym rat. Carrying a firearm in a purse, backpack, or gym bag poses a whole slew of risks. 

A firearm worn on your body is not only easier to get to in a life-or-death situation, but it is also more secure. You never want your gun to end up in anyone else’s hands, that includes an attacker, a common thief, or a curious child, which could potentially happen if you’re focusing in on your third set of deadlifts and lose focus on your gym bag. 

Yes, you could carry a backpack or duffel bag with a holstered firearm tucked inside around with you at the local fitness center. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you do decide to throw caution to the wind, do not leave your bag unattended if it contains a loaded gun. 

Dressing for Concealed Carry at the Gym

Living an active lifestyle often requires compromises, especially if you want to stay strapped. 

Wearing compression workout wear is totally en-vogue in gym rat culture. Unfortunately, tucking a Glock or 1911 under modern activewear is probably harder than your gym crush’s abs. Opting for looser-fitting longer tops can help prevent you from incidentally flashing your firearm to the treadmill troop when you’re popping a squat or repping out pull-ups like the beast that you are. 

Another option is to invest in some concealed carry-specific clothing. While most CCW clothing lines scream tactical, more companies are starting to branch out into inconspicuous, everyday wear, including athletic wear that is perfect for the gym. 

Companies like Alexo Athletica and Arrowhead Tactical specialize in athletic wear for concealed carry and their lines are so stylish, that your gym buds won’t even know you’re carrying a pistol.  

The Best Guns to Carry During a Workout

 In addition to upsizing your clothing to keep you armed status on the down low during your daily workouts, you might also need to downsize your firearm. 

Your regular EDC sidearm may be too big to effectively conceal while you exercise. The whole point of concealed carry is to keep your firearm concealed; it’s right there in the name. The gym isn’t the place to be Dirty Harry. You should probably ditch the .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 for something with a slimmer profile.

Here are a few of the easiest-to-conceal options to consider if you are in the market for a smaller pistol you can easily carry when you exercise. Be advised: Firearms are a lot like relationships. It’s really best to test drive before you fully commit. If at all possible, test out a few different compact handguns to see which feels most comfortable. Remember, you ultimately need to be comfortable shooting, not just wearing, whatever handgun you choose to conceal while you work out. 

Ruger LCP 

Although .380 Auto might not be the optimal cartridge for self-defense, the Ruger LCP is a feather-light, ultra-compact, super easy-to-conceal pistol. This puppy is less than an inch wide and just over five inches long. That means you won’t have to go too oversized with your pump cover to keep it hidden. It also weighs a meager 9.6 ounces, so it isn’t going to pull down your joggers when you’re on the run. There’s nothing worse than getting pantsed by your pistol mid-workout.

If you want to go with something with a little more power behind it, the Ruger EC9s shoots 9mm. Its dimensions aren’t much bulkier than the LCP, but it does weigh almost twice as much. 

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

At only 3/4 inches, the M&P Bodyguard 380 is even skinnier than the Ruger LCP.

It weighs just over 12 ounces and features a manual thumb safety if you’re the type of shooter who likes that sort of thing. 

SIG Sauer P938

At first glance, SIG’s P938 looks like a tiny 1911. It gets some major cool points for that. It’s also an easy transition for anyone who carries a full-size 1911 for EDC. 

It’s subtle, but all the edges of the Legion are either entirely reprofiled or softened.

This one is chambered in 9mm and has a seven-plus-one capacity. It weighs 17 ounces, which is relatively lightweight for a fully metal pistol. 

Glock 43

Whether you love or hate them, you can’t deny that Glocks are massively popular. Glock’s double-stack polymer-frame pistols tend to steal the spotlight, but the single-stack G43 has plenty to offer as a CCW. At 6.26 inches long, 1.06 inches wide, and weighing right at 18 ounces, the G43 is ultra-concealable.

Pocket Pistol Grip Pinky Glock 43
A pinky on a mag extension increases your grip force by 33 percent.

As a Glock, there’s also tons of aftermarket support, which means you can trick it out to your heart’s content. 

Ruger LCR

If you’re a wheelgun fan, the Ruger LCR is a lightweight, small-frame option with an incredible trigger and surprisingly manageable recoil for a micro gun.

It is available in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger and .327 Federal Magnum models. You can get it with a hammer or opt for the hammerless model. 

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.



Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter