Spotting Concealed Weapons

spotting-concealed-weaponsWe had an incident in my bullion store yesterday that I thought I’d share.

Because of the nature of our business, we have a number of, “risk mitigation” policies.  Identifying individuals with concealed weapons is one of them.  We discuss these policies at length with our employees – what they are and why we do them – and they paid off yesterday.

You can’t just walk into our store.  You must first pass a number of “tests” before we click you in.

The front door to our store is all glass.  As soon as you come to the door, you’re on camera.  We have a monitor facing the door – telling you that you’re being recorded. That, in and of itself, keeps a lot of bad guys away.  We are not the “low hanging fruit” to be plucked!

When you arrive, our employees are instructed to do a couple of things:  First, if we can’t see the face and hands of the person at the door, we “signal” them to remove their sun glasses or hat that is obscuring their face, and to remove their hands from their coat or pants pockets.

If we can now see your face and hands, the employee performs a secondary security step, and if all is well, clicks the customer into the store.

I’d guess that 99% of the people that come to our door come arrive already satisfying the hands-and-face requirement.  Those that don’t gladly comply with our gestures to let us see who they are.

I can tell you that without exception, I have NEVER had a customer say they were offended by our security measures.  Quite the opposite.  If they do make a comment, it’s a positive one.  They know our store is secure, and they like that.

So, yesterday, a guy came to the door near the end of the day.  He was wearing sunglasses, and had both hands in the pockets of his light coat.

One of my employees motioned for him to remove his glasses and take his hands out of his pockets.  He was looking right at my employee.  Instead of doing this, his first move was to attempt to open the door – with his left hand that was still in his coat pocket!

The guy looked up one more time – probably noting that there were now three guys all looking back at him – and then calmly walked away.

I absolutely guarantee you the actions of my employee prevented a shooting.


It’s a dirty word in this politically correct world, but it keeps people alive.  I prefer to be alive than to be loved by the PC Police.

I’ve come to believe that picking out the guys with guns (good guys and bad guys) is more about how people behave when carrying than it is about you being able to see a physical manifestation of the gun (patterning).  This is especially true for people that don’t carry a gun on a regular basis, OR who are considering the commission of a crime.  Most of them unconsciously act differently.

Everyone that comes into my store is assumed to have a gun they intend on using.  That is my mind set.  Until I’m satisfied otherwise, you’re assumed to have a gun.  You are not treated poorly, just cautiously.

I’m a huge believer in trusting your gut.  Your brain has the ability to sort out all kinds of minute details you don’t consciously “see”.  Until it puts the whole picture together, it sends you a warning flag saying “something just ain’t right”.

Don’t dismiss this feeling.

Some Things To Observe

If you come in with aggressive-looking tattoos such as death, blood, tears, area codes, gang names or “slang”, knives, hammers or guns, you’re going to get extra attention.  Same goes for those of you absolutely covered with tats, or with face tattoos.

Discriminatory?  Maybe.  I don’t care.  If you look at the mugshots of criminals, more of them are covered with tats than aren’t.  I’m going with probabilities.

Baggy, ass-exposing pants.  See the discriminatory paragraph above for clarification.

Look for out-of-season clothing.  A jacket, sweater or similar clothing in summer, for instance.

Patterning.  Don’t discount the obvious!  A lump around the waistband or the pockets.  Careful, though, as many people carry cell phone holsters!

Nervous “jerkiness” in their movements – looking around to scope out the area.  Heavy sweating.

Similarly, people who won’t look you in the eye, or return your greeting.

Tugging at shirt (in an attempt to keep gun covered).

An unnatural effort or positioning to not allow their lower back/back pockets to be seen.

Wearing a fanny pack, especially in the front.

Wearing a “photographers vest”.

Wearing Hawaiian shirts, bowling shirts or other very loose clothing.

One hand kept in their pants pocket, coat pocket, bag or purse.

A jacket that doesn’t hang on the body naturally.  It’s heavy on one side.

Wearing dress slacks and shoes, but the shirt is untucked.

Anyone carrying a coat draped over the arm and held waist-high.

Walking unnaturally.  Only one arm may swing (the gun is usually on the other side), or one arm may be an unnatural distance away from the body (so they don’t bump it).

Clearly attempting to conceal appearance, or to not leave physical evidence such as finger prints.  Sunglasses at night or during an overcast day.  A hat pulled way down over their head.  Wearing gloves in summer.  As noted, our recent bad guy tried to open our door with his non-gun hand still in his coat pocket.


In reviewing our videos, you could see a hard object in the right pocket of the guy’s jacket.  He was fidgeting with it as he approached our door.  Clear as day, and from a number of angles.  Unless he was there to sell me one of those cigarette lighter guns, he had bad intentions.

Add in that he failed the profiling tests on all counts, his decision to turn and walk away likely saved his life.

For those of you who think by publishing this safety routine, I’ve compromised our security, worry not.  What I just described is painfully obvious – intentionally – to anyone who comes to our store.

I know we get a lot of gun owners stopping by here.  Share your knowledge.

Leave a comment about things you’ve seen and experienced.


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