Armed On The Job!

Concealed carry in the workplace

A certain small but statistically significant percentage of the human population
is criminally unbalanced. Packing heat at work offers a hedge against life’s manifest unpleasantness.

I was originally drawn to the profession of medicine for the glamor. You know, the adoring groupies, the giggling cheerleaders, the shaving cream ads … I’m kidding. Medicine is the nastiest job in the world. If it’s not some suicidal hoarder with a chronic allergy to soap, it’s a simply epic butt abscess. However, for all the undeniable ick, I do at least get to wear my jammies to work.

Different disciplines of medicine demand different uniforms. Internists are notorious for wearing lab coats and ties. Surgeons and ER folk nowadays resemble space travelers. Family docs like me get to wear plain old scrubs. While it’s not the reason I do what I do, it is a reason I do what I do.

If I really had my way, I’d work in a ball cap, sunglasses, flip flops and a loincloth, but I fear it might attract a disreputable clientele. As I’m armed whenever I’m not asleep or in the shower, it’s been an interesting challenge these nearly 20 years to remain adequately prickly while at work. Packing a gun is easy. Packing a gun such that I don’t alarm the little old lady coming to see me because she has itchy teeth, however, takes skill.

Lamentable Reality

When I was a kid, mass shootings were not a real thing. We brought guns to school so we could hunt birds afterward or just show them off in the parking lot between classes. Nowadays, though, people seem to be less well behaved.

Workplace violence is an unfortunate side effect of living in a free society in the Information Age. A certain small but statistically significant percentage of the population is frankly … unbalanced. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one business in 20 will experience some kind of workplace violence each year. When some nutjob goes off the deep end, it’s invariably a come-as-you-are party.

Our cops do a superhuman job and frequently arrive mere minutes after tragedy strikes. But, a lot of bad stuff can happen in a short period of time. For those critical first few minutes you are your own first responder.

Little .380 ACP mouse guns are painless to pack underneath baggy scrubs.

This Wilderness Tactical Renegade ankle holster carries small-framed autoloaders discreetly and well.


Packing heat at work is a labyrinthine thing, to say the least. Hoplophobes will see any armed citizen as a potential homicidal maniac. By contrast, I see any responsible armed citizen as a hedge against the homicidal maniacs. The situation in your workplace will typically be a reflection of management’s politics.

I have some dear friends who work at a local machine shop. Scads of people work there, and every last one of them is armed. There’s no place I feel safer. Ted Bundy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader could show up in a halftrack armed to the teeth and ready to rumble, and the boys at the shop would have them trussed up and awaiting the local high sheriff in short order.

In other places, questionable concerns regarding liability and general discomfiture around firearms often conspire to keep folks helpless. A lot of people are just flaky about guns. If you wish to inquire regarding the legality of carrying concealed at your workplace do broach the subject carefully in such a way to avoid confrontation.

Specific regulations are left to the states. In some locations it’s a right. In others, it’s prohibited. In most, it’s left up to the employer. Google “concealed carry at work” for your specific state and restrict your sources to official “.gov” websites for reliable details.

I poked around a bit. As expected, it sucks in New Jersey. States like my own, Mississippi and Alaska, by contrast, take their personal freedom fairly seriously.

A form-fitting compression shirt prevents chafing from gun, belt and
holster in Will’s case. If you’re going to wear a compression shirt underneath,
why not make it a superhero? Airbrush-enhanced abs are also way easier to
maintain than the real sort.

Ballistic Philosophy

While the philosophy, techniques and effectiveness of open carry could make for an entirely separate project, for purposes of today’s discussion we’ll keep things concealed. My example seems a good one in that I interact with dozens of people every day, a great many of whom might have strong prejudices against firearms. As a result, stealth is an important part of my daily carry regimen.

An ankle holster is a viable option, and I have a great one from Wilderness Tactical. This rig will support a large .380 or small 9mm in complete comfort. The inside of the rig is covered in soft sheep skin, and the holster adjusts easily to fit your leg with an ample sheet of Velcro. Yet I still find my patients tend to notice it when I cross my legs.

In my case I use a decent, stiff, synthetic belt worn outside my scrub pants along with a variety of IWB (Inside The Waistband) holsters. I wear a tight-fitting compression T-shirt tucked into my pants to mitigate chafing. (This also lets me dress like Superman underneath my scrubs; something that does a great deal for my emotional wellbeing.) Whenever my day is extra sucky, I can at least imagine I am the Man of Steel underneath. Amazon will get you all the cool clingy superhero shirts you can stand.

I tuck the holster onto my belt and inside my scrub pants before tying the drawstring snug around the weapon. I can then wear my scrub top bulky and untucked. Thusly configured I have quick access to my weapon without anyone being the wiser, even up close.

Will is madly in love with this gun. This Ruger-57 is lighter than a GLOCK
and packs 20 rounds of 5.7x28mm ammo on board. It rides like a dream in
his CrossBreed IWB rig.

This CrossBreed Canik TP9 IWB rig will accommodate all manner
of full-figured autoloading pistols.

Practical Tactical

I write for gun magazines, so carrying a weapon every day is kind of like my job. As packing in scrubs is a bit more challenging than might be the case with some other forms of clothing, I use this standard to assess the relative comfort of different weapons. In the past two decades, I have successfully packed some truly weird guns throughout my typical 13-hour day at the clinic.

Pocket .380 ACP guns are utterly painless. By extension, the newest high-capacity concealed carry micro weapons like the Springfield Armory Hellcat and SIG SAUER P365 are similarly pleasant. Both of these guns are purpose-designed for comfortable deep concealment and carry at least a dozen rounds onboard. A pro tip is my Galco IWB GLOCK G43 holster also accommodates both weapons perfectly.

I use a CrossBreed IWB rig for most of my full-figured autoloaders. This leather has supported a ZEV OZ9, GLOCK 17 and Canik TP9. Like the smaller Galco rig, I have found a CrossBreed holster designed for the TP9 is remarkably effective with many other weapons as well. Your money might grow on trees, but mine does not. The more use I can get out of a single rig, the better.

Alien Gear is made from neoprene like a wetsuit and is uniquely comfortable as a result. I have successfully and comfortably concealed full-sized 1911 pistols, big-boned HK sidearms and even a 4″ S&W Model 66 .357 Magnum revolver using their superlative kit. All of these carry solutions allow easy access and superb concealment, particularly with an untucked shirt.

There was of course the 1911 phase. Will built these two 1911 pistols
from scratch at home and they bear no serial numbers. An Alien Gear
IWB rig keeps John Moses Browning’s classic hogleg handy, safe and comfortable.

It all starts with a good stiff belt. Will has worn this one for more than a decade,
wrapped around the outside of his scrubs and under the shirt.

Ready The Tar And Feathers …

I’ll just come out and say it: I won’t carry with a round in the chamber at work. There are those who will vociferously castigate me over this decision, but I have my reasons.

I’m not a cop. I don’t carry because I expect to be ambushed. I carry a gun so if I hear a ruckus in the waiting room, I can be ready to intervene without racing out to my truck or farting around in my desk. Like most of the Israelis I met while visiting that delightful country, I train to jack the slide on the draw stroke. I practice it all the time and can charge my weapon as it bears quickly
and reliably.

My primary motivation is I work around kids. My job can also at times be fairly physical. If some little fingers make it underneath my scrubs and a gun skitters across the floor, mom will have a fully justified conniption and it will invariably be all over Facebook. However, nobody can get hurt.

While I want to be prepared if something truly horrible happens, I simply cannot risk the possibility of an accident. The extra effort it takes to make my weapon hot is the price I pay for this assurance. Your mileage may vary.

Ervin Nelson of Nelson Holsters conjures art out of leather. This IWB rig
packed Will’s Steyr L40 .40 S&W Longslide comfortably for weeks underneath his scrubs.


Every now and then I’ll get an unexpected hug from some sweet elderly lady and her eyes will grow wide when she feels the distinctive hard bulge of a gun in the small of my back. I invariably ask this person how many times they have seen me in the past. I then explain I had a gun on my person every single time and they never knew it. They typically leave feeling just a little bit safer than they did when they arrived. 

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