Review: Blackhawk Warrior Wear Tactical Shirts

   05.03.16

Review: Blackhawk Warrior Wear Tactical Shirts

As any responsible person who carries a handgun will tell you, concealing that handgun is a full-time chore. You can’t simply just strap it on and forget about it. You have to be aware, at all times, that you don’t accidentally “flash” your gun. If that happens and someone calls the police, you’re going to have some explaining to do.

Carrying any kind of handgun for self-defense requires not only the right holster, but the right clothing, too. When I was doing executive protection work, I bought a suit jacket one size bigger than I normally would, so it could more easily conceal a full-sized handgun. And, to be sure, when doing any sort of bodyguard work, you will want to carry a full-sized handgun instead of a little .25 ACP pistol in your pocket. Your client hired you for a reason, and that is usually that they feel a certain threat level against them. If you have to respond to a deadly threat, a little pocket-pistol isn’t the right handgun to do it with.

Many, many years ago, I did some professional photography work and I wore a photographer’s vest with all manner of pockets for carrying various gear and lenses. I started wearing that vest to conceal my handgun, even after I wasn’t working on a photography assignment. Many people today wear some sort of covering garment in the form of a vest to conceal their handguns. I did it for a lot of years, and these vests can be had in many styles. Some of these vests are called “Safari Vests” or “Adventurers Vests” or some similar name. Fair enough, right?

Well, to anyone who carries a gun on a daily basis, concealed,  those vests scream out to other gun carriers (and law enforcement) that you are packing a handgun. It’s sort of an unofficial “badge,” if you will, that you are packing heat. Not a good thing at all!

Some years back, I found myself in my old hometown of Chicago, and even though I wasn’t packing, I still wore my Safari Vest–just a habit, I guess. I had a young man come up to me and ask “are you a tac officer?” It took me just a split second to understand what he was asking. I used to do a lot of PI work back in Chicago and worked with and knew a lot of Chicago Tactical Officers–guys who wore plainclothes on-the-job. Back in the day, they usually covered their duty handguns with an unlined wind breaker jacket, even in the heat of summer. Well, these days, many plain clothes police officers cover their handguns (at least in Chicago) with a vest of some sort. So when this young man spotted me wearing my vest, he naturally assumed I was a Chicago PD tactical officer.

After the above incident, I knew there had to be a better way of concealing my daily concealed carry handgun. Over the years, I experimented with inside-the-waistband holsters and never did like them. To be sure, I gave them a good, long try, but I didn’t find that they hid my gun any better than a properly designed belt holster. In both cases, there was that “bulge” under your clothing.

A Carry Solution Emerges

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Some years ago, Blackhawk Products came out with their Warrior Wear Tactical Shirts, and this seemed like exactly what I was looking for. My everyday wear consists of hiking shoes, cargo pants, and a t-shirt… So, it wasn’t any problem to slip on one of these BLACKHAWK! Lightweight Tac Shirt Short Sleeve shirts.

Since I didn’t button this shirt, it worked perfectly as a covering garment for my concealed handgun on my right hip. Blackhawk recently came out with another version, the LT2 Tactical Shirt.

Now, both of the Light-weight Tactical Shirts appear, at first glance, to be identical, but this is not the case. The original shirt has a few more features–more hiding spots for gear and the design is slightly different. However, both shirts will easily do the job of concealing even a full-size handgun on your hip. Just leave the shirt unbuttoned, as I do, and it only takes a split second to sweep the shirt back and draw your handgun.

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As you’ll note in the pictures with this article, I’ve included the tags from each shirt. That’s where you’ll see the differences between the two shirts. Both shirts are made out of the same material and come in the same colors: black, khaki, olive drab, navy, and chocolate brown. I elected the short sleeve shirts, and I don’t particularly like long sleeve shirts.

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Now, while both shirts have done a great job of concealing my daily belt carry handgun, I’d rather go with the original version instead of the LT2 version. The price difference isn’t that much: the original is $56.99 and the LT2 version is $49.99. Both of these shirts are light-weight, too, but they are super-strong.

Both are manufactured out of durable 5.1 oz polyester/cotton ripstop material, and they are water repellent treated to resist stains and they dry quickly. My original Warrior WearTactical Shirt lasted 4-years before it finally ripped–one of my German Shepherds caught it with a dew claw. I also have another shirt in khaki, and the khaki shirt is going strong. Where can you find shirts that last 4-yrs + these days?

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So far, to my knowledge, my trend-setting method of carrying a concealed handgun under one of these Blackhawk Warrior Wear Tactical Shirts hasn’t caught on yet, and that’s fine with me. Blackhawk also makes another shirt that is specifically designed to cover a handgun, but the shirt is buttoned closed and you have to actually lift the shirt up to access your weapon. I prefer to just sweep the shirt back to get to my handgun.

One other thing I like about these shirts is that they are long in the body, so they easily cover and conceal even the longest barreled duty handgun.

When I wear one of these tactical shirts during my few handgun classes I still teach these days, none of my students know I’m carrying a handgun on my hip until I actually draw it to give a live-fire demo on a target. At least a few of my former students are now wearing a Blackhawk Tactical Shirt to cover their handguns. So, I guess my trend-setting “fashion” has caught-on in a small way.

However, I hope after reading this article and checking out these shirts that you’ll abandon your vest and elect to go with a simple covering garment, like an unbuttoned shirt–a Blackhawk Tactical Shirt–that no one will give a second look at. Don’t kid yourself these days, if you’re wearing a vest of some sort to cover and hide your handgun, someone else knows why you’re wearing that vest, and you don’t want to draw unneeded attention to yourself and your firearm.




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