After testing more new models, we’ve updated our top recommendations to include a flannel jacket option, the Rothco Concealed Carry Flannel. We’re keeping the other recommendations on our list, but have removed the former all-weather CCW jacket recommendation.
We packed everything from a sub-compact pistol, to a CCW-friendly revolver, and a full size 1911 across every corner of our test cities in Oregon, Montana, and Texas in 15 concealed carry jackets with 6 different testers, covering a variety of carry situations, from running around town, hitting sports bars, and tasks that anyone looking to carry a firearm would be familiar with.
After all that, we think the Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell CCW jacket is the best concealed carry jacket for most people due to its light weight, comfort and easy-of-use.
Best CCW Soft Shell Jacket:
- Versatile Soft Shell Tactical Jacket With Waterproof Polyester Outer Shell
- 3-Layer Construction Deflects Wind, Wicks Away Moisture, And Retains Heat
- 6+ Versatile Zippered Pockets For Storing Essential Gear
What we liked:
- Quick access to concealment pockets
- Keeps you cool and warm when you need it
What we didn't:
- Runs small (size up)
- Hood can be a little awkward
- Not a good fit for tall men
Weighing in at an overall weight of just over 32 ounces (or about 2 lbs) Rothco’s Special Ops Soft Shell Jacket (available up to 6XL) is an incredible value when you consider overall functionality & cost.
It has a triple-layered construction with dedicated layers for deflecting wind and water, wicking moisture, and an internal fleece layer for retaining heat.
That triple-layer structure means a significant increase in warmth & water-repelling capabilities when compared with similarly priced jackets.
Our testers commented on the extra versatility of this jacket, such as the easy access interior concealment pocket, 4″x4″ velcro morale patch, wire pass-through port, and double zipper back pocket which offers bigtime storage.
The substantial amount of fleece also lends wind resistance to the jacket, something our testers appreciated when running around town and getting caught in a downpour with 25 mph winds & hail.
With this jacket’s effective triple-layer structure, our testers found that even when carrying a full-sized handgun while hiking up the Columbia Gorge, they didn’t need to add a heavier jacket to ward off the cold or remove the jacket due to overheating.
Best CCW Cotton Jacket:
- Made for Fall to Spring Wear with A Washed 100% Cotton Outer Shell and Polyester Inner Lining
- Two Inner Concealment Pockets, On Each Side, With Hook And Loop Closure for Easy Access
- Four Inner Mag Pockets With Hook And Loop Flap Closure for Additional Storage
What we liked:
- Light & comfortable
- Breathes well
- Big holster pockets
What we didn't:
- Not as rain resistant as other options
- Interior pocket stitching is light and possibly prone to breakage
Our testers found Rothco’s Concealed Carry 3 Season Jacket, available up to XXX-Large, offered competitive warmth and comfort to a number of lightweight conceal carry jackets that cost considerably more, and warmer than a number of leather options.
A near-perfect around town CCW jacket
For those who live in parts of the world that don’t require full-on puffy winter jackets (or hardcore rain gear), this jacket is perfect for running around town in any scenario when you need extra warmth, rather than waterproofing, and want concealment pockets without looking super tactical.
The inner holsters are on both the left and right side of the jacket, and are surprisingly big and deep, measuring 8” x10” with substantial padding.
These holster pockets sealed closed with a velcro hook & loop closure, and there are also 4 inner pockets designed for additional clip storage, which measure 6”x2 ½” which also have a velcro closure.
Flaws worth noting
There are some issues with the inner pocket stitching, which seems light and has been the subject of some online complaints, even if they do offer soft if thin, construction.
The cotton exterior is more prone to snags than polyester shells, but it seems perfectly capable of brushing against bushes and undergrowth if hiking without noticeable wear.
Best CCW Leather Jacket:
- HIGH QUALITY BUFFALO LEATHER: Genuine Buffalo Leather feels similar to soft naked cowhide and ages...
- ADJUSTABLE FIT: Features adjustable side lace and built-in waist belt & buckle to fit your shape and...
- PATCH ACCESS LINING: Sew and add patches quickly and easily with hidden interior zippers that open...
What we liked:
- Tough material
- Fast, quick access
What we didn't:
- Heavier than other options
- Style may not be for everyone
For those who like to play hard – and want that classic leather jacket look – the The Bikers Zone Men’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket, available up to 7XL, is up to the task.
As tough as it looks
Blast down the freeway on your hog, run around town, or just revel in the fact that almost no one will know you’re wearing a CCW jacket.
This leather jacket works in all sorts of scenarios and adds a level of toughness along with that protective layer of leather.
Great for full-sized pistols
Our testers found that the rigidity of the leather made this their favorite for carrying full-sized pistols thanks to the weight of the jacket & strength of the material eliminating the concern for any kind of printing or sagging.
This isn’t the jacket to use when running around town in subzero temperatures, however, it would be ideal for activities that require added protection without delving into the world of body armor.
It is designed through and through to make carry easy – with quick access a priority.
Best CCW Flannel Option:
- Plaid Flannel Shirt With Convenient Concealed Carry Pockets
- 100% Heavyweight Cotton For Durability And Comfort
- Two Interior Mag Pouches And One Large Concealed Pocket
What we liked:
- Easily adjustable
- Built well
- Durable material
- Water and wind proof
What we didn't:
- Tends to run large
With two interior mag pouches & an oversize concealed carry pocket, the Rothco Concealed Carry Flannel offers a list of features that made it a more versatile option than a lot of the jackets we tested.
A true anywhere carry option
A while not waterproof or windproof, what you give up in the way of weather protection you gain in usability. There’s very few places that a decent looking flannel won’t take you, and anyone would be hard-pressed to make out your carry with the way the flannel is cut.
A solid pick if you want to blend in
The Rothco Flannel is somewhere between a jacket and a shirt – maybe an overshirt? – that’s roomy enough to accommodate your piece and appropriate mags without pinching or sagging. It’s big enough to work over other shirts but can certainly function as a stand-alone shirt.
One of the notable features is the fabric weight – which is heavy enough to put it in the jacket category in our opining. The fabric holds in heat well, but breaths well enough to never get stiflingly hot. The best part of the weight of the fabric prevents printing, and give the breasts and sides enough stability to hold form even when fully loaded.
CCW Jacket Considerations
A great CCW jacket is one that accommodates the firearm of your choice, reasonable warmth for both daily tasks and outdoor activities, and eliminates printing while carrying. Instead of a fashion look or a specialized task-specific selection, we were looking for the most functional concealed carry jackets for a mix of activities. Before we began testing we gathered the 6 concealed carry testers together to define the most important criteria for a great, multi-use CCW jacket:
A great concealment jacket should carry your firearm without sagging, slipping to the side in which you are carrying, or printing the firearm such that people can see the outline of the handgun. We were also mindful of features that help conceal and support the firearm, such as blocking fabric or integrated holsters.
Any quality concealed carry jacket must support a full range of motion without hindrance especially when carrying your firearm. It should be comfortable with a piece in the holster – and provide room for air to cycle when walking, hiking, or going through the everyday tasks that any jacket would support.
No one wants a jacket that’s going to catch on everything under the sun – especially when carrying. A great concealment jacket should not rip, tear, or snag when used, and simple activities like brushing against things while running around town, carrying car keys or a knife in pockets, and straps on things like range bags should not cause damage or wear.
Very few concealment jackets are truly waterproof, as they tend to be designed to carry first, deal with weather second. They also tend to be thinner than something like a puffy, down jacket (the good news is down jackets are useless when wet) so they dry faster. A decent CCW jacket should be able to dry indoors in less than 3 hours and might have an exterior treatment coating that helps water to bead on contact, rather than absorb directly into the jacket.
A great concealed carry jacket should fit loosely, be comfortable when in use, and still functional for drawing. It shouldn’t bind or constrict – especially in the shoulders/arm areas where mobility is key. A solid fitting jacket will also accommodate an under layer, such as a long sleeve shirt.
Just like few CCW jackets are fully waterproof, very few are truly windproof. With that in mind, you’ll want your jacket to cut the wind to some degree. A really great CCW jacket could also fit underneath a wind-/waterproof outer layer, or a heavier winter jacket if the situation requires.
A great CCW jacket features zippers that simply work, are in the right locations to add utility (such as interior carry or mag pockets), are easy to use even when wearing gloves, and durable enough to be used frequently. It should have at least one well designed interior carry pocket, and possibly two for a more ambidextrous carry option. There should be enough pockets to comfortably carry your firearm, extra magazines (or even dedicated magazine pockets), and of course the staples like a cell phone, wallet, pocket knife, car keys, and the miscellaneous bibs and bobs that accumulate, especially if you’re a parent.
Each of these CCW jackets offers EDC enthusiasts a variety of different features but our top pick is the Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell CCW jacket. It’s well made, carries a variety of firearm easily, and also met the criteria for any CCW jacket we’d recommend:
- Priced right
- Light but quality material
- Water & wind resistant
- Purposeful pockets
There are quite a few options out in this category, and if you’re in the market for concealed carry products you can check out our guide to concealed carry pants, concealed carry vests, and our holster reviews. We hope this article steers you in the right direction. If you have any questions or feedback please drop us a line.
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