Best Concealed Carry Shorts – My Favorite Casual & Athletic

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In this guide, we highlight our experience carrying a concealed handgun while wearing shorts and offer our tips on picking the best pair.

I have found that trying to carry a handgun concealed with just any shorts doesn’t work so well sometimes. They are either uncomfortable or do not support my normal belt and holster. This is especially true with athletic gym shorts.

Best Concealed Carry Shorts
Three of Jason's favorite pairs of CCW shorts
My favorite three pairs of CCW Shorts

We have over 30 years of experience carrying concealed in the hot summers of the southern US. From Florida to Tennessee, we have tried about everything, from special holsters to fanny packs.

Keep reading to find our picks for the best concealed carry shorts, including some you probably haven’t heard of before. After you read this, be sure to check out our full Concealed Carry Guide for a lot more.

Table of Contents

Quick Summary of Our Favorite CCW Shorts

BEST OVERALL
Off-Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts

Off The Grid Surplus Havoc 2.0 Shorts

9 Pockets

Spare Mag Pockets

Discrete

MSRP: $57.00

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BEST ATHLETIC SHORTS
Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts

Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts

Athletic Gym Shorts

Unique Belt System

Rear Mag Pocket

MSRP: $65.99

MOST COMFORTABLE
5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts

5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts

Durable Material

Elastic Waist

8 Pockets

MSRP: $52.00


Best Shorts for Concealed Carry

Off The Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts – Best Overall

Off-Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts

Save 15% with code “AFFILIATE15” at Checkout!

  • Material: Stretch Cotton Canvas
  • Pockets: 9
  • Colors Available: 4
  • Lengths Available: 10” and 12”
  • MSRP: $57.00

The Off The Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts are my favorite concealed carry shorts.

There are two things that set these shorts apart from just typical cargo shorts.

Jason wearing the Off the Grip Surplus Havok shorts with his CCW handgun
Jason wearing the Off the Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts

The first is the pocket layout. These shorts do not have large cargo pockets on the sides that swing back and forth when I walk. Instead, they have a unique layout with nine different pockets.

Just above both back pockets are smaller pockets with discrete openings that blend in with the seams. I use these for carrying a spare magazine in the left one (I am right-handed) and a multitool or my phone in the right one. The depth and width of the pockets are just right for full-size magazines like Glock 19 or Walther PDP mags, but smaller ones work as well.

Jason showing the Magazine Pocket
Jason showing the rear magazine pocket

On the left leg about halfway down there is a zippered pocket where I like to keep my wallet. This is more secure and safer than keeping it in my back pocket, plus it is more comfortable.

Jason showing the zippered pocket
I like to keep my wallet in the zipper pocket

The two front pockets are nice and deep and have a wide opening. I also like how they are reinforced in the corner for my pocketknife clip.

On the right leg are two deep, vertical pockets where I carry my EDC flashlight, a pen, or other tools, depending on what I am working on. These are much better than just a big cargo pocket.

Jason showing the utility pocket with his EDC flashlight
My EDC flashlight in the utility pocket

The second thing I really like about these is the material. It is a 300g stretch canvas and is durable yet comfortable at the same time. There is just enough flex and stretch in them and the crotch is gusseted. Plus, they are lightweight and breathe well in hot weather.

The only real negative is that the waistband has no built-in stretch or elastic. I find that carrying appendix (which is my typical carry position in the summer) is more comfortable with a waistband that has a little more give to it. When I tighten my belt the waistband on these shorts tends to bunch up in areas slightly.

Overall, these are my favorite shorts for concealed carry and everyday wear in the summer. They look great and work well no matter if I am hiking, training, or going out.

Recommended for:

The Off-Grid Surplus Havok 2.0 Shorts are my favorite shorts for concealed carry and pretty much doing anything else outside when it is warm.

PROS

Material

Pocket Layout

Rear Mag Pockets

Zipper Pocket

CONS

Waist Doesn’t have Elastic


Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts – Best CCW Gym Shorts

Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts
  • Material: Soft Nylon
  • Pockets: 3
  • Colors Available: 5
  • Lengths Available: 5”, 8”, 11”
  • MSRP: $65.99

I have always struggled to find ways to carry concealed in athletic gym shorts. Once I tried a pair of the Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts, I found I could carry the same holster in the same position as I do with my regular shorts.

Jason wearing the Arrowhead Tactical Shorts
Jason wearing the Arrowhead Tactical Shorts

These shorts have a unique belt system that I have not found anywhere else (because it is patented). Inside the waistband, there is a series of belt loops. The shorts include a “carrier retention belt” that I can thread through the belt loops and adjust to support my regular appendix holster securely.

Blake wearing the Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts
Blake wearing the Arrowhead Tactical Carrier shorts

The belt is infinitely adjustable and has a magnetic clasp, so I don’t lose my adjustment position when I remove it.

Jason showing the Arrowhead Tactical shorts belt system
The best system works with my normal EDC holster

I can run, jump, knee a punching bag, and lift weights in these shorts without worrying about dropping my handgun or it flopping around.

They are also great for jogging. Since I sometimes run down a rural road, it is nice to be able to carry my CCW pistol with me without worrying about safety or it falling out of my pants. Plus, it doesn’t bounce up and down when I run.

I also like the pockets in these shorts. The back pockets is zippered, so I can securely carry my wallet. Inside the back pocket is a small pocket specifically for carrying a spare pistol magazine. I found that the pocket material stretches, so it works great for full-size double-stack and compact magazines like those for a Sig P365. It holds them both secure while I run, and they don’t bounce around terribly.

Jason showing the back pockets with a spare pistol magazine
The rear zipper pocket has a built in magazine carrier

The only issue is the back pocket is on my right side, and there is only one of them. I would also like to have a back pocket on my right side.

I like these shorts so much that I wear them when lounging around the house. They are very comfortable, and I can remove the belt when I am not carrying my gun at home.

The biggest negative with these is there is no fly (gym shorts usually don’t have one anyway). So, when I go to the restroom I have to remove my holster. I found it is not an issue in public as I just use a stall or keep my holster under my shirt and hold it under my arm.

Recommended for:

The Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts are for anyone who likes to carry their handgun concealed when walking, jogging, or working out. There really are no other options for athletic gym shorts.

PROS

Unique Belt System

Can Use Any IWB Holster

Rear Mag Pocket

Athletic Design/Fit

CONS

Only One Back Pocket

No Fly

Here is a video on how to set up the belt. Note the Joggers and Shorts work the same.


5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts – Most Comfortable CCW Shorts

5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts
  • Material: Polyester/cotton Taclite Ripstop + Teflon Coating
  • Pockets: 8
  • Colors Available: 6
  • Lengths Available: 9.5” and 11”
  • MSRP: $52.00

I have worn various versions of 5.11’s tactical shorts for over ten years.

The Taclite Pro shorts are my favorites. While they do have a tactical look, they really don’t stand out. Shorts don’t scream, “I am carrying a gun,” as much as tactical pants do.

Jason wearing the 5.11 Tactical CCW Shorts
Jason wearing the 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Shorts

I like the material the most. These shorts are made from 5.11’s own Taclite Ripstop, a lightweight and durable material. It is also Teflon coated, and I have noticed that water runs right off. I have dropped food on them, and it also wipes off without staining.

Jason showing how water beads on the 5.11 shorts
Water beads up and rolls off of these shorts

While these do not have rear magazine pockets, they have a front utility pocket on the left side that works great for a spare magazine or a multitool. The front pockets are nice and deep, and there is a utility pocket on the front right side intended for an EDC knife with a clip or a multitool. I also barely fits my iPhone, but I typically put my phone in the front pockets.

Jason showing the magazine pocket
The front utility pocket works great for a spare mag

I like how the cargo pockets on the side are not big and bulky. They have plenty of room but are slim as well. This helps keep items like my wallet or multitool from bouncing around in them while I walk. They also have Velcro flaps to keep items secure.

Jason showing the pockets on the 5.11 shorts
I like to keep my wallet in the side pocket and a flashlight and knife in the front pocket

I really like the waistband on these shorts. The sides are elastic, which makes it easier for me to take my holster on and off. They also help to hold my holster in place and are more comfortable than a regular waistband.

Jason showing the elastic waistband on the 5.11 shorts
I like the elastic waistband

I don’t really care for the wide belt loops though. But it is only an issue when I carry OWB, which I don’t usually do with shorts anyway. But, if I want to carry something else from my belt, the loops do tend to get in the way.

The crotch is gusseted, so I can squat and move around in them comfortably. While the material isn’t exactly stretchable, they do have plenty of room in them.

Recommended For:

The 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts are for anyone looking for a comfortable pair of concealed carry tactical shorts.

PROS

Rip Stop Material

Teflon Coating

Flexible Waistband

Side Pockets

CONS

No Rear Mag Pockets

Wide Belt Loops


Tips for Choosing the Best Concealed Carry Shorts

The tips below are based on my experience choosing my concealed carry shorts. These shorts allow me to carry the same way I do with pants, using the same gun, carry position, and holster.

Since I carry every day, I want something I can wear in all conditions. This could be driving, hiking, camping, training at the range, working out, or going out.

Sizing

While it is obvious that my shorts need to fit, this becomes more important with an IWB holster. If the waist of my pants is just the right size, I have found wearing an IWB holster uncomfortable. I need extra space for my holster.

A good rule of thumb is to get the next size up above shorts that fit “just right.” I measure my waist based on the sizing guide the manufacturer provides and go for the next size up from what that recommends. This usually results in shorts that will fall off without a belt. However, once I put my IWB holster and belt on, they are just right.

Waist Band

I look for waistbands that either have elastic or at least some sort of stretch to them.

Flexible waistbands are just more comfortable, especially when wearing an IWB holster. I have also found that they sometimes allow space for my holster without going up a size.

When I have to go up a size, I find that some shorts that don’t have a flexible waistband tend to bunch up somewhere along my waist (usually in the front). I can adjust them to gradually take up the slack around my waist, but depending on the material, it can be uncomfortable.

The waistband should also be semi-rigid. Waistbands that are too thick will have issues fitting into some IWB holster clips. When I wear shorts with waistbands that are too thick, they tend to get pushed down between my holster and my belt, which is uncomfortable and looks goofy as well.

Waistbands that are too thin and not rigid enough also tend to get bunched up between my holster and belt, causing the same issues.

Stretch Fabric and Gussets

While this is more important in pants, shorts need to be able to move as I move. I should be able to squat and bend as needed. I never know when I will face a defensive situation and need to get behind cover or move quickly away from a threat.

Look for gussets in the crotch area and fabric with stretch properties. While I am not talking about spandex biker shorts here, they shouldn’t be “slim fit” or tight denim shorts either. I like to have some room to move in them when I need to.

Pocket Layout

There are a few pockets that I look for in my concealed carry shorts.

I like to have a spare mag pocket somewhere on the left side of my body (I am right-handed). My favorite is the concealed pockets just above my back left pocket as the Off the Grid Supply shorts have. Another option is the front utility pocket on the 5.11 shorts.

I also like to have a second utility pocket for my EDC flashlight and/or multitool. Carrying these in my front pocket is not very comfortable, and they are hard to access when I am sitting.

A few years ago, I went away from carrying a traditional back pocket wallet. They are a pain (literally) to sit on and are easy for a pickpocket to steal. Now, I carry a smaller front pocket-style wallet.

Instead of putting it in my front pocket, I like shorts that have a zipper pocket or a Velcro closure pocket that I can secure it in. This is more comfortable and it frees up my front pockets for other items.

Belt Loops

Using a concealed carry holster requires a proper belt (see our guide on the best concealed carry belts). Of course, for the belt to function properly, I need belt loops that will allow my belt to pass through them.

Jason comparing belt loop sizes
I prefer the thinner belt loop on the left

I also find that some shorts have thick or wide belt loops that can limit where I can carry my holster. This tends to be more of a problem with OWB holsters but can also be an issue with certain IWB holsters.

I like belt loops about ¾ of an inch wide and evenly spaced. I find that about five to six loops are plenty. More just get in the way.

Athletic Shorts

For me, the ultimate goal for athletic shorts is to carry the same gun and holster in the same position as my regular casual shorts. I find it best to always carry how I train and not switch up carry positions and methods.

Jason kneeing a punching bag with the Arrowhead Tactical Shorts
Jason kneeing a punching bag with the Arrowhead tactical shorts

I know I will default to how I have been training in an emergency. If I normally carry an appendix holster, but now I have a fanny pack, for example, I will fumble around trying to get to my handgun. This will make my attacker aware that I am going for something and just make matters worse.

The Arrowhead Tactical shorts are the perfect choice here since they are athletic shorts that allow me to carry the same holster and position as my other shorts and pants.


Find your Favorite Concealed Carry Shorts

In warm weather I go for one of these pairs of shorts. You can literally always find me wearing one of these, I have multiple pairs of them.

The Off-Grid Supply Havoc 2.0 shorts are my favorite overall. I can wear them when working outside, and they still look nice enough to go out in.

If I need something more athletic for jogging or working out, the Arrowhead Tactical Carrier Shorts are what I reach for. I can carry and draw my handgun the same way I would any other shorts. I don’t have to carry a fanny pack or something else that is special and unfamiliar to me.

The 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro RipStop shorts are great as well if you are looking for comfort. I think I have four pairs of these!

Also check out our guide on the Best Concealed Carry Shirts. I included a few of my favorite warm weather options that go great with these shorts.

Now that you have your shorts, read our Concealed Carry Guide for everything from helpful mindset tips to holsters. It is the most complete reference guide based on real experiences.

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Jason has an engineering and problem solving background. He is an avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and competitive shooter. He enjoys researching the best and most practical solutions for the problem at hand, studying stoicism, and finding innovative ways to be prepared.