Close to the Vest

The Kelly Vest from Kakadu Traders, an Australia-based company, is one tough garment with a nasty surprise for someone looking to pick on an “easy mark.” This is a concealed carry vest with hidden pockets on both sides in the lining, access to which is designed to allow the wearer to hide a pistol and spare ammunition within easy access.

My sample is green with a leather collar, and preliminary testing has shown it to be as sturdy as it looks—important in my native Pacific Northwest.

Kelly Vest from Kakadu Traders

Made from a pretty sturdy canvas material, it has a full front brass zipper, breast pockets with brass button closures, side pockets and interior “anti-print” pads in the lining that may be removed when the vest is washed. These pads really help you keep the “concealed” in “concealed carry,” especially important for those who carry in places where the practice might draw especially unwanted attention.

Why would someone want to hide a gun in his vest, rather than use the vest as a cover garment? Well, why not? It’s convenient. People looking for a telltale bulge on the hip are not going to find one, and with the right pistol or revolver, you can move about in public inconspicuously…even if the vest flaps open in the wind.

This vest, like many such garments, is worn best with a lightweight pistol or revolver tucked inside. Heavy handguns are going to put pressure on your shoulder and might drag the vest down on one side. Of course, one can balance that weight by carrying spare ammunition and perhaps a good folding knife on the other side.

The actual “holster” is a pouch of sorts with a retention tab that appears designed to fit over a hammer or beavertail grip safety, or the entire rear of a slide on a striker-fired pistol. But it seems pretty much useless to hold a revolver because it is too long, in my opinion, to serve as some kind of hammer thong.

I found that carrying a Colt Diamondback with a four-inch barrel was about as far as I wanted to push things size-wise, but still, when I walked around—even at the office—nobody was the wiser. I wore the vest over the holidays at some social settings, and only someone with X-ray vision would have known I had hidden hardware.

This is not the first hideout system of this type, but it is certainly effective, and it looks good!

Of course, a rugged outdoor vest is not for all occasions, but it will work for typical casual activities, whether shopping, hiking, camping, or going to a baseball game or movie; any number of regular activities allow for the wearing of a vest.

That said, this Kakadu Traders vest has the additional advantage of not being a cargo or so-called “tactical” vest; rather it looks like something an adult would wear casually, and it doesn’t have “mall ninja” written all over it.

The leather collar even adds a touch of class.

CREDITS: Story & Photo By Dave Workman

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