Body type for concealed carry


July 6, 2011, 11:32 AM
How does body type affect concealed carry?
I tried inside the waistband holsters and I felt like I was printing in all positions. I like pocket carry now. I also can't imagine carrying a full size gun concealed unless it was under a trench coat. I am a little under average height and medium build.
Do tall and overweight people have the ability to conceal larger guns better?

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July 6, 2011, 11:44 AM
Im 6'4" and about 195lbs. (Pretty Skinny)

Ive found that IWB only works if my holster has a pretty steep forward cant. My Comp-Tac gives me just that, and I have even begun to conceal my 5" 1911.

My EDC is a small PF9, which I will usually pocket carry, occasionally I will toss it IWB if I feel the need.

Its all about trial and error until you feel comfortable.


Forgot to mention, buying slightly longer pants, and then pulling up that waistline higher than you usually do will make a big difference.

July 6, 2011, 11:49 AM
Do tall and overweight people have the ability to conceal larger guns better?

It all depends on you finding the correct carry holster for you. I'm 6'1" and 225lbs. I can conceal a full size handgun with the right holster. Personally I don't like to print so I had to try 5-6 holsters to get the right one for me. Taller people usually have to worry about reaching for something with their dominant hand. Shirts that are not long enough usually pop up and give you away while reaching. Naturally bigger guys will have more room to hide a firearm. One of my favorite videos showing that you can conceal anything with your mind set on it is this video that is aimed at enforcing a dress code at schools:

Also, the average person does not expect the lump on your side to be a gun. Even those of us the do CCW on a routine basis dont always know that its a gun. Example: guy in front of me at the store yesterday has a huge bulge on his right hip. I think its probably a gun. He goes to check out and his phone was a phone in a belt holder.

July 6, 2011, 12:00 PM
"I felt like I was printing" ≠ "printing"
and "printing" ≠ "people know what the lump is"

I'm not saying that my "ample" beltline isn't a help for concealment, but just caring less and acting like you're doing nothing unusual makes it a lot easier.

July 6, 2011, 12:09 PM
Of course body type has a lot to do with the effectiveness and comfort of your carry and concealment method. How could it not? :)

The good news, as bigfatdave points out, is that how much you THINK you're printing is usually much more than how much you are REALLY printing. And how much you are really printing is generally negated by the fact that most people are oblivious (wouldn't notice a gold-plated Desert Eagle open carried on your belt), are not terribly curious or imaginative when they do notice that you are "lumpy" on the hip, and that it really doesn't matter whether you are "printing" or not in most states as, even in states where concealment is required there isn't generally an "effectiveness of concealment" standard you have to meet.

As a practical matter, though, I find that "tuckable" holsters seem to conceal better for me than standard IWB holsters with an un-tucked shirt. Tucking the shirt in around the gun makes the shirt blouse out more above the waistline which tends to mask the grip better than an un-tucked shirt which tends to hang straight and drape over the gun.

July 6, 2011, 12:13 PM
Most of my carry gear is tuckable, but I never bother to tuck.

A further thought occurs ... if you're discount IWB carry as a viable and confortable method based on a crappy generic IWB holster. For something you shove in your pants, you'll have to spend a few more bucks and hang it off of a better belt for actual comfort. (you're not using a department store belt, are you? That can make even the best holster seem like a POS)

July 6, 2011, 12:15 PM
It makes a huge difference, as do factors such as flexibility, firearm type, hand shape and general lifestyle requirements. The good news is there are umpteen hundred options beyond the standard IWB strong side.

July 6, 2011, 12:20 PM
Do tall and overweight people have the ability to conceal larger guns better? No. People that dress for CCW have the ability to conceal larger guns better.

Get pants that are an inch or two bigger around.
Get a good belt.
Get good gun leather (or kydex).
If you're going to CCW a reasonable sized piece, your days of wearing nothing but a tucked in t-shirt are over.
Layer up (95% of the time I wear a t-shirt tucked in under a button up shirt with a collar untucked).
With a good tuckable holster you can wear proper business attire, because you can blouse out your tucked in shirt a little bit (I recommend you go with the V-Clip type clips ( on a tuckable holster if you need maximum concealment).

99% of "printing" problems are in the mind of the carrier.

Don't futz with your gear (people don't notice bulges, but they DO notice when you keep touching or readjusting your carry gear).
Don't assume that because people can see a bulge under your clothes that they'll assume its a gun (most won't notice ... those that do will assume cell phone or other device because so many men leave their homes like batman these days).

Basically; DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT and you'll be fine.

July 6, 2011, 12:27 PM
I'm 6'3" and about 190lbs and I find that the most limiting factor for my body is how thin my torso is from front side to back side. It's more like I have a front and back but not much surface area on the sides so the length of the grip is important to me since I don't have much body for it to wrap around. It's either directly at 3'clock with the butt sticking straight back or more like 5'oclock and flat against my back. Otherwise it's hard for me not to print. My CBOB in a Milt Sparks VMII is the best carrying combo I have and it hides almost completely under only a t-shirt.

July 6, 2011, 12:40 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. I think I had a lot of paranoia with inside the waistband. I feel a lot better with pocket carry. You just have to make sure to have large pockets. I also like large shirts that hang down over the top of the pockets.

July 6, 2011, 12:50 PM
5'10 and about 190 pounds here. And I swear it's not the belly. 8)

I can not physically conceal in an IWB holster without looking very, very funny. People may not know that the right side of me with the huge BUMP that somehow makes me look physically lopsided (and I have had someone look at this, and they said it looked ridiculous) carries a gun, but that doesn't make it look any less ridiculous.

My solution, and your mileage will vary was a nice and tight OWB holster with a good belt and a loose overshirt, carried on the hip, rather than around the belly button. Now it just looks like a cell phone or leatherman tool. Also, tucking it to the 4 or 5 o'clock position helped me.

Vern Humphrey
July 6, 2011, 03:45 PM
I can not physically conceal in an IWB holster without looking very, very funny.
Don't blame the IWB for that.:neener:

Follow the advice given by Zundfolge.

Let me add this -- start fully dressed, shirt tucked in. Unbuckle your belt and insert the holster between pants and shirt. Position the gun at the 4:00 position and tighten your belt.

If you use a tuckable -- and I recommend that in hot weather, when you don't want layers of cover garments -- you then pull your shirt out from behind the gun and holster, then tuck it between holster and pants. Do a good job, reach inside your pants and pull it down, in front of and behind the holster.

Now position the gun properly and tighten your belt. Be sure your gig line is straight (shirt front, belt buckle and fly.) Then blouse your shirt -- pull out a couple of inches all around and let it hang naturally.

If you have an IWB that isn't tuckable, you can make a tuckable out of it with two belt clips (available from Tandy Drill holes in the toe of the holster, one on either side of the barrel/slide and attach the clips with Chicago (post) screws.

July 6, 2011, 04:24 PM
90% of the time I leave my house when not in uniform, I am wearing a tee shirt, a pair of jeans, a baseball cap and a pair of slip on boots. To CC, I tuck my Glock 27 inside my waist band, no holster, with or without a belt, with my tee shirt hanging out. In all the years I have CC'd, I've never once has a problem with it staying put or with drawing it.

On the RARE occasion that we have a cold snap in S. Louisiana, I MAY wear a paddle holster if I wear a jacket. If I'm wearing a suit jacket I usually wear an IWB leather holster.


July 6, 2011, 04:30 PM
Who will be the first person to say "Plaxico"?

Oh, it was me!

July 6, 2011, 04:33 PM
Here's a discussion of CCW for *ahem* famine-resistant folks, FYI. ;)

July 6, 2011, 04:51 PM
Who will be the first person to say "Plaxico"?

I was thinking the same when I posted and wondered how long it would take to come up. It sure didn't long! I know there is a strong feeling against "naked" carrying.


Actually, I am quite careful to insure a snug fit. You missed the part about jeans and with or without a belt. I do not sag my pants and I can not fit one or two more people in them with me.

July 6, 2011, 11:59 PM
I do best with a Liger (1.5" very stiff synthetic material with a great buckle design) which will never sag or roll. Then a thin with minimal material Kydex open top scabbard in a medium high rise just behind hip bone. Comes out real fast under any covering and an un tucked shirt suffices to make it disappear. I carry a Colt Lightweight Officers these days but a Commander or Browning Hi Power or even a full 1911 does well. I carried a G26 as an off duty for a decade like this and took communion with no stares

July 7, 2011, 02:56 AM
When going iwb I wear it at the 3 o-clock position and a strong forward cant. My .38 doesn't print even though it is 7.5" long.

One of the things that leads to printing is hard edges. A gun with a lot of right angles tends to grab at your shirt.

July 7, 2011, 08:55 AM
I'm 6'2" and 190. I find cargo pants or cargo shorts work great with a pocket holster. No imprinting at all, very comfortable, easily accessible, easy to remove from the pocket and place in the door compartment of the car when I'm driving.

July 7, 2011, 10:08 AM
The good news, as bigfatdave points out, is that how much you THINK you're printing is usually much more than how much you are REALLY printing.

I was looking in the mirror yesterday to make sure I wasn't printing (I sure felt like I was), and to my surprise I couldn't see my gun at all. But my flashlight on the opposite side was sticking out like a sore thumb! :)

I agree with NMBrian, I use a Comp-Tac with a decent cant, and that helps immensely. And I carry a PPS that hides quite easily.

July 7, 2011, 10:10 AM
flashlight on the opposite side was sticking out like a sore thumb!That's what a good magician would call "misdirection"

July 7, 2011, 10:17 AM
I'm 5'9" 180lbs and edc g30 and ruger lcr

Body type does make a difference but anyone can conceal a fullsize if they put the work into doing so. It may require change in wardrobe, different carry position(s) etc but it can be done.

July 7, 2011, 12:30 PM
Five feet nine, one hundred seventy give or take, and I carry OWB. I have moved from IWB with a cheap holster, cheap belt, to OWB with a leather slide holster, and it is much more concealable and comfortable. I still carry IWB with a XDSC, but I also feel I look lopsided and unnatural, and have gotten funny looks from colleagues, but they are smart enough not to ask. Anyway, dress around the gun, and buy a quality belt and holster, and there is a lot less to worry about.

July 7, 2011, 01:38 PM
to OWB with a leather slide holster

I knew I wasn't the only one! I have a slide holster that is way more tight than the one with the thumb release. Slide Holsters are a thing of beauty.

July 7, 2011, 05:48 PM
In case it hasn't been mentioned, wide shoulders will help anyone conceal weapons better, all else being equal. If one is not born with wide shoulders, a few exercises with modest dumbells can help: lateral raises, which build the deltoid muscles that "cap" the shoulders. Another exercise, that makes it easier to maintain proper posture, is shrugs, whether performed with dumbells, a barbell, or improvised weights. Of course, a balanced fitness routine is best, but these exercises can stand alone, and can be done in a few minutes.

Amen to those recommending a purpose-built, sturdy belt, the single most important accessory to wearing a firearm comfortably concealed.

July 7, 2011, 06:25 PM
I'm overweight and some of the IWB holsters are just too uncomfortable with certain guns for me to carry. I seldom carry my old kimber BP Pro IWB. I mainly stick with hammerless/DA for IWB. Lately I OWB with my shirt over whatever I'm carrying anyway as long as it's easily accessable.

July 7, 2011, 06:56 PM
6'5" 210, and I feel your pain.

Hilo Hattie's has a great selection of oversized hawaiian shirts, they'll never see the lump while their eyes are following the semi-naked hula girls and jungle flower print.

Ted Blocker IWB 3'o clock with a good forward cant, hooked over the hip usually for me, sometimes at 5/6 if i have to use the arm a lot ( keeps me from bashing the elbow nerve tunnel on the butt of the gun.

full size M&P 40 stays mostly hidden, unless the kids grab the shirt, or bend forward at the waist.

July 7, 2011, 07:26 PM
I toted my CZ P-07 today. I was using a cheap OWB holster with a mag pouch on the top. It did not conceal well.

I switched to a universal IWB holster and it disapeared easily. A loose shirt and a forward cant made it nearly invisible to me. My wife had to ask, "are you still carrying the gun."

The gun is 7.3" long, 1.5" wide, and 5.1" tall. Not exactly a small gun to hide on a 5'10" 210lb body. With a better belt and pants it would have been more comfortable. As it was I would probably carry it daily if I had a purpose built holster.

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