"Bulky" guy: Tips for carrying?

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Jan 12, 2011
Central Minnesota
I'm not sure how I'd exactly classify myself. I am overweight at 6'4" 315, though the doc sais I have a large frame and should only aim for about 270-275. I have the standard love handles, and have a dun-lap when I sit down (as in my belly dun-lapped over my belt).

I'm trying to find a comfortable way to conceal carry. I have a Taurus PT-111, and an Uncle Mikes IWB holster. I haven't found a spot on my strong side torso that is what I would consider acceptable. 12:30-2:00 o'clock position is alright if I'm standing, 2:30-5:00 I print like crazy. The only decent way I've found to carry with this holster is tucking it in my strong side pocket, but then it's basically open carry. I think I'm going to try an inside pocket holster next.

Any tips? I know that I need to try more holsters, but my budget is only going to allow for about 1 per month to be purchased, so anything I can do to speed up the process by making better choices the first time will be great.

Guess I can include a pic of myself so people can give me some comparison ideas.



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I am in the same situation. You can try an IWB holster, but I did and it just was not comfortable, although that may have been the holster I tried. I carry mostly OWB for my 1911 with either a Milt Sparks Axiom or an Adams Leatherworks Avenger holster with an untucked shirt.



You might also try a pancake style holster as they tend to pull the pistol closer into your body for better concealment.

If you are dead set on trying IWB, you might want to consider a Crossbreed holster. I have not tried one, but I know people who have them that swear they are the most comfortable IWB holster they've ever worn.
Thanks for the input Cougfan2 and Cosmoline. I'm not dead set on IWB, just trying to find a good option for conceal carry. I have a hard time finding shirts long enough to touch my pockets, let alone conceal a gun outside my pants. I expect I'll have to get used to wearing t-shirts more often for a looser fit as well, button ups just look sloppy when they get too large lol

I should add that summer time is the only time I expect to have issue. In the winter I am never without a hoodie/zip up sweatshirt so concealing will be a lot easier.
This may be off topic but I carry a Kel-Tec P11 on my property. It has a side clip so I can pocket carry with the back of the grip sticking out of the top of the pocket. A loose shirt conceals it nicely.
I think baggier-clothes would help you a LOT.
You could probably hide a rifle if you had the right baggy clothes (and, if carrying a concealed rifle in your jurisdiction is legal).:scrutiny:
You are big enough to pocket carry that Taurus PT111, maybe just need to wear looser pants with bigger pockets.

Check out the Don Hume line of pocket holsters. Very fairly priced.
You could probably hide a rifle if you had the right baggy clothes (and, if carrying a concealed rifle in your jurisdiction is legal)
To the best of my knowledge, there's nothing that would prevent someone from carrying a full auto M249 as long as you have the proper paperwork.

Did I mention I hate baggy clothes? lol Not a fan of the 'sloppy' look, but if that's what is needed to conceal, then so be it.

Thanks again for all the help so far guys. It's much appreciated.
Yeah, I'm a big ol' boy myself, and that shirt in your photo is too snug-fitting for CCW, IMO. I get my shirts from Omar the Tentmaker.


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I know, I hate to wear any clothes that feel so comfortable, I feel like I am out in public in my pajamas! I despise knit pants for that reason, I hate stretchy-kinds of material to wear, I would much rather wear something stiff but baggy than stretchy and kind of tight to my body :scrutiny: -- for THAT REASON, I would make a "lousy-woman!":rolleyes:


Dress in baggy-type clothes that make you look like you just got off a boat. Large prints, like Hawaaian long-shirts, baggy shorts, etc!
Dude, I'm about to hook you up. Been there done that, as it were. You'll notice I don't mention which handgun to carry here. You should be able to set up a rig for whatever you want to carry. Some will hide better than others, say a G27 vs. a Desert Eagle. But just about all nominal size handguns can be concealed. As far as pistols go, I will say this: thinner, flatter pistols hide better than thick chunky ones. A full size 1911 is easier to hide most of the time than my G29 is.

First off, lose that holster. Get something decent. In the carry world, holsters are like scopes in the rifle world. People get $1000 rifles or pistols and cheap scopes or holsters. Then they wonder why it performs poorly.

The holster needs to be well designed and made to fit you. Some of the better holster makers make good ones ready to go if you don't know what to ask for (sometimes you have to buy one or two to know what to ask for). For instance, you will want a holster that holds the pistol low. You only want the grip sticking out. The holster that carries the pistol high prints worse, especially if you have a tire.

Milt Sparks has come up on here once, in regards to the Axiom. I think that is one of their newer ones. Milt Sparks is a GREAT holster maker, and for what you get, a very affordable one too. Mitch Rosen is another. I like Milt Sparks. I have two Versa Max II's, and I recommend them highly. The belt loops are on either side of the holster as opposed to right on top. Makes it slimmer, flatter. Next is the belt, you need a good belt. Department stores do not sell gun belts, no matter how nice they are. You need a gun belt. Milt Sparks makes nice ones, but I got a good one from a leathermaker. He made it right in front of me. Double thick, heavy stitching, it doesn't curl or move or do anything but stay put. Adequate concealed carry with a good holster can be undone with a poor belt.

Where you wear your pants. Heavy folks tend to wear their pants low. Your waist is actually just under your belly button, not under the belly. Just moving the pants up to this spot works wonders --it may feel unnatural at first, but that is only because you have been wearing your pants too low. May sound silly, but seriously, if you don't pull them up to the right spot most of the good designs just won't work right. The curve of the love handle when the pants are low tends to push the pistol away from the body. Worn high enough, the curve changes and the pistol is pulled into the body via a good belt and holster.

Clothes and concealment. I don't wear baggy clothes, but I don't wear skin tight leather pants either. I tend to like pants with lots of belt loops, the more the better, the wider the better. I like the 5.11 pants, I got a good deal on them and they wear well. They scream "I'm carrying" but I like 'em. Jeans with only a few belt loops are the worst. The whole thing just turns into a soup sandwich. But pants are only half the deal, and at that, the smaller half. Far more imporatant are the shirts. I like to wear underarmor, not the easiest to conceal with. But with the VMII holster and a G27 instead of my G29, I can hide well wearing an untucked underarmor polo shirt. When I tuck in an underarmor tshirt, I wear either a jacket or Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirt over it, depending on weather. The Tommy Bahama shirt is heavy silk, it drapes instead of clinging. The floral prints (or any prints really) break up any outline left that would otherwise print on a solid color. This is a very good trick and you can cover up pretty well with these shirts. I have several. The print is the important thing, not the silk, though that helps I think. In addition to breaking up the outline, it also distracts the eyes.

But by far the biggest thing that made a difference was losing weight (not to mention I feel better). Not easy to do, especially with a bad back and knees, but my guts got wound up and I couldn't eat for a week and I lost weight and my stomach shrank. I got better, but now couldn't eat as much... I took this and ran with it. In about two months, I've lost 20lbs., down from 250 to 230. This actually made a huge difference in how I carry. Not only do I need a new belt (or hole for now) but I found that the pistol doesn't print nearly as much, especially in that crucial spot --3 to 5 o'clock.

This is the best advice I have. I've been carrying for quite some time now, and had all the same problems. I couldn't get advice about it then and had to figure it out one piece at a time... I was advised to get a better holster, and I got the VMII. But that still didn't work because I had a crummy belt and didn't wear the rig right. When I finally did everything right, I was amazed at what I could carry. I went from a G27 to a G29 for most days. Shoot, I can conceal my G20 now.

Note you will likely still print when you bend over, etc. Some things can't be avoided. Make sure you know your law. I can open or conceal carry, I opt for concealed and make a good effort, but if the wind blows and gives me away, I really don't care.

Just so this doesn't get lost, I'll repeat the important things:

1. Good holster
2. Good belt
3. Wear pants and belt right, try to wear the holster "up and over" the love handle
4. Patterns on print shirts break up outlines very, very well

You don't need to wear the print shirt or jacket, but it sure does help when weather permits. Just know anytime you wear a lighter shirt, it will become more difficult to hide. I hope this helps. I wish I had someone to tell me all this when I started carrying! Would have saved me a lot of time and money!
That's a damned good bit of advice. I'm also a Big Dude. (6'5" ~350#) And want to carry. I have the same issues as the OP outlined.

And I have to agree.... Losing some of the Firestone at my waist is a huge part of it. (for me anyhow.)
Fat guy, skinny guy, short guy, tall guy, doesn't really matter. You have to make your attire work for the mode of carry and weapon size. A guy 5'6, 130 lbs can carry a Desert Eagle with the right clothes, and someone your size will print with a subcompact 9mm if you try to wear tight fitting jeans and T-shirts.

I can carry my P3AT in my back pocket wearing fairly tight Wranglers and a medium Tee. If I want to conceal anything larger, though, it's IWB and I have to use a button up shirt, left untucked.

The one advantage bigger guys have is with stong side carry; Those of us with smaller waists will have problems concealing the butt of the grip fully when moving about, even with loose clothing. I'm 5'10"/178# with a 33" waist, and if I try to carry anything with a full size grip, it'll protrude obviously if I bend over even a bit. Even loose shirts will drape it. Not that I really worry much about bulges, no body cares anyway. Just saying.

I'm not sure how I'd exactly classify myself. I am overweight at 6'4" 315, though the doc sais I have a large frame and should only aim for about 270-275. I have the standard love handles, and have a dun-lap when I sit down (as in my belly dun-lapped over my belt).

If you want to be fit, don't worry so much about weight, but body fat percentage. "Normal healthy" for adult males 20-40 YOA is in the 15-18% range, which on a large frame at your height is going to be somewhat less than 270, unless you add a lot of lean mass. To put it in perspective, my BF % bounces between 12% and 13% ("athletic"), I have a more muscular build than average on a medium/large frame (high end of "medium" by neck, small end of "large" by wrists and elbows). My build scaled up from 70.5 to 78" and adding some frame size would be around 210-220 lbs. At the slightly higher "normal" healthy BF%, you'll probably tip the scale around 225-235. However, an extra 80 pounds of body fat on someone your size does not look nearly as dramatic as it would on a female who should be about 125 and weighs slightly over 200.

Regardless, like I said, worry about body fat % and lean mass, not pounds vs. inches. BMI is not a good measure of an individual's health. As many younger, more athletic males, I'm technically "overweight" by BMI, even though my BF% is pretty low. BMI does not account for frame size or body composition. It's a cut and dry (and over simplified) mathematical formula that is marginally useful for drug administration at best.

Sorry to sidetrack with that, I just hate it when doctors advise people on a "target weight". They're idiots if they do.
Wow Strykervet... just wow lol Thank you.

I know what you mean about pants riding low, but the thing is I wear my pants as high as I can. Not like grampa, I mean lol But if they go any higher, I tend to get 'interference', which gets very uncomfortable. It's almost like all my jeans are those "lowriders" or whatever they call them. And I've checked the gammit from Levi's to Nautica with no difference.

I do understand about the belt. I don't wear a department store belt. My belt is custom made by a local leather shop as well. It's about 1/8" thick full-grain leather. I have a tendency to wear my belts tight, and department store belts just stretched out way too soon and became useless.

I'm in the process of getting a leather or kydex IWB holster. This Uncle Mikes was just what happened to be in my local store today. I haven't had time to shop for this gun because I literally just got it last night lol. This is where you all come in, with help on what to look for in a quality holster.
MachIVshooter: My doc was advising with BF%. He's adamantly against the BMI. The ~270 he proposed would put me at 20% by his estimates, and it will be adjusted as I go. I appreciate your input though.
One more vote for the Duluth Trading long-tail tees. Get 'em one size larger if needed, they make them up to 4X.

me said:
On-Topic, I'm 6'3" and about 325# ... I can conceal IWB at the 3:30-4:00 position, and don't have to worry too much about what I'm concealing (Walther PPS or Taurus pt111 disappears).
You may want to look into more comfortable pants (I know, work pants may be impossible to change) and longer/fuller shirts.
MrsBFD can't tell if I'm packing, and she knows where it would be.
Some elaboration:
I'm maybe half a size up from you, BG, and I regularly carry IWB just behind the right/strong-side hip. I have three guns that do that duty, a Walther PPS*, a compact 1911-pattern all-steel pistol**, and recently added to the rotation, an XD45c***.
You need to toss that UM holster, and get a holster designed for your exact gun.
That will hold the gun in closer than a floppy generic holster, as will a good belt. In the long run, you'll probably want a designed gunbelt, it will be stiffer and stronger.

All three of those guns are carried in CrossBreed SuperTuck holsters, a Kydex shell mated to a big leather backer, with the belt attachment points offset to the sides. And all three hang from BeltMan belts or the CB belt. Other companies make similar models+, CrossBreed is my choice for a number of reasons++.
I generally carry at least one spare magazine on the weak side, in a double IWB carrier (the other slot can be filled with whatever you can imagine, I put a flashlight or pocketknife in there sometimes) which provides balance as well as malfunction insurance and extra ammo+++.
I carry under an untucked square-bottom shirt, a bit looser than yours, and I've been wearing camp shirts, cargo pants, and a light undershirt for decades, much longer than I've been carrying a handgun on a regular basis. I'm lucky that I don't have to do much to "dress around the gun" ... you'll have to get some new shirts and start wearing pants at your natural waist.

*(much slimmer than your pt111, might be a bit lighter, too ... MrsBFD's pt111 is the only gun to leave the collection ... ergonomics, not reliability or function)
**(about the same size as your pt111 in height/length, but slimmer and heavier)
***(heavy! but it still goes away when in the right holster, the extra magazines help most for balance here)

+(Tucker gunleather makes a spiffy but expensive leather-lined job, KHolster makes a no-frills version you do the final leather-trimming yourself on, Comp-Tac makes a few with changeable shells)
++(and in spite of their very overt religious attitude)
+++(listed in order of importance)
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1. Losing weight is obviously going to help, but that's a personal thing between you and your doctor.
2. You have to intentionally buy clothes that will help you conceal. Especially if the photo you provided is a good example of what you normally wear, the normal stuff isn't going to cut it. It's much easier to fit the concealment around a gun and holster that work than it is to fit the gun and holster into concealment that doesn't work. The shirt your wearing looks a little smedium on you, so you will have to go up a size, and look intentionally for "tall" sizes if you aren't already.

Good luck!
My belt is custom made by a local leather shop as well. It's about 1/8" thick full-grain leather.
An eighth of an inch still sounds pretty thin for what is supposed to be a weight-bearing belt. Do The Lone Haranguer Stiffness Test ;) on it. Grasp the edges of the belt in a pinching motion between your thumb and second finger and push in the center with your index finger. If it bends, even slightly, it isn't stiff enough. The Beltman http://www.thebeltman.net makes an outstanding leather belt. Or, since under an untucked shirt no one is going to see it anyway, consider the Wilderness Products "Instructor" belt. This is a nylon belt and offers the advantage of infinite adjustability. (Sometimes the buckle holes in a leather belt may not be in exactly the right place for comfort.) If the heavy buckle - which could be used as a flail or bludgeon :D - is not to your liking, they make another belt with a smaller buckle, but I don't recall its name.

2:30-5:00 I print like crazy.
This sounds like a holster or possibly belt (if it doesn't pass the stiffness test) problem. The further back you wear the holster, the more rake or cant is needed. A holster that carries vertically will cause the gun butt to stick out from your body like a flag in a wind.

Did I mention I hate baggy clothes? lol Not a fan of the 'sloppy' look, but if that's what is needed to conceal, then so be it.
This is a classic example of needing to alter your wardrobe a bit to "dress around the gun."
One more vote for the Duluth Trading long-tail tees. Get 'em one size larger if needed, they make them up to 4X.

Duluth Trading also makes something called "Ballroom" Jeans. Yup, they have an extra gusset in the crotch to provide extra room. Very comfortable.
I'm 6'5" and bounce between 210/220... (Down from my max of 285 12 years ago)

http://www.hilohattie.com/ the original Hawaiian shirts.

If you get the chance to grace the islands with your presence, their shops have a much wider selection than what you see on the net. Just avoid Poly... get Cotton, or Silk.

Officially the only photograph on the "net" showing more than my hands... One of my shorter but more attractive shirts. (xl) My other XXL's seem to handle covering my IWB when the wind blows, and when I bend over. Pictured is my OWB Retention holster, it hangs MUCH lower, but I have several longer coats that hide it just fine in cooler weather.

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