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Slide thickness vs. Overall thickness of various autos

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by StorkPatrol, Feb 1, 2010.

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  1. StorkPatrol

    StorkPatrol Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Ok, I'm thinking about getting an M&P or maybe another 1911, but that's not the purpose of this thread. It's just what started me thinking about this. I got to reading up on various full size autos and pondering the inside the waistband (or even tuckable) properties of these guns. I can get a good comparison on specs light weight, length, and height "by the numbers", but thickness numbers posted on the internet are somewhat more nebulous.

    When a maker posts the width or thickness of their gun, I have to assume they are talking about the thickest point...most likely the grips. Here is a smattering of stats I found for quick comparison:

    Glocks in 9/40/357: 1.18 inch
    S&W M&P in 9/40/357: 1.2 inch
    Most 1911's: ~1.3 inch
    CZ-75b: 1.4 inch

    So at first glance, this makes the CZ and the 1911 look like the fat kids in the group. However, I "know" that the 1911 is supposed to be thinner than the Glock. Further Googling shows that the typical 1911 slide (some differences between brands) is .92 inch.

    My hypothesis is that the thickness of the slide is a larger factor in the IWB comfort and concealability of an auto than the overall thickness posted by the makers.

    With this in mind, feel free to support or critique my idea of slide thickness vs. overall thickness. Also, if you've got numbers for your favorite large frame auto that you enjoy carrying IWB, please post them. I'm sure this thread has been done before, but cut me some slack. I'm deployed in a non-combat job to a non-combat location, and I won't be able to so much as touch a gun for another 3 months. :(

  2. lions

    lions Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    I agree completely. Matter of fact I had a similar question some time ago which was answered with the equivalent of your hypothesis. The glock and M&P and other similar firearms just happen to have an overall width closer to that of their slide width. While the 1911 and friends have controls that tend to protrude farther from the slide.
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    while the 1911 is generally considered very thin, many folks forget that the grips, thumb safety and slide lock stick out beyond the sides of the slide.

    if you want thin, check out the Kahr line of pistols, they are very comfortable to carry IWB.

    now comfort and concealability are not always the same. a much greater factor in concealability is the lenght and the thickness of the gun butt...for IWB carry, the barrel length is almost no factor at all
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  4. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Albuquerque & Santa Fe
    no factor till you try to conceal a g35

    i miss that gun but boy, I could not hide that thing
  5. oasis618

    oasis618 Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    Tacoma, WA
    Grip length is also a very important part of a pistol not printing. I find a bobtail 1911 IWB hides very well under even the lightest shirts.
  6. geronimo509

    geronimo509 Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    I just saw this and I agree.

    I found that grip thickness and length is all that really matters in concealing. For example, a Kimber UCII's grip was just as thick as a glock 19's grip. For me they both conceal pretty easy. I recently got a G30 and that is thicker it is still concealable.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  7. iblong

    iblong Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    I own a Glock,M&P,and 2 Kahrs,and a few 1911's.
    For (IWB) none are slimmer or more comfortable to carry than an officer size frame and grip,with the right holster and the shorter grip they feel slimmer in the waist band.
    and are my personal choice for EDC.
  8. Paints

    Paints Member

    May 13, 2006
    The biggest bulge is at the beltline. As such, it is primarily slide thickness. That's also where the holster is the thickest, along with your belt.

    I also think the slide shape contributes. A 1911 is more rounded, helping the front of the gun disappear, whereas my Sig P220 is more squarish. I really thought the Sig was a lot bigger gun than the 1911, but putting them side to side, it's hard to tell any difference.

    I agree that grip length also affects concealability, dependent a lot on the angle of the holster.

    My compact 1911 seems to conceal easier than my full size even though the full size is only a 1/2" longer. But that might have a lot to do with different holsters? Holsters probably have more to do with it than the actual guns themselves.

    The CZ is wide because of the swell on the grips. Different grips can thin it down.

    It's interesting, I thought the High Power was a very thin gun, but I just pulled it out and measured it and it's as thick as the CZ :( Weird, I think perception may be more of a factor than actual measurement?

    Also a factor I think is what is the widest item on the gun. Something like a safety can add a lot of width but will melt into your body unnoticed whereas slide width is hard to do anything with.
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