Comfort vs Concealment

Comfort vs Concealment

This is a discussion on Comfort vs Concealment within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Just throwing some observations out there. I've found that comfort and concealment, even though somewhat inter-related, require different pistol characteristics. A comfortable handgun tends to ...

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    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Comfort vs Concealment

    Just throwing some observations out there. I've found that comfort and concealment, even though somewhat inter-related, require different pistol characteristics.

    A comfortable handgun tends to have the following characteristics:
    1) a narrow slide usually 1 inch or less
    2) light weight. Less than 30 oz loaded for most people but ymmv.
    3) smooth edges and textures on the grip/handle. Most IWB holsters don't shroud the handle to facilitate draw so it tends to dig into your flesh. The smoother the better
    4) barrel length plays a part when you're attempting to sit down or drive for long periods. I've found 4 inches or less offers very little intrusion when trying to sit down
    5) grip thickness affects comfort a little but not appreciably

    Concealment somewhat follows the same requirements as comfort but with a few exceptions:
    1) grip texturing, weight and barrel length has a lot less importance for concealment
    2) handle length is THE most important factor in concealment. IMO unless it's a pistol with a 2 finger grip you're going to be prone to printing.
    3) Grip thickness matters for concealment. A narrower grip width helps hide the handle against your body better.

    Slide width (narrower) and pistols grip shape (smoother) benefit both comfort and concealment. You'll print less and feel more comfortable with it inside your waistband and against your skin.

    Just thoughts to share. Feel free to add!


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    Everyone is different, to be sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by DetChris View Post
    Just throwing some observations out there. I've found that comfort and concealment, even though somewhat inter-related, require different pistol characteristics.

    A comfortable handgun tends to have the following characteristics:
    1) a narrow slide usually 1 inch or less None of my current carry guns have a slide width less than 1 1/4", and all carry quite comfortably.
    2) light weight. Less than 30 oz loaded for most people but ymmv. Same experience here. None of my my carry guns are lightweights.
    3) smooth edges and textures on the grip/handle. Most IWB holsters don't shroud the handle to facilitate draw so it tends to dig into your flesh. The smoother the betterNope. My grips have textures ranging from moderate to extreme, and my undergarment removes any and all discomfort.
    4) barrel length plays a part when you're attempting to sit down or drive for long periods. I've found 4 inches or less offers very little intrusion when trying to sit downClose on this one. I have one with a 5" barrel, which I would consider maximum with my holster design.
    5) grip thickness affects comfort a little but not appreciably Yes, I have found thicker grips to carry slightly more comfortably.

    Concealment somewhat follows the same requirements as comfort but with a few exceptions:
    1) grip texturing, weight and barrel length has a lot less importance for concealment Agreed
    2) handle length is THE most important factor in concealment. IMO unless it's a pistol with a 2 finger grip you're going to be prone to printing. The smallest grip I carry is an M&P9c. The largest is the ful-sized M&P, which is slightly more prone to printing, but nothing unmanageable. I have found holster cant/position and ride height to be more important factors in printing than grip length alone. My 15-round Glocks never print in my Brommeland and Midworld holsters at 3:00.
    3) Grip thickness matters for concealment. A narrower grip width helps hide the handle against your body better. Again, this simply has not been my experience.

    Slide width (narrower) and pistols grip shape (smoother) benefit both comfort and concealment. You'll print less and feel more comfortable with it inside your waistband and against your skin. I never carry directly against my skin.

    Just thoughts to share. Feel free to add!
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    Member Array voodoo304's Avatar
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    I agree and for those reasons, and many more, I carry revolvers. They are curvy just like people. We aren't perfect blocks like most semi's. I've found the cylinder of my revolver tucks right in my curves and the rest of the gun is really slim.
    It's the best of both worlds for me.

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    Senior Member Array Old Sarge's Avatar
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    This explains why so many of us have a drawer full of holsters. I've spent a lot of $$ just to find the proper fit. Regardless of what we buy, we have to adapt our own bodies to whatever fit there is. Somewhere along the line, we just have to make compromises. In the end, it will all come together.

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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    I find carrying a 5" 1911 and a spare magazine concealed OWB both comfortable and comforting for urban self-defense. When I occasionally carry a revolver concealed, it is a 4" Colt or S&W in .357 magnum or a 4" S&W 29-2 .44 magnum OWB with two speed loaders.
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    I'd worry more about the concealment. The comfort comes from knowing your armed and can protect yourself.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetChris View Post
    Just throwing some observations out there. I've found that comfort and concealment, even though somewhat inter-related, require different pistol characteristics.

    A comfortable handgun tends to have the following characteristics:
    1) a narrow slide usually 1 inch or less
    2) light weight. Less than 30 oz loaded for most people but ymmv.
    3) smooth edges and textures on the grip/handle. Most IWB holsters don't shroud the handle to facilitate draw so it tends to dig into your flesh. The smoother the better
    4) barrel length plays a part when you're attempting to sit down or drive for long periods. I've found 4 inches or less offers very little intrusion when trying to sit down
    5) grip thickness affects comfort a little but not appreciably
    Agree with many of these features, that for most folks they can indeed impact comfort. Trouble is, most can be dealt with, with better choices in gear.

    Disagree that a comfortably-carried concealment sidearm must be under 1" in width or even under 30oz. It depends heavily on having a great belt and holster, ones that can spread the load evenly around the curves at that spot, without creating hot spots or "pull" points (points where movements in a given direction are tugged on, resisted, by having that holster+gun at that spot). The right gear can erase most (if not all) issues of discomfort for many (most) folks, compared to inferior choices for that person/shape.

    Disagree that barrel length, by itself, is a comfort issue. It stresses the importance of the right gear even more, yes, but with the right gear and carry mode it needn't be much more difficult to carry, say, a 4" bbl variant of a 2.5" bbl gun. Even a 5" 1911 Government model can be concealed comfortably well, despite having a humongous length to it. BTDT, with a Browning BDM in the 1990's, carrying it quite comfortably for years in spite of the "extreme" length.


    Quote Originally Posted by DetChris View Post
    Concealment somewhat follows the same requirements as comfort but with a few exceptions:
    1) grip texturing, weight and barrel length has a lot less importance for concealment
    2) handle length is THE most important factor in concealment. IMO unless it's a pistol with a 2 finger grip you're going to be prone to printing.
    3) Grip thickness matters for concealment. A narrower grip width helps hide the handle against your body better.

    Slide width (narrower) and pistols grip shape (smoother) benefit both comfort and concealment. You'll print less and feel more comfortable with it inside your waistband and against your skin.
    Agree that the grip size/circumference is the key factor that impacts on concealability. For me, certainly, the curves at the behind 3 o'clock spot on my hip has a quick sweep behind my back that makes for ugly display of the butt of the gun, on any gun that's got a full-sized, larger-circumference grip on it. Example, CZ P-01. But, a great holster choice can alleviate much of the problem, tightly holding the butt-end of the gun into the body, assuming a great belt is what it's riding on. Any lesser belt/holster, though, and it'll show like the dickens, for me.

    Agree on the overall circumference of the grip mattering a lot. IMO, it's one of the reasons a 1911, even a full-sized one, can conceal so well. With fairly narrow grip panels, a "big" 1911 just disappears for many folks, again assuming one has a great holster+belt choice.

    One thing you haven't mentioned is clothing. IMO, clothing selection is the often-forgotten element. Many folks fully expect a holstered gun to magically disappear simply because it's IWB or under a shirt, when that's about as far from the truth as one can get. The right clothing choices can hide most anything. The wrong ones, though, can display even the most-svelte and otherwise concealable choice ... ie, say, a Kahr CW9, or a 1911 Commander with flat-panel grips.

    IMO, it's important to have pants that both have enough IWB room for IWB carry, but also that have the right cut and material to accommodate the sort of movement that added bulk requires. Not all pants are gonna do that. And with shirts, they need to have the right cut to have enough play in the midsection, and be of an appropriate weave/pattern to break up the lines and bulges. With the wrong shirt, it only draws the eyes to the exact bulge, and most folks won't have any problem discerning exactly what that is.
    Snub44 and oldman45 like this.
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    This is a thread where I agree with every comment made.

    All I am going to suggest is go to WalMart (sporting goods section) and purchase a copy of Massad Ayoob's book on concealed carry. It costs $17 but has a world of wealth in information in it about concealed carry, how to find what is right for you in guns, clothes and many other things. As much as he and I agree on things, there are some in the book I disagree with but overall, it is one of the best books I have ever read on concealed carry and something in there will benefit all.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    All I am going to suggest is go to WalMart (sporting goods section) and purchase a copy of Massad Ayoob's book on concealed carry. It costs $17 but has a world of wealth in information in it about concealed carry, how to find what is right for you in guns, clothes and many other things. As much as he and I agree on things, there are some in the book I disagree with but overall, it is one of the best books I have ever read on concealed carry and something in there will benefit all.
    +1

    I have forgotten about that book, but it's a decent one. Lots of great tips, on things to consider when selecting clothing, gear. It's one of the books that got me to change my basic wardrobe with concealed-carry in mind, the one that ensured I chose only high-quality holsters and belts, the one that got me thinking about all the variations on carry modes that might work with my shape/strength/etc. Great book.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Disagree that a comfortably-carried concealment sidearm must be under 1" in width or even under 30oz. It depends heavily on having a great belt and holster, ones that can spread the load evenly ...

    Disagree that barrel length, by itself, is a comfort issue. BTDT, with a Browning BDM in the 1990's, carrying it quite comfortably for years in spite of the "extreme" length.
    Example: While the Browning BDM isn't exactly a "fatty" (width-wise), it's almost 8" OAL, 1.3" wide, 31oz unloaded, with 15+1 mags. Carrying the Gun+mag along with two spare loaded mags, the rig approached 40oz total. Yet, it could almost be forgotten on the hip.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    I'm becoming a big fan of the 1911 as a comfortable and concealable carry piece. That's what I have strapped on right now as I write this. The slenderness of the whole package does wonders for comfort. Mine is a Ruger SR1911 commander. It's almost perfect save the slightly portly weight and longish handle. My next piece has to be a no compromise comfortable concealable piece that shoots well and has ample stopping power.

    My vote goes to a gun like the Kimber Ultra Carry II or Colt Defender. They meet most of the criteria mentioned above yet give up very little in the accuracy and firepower department. That or the Glock 36, which is pretty close in the above requirements too.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetChris View Post
    I'm becoming a big fan of the 1911 as a comfortable and concealable carry piece. That's what I have strapped on right now as I write this. The slenderness of the whole package does wonders for comfort. Mine is a Ruger SR1911 commander. It's almost perfect save the slightly portly weight and longish handle.
    With that gun, what's your specific holster and belt choice? And, are your pants the same pants you had before carrying, or something a couple inches (waist) larger and/or a different cut?
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Distinguished Member Array dben002's Avatar
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    I found (at least for me) the answer to both.......Woot Woot for me right.......

    Summer carry appendix style IWB

    Winter carry under jacket or sweater owb leather holster 3 o'clock....

    all with a Glock-26....comfort and concealment in one package......

    Took a lot of dollars, holsters and time to figure this all out.....but you can do it.....just keep trying......Woot Woot
    There are two types of people who carry concealed weapons...Responsible ones and Irresponsible ones...which are you...

  14. #14
    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    With that gun, what's your specific holster and belt choice? And, are your pants the same pants you had before carrying, or something a couple inches (waist) larger and/or a different cut?
    I have a thick 1.5 inch Galco gun belt and the Galco double time kydex holster. Like so...


    I've changed a little since this picture. I now carry it at an almost perfect 3 o'clock position sometimes 3.15. It's what I have to do to hide the most offensive portion of the gun: the handle. I have to wear baggy dark shirts to hide it even though it's pretty canted and forward.

    I'm not sure if I could do more for weight management. For the better part of the day it doesn't bother me but towards the end I somewhat feel it. I'm more used to carrying polymers. All my pants have 5 belt loops. Not sure if I should start buying ones with more loops.

    My belt has set holes in it too so tightening the belt enough can sometimes be an act in self strangulation because the perfect tension could be between hole placements.

    I still EDC my Glocks but I'm slowly training to carry my 1911 more. It's a great platform.

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    Distinguished Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    Here is what works for me:
    -appendix carry with Glock 27 or 36 (27 more comfortable) using a Fist kydex clip-on holster
    -Smartcarry with Glock 27 or 26 (36 seems easier to draw) very comfortable
    -strongside IWB using a Blade-Tech UCH, (sweat guard and and other "excess" material cut off and adjustment set in place with adhesive) full size 1911 or Glock 38.
    No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!

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