Will a "thicker" gun be harder to conceal?

This is a discussion on Will a "thicker" gun be harder to conceal? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Chase2b An employee at the local gun shop said that a gun like the Glock 27 (sub compact) or any double stack ...

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Thread: Will a "thicker" gun be harder to conceal?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    He needs a caliper

    Quote Originally Posted by Chase2b View Post
    An employee at the local gun shop said that a gun like the Glock 27 (sub compact) or any double stack sub compact will imprint more than say a single stack, full size 1911 because the grip is inherently wider.
    I disagree with the employee's comments about grip width. I have a calipers and a variety of guns here, and just measured the grip width on 6 of them. Here are the numbers, from smallest to largest:

    Kahr MK9 (single stack) - 0.97 inches grip width
    Kimber Pro (single stack) with thin Alumagrips - 1.07 inches grip width
    Glock 19 (double stack) - 1.15 inches grip width
    H&K USP40c (double stack) - 1.18 inches grip width
    Sig P229 (double stack) - 1.26 inches grip width
    Colt 1911 (single stack) with standard grip panels - 1.27 inches grip width

    Assuming the employee was referring to a conventional 1911 with standard grip panels, which includes about 95% of all 1911s, the 1911 is the widest of the 6 guns in grip width. The double stack Glock, H&K USP and Sig are all narrower than the 1911.

    The reason for this is that the standard 1911 has very thick grip panels that are screwed onto the frame. When you stack two of them together, on each side of the frame, it adds considerable width to the grip. If you replace them with available "thin" panels, you knock about 0.20 inches off total grip thickness and bring it down to 1.07 inches, as shown above with the Kimber Pro having thin Alumagrips. But since the employee didn't specify thin panels, I have to assume that he was referring to the very wide grip on a conventional 1911.

    But if you really want thin, it is hard to beat the Kahr models, or maybe the new Walther PPS 9mm gun.

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  3. #2
    Member Array Chase2b's Avatar
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    Will a "thicker" gun be harder to conceal?

    An employee at the local gun shop said that a gun like the Glock 27 (sub compact) or any double stack sub compact will imprint more than say a single stack, full size 1911 because the grip is inherently wider. He feels it is NOT the length of the gun but the thickness that makes it harder to conceal. I don't know if he means imprinting or concealling. Because wearing a double stack in OWB will definately stick out more than a slimmer design. But IWB you would think that your body would "absorb" some of the extra thickness.
    I have a Para .45 single stack (compact) and sometimes carry a Beretta Tomcat .32. Believe it or not, although the Tomcat is lighter, the Para imprints less because of the slimmer design. The Tomcat is single stack but has a thicker grip. Carrying it strong side you can really see the outline.
    Is this true?

  4. #3
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    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    Both dimensions play a role, but I will say a thicker gun is less comfortable to carry.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  5. #4
    Member Array huntemup's Avatar
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    Kind of depends on your body shape also. I can conceal a full size 1911 better than a XD sub-compact, it just blends better on my frame. Some guys with a little extra around the middle don't care for full size 1911's. Love handles push grip away from the body causing the grip to print. All depends on your body, where you wear the holster, the cant of the weapon, and what you are comfortable with. Just alot of trial and error for each person. The holster and belt make a huge difference. Just try several things and you'll find what works for you.

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    Ex Member Array Creature's Avatar
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    I would agree with him...a thicker gun is harder for me to conceal under a shirt.

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    As already stated...lots of variables, but in comparing Glock as an example, I felt that the 'brick' feel was not comfortable for me using IWB, but the G-36 (single stack) which IS thinner, works very well in my IWB holster...my G-36 is about the same (for comfort and concealment) as my Kimber Ultra...OMO

    Yes, thinner is better...for me, but your results may differ...
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Will a "thicker" gun be harder to conceal?
    Depends on your size and shape, mostly, and the quality of your carry gear (belt, holster).

    The size and shape of your butt, your hip, your torso, and where you carry it all matter greatly. All things equal, yes it will be tougher to conceal. An original 1911, definitely full-size in length, can easily be concealed on the frame of most folks given how flat it lays. Same with my Browning BDM, which is as flat as they come for a full-sized pistol. Same with the Walther PPS, several of the Kahr pistols, and a few others. With a great belt and leather holster, any of these can generally be held tightly and closely to the body. Thicker makes it tougher, yes.
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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    it depends on a lot of things, but i can tell you that it is fairly hard for me to conceal a gun because of my body type wearing just a tshirt (since even the loosest girl tshirts are tighter than any guys).
    I can conceal my friends full size 1911 with his thin grips better than my mini 1911 with normal grips. it really does make a huge difference. but it also depends a lot on the holster and where it holds the gun as well

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    Member Array mj40p's Avatar
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    Dress around the gun. Buy shirts 1 size larger than you normally wear. I carry a full size .40 Baby Eagle in an owb pancake style holster under an extra large untucked shirt. Nobody knows it's there.

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    The term "IMprinting", is a misspeak refering to printing. IME, fat guns like glocks and XDs are harder to conceal than 1911s. Slide length is a distant second to frame size in terms of concealment. I have an easier time concealing a GM 1911, than a G30. The G36 is about the best compromise if you must carry a glock, but you lose a round vs a 1911 Commander size. If you think 7rds is plenty, an OACP is at least as easy to conceal as the glock.
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    I thought an XD-Subcompact would of been fine for CCW. It felt uncomfortable and traded it in for Kimber Ultra Carry II SS. Much more comfy IMO. I think my full size 1911 would be more comfortable than the XD was.

    BTW: Anyone with a Tactical/Service model XD and a Sub Compact should measure the slide width. I noticed my Tactical was thinner as soon as I took out the Sub-Compact with just a quick visual, measured both with a digital caliper and sure enough.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ping Ping View Post
    The term "IMprinting", is a misspeak refering to printing. IME, fat guns like glocks and XDs are harder to conceal than 1911s.
    To say nothing of the imprint left, from such larger pistols.

    I've carried both a Browning BDM and a CZ P01, so I can say with absolute honesty that "imprint" can be the correct term, with a larger/wider gun.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    I'm thinking about buying a G23 for CC, which I use to carry a G26, but didn't like the short grip. Wasn't enough for me to grip and be accurate when shooting. I could however conceal the "fat" Glock pretty well, and I was still wearing the same sized shirts I always wore. I'm still debating on getting the G23 or maybe a Commander 1911.
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    New Member Array Choclabman's Avatar
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    The thickness of a pistol really gets to me.
    I tried to carry, a G30 for several days. Even in a VM2, the thickness was annoying to me.
    On the other hand, I can carry a TRS in a VM2 and never think twice.

  16. #15
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    Even though your measurements say the 1911 is "thicker" at the grip there are other things in those measurements to consider. The 1911 frame for instance is actually quite thin. The only thickness comes when you measure at the center of the grips. What you may not take into account though is that most of the 1911 grips taper to the edges slightly, meaning that the entire grip isn't the same measurement as the thickest point at the vertical center line. On something like say a Glock though...the grip is just as thick at the edges as it is at the center, giving them that annoyingly(well, to me anyway) thick, boxy grip that tends to stick out darn near everywhere.
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