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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.
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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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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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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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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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.


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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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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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?
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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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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.
 

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When I first got my CHL, I wasn't prepared at all.

I had a couple guns that I wanted to carry but only had one holster, no dedicated gun belt and jeans that were normal waist size. In the end, I found myself going off unarmed as "comfortable" was definitely over riding "comforting." I came to the realization that I didn't go thru the class and the background checks and the money spent...just to go back to what I was used too, which was being unarmed. Things had to change.

I traded off a couple guns that I never shot and bought a couple that were more easily concealed. Then I started really researching holsters as I didn't want to have the ever present "box-o-holsters" that so many talk about...then I went out and bought several pairs of jeans/pants that were 2" larger in the waist and then I picked up one of those reinforced Wilderness belts that didn't cost an arm and a leg and I didn't have to wait 2-3 months for...that was also 2" longer than my normal belt length. The great thing about the Wilderness belt, it doesn't use holes. You cinch it up and then it Velcro's down; very quick, sturdy and convenient. I also like to wear a tighter fitting t-shirt in between the holster and my body under a loose fitting over garment. I don't like the feel of a holster against my skin...it bothers me.

I have 6 guns that I have holsters for, but that doesn't mean that I carry a different gun everyday. For the most part...I find single stacks more comfortable, but if I'm going to sacrifice capacity, I like to have the power to offset that.

1. SP101 revolver in Garrett Silent Thunder. I wear it at around 3-3:30 and it's a very comfortable rig.
2. Dan Wesson CBOB 1911 in a Milt Sparks Summer Special IWB. Also very comfortable but has a tendency to pinch my hind quarters when I sit in my car...which can be irritating.
3. Sig P239 357Sig in a Crossbreed ST. Works extremely well and is very comfortable in any situation. Probably my favorite carry rig.
4. M&P Shield 9mm in a DeSantis Sof-Tuck. This holster can be adjusted with a forward cant for waist carry or can be adjusted in two different ways to accommodate AIWB.
5. Walther PPK in a cheap Blackhawk IWB (for now). This gun is a 380 and I only carry it when I am running to the store and just want to slip something in my belt quickly. I'll get a better holster for it, but for now, it works for what I use it for. The PPK is so thin that it doesn't matter if I'm wearing my oversized jeans or not...it'll fit in my waistband.
6. S&W 442 .38 revolver in a Mika pocket holster. It's my cargo shorts pocket carry rig and works very well.

Right now I'm using my P239 rig for when I want to waist carry, my Shield rig is a dedicated AIWB setup and the PPK is for my quick grab and go gun. Now that I have a G23 with a G27 on the way...I'm about to change things up a bit. I have another hybrid holster coming from Theis holsters that will accommodate both the G23 and G27 in an IWB role...and a Garrett Silent Thunder Slim appendix rig that will carry the G27 in AIWB.

Anyway...this is what works for me and it works well.
 

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Carrying a gun is just like a lot of other things in life - a decision full of a bunch of compromises.
 

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I can carry a g20sf just as easy as a g23.. But what do I carry most of the time.....a smith 642 with no lock....I like comfort with my carry....
 
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