Concealed Carry For Fat Guys?
Yeah, I went there and you can't be mad at me for it because I'm a little plump myself. How plump? How many 300 pound people do you know? If you don't know any, that's roughly what I weigh. Granted, I'm also 6'4″ so I hide it better than most, but I consider myself fat and my doctor has gone as far as to say that I'm classified as “obese II.” He, no joke, thinks I'm about to keel over and die just because of my weight.
While I feel that's a little harsh, I see where he's coming from. I'm a big dude. But, I'm a big dude who can conceal a full-size gun on my body whenever I so desire, and nobody even knows it's there. I've even concealed a Coonan Classic 1911 chambered in .357 Magnum in a Brave Response Holster before I worked here.
But before we get to the “how” part of concealed carry for fat guys, let me discuss the “why.”
Why am I doing this article on concealed carry for fat guys?
Well, for one, I have my ear to the ground like a Native American in an old Western flick. I pay attention to the questions people have because it's my job to answer them. ConcealedCarry.com is the one stop shop for all things concealed carry-related. Period.
Recently, I've been seeing people asking this very question. “I'm a big guy, how do I conceal a firearm?” To start, I always dress around my gun.
Type of gun:
The first consideration that you need to take into account is the type of gun you want to wear. Yes, I said “wear.” You may disagree with this sentiment, but I look at it as if it's a piece of clothing that I put on in the morning and take off at night. It's always there, even while I'm at home. While it's not technically a piece of clothing, it's a tool, I still treat it that way. But I also train with it so when the time comes I'm ready.
Anyway, I'm getting off point … all too often do I see and hear of folks who choose the wrong thing first. Meaning, they choose their holster or clothing before they choose the gun they're going to carry. What this looks like often times is a dude has a few different handguns. Even though he shoots one better he may not carry it because he can't conceal it as well.
Here's the deal, the gun is the thing you're going to whip out in defense of your life. Yeah, the other stuff has to work and we'll get to that, but the most important aspect is that you've got a gun that you're confident in carrying.
What does that confidence look like? You can shoot it accurately, and you've practiced with it a lot. You know how to clear malfunctions if you experience any, can reload it, draw it from your holster, get on target, etc.
What does this mean? Listen, if you shoot a Glock 19 better than you shoot a Glock 43 because the 19 fits your hand better, why would you want to compromise that? Are you willing to compromise your life just because you can conceal the G43 better? I'm not, which is why I carry an FNS9-C on most occasions. It's a bit bigger than what the rest of the guys carry here at our company, but I shoot it very well. Why would I carry my Sig 938 if I don't shoot it as well?
You basically have 3 options:
- Carry the gun you shoot better than the rest, even if it's harder to conceal.
- Carry the gun you don't shoot well because it's easier to conceal.
- Learn how to shoot the gun that conceals better to the point that you are confident with it.
Type of holster:
The type of holster you buy is the next most important thing, at least it is to me. You want something that not only conceals your gun well, but is safe. We touch a lot on different kinds of holsters in this article, so I'll leave it at that and just say that you do want to choose something that you can use to conceal your gun that is also safe, meaning that there is no chance that you'll have a discharge while holstering and that it is made of a decent material.
Concealed Carry Clothing Considerations:
This is where it can get tricky. There are tons of options out there for concealed carry clothing. Also, while I know that there are a few guys who wear this type of clothing, I do not. My main goal in life is to try and fit in as much as possible.
Remember, if I was in a room with 20 people I'd be bigger than 19 of them. What this means, is that I'm already attracting attention to myself based on my size, alone. Throw some tactical looking concealed carry pants in the mix, or funky looking shirts and I'm made.
Because my goal is to fit in as much as possible, I wear regular clothes that you can get at WalMart or one of the other big box stores. I'm a regular jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, and about the most tactical I get is cargo pants/shorts. That's it.
And, I wear them out of comfort because I have little kids who always need me to hold their crap. I hate holding crap. There have been numerous occasions where I'm walking somewhere with Barbie Doll legs sticking up out of my cargo shorts.
People take a look, laugh to themselves or shake their heads, and it never even occurs to them that I've got a gun on my hip.
Here's another thing that many people don't think about when they're getting into buying concealed carry clothing: It's expensive.
Sure, a shirt may be 50 bucks, which, by itself isn't too bad. But, there are seven days in a week. 50X7 is $350 that you're going to spend just on shirts. Of course, this implies that you're taking your training seriously, as you should, and are training with your regularly-worn clothing.
When you take into account that I'm already shopping at the Big and Tall department, and more fabric costs more money, I stick with what I can get out in town, and I practice with it. I can buy a t-shirt on the clearance rack in the big dude department for 10 bucks–and there's nothing tactical about it.
But, seriously, do what works for you here. If you like those clothes, by all means, do it. Just make sure you've got enough of them so that you can actually defend yourself properly should the need arise.
Concealed Carry For Fat Guys, Holster Positioning:
I have a lot of weight in the front. My stomach is where most people tell my weight is, and that's fine. I'm a big dude.
But, what this means, is that appendix carry ain't happening. I've never been able to find one that did work. I gave the Urban Carry G2 a try, and while I was able to conceal it, it was really hard to get out and around my belly.
I have one of the Alien Gear Appendix holsters for my Sig Sauer P938 and while I can wear that one, draw the gun, and even sit with the holster on it doesn't conceal at all and sticks out. I look like I've got an abnormal growth up front, which is totally counter-intuitive since that growth looks like a gun.
I've tried a JM4 Tactical in the appendix position, and the butt of my grip jabbed my stomach. I will say that I wear their High Ride holster in the 5 o'clock position, though.
The whole, “don't appendix carry because you'll shoot yer junk off” argument doesn't hold any weight. If I could carry that way, I would because if done properly, it's the easiest method to conceal a gun, and the hardest for someone else to steal your gun.
When I say “appendix carry” by the way, I mean from 12 to 2:30 for right handed people, and opposite that for you lefties. I've tried them all and cannot get it to work.
3 o'clock —
This position inside the waistband (IWB) is almost always comfortable. But, there are some difficulties concealing here because the gun sticks out so far. After all, this is usually the widest part of the body. This is amplified if you're rounded in shape. I'm not rounded because I'm so tall, but I have been able to pick out a few apple-shaped dudes wearing a gun because of their shape alone.
Something that may help a bit is if you purchase a holster with a wedge or claw that'll help push the butt of the gun into your side a bit more.
5 o'clock —
This is one of my favorite positions as a fat guy who conceals a gun on his body. Reason being, at least for me, the way I'm shaped helps me hide the gun here. My shirt just happens to drape over the gun and does not fit on it snugly. Because of this, unless I bend over, which I'm very careful to bend at the legs and not the hips for this reason, nobody will see it.
I have a few holsters that I use in this position. As I stated earlier, I like the JM4 Tactical, specifically the High Ride. I also really like the Black Point Wing holster and the LAG Tactical Defender as far as Kydex holsters are concerned.
I know I may lose some of you on this one, but hear me out. Pocket carry is totally viable with certain gun/holster combos and just as long as you're confident with your gun of choice, is doable. I pocket carry either my snubby revolver or my Sig P938 on a semi-regular basis. Heck, I even carry a backup gun sometimes with this method.
Cross draw, small of back, ankle carry, and shoulder are really going to be hit or miss depending on your body type. If your belly is too big, you may not be able to reach to your other side in a cross draw. If your arms are too short, you may not be able to reach around in small of back. You may not be able to get down to reach your ankle, so on and so forth.
At the end of the day, concealed carry for fat guys is not much different than the issues other people face. We all have to work through holster issues, clothing problems, practicing, and just plain old figuring out what's going to work for each of us as individuals. If you're a big guy and you think you've got it rough, you should see some of the issues small, skinny people have. Talk about not having anywhere to conceal your gun. What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.