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Do I Need Bigger Pants For Concealed Carry – And How to Maximize the Space


Pant size is certainly a touchy subject for many Americans, especially with the holiday season right around the corner, but while this article is going to talk about perhaps going up in pant size, we guarantee it will not be caused by a health detriment. Quite the contrary, this article is talking about going up in pant size and how it could help expand your lifespan.

Concealed carry usually means that you're going to have to spring for a holster, and quite often that holster is going to be an IWB (Inside the Waistband) style holster.

Now, physics simply states that when you add matter to a space, it's going to take up that space, so the simple answer is yes, a pants adjustment will be necessary for concealed carry. Adding inches to your pants will make them fit differently and picking the correct sized pants can be a difficult process to perfect. Partly due to the fact that there's no source that has given any guidelines of what to expect with the IWB addition. We are hoping this will change that. Lets take a look at a new measurement system that we came up with called the WDM or Waistband Displacement Measurement.



Picture yourself standing in the department store looking at what new pants you're going to have to buy for your new addition to the waistline. You're probably just figuring that “close enough” is good enough, and I would guess that you are likely to just pick something a little bit bigger in order to be done with the process. However, there is a lot more to it than that. There is no pant size for someone who is 34×32+Glock 17. Plus, a Glock 17 is only one type of gun that you could be carrying around. What you would need is a measurement system to know just how much space your new holster and firearm are going to take up so that you can avoid guessing and checking and stop wasting your time.

Here is Rough formula to calculate Waistline Displacement:

= ((Width of gun at greatest point X 3.14 x 2) +  (Height of gun X .3)) X .2

*There are a lot of minor factors that vary from firearm to firearm but without making the math ridiculously painful this will get you within a tenth of an inch on any semi-automatic

measuring size of pants for concealed carry

Displacement for Glock 17: 1.4375 inches

Displacement for Glock 43: 1.1875 inches

Difference between the Glock 17 and 43 is .25 inches

Also consider that placement on the body can influence the size of pants you have to buy relative to WDM. If you carry in the small of back for example there is more flexibility on the waistband there and potentially a gap of space at the exact center of your back that the firearm can fill… thus requiring less addition to the waistline of the pants. Compare that to carrying the firearm on your strong side at 3 o'clock (or 6 o'clock if you are left handed). On your hip the waistline is generally tighter and the bone is less forgiving than your stomach or back and you will likely need to buy pants to allow for the full displacement.

There are some additional things that could change the WDM, and I'm talking about holsters here. It isn't a safe practice to have a gun just sitting by its lonesome in your belt. There's a lot of different holster types and materials that can affect the WDM. Kydex is a very rigid material for example. That will cause some bumps and crevices, each of which will add to the WDM. Leather, sort of along the same lines, is a thicker material. While it won't cause as many ridges to form, the overall mass of the holster itself can add even more space to the pants, causing a higher WDM. Canvas materials are going to cause the least amount of displacement. Canvas tends to be strong, but also very thin and flexible, unlike leather and Kydex. This will help in minimizing waistband displacement.

Now for a hit of hard reality. I've never been to the store and seen a pair of pants with a waist size of 35.4375 inches. So perhaps this whole article is of little practical use. For about any firearm you are planning on carrying around you should probably just buy pants that are two inches bigger… HOWEVER this does lead us to a more important and practical thought:


In calculating and learning about waistline displacement, the most important takeaway or lesson is relative to the extra (and generally wasted) space in the waistband. Look at the below picture and note wasted space that is created immediately in front of and behind the gun. That short distance in which the waistline has to come off the body and travel to and from the gun creates two gaps.


Personally, leaving a gap, where something useful and potentially life saving could go is ridiculous, but I do understand that there is going to be a difference of opinion regarding what else should go along with your firearm in your belt line. The two most obvious choices to fill that space are a spare magazine and/or flashlight… but HOW to leverage the gaps?


holster-spare magazine

Luckily, there is a holster that can do that. If anything that has been mentioned in this article has rang true for somebody out there, I'd like you to take a look at this: The Brave Response Holster. For those people who have had an issue with pant sizing or with wasted space, this wonderful holster takes a good bite out of the problems you have faced.

The Brave Response Holster has three utility pouches primarily designed for spare magazines. Two of these are directly in front of  the gun and the third is directly behind the gun allowing you to leverage the gaps left by the gun. If you previously would not have considered carrying spare ammo now you can do so guilt free and if you were already carrying a spare magazine on your weak side you can save about an inch in your waistline by moving to the Brave Response Holster.


You should also be able to see in that image, the fact that there is hardly any wasted space on that waistline. You've got your extra magazines, a tactical flashlight, and your firearm itself. Not this huge gap of air that's only letting through a nice cross breeze, instead of holding onto something that can enhance your safety.

So do you need bigger pants for concealed carry? Yes. It's likely you knew that or assumed it before even reading this article. How much space do you need, though? That you may not have known, but you certainly will now, with our Waistband Displacement Measurement. You'll also hopefully be aware of the amount of space that a lot of people are wasting with their holsters and current set-ups. Hopefully now, you'll also know that there is a solution to that wasted space in the Brave Response Holster.

Click here for more information on the best holster you'll ever own. 


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8 Responses to Do I Need Bigger Pants For Concealed Carry – And How to Maximize the Space

  1. Rodney Eden March 30, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    Awesome info that most of us do not pay attention to. Easy for a first timer to buy a holster then when it comes time to arm up can’t figure out why someone forgot to tell the its impossible to button their pants.
    I have carried for years but was one of those first timers. Never gave it a thought until the time to carry arrived then it was like oh oh what now luckily I had a outside belt clip on.
    One thing folks might think about is a pants stretcher. Yeah no joke, I ordered one on line and wow did it work. I mostly wear jeans and that strecter will give you up to two extra inches at the waist and does not damage the integrity of the jeans. This item sure beats buying a new wardrobe.
    Hope this helped some of you.

  2. Andrew March 31, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    I did go up a size, from 34 to 36, and then my 36 pants started feeling tight… time to work out more… 🙂

  3. Ron May 5, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    I wear mine outside pants but inside the belt, the gun is between the pants and belt. Long Shirt conceals it well and is more comfortable then next to the skin.

  4. duane baier August 9, 2017 at 8:25 am #

    Whst about a revolver like a snub nose 38. Does the measurements work the same

    • Jacob Paulsen August 9, 2017 at 8:26 am #

      Yes, should work the exact same way.

  5. Craig August 12, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    Looks a little sloppy around the trigger guard from the photo. How secure is the trigger guard area with this more flexible holster? Any chance the trigger can be moved by external forces on the holster?

    • Jacob Paulsen August 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      The trigger area is strongly reinforced. We’ve sold about 40,000 of these and never had a single customer express any concern with the holsters protection around the trigger and trigger guard.

  6. BC October 21, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    I buy pants with elastic in the waistline. This extra stretch allows for a decent fit with an added conceal carry.

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