What’s up, my fellow big dude kings?
Today we are talking all about concealed carry and how to do so efficiently as a big dude.
We have our own challenges, and I think we need to address them.
As big dudes, we either have cultivated mass around our waist or sprouted like trees into the heavens — or, as is my case, both.
That presents some unique challenges when we start packing a pistol.
So, we’re going to look at the three big issues big dudes see with concealed carry…concealment, access, and comfort.
We’ll discuss the challenges (and advantages) to each and I’ll also give you some tips on how I navigate each.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Concealment for Big Guys
Concealing a firearm presents a challenge to most people regardless of weight, height, gender, and body composition.
The big difference is the challenges they face.
The challenges I face as a 270-pound, 6-foot-5-inch dude are a lot different than the challenges my five-foot-five-inch tall 110-pound wife faces.
For big guys, finding clothes that fit while also allowing you to conceal a firearm can prove tricky.
At my height, in particular, a 2XL shirt becomes a crop top when I raise my arms above my chest or even when I shrug my shoulders a good bit.
Even while carrying appendix or IWB, the grip of the gun is exposed when I move my arms at all.
That’s why, outside the waistband carry tends to be friendly for us of the bigger persuasion.
People are less likely to notice bulges and gun shapes when they are attached to someone who sits on the large side of life.
On the other hand, with OWB, you need a shirt long enough to conceal the entire firearm rather than just the grip of the pistol.
It’s critical to find shirts that are baggy and long enough to conceal your handgun, regardless of how you carry it.
When I found a good brand of tall shirts, I bought a ton of them because they conceal my handgun regardless of how I move.
The Carhartt Workwear short sleeve t-shirts come in tall sizes and are perfect for concealed carry.
I also stick to patterned shirts, flannels in particular. Patterns break up the shape or outline of the gun, especially when carrying a big ole OWB gun.
Dixxon flannels make tall sizes, and they freakin’ rule!
Concealed carry shirts from 5.11 Tactical are also a rock-solid choice.
5.11 Tactical designs its shirts a little baggier around the midsection which helps conceal a gun.
Accessing the Gun
Access with outside the waistband carry is never an issue. It’s intuitive, fast, and easy.
Most people say the same about IWB and AIWB.
Big guys know better.
Accessing your gun from an IWB or appendix position is not always easy for big guys. Your access becomes compromised by that spare tire wrapped around your midsection.
The fact is, when you are packing a firearm IWB, you deal with your mass smashing itself against your gun.
When I was at my heaviest, my thumbnail would scrape the hell out of my waist as I tried to establish a good firing grip.
My stomach would press against the gun and make it almost impossible to establish the firing grip necessary to effectively draw the gun.
That means big dudes must be more selective in their holster choice and position.
When it comes to finding the right holster, you want to stay away from hybrid designs.
Don’t get me wrong — they are super comfortable. But, that soft, malleable portion is pushed against the gun and makes it even more difficult to draw your firearm.
I prefer an all-polymer holster — be it Kydex, Bolatron, etc. Personally, I love the PHLster Floodlight for big guy IWB carry.
It offers tons of room for adjustment and allows you to configure the holster for your body type.
After that, I’d advise you to test your angles.
If your body is a clock, your 12 o’clock is your centerline, right at your belly button.
With the clock in mind, there are three positions that work best for big guys.
These are your 2, 3, and 5 o’clock positions for right-handed carriers and your 10, 9, and 7 o’clock positions for left-handed shooters.
The 2 (or 10, for you lefties) o’clock position provides a little slot between the belly and the love handles…more of a slightly compromise appendix carry position.
Here you can place a holster without that extra mass getting in the way of your draw.
The 3 (or 9) o’clock position is the traditional strong side IWB.
This works well for big guys because their hips push the holster a little bit away from the body which makes it easy to assume a good firing grip on the gun.
It’s the least concealed IWB position, but as a big guy, people are always less likely to notice lumps and bumps along the body.
The rear 5 (or 7) o’clock position puts the weapon behind your hip almost exactly where your lower back dips inward.
This small dip allows you to get your hand around the gun and draw it quite easily.
However, it takes a big movement to reach the 5 o’clock position — there is no subtle way to do it.
Also, it’s not the fastest means to draw your gun and can be compromised by how you sit.
Not to mention, it’s especially difficult for big dudes in normal-sized vehicles. That center console seems a whole lot bigger as you draw your gun.
That said, it conceals easily in this position and allows you to hide your weapon rather well.
What’s really important is that you practice a lot.
Not just carrying the gun, but accessing it in various positions. Learn what works best for your body type.
Us big kings are a diverse bunch, and what works for me might not work for you by any means.
Let’s Make It Comfortable
Last and actually least is comfort.
I put comfort at the bottom of the list because concealment and access are much more important than comfort.
Uncomfortable things suck, but if I can conceal and access the firearm, then I feel confident in my carry option.
That doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to provide comfort for tall and wide kings.
First, get a good belt…specifically, a belt made for concealed carry. (We have some suggestions here!)
Crossbreed, Caltech, Magpul, Bravo Concealment, and many more make stiff belts aimed at concealed carry.
Invest in a quality gun belt, and you’ll increase your comfort regardless of how you carry.
Next, while you can carry a large gun easier, you might not want to. A full-sized handgun is a competent fighting weapon, but it can dig in and grit and grind at you.
Especially something with an aggressively textured grip. (*cough* CZ P10 series *cough*)
With appendix rigs, the best way to ensure you have a comfortable carry experience is to utilize a good holster.
A good holster gives you the ability to adjust for both height and cant. It also, preferably, comes equipped with a claw to provide better access while being comfortable.
Don’t forget you can always add a wedge made of foam to your holster to help with both comfort and concealment.
For IWB or OWB, I do like a nice sweat guard. A sweat guard guards your gun against…well, sweat. It also keeps your belly from pushing its way to the gun.
Having your stomach rub against the steel of your slide is not comfortable by any means.
What About Other Holster Options?
We’ve been focusing mainly on waist holsters as these are the safest, most efficient, and accessible holsters on the market.
They are also the most common holsters out there.
You might be asking, what about other holster options, though?
When I was at my largest, the most comfortable position for me to carry was a shoulder holster.
You need a good shoulder holster, though, not a crappy nylon one.
As a big guy, you can conceal a shoulder rig under your arm without creating a big bulge by any means. It’s also comfortable and accessible, especially when seated.
I used to drive a ton at a job I had years ago, so a shoulder holster was the perfect choice for use in my small company vehicle.
When you wear a shoulder holster, nothing around my wide waist can pin the gun in an inaccessible way.
It’s the only way outside of OWB, IWB, and appendix carry I’d suggest for concealed carry.
But again, DO NOT SKIMP on a shoulder holster. Spend the money, or you’ll feel it.
Concealed carry as a bigger guy doesn’t have to feel impossible. It all centers on finding a good holster, the right on body placement, and investing in a good belt to pull it all together.
At my heaviest, I weighed 335 pounds, and after I lost 55 pounds, I found that concealing a firearm got much easier.
I know that’s not easy, quick, or possible for everyone, though, so hopefully, the above tips help you carry in the now.