Concealed Carry for the "BIG GUY"
by Rolf Peterson - USCCA Member
There is a great deal of concealment
holsters and specialty equipment out there for what I will call the average
man, but what about us big guys and gals? What is a man or women of size to
do if he or she wishes to carry and can't seem to find anything out there
that seems to work? I am a very big guy 6'5" 350 + lbs, and carrying a
firearm is a challenge for several reasons. The most significant issue is
picking a holster or concealment device that can be used effectively and
safely buy the person wearing it. What seems to work for your 150 lb friend
is quite possibly not going to work for you if you are a big person. I have
worn many different holsters over the years, and as I became a larger man
many of these holsters needed to be passed on to others of the smaller
stature. It is not impossible to carry a weapon if you are a big man or
women, you must be smart and insist on holsters and accessories that
accommodate your size properly and safely.
I have found that reinforced IWB holsters work best for me, and can be accessed better and conceal much better for me due to my size. FBI style concealment style holsters (worn outside the waist band) can often be designed to ride much too high for a person who is thick around the waist which can cause safety issues when attempting to draw or re-holster your weapon. Bulges around our waist area can be seen by the public often due to our waist line pushing out on the firearm against your shirt or coat. As a bigger person, it is up to you to do the right thing and get the proper equipment to protect yourself and those around you.
Thunderwear has worked for me as well, but pants and belts must be set up properly to allow effective and safe retrieval and re-holster of your weapon. If you have a very large stomach, this may not be a good option for you. There are some manufacturers of concealment pants out there that offer some plus sized options. www.magills.com is one of many places that have such larger sizes. I have had some great luck with some of these pants with internal deep pockets to carry your weapon in. A very large stomach may make this a bit challenging, but possibly something to consider. When I choose to wear an inside the pants type holster, the pants were purchased at a minimum one size larger than I normally wear, and are relaxed cut. Wearing tight jeans as a big man or women is prohibitive to an inside the waste band carry method.
Shoulder rigs are not a great option for obese people, as the reach and re-holster is very limited and not safe. A person must be able to properly conceal the firearm, draw the weapon without difficulty and re-holster safely.
Cross carry bags, and fanny packs work well, for us larger people, but will require proper placement on the belt or shoulder for long term comfort. Often times the waste band on these models must be made larger by a leather repair professional. Professional shoe repair shops can make these easy modifications for you.
I am hopeful this short informational article has raised some thought for us larger folks. Please feel free to bring your recommendations forward for others to hear and see.
Please be very careful not to sacrifice safety and security when making your selections in holsters and carry method, try it before you buy it if at all possible.
Be safe out there!
Tim SchmidtFounder - U.S. Concealed Carry