Wearing a concealed handgun effectively and comfortably can pose a challenge for any gun owner. However, concealed carry for big guys, especially if you’re overweight or built larger than average, has its own set of special problems.
You can still carry a concealed handgun for personal protection, but choosing the right holster is essential.
Carry Methods and Positions
There are two basic configurations in waistband holsters: IWB (inside the waistband) and OWB (outside the waistband). You can carry an IWB or OWB holster in several positions, represented by a 12-hour clock face. The most common positions are appendix (12-2 o’clock) and strong side (3-5 o’clock for right-handed shooters).
The appendix position is typically at or beside the navel or belt buckle. If you’re a right-handed shooter, the 2 o’clock position occupies a valley or groove between the front of the abdomen and the hip. Many individuals on the heavier side find this position to be comfortable for IWB because it doesn’t dig into the body. For left-handed shooters, this equates to 10 o’clock.
If you’re overweight or have a pronounced abdomen, AIWB — appendix inside the waistband — may prove difficult.
Between 3 o’clock and 4:30, places the weapon on or behind your right hip. If you’re a southpaw, reverse this — 7:30 to 9 o’clock.
IWB Holsters for Fat Guys: Adjustable, Concealable, and Low Profile
Inside-the-waistband holsters are among the most concealable options available, especially for compact and subcompact firearms. However, if you’re a big guy, you should consider selecting a low profile holster design that won’t conflict with your body type.
When you’re experimenting with holster types, try to sit, stand, crouch, and lean forward at the waist while carrying. These movements can let you know whether the carry method or holster is compatible with your anatomy.
Gun owners with more body mass may find it difficult to acquire a full firing grip on the gun when carrying IWB because there’s less clearance between your body and the gun. You’ll need to practice your draw stroke consistently.
Kydex is a water-resistant thermoplastic that provides a high degree of strength and stiffness. At We The People Holsters, our Kydex holsters are 0.08” thick — less than one-tenth of an inch — to keep bulk to a minimum.
This is important for comfort and proper fit for an IWB holster, where the holster and weapon are located between your body and your waistband.
At the same time, Kydex is exceptionally strong, so the thin material won’t compromise the rigidity or long-term durability of the holster. As our Kydex holsters have adjustable ride height and cant and full sweat guards, you can carry them in a variety of different ways.
The full sweat guard is beneficial in IWB holsters because the holster holds the weapon close to the body. None of the angles are sharply cornered — our holsters have rounded edges to avoid discomfort for big guys.
IWB holsters can be comfortable, but you may need to carry a more compact firearm, especially if you have some extra padding around the midsection. Holding a full-size handgun against your abdomen or hip may not be as comfortable as external types.
Some larger people find kydex to be uncomfortable. Alternatively, if you find Kydex to be too hard against the skin, consider our leather options. Leather holsters mold to your body over time, which can be useful if you find harder materials, such as Kydex, less comfortable.
Our Independence leather holsters use full-grain cowhide — the most durable type of leather available. Two belt clips allow the Independence IWB to attach securely to your gun belt — the same as the Kydex variety. The belt clips are also tuckable if you want to increase concealability without changing your wardrobe.
OWB Holsters for Fat Guys: Comfortable, Versatile, and Accessible
Some of the best concealed carry holsters for fat guys are OWB or outside the waistband.
The reason is simple: You have more space for your handgun and holster due to the external placement. Since the holster is not situated between your pants and your body, you won’t have to wear a larger pant size to make it fit.
Many gun owners also find IWB holsters cause their pants to fit too tightly, and with an OWB holster, you may be able to achieve a full firing grip on the weapon more reliably and faster.
In addition, OWB holsters allow you to carry a full-size handgun more comfortably because you don’t have to worry about the barrel or slide digging into your hip or belly as you bend over or sit down.
Our Kydex OWB holsters use the same shell thickness as our IWB options but feature a paddle design for quick, convenient attachment to your gun belt. The paddle clip has a total of 12 possible positions regarding ride height and cant so that you can set the draw angle according to your preferences.
As with our IWB Kydex models, our OWB holsters use passive, adjustable retention for secure carry and a fast draw, but offer more comfort for big guys.
Our leather Independence line is also available in the outside-the-waistband configuration for increased comfort and speed. Unlike our OWB Kydex holsters, which use a paddle design, the Independence uses a reinforced belt loop and four layers of full-grain leather for a durable, rigid shell.
While this method doesn’t allow for quick, convenient detachment, like the paddle, it provides a stable carry platform and ensures the holster remains secured to your belt. The OWB holster also provides three points of retention for a secure hold.
The primary downside of OWB designs, compared with IWB, is concealability. As the weapon and holster are not partially concealed by the pants and held close to the body, they can print more through clothing. Our Independence model uses a rear tail fin to increase concealability by pulling the gun more tightly against the body to compensate for this.
Lights and Red Dots
If you’re interested in carrying a handgun with a miniature red-dot (MRD) sight, we offer Kydex IWB and OWB holsters with special optics cuts. On the other hand, if your handgun has a weapon-mounted light (WML), such as an Olight or TLR, we offer holsters molded to accept light-equipped weapons.
Find the Right Holsters for Every Body Type
We The People Holsters manufacture highly adaptable holsters suitable for shooters of every shape, size, and body type — even fat guys. Choose from leather or Kydex in IWB or OWB for a perfect, comfortable fit.
All our holsters use passive retention and provide adjustable ride height and cant, allowing you to set the draw angle and height according to your preferences.