Welcome back to another Thursday Concealed Carry Corner article. Last week we talked about the best size for concealed carry guns and if you’d like to check it out, the link is here. While reviewing the P226 XFIVE that dropped a few days ago, I decided to give carrying it concealed a try just to see what it was like. During my time carrying that 46oz gun, I became uncomfortable and fussy as the day went on to the point where I actually took it off my belt and laid it on my desk. The fatigue fully set in and I started thinking about all the people who claim to carry Glock 34 with lights and red dots every day with no issue. Let’s take a closer look at large handguns vs carry fatigue.
The Biggest Factor
The biggest issue concealed carriers face when deciding on a carry gun is weight. Weight is the sworn enemy of someone who wants to carry a defensive handgun for concealed carry. Having a full-size steel frame handgun on your belt can add stress to your hips and throw off how your belt starts to ride in your pants. There’s been more than one occasion, I’ve had uncomfortable rubbing on my front left hip from the pressure of a heavy gun riding on my right hip. There are definitely a few different ways of combating heavy carry guns and the weight that comes with them.
One of the most effective ways to give you added support is to have a sturdy gun belt. When looking at gun belts, my favorite way to check how sturdy a belt can be is by trying to fold the belt in half so each of the ends can touch the other. If the top and bottom sections can touch each other, then I would look elsewhere. If the belt is rigid with no flex then it’s a great candidate to be a gun belt. Shoulder holsters are another option but even those can cause back pain and strain with the disproportionate weight balance in the holster. Even with two spare magazines on the other side, having a 40-50oz firearm can add more pressure on one shoulder than the other causing discomfort as the day goes on.
Consider Fatigue When Carrying
Fatigue is a very real issue when looking at concealing a defensive handgun. I can already tell some of you are scoffing at my claim saying you can carry a pair of full-size government 1911s all day with ease. One of my favorite guns to carry is my P226 Elite along with my Glock 17/45. Both typically have a SureFire X300A Ultra which not only adds size but weight as well. For running errands or having on for less than 4 hours, it’s absolutely possible to carry either of these options for a long period of time.
After about 7 or 8 hours, having a large framed handgun can really start to be uncomfortable. This leads to shifting and fidgeting around which brings attention to the fact you’re carrying a gun. The vast majority of people out in the world won’t notice, but it only takes once to land you in trouble by someone calling the police. At the end of the day, the heavier a firearm is the less time you can comfortably carry it even if you have a good belt and holster. Anything over 40oz is typically comfortable from 2-4 hours and if your handgun is 25-40oz then you’ll oftentimes be comfortable anywhere up to 8 hours depending on your setup and what you’re doing.
Anything lighter than 25oz shouldn’t really be an issue to carry all day for most people out there. Having a rough timeframe in your head will help you determine if you’ll be comfortable with the gun you pick for the day. Everyone is different but if you have an easier gun to conceal, the chances of you actually carrying your gun goes up drastically.
What’s The Solution?
Some of you may be thinking right now that I’m completely against carrying heavier large framed handguns. When it comes to my personal carry gun, I’m about as old school as you can get. I have multiple metal framed guns I carry on a regular basis but in the words of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Having a heavy metal frame pistol as a concealed carry gun can be comforting at times and I oftentimes love carrying something substantial but over a full day, it can really start to wear you down.
I will typically have a few summer options for carry as well as a few carry guns for colder months. This gives me a wide variety of handgun sizes depending on if I have to run out to the store or head out for an all-day event. Having a good gauge of what you plan on doing is the biggest factor in deciding on the gun. Some argue it’s best to find a midsize or compact firearm to just carry all the time and that’s certainly an option. Others like to mix up carry guns and that’s perfectly fine,it’s just best to have a plan before strapping on a bulky heavy firearm with plans on carrying it for 8-10 hours.
It’s always easy to claim you can carry any sort of handgun with no problem, but in the reality, even with the proper tools, it can become uncomfortable given the overall weight and amount of time you carry it. Plenty of people find themselves uncomfortable over time and with enough experience as well as the right gear it’s definitely avoidable. One of the best tips I can give is to have a rough time estimate for guns depending on weight just to make sure you don’t overdo it with your firearm choice. Some of you will disagree with me and that’s perfectly fine but this system allows me to carry large firearms without feeling discomfort throughout the day.
What do you guys think about carrying large firearms and carry fatigue? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’m really interested to see what you guys have to say so don’t be afraid to hop in and leave your thoughts. If you have questions about carry fatigue or firearms in general, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you guys next week.