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How and Why To Carry A Full Sized Gun

Like many, the revolution of compact carry guns has not been lost on me. I own a surprising number of these little guns and appreciate them in certain circumstances. However, whenever I possibly can I prefer a full sized handgun for concealed carry, or at the least a ‘compact’ handgun. Compact meaning a CZ P10C, a Glock 19, or any other double stack, semi-automatic handgun that holds more than say 12 rounds. To many, this seems like a bit much, and something that is hard and uncomfortable to carry, but I disagree. I have a number of reasons for wanting to carry a full sized handgun.

Why a Full Sized Handgun?

First and foremost it’s a more combat capable weapon. If I’m carrying a weapon to defend myself I should at least carry the most capable weapon I can. In some cases that’s a SIG P365, in others, it’s CZ P10 C. I’ve even been tempted to carry my 80 percent lower Polymer 80 Glock but haven’t made that jump in trust yet.

The reasons a full-sized handgun is more capable than others are many, and this includes the simple fact they are easier to shoot. A full-sized handgun is easier to control, especially when firing rapidly, and using a proper cartridge. Full-sized handguns are also easier to shoot accurately. Their longer sight radius makes precision shooting easier and their full-sized grips make it easier to hold the gun without moving the sights.

Most self-defense scenarios will be up close and personal, but if I ever needed to reach out beyond 10 yards it’s a lot easier with a full sized handgun.

Additionally, they hold more ammo. Call it my machine gunner mentality but I like having extra ammo. As much as I can easily carry. 17 rounds of 9mm is a lot more appealing than 7 rounds of 380 ACP. Also, the larger size of the weapon makes it easier to draw, and to me more ergonomic when it comes to fixing malfunctions. Also, should I actually run out of ammo these big guns are easier to reload than most standard pocket pistols.

I can also fire rounds that are heavier, with more velocity. These rounds will often penetrate deeper and expand wider than what a pocket pistol can achieve. With those heavier and hotter loads, I’m not getting significantly more recoil in a full sized handgun. A full sized handgun is simply better.

How To Do It

To comfortably and successfully carry a full sized gun you’ll need a few things. The increased size and weight of these guns place a higher demand on quality gear.

A Good Holster

You always need a good holster, but when it comes to concealing a larger gun you’ll need a holster designed for concealed carry. Sounds easy, but you want something that is easy to carry and will allow you to conceal your weapon with ease. I like something with an adjustable height, this makes it easier to conceal up under the shirt.

I also go kydex for this role. I find it to be easier to conceal and much stronger than leather. For strong side OWB I want a slight curve to the holster that adds to my concealment. With IWB I want a full sweat guard.

A Good belt

You can’t beat a good belt for a heavy gun. I’m talking a reinforced, thick, and strong belt. This will prevent sag and keep the gun from facing a little inward and flagging you just slightly. It also makes it much more comfortable and even easier to draw from. A good tight, and durable belt won’t come upwards as the gun is drawn. I like Daltech Force, Magpul, HTC, and Propper for gun belts.


You also need to take some time to just try it. It won’t be comfortable at first for sure. Especially if you are coming from a smaller gun to a much larger gun. It takes time to become used to carrying a heavier, and much bigger weapon. Practice at home even, get used to it and before you know you’ll be packing a man-sized piece of firepower.

A Dose of Man

The last thing you’ll need is a bit of man in you. You have to learn to shrug off a little discomfort and learn how to carry and conceal a full sized handgun. The benefits are numerous and most of all you’ll be a better prepared concealed carrier. It’s not for everyone or every type of dress, but when at all possible I advocate leaving the house with as much gun as you can carry.

About the Author /

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. Today, Travis serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.

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