Size Matters: Carrying Big EDC


Note how Matt’s hand interferes with the slide lock and magazine.
Big hands plus a small gun translates to extra adjustments while shooting.

It was once said that a fighting pistol should be of a large caliber, preferably a large frame semi-automatic, with sights you can see and a good trigger that breaks cleanly. In a world of micro and sub-compact pistols, it seems we have forgotten all of these tried-and-true traits. As someone who conceals carries full-sized pistols and revolvers every day, year around, I can tell you that not only is it doable, but it is also just as easy as a micro-pistol.

While capable, sub-compact micro pistols come with idiosyncrasies. For example, I can’t get my pinkie on the grip with my L/XL hands, preventing magazines from falling free. Likewise, I find I tend to adjust my grip slightly after my draw stroke from the holster. Not ideal. My thumbs tend to block the slide lock, keeping the slide from locking on the last round. Finally, smaller pistols have more perceived recoil without much real estate to hang on to.

If you stick with full-sized handguns, you alleviate all the above concerns and carry the pistol you are most familiar with and apt to train with. For me, EDC’ing is a lifestyle, and I have adjusted my attire to complement my way of life.

The material structure and pattern of this 5.11 Tactical summer carry
shirt aid concealment of a large pistol.


Concealed carry starts with the clothes. I tend to buy my jeans a size larger than what I need; this makes room for the inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters I have. I also don’t wear form-fitting shirts or jackets. For summer wear, I prefer shirts with printed patterns because if my pistol somehow does print, the pattern on the shirt helps break up the outline of the firearm. 5.11 Tactical has excellent options for concealed carry shirts with fun (sometimes obnoxious) patterns. These shirts also have breakaway snaps down the front to assist in drawing from concealment.

Matt’s 1911 Commander primary everyday concealed carry setup:
Simply Rugged Cuda holster, two single magazine pouches and belt.


When I was younger, everything was Kydex and tactical belts. Now as I get older, I find myself gravitating back to leather. Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters is one of my favorite go-to leather holster builders. Owning quite a few of his holsters for both revolvers and pistols, I can attest to the rugged dependability and the ease of concealment his products deliver. His belts are likewise sturdy enough to comfortably support the weight of full-sized steel handguns all day without dragging you down on one side. I also have OWB holsters from Kirkpatrick Leather, Milt Sparks IWB holsters, and carry belts from Galco holsters.

Your holster should be sturdy enough to carry the weight of your handgun, keep it positively retained, stay in position and cover the trigger. If you can carry in the appendix position, that’s great, but make sure you train that way. I always carry at the 3 o’clock to 3:30 position. Remember, during high stress, we default to our level of training; make sure you are training from where you are carrying.

EDC Ammo

If you carry a handgun, you should carry enough ammo to do at least one full reload. Do most civilian shootings end in the first few shots? Statistically yes. But do you want to bet your life on that? What if your perpetrator is on an unknown substance? How many shots will it take to make the threat go away? I’m not a lawyer, but my answer would be as many as it takes.

Like your pistol, you want your ammunition to be positively held and where you put it. Don’t leave yourself fishing for a magazine, speed loader, or loose ammo in your pocket. My extra magazine is in the 9 o’clock position. However, my primary ammo carrier for my revolver is at 1:30 because we reload our revolvers with our shooting hand. I also carry additional ammo in Speed Strips held in place with a NeoMag Revolver Ammunition Strip Concealment (RASC) clip in my strongside back pocket. It looks like a pocketknife clip and holds the bullets in the position I need for my reloads.

If you’re still not convinced you can easily conceal carry a full-sized handgun daily, I’m here to say you can; it’s a simple style choice. Remember, there are reasons why companies offer larger versions of their popular micro-pistols. In theory, a compact pistol is great for certain scenarios but not so great in everyday practice.

Regardless of your choice, don’t forget to train with and test your gear and equipment. How you train will ultimately decide how you fight; make sure you’re as ready as you can be.

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