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If you’re a bigger guy, finding a concealed-carry holster can be a pain (literally). I’m carrying around a few extra pounds myself, especially since lockdown, so this is something I can speak with some experience on.
Today we’re going to talk about how to choose a holster when you’re a bit on the bigger side, including some recommendations that I’ve tested extensively. We’ll also take a long look at what you need to keep in mind when choosing a holster for yourself.
Let’s take a look at the best holsters for fat guys.
Best Holsters for Fat Guys
Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster
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Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster
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Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster
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Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0
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Crossbreed SnapSlide OWB Holster
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Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster
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Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster – Most Comfortable
First up is one of my absolute favorite holsters, the Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster.
It’s made of .08-inch thick Kydex, so it’s durable while also being low profile, so it doesn’t add even more bulk to your frame.
When you have a gut, you’ll want to position your holster correctly, especially with an IWB, so it’s not pushing uncomfortably into your body. Fortunately, this holster allows for the strong side, cross draw, hip, back, and appendix carry. The adjustable can’t helps you get a positive grip from these carry locations.
I’d opt for wearing the holster (or any waistband holster, for that matter) on your hip or just behind it for accessibility and comfort. Appendix carry, in particular, will not be comfortable if you’ve got too much extra weight around the middle.
To break up printing, I suggest also buying the Concealment Express Holster Claw Kit. It pushes against your belt, forcing the butt of the holster towards your body. This makes the holster even less comfortable in appendix carry, though, so I’d skip it if you insist on appendix carry and just let the curve of your belly hide the holster.
Whether you use this holster with the Claw Kit, it has a 1.5-inch fiber-reinforced belt clip for attachment. Unfortunately, it requires a belt for stability.
- Low profile
- Retention and cant are both adjustable
- Accommodates suppressor height sights and muzzle devices
- You can purchase Concealment Express Holster Claw Kit separately
- IWB holsters, especially Kydex ones, aren’t as comfortable for those carrying some extra weight around the middle
- Must be worn with a belt
Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster – Best Leather IWB
Leather is a more comfortable alternative to Kydex for an IWB holster for fat guys. It’s softer, so it gives a bit more instead of poking.
Regarding leather IWB holsters, my favorite is The Defender Leather IWB Holster from Relentless Tactical. It’s a classic-looking holster made from bull hide and comes in three colors: Midnight Black, Charred Oak, and Whiskey Barrel Brown.
The leather is soft and smooth, so it feels nice and comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend it for appendix carry, but it will feel better than a Kydex holster.
There aren’t any metal bits beyond the spring steel belt clip, so you don’t even have to worry about hardware poking and rubbing. The holster is well-made and uses stitching to hold everything together. It’s a very durable holster, and it should last you for many, many years.
While I would say that The Defender is probably best at appendix carry, it allows for carrying anywhere along the waistband. If you want to be able to carry an extra mag, Relentless Tactical also makes matching magazine holsters that are just as comfortable.
- Leather is more comfortable than Kydex
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- More versatile fit
- Classic looks
- Durable and well-made
- Not form-fitted, so it’s not as secure as some other holsters
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster – Best Modular Holster
My next holster recommendation is the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster, which is one of my most frequently recommended IWB holsters in general.
One of the main differences between the Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB holster and the Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster is that the Cloak Tuck 3.5 uses two clips to attach to your waistband, distributing the weight more effectively than a single attachment point holster. If you don’t like the clips it comes with, you can switch them out for Alien Gear’s C-clips, J-clips, or O-clips.
What I like about this holster for larger body types is the flexible back panel. It creates a barrier between your skin and the hard gun and bends to conform to the shape of your body, making it more comfortable than other Kydex IWB holsters. The back of the panel is covered with neoprene to make the holster even more comfortable and to help your skin breathe underneath.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is also very adjustable. Sure, you can adjust the retention, but you can also adjust the cant and ride height, making the holster more comfortable and allowing your gun to be more accessible wherever you decide to place the holster along your waistband.
- Two attachment points to distribute weight
- Flexible back panel for comfort
- You can replace clips with other designs
- CoolVent neoprene backing
- Larger than a single attachment point, IWB holsters
- Costly relative to the other holsters here
Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 – Best For Suppressors & Red Dots
Now let’s talk about my final IWB holster recommendation, the Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0.
Like the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck, the Torsion 3.0 has two belt clips to distribute weight. However, you can also remove one of the belt clips for even more discreet carry. It’s even easy to tuck in a shirt around this holster while it’s in the single clip configuration, too, though you should remember that that makes your gun slower to access.
The holster’s “Torsion” technology holds your sidearm at a slight twist, helping it sit closer to your body. The holster also has a shallow curve, allowing it to fit right up next to you while still being comfortable. The thin but also rigid and durable polymer material allows the Torsion 3.0 to be very lightweight and adds minimal bulk.
The holster allows for a quick, smooth draw, which is only helped by the adjustable cant and retention.
Finally, the Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 is very accessory-friendly. It accommodates suppressor-height sights, and the open front allows for a threaded barrel. It’s also low-cut enough to provide enough room for a red dot mounted on your slide.
- One of the most concealable holsters on the market
- Very comfortable for an IWB holster
- Low cut to accommodate red dots
- Low profile
- Harder to access your weapon with the single clip setup
- No left-handed version
Crossbreed SnapSlide OWB Holster – Best OWB
Alright, now that we’ve gone over a bunch of IWB holsters, let’s look at a couple of alternatives for those who want something different.
My first recommended IWB alternative is the Crossbreed SnapSlide OWB Holster.
Crossbreed holsters are neat because they combine the best of both Kydex and leather holsters best. The back panel is leather, so it’s softer and more flexible, making the holster more comfortable. Meanwhile, a Kydex shell fits around your firearm, protecting your weapon and allowing the holster to have a lower profile than a fully leather holster.
This Crossbreed holster is a belt slide holster, my favorite style for concealed carry. The broad design helps hold the holster closer to your body and distributes the weight of your gun and holster across your belt. It also holds the gun higher than many other OWB holsters, making it easier to conceal.
This holster would be easy to hide with a jacket or untucked shirt, mainly since it’s designed to be worn behind the hip on your strong side. The 1.75-inch belt slots work best with 1.25 or 1.5 inches belts.
- Quite concealable for an OWB holster
- Compatible with most belts
- More comfortable than an IWB holster, especially a fully Kydex one
- It protects your gun better than a fully leather holster
- OWB holsters aren’t very concealable relative to IWB ones
Also Read: Best Kydex Holsters [IWB and OWB Carry]
The Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster is perhaps the best-known shoulder holster on the market and is one of the most commonly recommended. I recommend it quite often, at least, because its reputation is very well deserved.
While shoulder holsters have come out of fashion, the Galco Miami Classic II continues to do this holster style right. It’s incredibly well-made.
On one side, you have a premium steer hide holster, balanced on the other by a magazine carrier that holds two spare magazines (or speedloaders, if you get a revolver version). The harness is made from full-grain leather and has a swiveling back plate, so the whole holster moves with your body.
The straps are 1.5 inches wide, so they shouldn’t dig into your shoulders, and the holster can accommodate chests up to 56 inches.
It’s part of a modular system, so Galco offers a lot of accessories to go with it, like pouches for other gear. I recommend the tie-down straps attached to your belt to help keep the holster in place.
This holster is a case where you get what you pay for. It’s an incredibly high-quality holster, as you’d expect from Galco, but it doesn’t come cheap. It’s more costly than the other holsters I’ve recommended. However, it’s more comfortable and will last you for many years.
- Shoulder holsters may work better with larger torsos
- Made with premium materials
- Comfortable yet concealable design
- Shoulder holsters require a jacket, so they’re not great for warm weather.
- Very costly relative to the other holsters recommended here.
Choosing a holster isn’t as simple as clicking “add to cart” on the first holster you find on Amazon. It’s not even as simple as picking one of the above holsters (though they’re all great ones).
There are a few things that you should keep in mind when choosing a holster to make sure it’s not just a good holster but the right holster for you.
One of the most important things to think about when choosing a holster, especially if you’re in the XXL+ range, is getting one that works with the carry position you have in mind. A lot of the time, appendix carry can be uncomfortable if you have a bit of a gut.
It works for me, but you’ll want to test it yourself. Generally, a 4 o’clock position tends to be the most comfortable for most folks, so you might want to look there before picking up an appendix carry option.
Belly bands are generally a poor idea for bigger folks. They tend to slip down on big bellies, and it can be hard to find one large enough, depending on your size.
Shoulder holsters are a good option for carrying in cooler weather, but they typically require additional layers of clothing for concealment, making them less than ideal for hot weather. Still, if you frequently wear a jacket, a shoulder holster is a phenomenal option if you don’t want anything bulky around your waistband.
The other option is to forgo an inside-the-waistband option altogether. Outside the waistband, carry is the most comfortable option for bigger guys, but it’s the least concealable choice.
If you’re careful about it, you can generally dress to cover an OWB holster, especially in cooler weather. This is an excellent option if you don’t like having something inside your actual waistband, and it can be very comfortable even in a seated position.
Just make sure you’re aware of your carry laws and what is legal regarding concealment, and make sure you’re conscious about keeping things concealed when and where it’s required.
Also Read: 10 Best Appendix Carry Holsters
With any holster, comfort is essential, but when you have a bit more volume, it can be harder to work around. Holsters jab and poke the stomach.
As we’ve already discussed, opting for particular carry positions can help, but choosing a low-profile holster does. Opting for a holster made of a softer material, like leather, rather than Kydex can also go a long way towards making your holster more comfortable.
You’ll also want to avoid uncomfortable rubbing, but this tends to be easily resolved with an undershirt between your skin and the holster.
Now the rest of these considerations should be more or less unrelated to your body type and have more to do with features that are generally good to have in any holster.
To prevent accidental discharges, a holster must cover the trigger of your firearm completely. This is non-negotiable, but unfortunately, it’s not as common in holsters as it should be, especially in holsters made from soft, flexible materials.
Fortunately, that situation is common with belly bands and women’s thigh holsters, which we’re not discussing here. Still, don’t take for granted that a holster offers complete trigger coverage; always confirm that it does before buying a holster.
That said, all of the holsters we recommend here do offer good trigger coverage.
Like trigger coverage, proper retention is an important safety feature for holsters. Retention means your firearm stays in the holster unless you’re trying to draw it. Holsters can accomplish this through either active or passive retention systems.
Active retention systems use a physical barrier to keep your gun in the holster. That barrier is usually a strap that goes around the back of the gun. However, other methods, like buttons, release cross bars.
Passive retention systems rely on friction and typically allow you to adjust the amount of friction applied. All you have to do is pull the gun with enough force to overcome that friction.
Active retention systems are more commonly found on leather holsters, while passive retention systems are more common on Kydex holsters. However, there are always exceptions.
You should be able to draw your holster in a ready-to-shoot position with a single hand, so you need a holster that facilitates that. The best way to ensure this is with a holster that allows for adjustable cant since that lets you fine-tune the position to what works for you. However, you can still get a positive grip without an adjustable cant.
Unfortunately, it will generally take some hands-on testing to ensure that a holster does this for you, so make sure you choose a holster with a good return policy.
And, of course, a holster facilitating a positive grip doesn’t mean you neglect training. You should still drill with your gun and holster to ensure you have the muscle memory to draw without fumbling when you need those skills. Remember: it’s harder under pressure.
You don’t want your holster to fall apart within a few months of buying it. Fortunately, plenty of well-made holsters out there will last you years, even decades, before they need replacing.
Look for holsters made from durable materials, like leather and Kydex. Make sure any hardware is made from durable steel or aluminum. Check to see what reviews say about the quality of the construction.
Generally, hip carry is the easiest for fat guys because the body naturally carries less fat there, creating a comfortable, accessible, and concealable valley for you to place your firearm in.
Comfort is subjective, so it’s impossible to make a blanket statement about which holster is most comfortable.
However, a few factors make a holster more comfortable for most people. For example, a holster carried at the hip or behind the hip will be more comfortable for fat guys. A comfortable leather is also typically more comfortable than a Kydex one.
If you wear your pants underneath your belly on your hips, appendix carry will be very uncomfortable and leave your firearm poorly accessible.
Generally, I recommend against appendix carry for bigger people. Instead, opt to carry on your hip or behind your hip, where there’s usually less body fat, making it more comfortable for you and easier for you to access your weapon.
Fat dudes, rejoice! You should know everything you need about choosing a holster that works with your body type. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit on the hefty side, but there’s no reason you can’t be comfortably armed, either.
Our top pick and the one that’s likely to work for the most people is still the Concealment Express IWB Kydex holster, which is an excellent option for anyone, but especially for those with a little extra around the middle.
We always recommend buying from someone with a good return policy, whichever holster you use, like Amazon. That way, if whatever you choose doesn’t quite work out, you can swap it out and try something else.