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Hi guys, I am in need of some help with my CCW situation. I’ll apologize now, because this will be long and I am asking a lot of questions. I am looking for some help with maybe a new gun, maybe a new holster, attire, carry position. I tend to not carry as often as I would like to because I am uncomfortable either with the gun printing, or because it is physically uncomfortable.

I currently have a S&W model 60 that I’ll use for pocket carry on occasion. My main carry gun is a Colt Defender 1911 in 45. I have a good 5.11 belt and have a Crossbreed tuckable holster and a Don Hume IWB holster. The Crossbreed is nice, but tends to carry a little higher than I would like and I tend to think it makes the gun print more. The Hume is a comfortable holster and carries a hair lower and I think prints less, but then I have the tail of the grip safety digging in my side all day long, and at times rubbing a little raw.

I’ve been shooting my STI 1911 in competition a lot lately and when I went to shoot my Defender the last time I noticed that I was having a little trouble disengaging the thumb safety since it is a narrower version. Plus I’ve decided I don’t really like the sights on it that much. Until I get all of the work done for a new thumb safety and milling and sight install I would be dropping $200-$300 into the gun, just for carry. I like shooting my wife’s 4” XD 9mm, so I starting looking in those a little more for myself. I can sell my Colt and get an XD, change out the sights, get a holster, and spare mags and still break even.

My hesitation is that I like the smaller narrower frames, kind of like the 1911 because I am not so small or narrow. I wonder how tough the double stack grip would be to conceal. If I were to go with an XD it would either be the 45 compact or the 40 sub-compact. Any thoughts on concealing either of these? My friend has a Kahr PW40 that disappears on him, and he has a ugly hulking Uncle Mikes IWB. So the Kahr is an option if it is a reliable gun, but it is a little more expensive, and I still want night sights.

I could also use some advice on how to dress and how to carry. I like to wear t-shirts, their just comfortable. I never have a problem with printing in my pants, so it is mostly the shirt that has issues. I wear an XL and they fit well, but do not hang loose enough to always avoid printing, the love handles definitely don’t help the situation. During the summer especially is where I have problems. The rest of the year I can wear a light jacket and have no problems. I don’t want to replace my entire wardrobe just to be able to carry, and XXL shirts tend to look sloppy on me.

I would like to get an OWB for the non-summer months, can anyone recommend a good holster. I love my Bladetech for competition, so I will probably see what they have available. Is vertical or canted preferable, and how heavy of a cant.
 

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I had much the same problem. I started carrying a full size 1911 in a Crossbreed Supertuck. It hid the pistol fine, except for the end of the grip. The grip was just too long to conceal well unless I wore it in the small of back position (I prefer to carry strong side) and I actually considered bobtailing it.

I got my wife a XD sub-compact and myself the XDm compact and those are what we carry now. I carry now in a Blackhawk nylon IWB holster. It has a full body shield to keep the pistol from touching your side and it is very comfortable. It rides much higher than I was used to, putting the grip just below my ribcage. But after wearing it a little I must say that I am impressed. It doesn't bind when sitting or getting in or out of a car. I think that the higher ride helps conceal it a little better than riding at belt level. Also the pistol itself, while it is thicker, is smaller all around. The grip portion of the frame is much shorter and easier to hide.

My wardrobe is much the same as yours, t-shirts and jeans. I just put my cell-phone case on my belt directly outside my holster. It seems that the little lump the case makes in my shirt helps the pistol disappear completely.

Sometimes my wife wears hers crossdraw in a Desantis Insider. Being a small woman, I expected it to print badly on her but it hides very well under a t-shirt.

Btw, the Blackhawk holster is less than $15 and the Desantis less than 30, so you can try them and not be out much.
 

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A couple thoughts:

1. I have never modified the sights on a concealed-carry gun. If you are ever in a position where you have to use it, I can all but guarantee you won't even notice the sights.

2. While I'm not a big fan of manual safeties on self-defense pistols, I am a big fan of carrying a self-defense pistol that is similar in operation to any other pistols that you shoot a lot. You've already seen proof that a slightly smaller safety can cause operational challenges.

3. The XD's can be a bit "chunky" and a bit more difficult to conceal than some of the competition's guns, IMO. This is typically exacerbated if the person carrying the gun is also a bit chunky. :) If you're worried about printing, the XD may not be the right concealed carry weapon for you.
 

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I've carried in my CCW life, Glock 26, XD9sc, XD45compct, Ruger LCP, S&W 642, Kahr PM9, Sig P239, Sig P229, Kimber CDP Ultra, Springfield EMP.

Out of all those, the only ones still carry now are the EMP OWB and the LCP pocket carry.
I recently acquired a bob tailed 1911 Dan Wesson Commander sized pistol and will carry it when I find the right holster.
Thinner works better for me, even more so carrying OWB.
IWB just doesn't work for me.

I OWB carry year around with an untucked button up or dark T-shirt.
Darker colors tend to print less as do patterns on shirts.
But I'm not one that wants to wear Hawaiian shirts all the time, well actually never.
I'll admit I do pocket carry my LCP quite a bit in the Texas heat.
But still OWB carry even in the summer.

Keep in mind what you might think is massive printing, will not be noticed by the average bystander.

As far as holster, anyone I would recommend would be a custom maker with turnaround times from a few weeks up to 12 months.
They also run anywhere from $50 to $200 just for the holster.
Post here or PM me if you want suggestions, I'd have to dig them up.
I like a forward canted holster, usually around 15 degrees or so.
I carry it right around 3:30 to 4:30 right handed on the waist.
 

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I'm not exactly what you'd call svelte, pretty far from it, although I'm working on it. I carry my XDm 4.5 and have no problems with printing, unless I bend at the waist, which you should learn to avoid with whatever you carry.

Here's what I do:
  • I do wear XXL shirts, which I always have because they're more comfortable. You might want to see if you can find a slightly looser brand of XL, just to get that little bit of extra room.
  • I use an IWB holster from Theis Holsters. This is a custom built holster in the hybrid style and total turnaround from order to receipt was nine days.
  • I work to maintain good posture, which causes the shirt to drape off my shoulders, reducing even more the chances of printing.
  • I also sometimes wear an additional cover garment over my t-shirt, such as a vest or unbuttoned dress shirt to provide more fabric.
  • I carry in the 3:30 position. The grip ends up extending towards my back and is concealed by my bulk and hides in the draped area I mentioned before.

I am going to be picking up an XDm Compact at some point, because that will conceal even better, but I'm quite comfortable with my ability to conceal the full size XDm right now.
 

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xd9sc with a cbst. i didnt change my pant size like some others. but i did start wearing a xl shirt instead of a L. and carry around the 330 to 4 position with the grip right at the top of the pant waist. i dont have an issue with printing unless im wearing a tight cut shirt. but even when i do wear a tight cut shirt it doesnt print like when i carried my full sized 9. it just looks like i have a blackberry or some gizmo. and to cut down on the grip wearing on my side, i started wearing undershirts.
 

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I dont do alot of IWB carry either as I cant get totaly comfy with it. I wwerar a "wife beater" under my shirts and it helps keep the gun from rubbing on my skin. Also, pancake type holsters tend to keep the guns tighter against you for OWB carry. If you want to carry OWB, get something that anchors on 2 points of your wasteband to help blend the "bulge".

I carry a P3AT in the back pocket and a PF9 on my hip for summer. I carry a compact 1911 in the colder months and occasionaly in the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info so far. If anyone else has more information or any more ideas or opinions, please keep them coming. I'm still not any closer to deciding what to do with the gun. If nothing else an XD is going to be ligter than my Colt.

As to the sight change, the first problem is the Colt only has a 3 dot sight and is worthless in low light. I wouldn;t mind adjustable because I also shoot in IDPA back up gun matches, and would use a sub-compat there. I know it is all front sight, front sight, front sight, but there have been some times where a good sight picture saved me a hit on a non-threat. IF I ever would need to defend myself, I'm sure the rear sight won't be much of a factor.

As I've been thinking about it lately I'm leaning more towards a good OWB rig and a decent IWB hoslter. I started IWB becaus it just made sense. Most of the gun is below your waistband inside your pants so you only have to hide a little above your shirt. But it really isn't that easy. Living in eastern PA the climate makes it easy to carry OWB for 8 or 9 months.
 

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Thanks for the info so far. If anyone else has more information or any more ideas or opinions, please keep them coming. I'm still not any closer to deciding what to do with the gun. If nothing else an XD is going to be ligter than my Colt.

As to the sight change, the first problem is the Colt only has a 3 dot sight and is worthless in low light. I wouldn;t mind adjustable because I also shoot in IDPA back up gun matches, and would use a sub-compat there. I know it is all front sight, front sight, front sight, but there have been some times where a good sight picture saved me a hit on a non-threat. IF I ever would need to defend myself, I'm sure the rear sight won't be much of a factor.

As I've been thinking about it lately I'm leaning more towards a good OWB rig and a decent IWB hoslter. I started IWB becaus it just made sense. Most of the gun is below your waistband inside your pants so you only have to hide a little above your shirt. But it really isn't that easy. Living in eastern PA the climate makes it easy to carry OWB for 8 or 9 months.
Adjustable sights are nice but not as durable as a fixed sight and the corners and edges of adjustable sights tend to be more pronounced and will wear holes in your shirts an scrape your arm through everyday activities. If you can get sights to hit POA then go that route. As far as night sights go, they do help alot but its more important to at least have a front one than both. On my next carry gun I think im going to have a front night sight and all black rear.
 
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