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Thread: Determined to make AIWB work

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI

    Determined to make AIWB work

    I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I haven’t put all THAT much effort into getting concealment of a larger gun to work better for me at this point than I currently have. I’m 5’8” and currently 230lbs so I have a bit of a “tactical shelf” in the front. Thanks to when I gained a lot of my weight earlier in my life (2000-2006) my pants probably sit lower than they should which also gives me a bit of a “tactical muffintop” around the love handles as well.

    I’ve asked around a little bit on what I could do and a lot of the advice I’ve gotten is “lose weight”, “buy pants that fit”, “buy a shitload of holsters and try everything out”, and “pull your pants up higher”. Losing weight is easier said than done. Having said that, I know how to lose weight as I’ve done it before going from 300lbs in 2006 to 200lbs in 2011. Buying a shitload of holsters is easy I guess, but expensive. Sometimes I can’t always drop $100 or more every paycheck just to try everything out. Buying pants that fit as well as pulling my pants up higher is the tricky part. If I pull my pants up higher they WILL NOT stay there as whenever I start moving in ANY direction (yes, including just walking forward) the pants will immediately start dropping down to where I typically wear my pants. If I buy pants that go up that high they won’t stay up. If I lose weight and give myself the extra room that way then my pants still won’t stay up. So I almost have to lose a ton of weight again in order to buy pants that’ll go up higher in order to reshape any shelf that I have. Maybe someone else has gone through this before and has some pointers that I haven’t heard before that’ll help.

    What I’m ultimately interested in though is finding some sort of holster that gives me the adjustment that I need until my weight comes down to where I need it to be (around 200lbs or less). I THINK at this point that adjustment is reverse cant. That would give me the ability to hide the gun at around 1:30-1:45 between my hip bone and centerline while keeping my pants where they currently are.

    The gun I’m trying to conceal right now is a G19, but am seriously tempted to move to a PX4C as I compete with a pair of 92s in USPSA and typically pocket carry a J-frame. I can get away with a G19 at around 3:00-3:30, but I have to wear something fairly big/loose in order for it to not print like a Heidelberg press. I’ve tried a G17 JMCK 2.5 wing claw. It doesn’t appear to have the reverse cant option and going centerline I’d need a wedge the size of a shoebox to keep it from rolling out. I can kind do a 92 at 12:30 with a JMCK 2.0, but I need to have my pants above the navel in order to do that. Sitting down it looks like I’ve got a 2x4 that’s trying to kiss my nipple.

    I’m just looking for some help from someone who might have similar experiences. If I literally MUST buy every single holster just to find something that works, then I’ll do it, but that sucks complete ass and it’s no wonder why the market at large wants slim guns that disappear under tight fitting T-shirts. Sorry for the frustrated rant and thank you in advance for any help anyone can provide.

  2. #2
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    ABQ
    Tagged.

    6'02/230 with a lot of lard. Going to @AsianJedi's class next year. Like AIWB a lot, been using it for years. Gotta lose, gotta lose, gotta Lose....

    pat

  3. #3
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    I will only weigh in on the belt recommending 2 brands I have used since pivoting to AIWB in 2009ish that will allow you the level of adjustment needed to dial AIWB in.

    1. Masterminds Tactics Specialist Pro-I have at least 6 in various colorways to include PF Orange and Shivworks Red. Absolutely optimized for AIWB/IWB carry and general belt use.

    or

    2. Wilderness Frequent Flyer-They have simply forgot more about sewing/cutting nylon than most folks know. I have 2 5 stitch polymer reinforced models purchased well before Graith/MMT came online.

    Upside- they also work well with full OWB loadouts to include a 5 inch all steel 1911.

    Downside-a bit less comfortable for all day everyday AIWB/IWB than the MMT belts.

    If I was buying today, I would shoot the gap of rigidity and buy the 5 stitch (3 stitch/5 stich/5 stich reinforced) if Wilderness was my choice. MMT is a longtime supporter of the site and is presently running a promotion IIRC.
    You cannot go wrong with either brand.
    I am not your attorney. I am not giving legal advice. Any and all opinions expressed are personal and my own and are not those of any employer-past, present or future.

  4. #4
    You may want to try the Enigma by PHLster out. It comes with a real long tail that you can shorten as needed and allows you to move it pretty well. It isn't pants dependent. Some people have had issues with the leg leash, I haven't but there are many who have. I am 5'11 just below 200 pounds. I use a JMCK Enigma shell for a RDS G19. I carry all day with it with no issues. I am one of the weirdos who carries at home, even though I live in a very safe area.

  5. #5
    Member GearFondler's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Southeast Louisiana
    The Phlster Enigma is a great suggestion and is what I now use 100% of the time. It will allow you to move the gun around independently from your belt line and may help you find a sweet spot that your belt would not allow.
    You can also join the Phlster Concealment Workshop on Facebook and look through the Guides they have posted (specifically Guide #6) for tips and advice on how to make AIWB work for big guys.
    At the end of the day though, there is only so much that can be done to optimize the situation, aside from losing the weight. I am 5'7" and found that at 195lbs I could easily conceal a G19 AIWB but the comfort was only so-so. I used that as my motivation to drop another 35lbs and the comfort not only was vastly improved but I also discovered that I could actually AIWB a Roland Special and reload without much issue and even better concealment, mostly due to the exaggerated "keel effect" of the extra length and width.
    In general, I believe the bigger your gut the more you have to compromise between comfort or concealment... You can hide the gun below your gut and no one will see it but it will be harder to access and less comfortable or you can put it up on your gut but it makes it much harder to hide.
    I believe right now you need to focus more on what size gun you need and where it should ride vs. which holster you need. The differences in the top tier holsters is minimal in the big picture and much more about fine-tuning to an individuals minor differences rather "this $100 holster makes my G19 look an abdominal hernia but this other $100 holster has people asking if I lost weight".
    A G19 with your body may tend to roll out and cause the grip to print badly whereas your 92 might have enough length to force the grip into your soft tissue and better conceal it, though sometimes at the expense of comfort. Another option, should you find the extra keel is a benefit, is to carry the G19 in a G17 or even G34 holster so you don't have to buy a new gun.

  6. #6
    Friggin phones and my monkey thumbs simply don’t get along, I don’t even know if the video will play at this point. I remembered seeing this Warrior Poet segment and hoped there was something useful in it for you. Lucky Gunner also has a piece about Concealed Carry for Bigger Guys.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ag71l93rvao

    Found it.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V25JBR-TXX0

  7. #7
    Currently I’m still within the acceptable dickhead parameter of PF 2017+.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Quote Originally Posted by vcdgrips View Post
    I will only weigh in on the belt recommending 2 brands I have used since pivoting to AIWB in 2009ish that will allow you the level of adjustment needed to dial AIWB in.

    1. Masterminds Tactics Specialist Pro-I have at least 6 in various colorways to include PF Orange and Shivworks Red. Absolutely optimized for AIWB/IWB carry and general belt use.

    or

    2. Wilderness Frequent Flyer-They have simply forgot more about sewing/cutting nylon than most folks know. I have 2 5 stitch polymer reinforced models purchased well before Graith/MMT came online.

    Upside- they also work well with full OWB loadouts to include a 5 inch all steel 1911.

    Downside-a bit less comfortable for all day everyday AIWB/IWB than the MMT belts.

    If I was buying today, I would shoot the gap of rigidity and buy the 5 stitch (3 stitch/5 stich/5 stich reinforced) if Wilderness was my choice. MMT is a longtime supporter of the site and is presently running a promotion IIRC.
    You cannot go wrong with either brand.
    Funny you say that. The belt is the one thing I’ve actually got nailed down. It actually happens to be a Wilderness Tactical FF 5-stitch. Love the hell out of it and when it gets worn out I’m totally buying another one. Appreciate the insight though. Good to know I scooped a good one there.

  9. #9
    New Member CHNEAL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Smack dab in the middle of flyover country
    I carried a G19 for years as my weight grew. As I got heavier and heavier the gun got more and more uncomfortable to carry. When I reached 300 I moved to the Slimline guns.More comfort and could actually carry AWIB and not want to die sitting at dinner. Then I realized that moving to a smaller gun that I didn't shoot well just so I could be comfortable instead of losing 100 pounds made me an idiot.
    Now at 186 I am back with the G19 AWIB and while I may still be an idiot I am at least a well armed idiot. I spent so much time worrying about this scenario and training for that scenario when in all actuality it was going to be a heart attack that was going to kill me and I wasn’t even worrying about it!
    I carry in a JMCK 2.5 LB. W/ foam pad. I still wear my pants ( Levis 541 athletic stretch) low as I did when I was 300 because that’s where I am comfortable. Just hike them up when sliding into the dinner table and no ones the wiser. I find the apogee belt is awesome with all the adjustability I need with the right amount of both flex and structure.
    In the end its such a personal set of variables that no one can really give an answer just some suggestions so those are mine.

    Hope it helps and good luck on the journey.

    Clay

    Edit to add that I moved back to the G19 about 1/2 way thru my weight loss and first with Tennicor Centrum Lux with a foam pad then finally back to the JMCK 2.5. I found the Tennicor worked a bit better when I was still pretty padded and started to lose its comfort the less padding I had because of its rather sharp edges. The JMCK is nicely rounded but really didnt conceal thge best for me until more weight bled off.
    Last edited by CHNEAL; 11-25-2021 at 02:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Elwin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Midwest
    I don’t have a ton to add as far as specific problems you’re facing but I’m curious to see what others have to offer.

    The one thing I’ll say is that for ultimate adjustability in a belt-mounted holster, a JMCK 2.5 with the two center-mounted DCC clips or a similar model from Tenicor is a great option. The clips can be infinitely adjusted up and down and can be canted slightly inboard and outboard to get the perfect balance of play and security on the belt as well as the perfect ride height and amount of reverse cant. If height and cant are things you’re struggling with I highly recommend this setup.

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