Do Ounces Add Up

When carrying different pistols with different weights do you physically feel that 3-4 ounces between pistols really makes a difference?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters



I notice a tenth of an inch in either thickness or grip length long before I notice an ounce of weight.

A proper gun belt to secure the quality holster makes weight not really an issue to me. It’s size.


Yup. 2 of my edc are G43 and G26. Both subcompact, but the 43 more comfortable and versatile. 26 and the 19… different size and weight, but carry the same.
1911 in a good belly band…very comfortable. Single stack makes a lot of difference to me.


I just ate an 8 oz cheeseburger and drank a 20 oz bottle of coke, and you’re asking if I can even notice 3 extra ounces attached to my belt?


Do 12 hour shift. Walk a few miles checking doors. Yes a few ounces make a difference. But in the end is it comfortable and can you be proficient?


Yes and no.

No, I don’t exactly feel a few extra ounces, but…
Yes, ounces really make a difference.

Because pounds are made of ounces, and EDC consists of the entire load.

So I take a slightly heavier pistol (3oz), plus

  • MRDS (2oz)
  • spare magazine (9oz)
  • mag carrier (3oz)
  • OC & carrier (3oz)
  • swap Tinker for Leatherman (5oz)
  • swap Microstream for Protac (4oz)
  • IFAK (16oz), etc, etc.

That covers a few of the more common “must have” suggestions to trade up “just a few ounces” to whatever personal defense tool you start with. I have added nearly two pounds (not incl. IFAK, body armor, “two is one, one is none”, etc) by “just a few ounces” — and that really will make a difference.

If I consider the benefit of a few ounces to be worth the inevitable cost, I will accept it. But if I don’t receive a clear benefit which I cannot get another way, I will shave every extra ounce I can find. Three or four ounces in a pistol makes a difference to me if I’m not getting something of value in return.

Also, ounces carried for many consecutive hours will take more effort — whether you pay attention to it or not; whether it appreciably diminishes your capabilities or not; whether you isolate and identify the cause or attribute the cost to something else.


My LCR “Feels” different than my EVO but not by weight, it’s the geometry.

  • Yes I notice the Weight more when I carry in a vest or Jacket pocket, not so much in a body holster.

I think the answer is “it depends.”

Body shape, belt, holster, holster position, actual weight (i.e. 13 oz to 16 oz might be different than 39 oz to 42 oz), activity, firearm shape (and reloads) etc. might all be factors into whether a 3 oz difference in a firearm might be a little more than you want.

For example, I have a very comfortable 4:30 o’clock IWB for my 42 oz empty (IIRC) 1911. My 3 o’clock 66, loaded plus speedloader and related carrier probably is close to that weight. The 1911 drags down my pants, while the 66 setup has no issues for all day carry for me. These are two different designs of firearms, two different positions, and two different holsters… and my body is irregular, too.

In comparison, I have an AIWB setup for pistols in the 16-25 oz range (unloaded) with similar holsters and the weight difference is almost unnoticeable.

Another comparison is a setup I tried with a relatively thin single stack compact and a slightly wider double stack FS at 4:30 that weigh within an ounce unloaded. The double stack (thicker slide too) was uncomfortable in that position for hours of driving/sitting. Again, my body shape is irregular.


I don’t notice a difference carrying a heavier gun but I notice a difference shooting one. That’s why I dry fire with a magazine loaded with true-to-weight snap caps.

Mostly I notice the difference between longer barrels and grips on a full size gun (Browning Hi-Power) than with my p365xl, for example.


Likewise. But I don’t know that it is the weight actually. (Although holding more weight at arm’s length for extended sessions is certainly helpful in developing and maintaining strength.)

My perception is that a true-to-weight magazine affects balance significantly. Almost certainly this would be more obvious in holding down the back end of modern “plastic” and alloy frame pistols — where the steel barrel and slide make a very front-heavy handful — compared to full-size all-steel handguns where the ammo is a much smaller proportion of weight.

1 Like

EDIT: On a digital food scale they’re slightly lighter than live 124gr ammo, less than 4/10 gram. Close enough for me.

Steelworx 9mm Luger Stainless Steel Snap Caps (10 Pack)

1 Like

What I’ve found matters more is where you carry. The evolution of my carry has been to OWB and hip, with two extra mags. Biggest help is a good belt and some baggy clothes.

1 Like

I’ve been shy about steady use of steel dummies. Maybe that’s just me.

I use B’s Dummies — B’s 9mm = 12gm; live 124gr jJHP= 12 gm.

Not exactly cheap to fill a magazine, so I use some (no longer reasonably available) solid brass .380 dummies already in hand to bring my practice mag up to weight.

Why’s that?

No idea why for techs, but I personally don’t like using snap caps or dummies made from brass or steel, other than for drills at the range during live fire, because I don’t like the idea of conditioning myself to accept the sight of brass cases in an ‘unloaded’ gun . It’s a little thing and of course when all safety rules are followed and safe direction is maintained for dry fire, well, safe direction is safe direction, but, I still don’t like the idea of dummy ammo that looks like live from some perspectives (also so I don’t somehow endup with dummies thinking they are real! So I don’t use snaps at all or I use plastic purple ones when not at the range)

That does mean dry fire with a lighter than fully loaded pistol, I suppose that’s the trade off/con


Yes certainly there is a risk. I keep a specially marked magazine with identifiable base pad only loaded with snap caps. And I pay close attention to what I’m doing, every time.

1 Like

Mainly because brass is softer than steel. I think that the wear and tear on magazine, extractor, chamber, etc is likely to be less with the dummy providing the sacrificial surface. In addition to just metal on metal, I think if the dummy carries any harder grit or debris into the chamber, the dummy would be more scratched up than the gun. Plastic would be the same, except maybe more likely to leave bits of itself behind in the nooks and crannies.

Folks who are shooting a lot of steel cases without concern (higher heat, pressure, speed) might not see anything to be anxious about just sliding inert steel in and out thousands of times.

Worthy concern, but I’m not seeing anything to be confused about.
Speaking primarily about the hazard of mixing up loose live and dummy cartridges. If that is something one intentionally does (i.e. “ball & dummy”), then cleaning up always requires care and attention.

Yes, a shiny metal or plastic case would not be distinctive if one relies on press-check for something.
Yes, if one uses one of the few brass-jacketed bullets and can’t distinguish between FMJ and JHP.
Homemade dummies might be considerably less distinctive.
Mostly, though…

  • safe dry fire procedures;
  • loaded until demonstrated clear;
  • safe direction always;
  • know when you are mixing, and have a clear un-mixing procedure.

I also keep a dedicated dry fire magazine full of dummies, so they don’t run around loose.
Problems with dummy identification don’t make my top 20 firearm practice worries.

Thank you for that link :+1:

After an aluminum snap cap just stopped my 10mm in its tracks recently, I have been looking for a more robust replacement. Steelworx doesn’t seem to have a 10mm offering, but a 40 will work

The weight is not noticeable to me, but I notice the length of the barrel. Since I carry in appendix rigs, the weight is distributed well but I can tell that the holster is a little bit lower on me.

1 Like