Does a half inch of height make that much of a difference in what gun you're able to carry?

I’m thinking of going with a full size Glock 21 SF (if I like it after I shoot it) and it’s height is a half inch bigger than my Security 9. I was wondering if that half inch would make a huge difference if I were to carry it at the 4 o clock position. (I was thinking of the G21 cuz I’m thinking of getting a .45 still vs the 19 in 9mm)


It depends on the holster, the cant of the holster and how you conceal. If you have the right holster and cover garments you should be fine. (I’m guessing you’re going to conceal it?)


Its all about the holster and belt. The size isnt as big an issue as the increased weight. Carrying on the belt, sometimes a little more length can actually make it more “controllable” while concealed as the pressure of the longer length will help keep the butt of the gun in. However, keep in mind that .45 ammo is heavy. I carry a .45 so I am not trying to discourage you. Just a statement of fact. So, get a good solid gun belt. I wear hank’s steel cores, and a good holster, and the weight will disappear.


On paper it doesn’t seem like it should, however when carrying it daily it’s amazing how much difference a small change can have. It is(as stated above) all about the belt and holster.


I personally found carrying a Smith Sigma 4" barrel was more bothersome in every way than the Glock 3.5" barrel that was also about an inch shorter overall, and had a shorter grip by the same inch. Not significantly lighter, but smaller is easier.

I’m not a big guy. If you are, a bigger gun may be easier.



What have you carried in the past? What have been the biggest determining factors in your comfort with carrying them (weight, size, sights, …)?

I personally don’t give two craps about size or weight in terms of concealability (usually) … I have a micro-compact option for those situations where it really really matters…
I also sometimes carry a 5" 1911, and I just lost 50-60 lbs in like 6 months …

BUT, the consensus seems to be that people can’t stand carrying heavy guns, or big guns. The determining factor for me in terms of size, if any, is in the PENNSYLVANIA SUMMERS where rust is a huge concern. I have seen some rust I had to address right away when carrying the 1911 for ONE DAY… due to it pressing against my undershirt that may be sweated-through, all day. So, on hot days, my OWB with my Springfield 911 is more off my body, or my S&W 442 stays off the body (except for the rubbery-plastic grip) in its OWB holster.

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I’ve only carried a Ruger Security 9 and a Springfield XDS. All 9mm. So I don’t have much experience in carrying different calibers. I don’t have the XDS anymore. But I find I like the accuracy and reduced recoil that a longer barrel has and I like the double stack grip better than single stack.
@Dawn I do plan to carry concealed. I don’t really like the idea of open carry. I’ve thought of going with a shoulder holster as a viable secondary option of carry as well.


@luke_ouellette - the best way to check if it works for you with 4 o’clock holster is to slide the mag 1/2 of inch out of Ruger’s grip and check if it prints a lot.

1/2 inch may not a big difference but 5" of Ruger’s height is already big number.


The two hardest parts of the gun to conceal is the barrel (length), and the grip. With the right holster, and the best belt to hold the weight up, it can be done. Like Dawn said, there are a ton of other factors that are a bit more “personal”.

I can conceal the Glock 41 (longer barrel brother to the 21). Does not conceal as well as my 1911 because it is thicker; does the job well though. Then it comes down to clothing choices.

Shoulder holsters are a discussion unto their own.


I had a Mod.2 XDS-9 … loved it! I just tend to trade-in/sell to get a new carry piece… I’ve gone full-size or micro-carry w/ a Colt 1911 & a Springfield 911.

I don’t often shoulder holster-carry, but when I do I carry Dos Eqquis … just kidding, but I do prefer Vertical over horizontal … you’re doing more “sweeping” if you’re unfortunately in a semi-crowded area… Not to mention as you’re walking around…

Just a consideration.


The seasons change how much of a difference the half inch makes. In the winter I carry a larger gun that I couldn’t get away with during the summer. The upside is this gives you an excuse to own more than one CC gun! :slight_smile:


Why are shoulder holsters a discussion of their own? :thinking:

And yes that’s true. I may not be able to conceal it in the summer months but I would in the winter.

@Jerzy I will definitely give that a try tonight and see if that makes much of a difference. :blush:

You guys definitely reminded me that I’d need to start wearing a little looser clothing if I go for a bigger gun.
Now I’m guess that the barrel size makes a difference on how much the holster prints on your pants? Or does that just determine comfort and how much your piece prints depends on the material of your clothes?


with hip holster you have to balance between barrel length and how deep holster sits in pants.
This, I would say is most for comfort. It shouldn’t change printing. But grip size matters. There is no magic that the grip will sits very, very, very close to your body, it always sticks out, especially the farther back corner (that’s the reason I like grip setup used in Dan Wesson ECP and Kimber Aegis).

In my case - 2 o’clock (almost appendix carry), 3.6" barrel. Holster is setup so high, that I can easily sit without harming my thigh. Only 3" sit inside the pants. But in such setup the grip size and shape take a big role to print or not to print.

Loose, relaxed shirt works best with every concealed handgun.
If you like Hawaiian shirt - this may be the best for you :slightly_smiling_face:


Liked Hawaiian shirts for years, but thanks to Kevin you can’t find a good one anymore. Plus mingling with the boogaluau can be a seperate issue


A half inch should not matter, not sure what kind of gun, but should not matter…

Now, a Scottish Claymore? That might require that extra half inch of height.

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I have a Glock 21 and my wife has a Glock 21sf that used to be mine until she “really” liked it. We have these for home/self defense. These are a bit of a bigger frame, they’re wider, heavier than full size frames like a Glock 17.

The Glock 21 can be concealed, yet for me I’ve come to think a Glock 30 .45ACP would be a better choice in my opinion as I really enjoy my Glock 26.

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There are different styles of shoulder holsters, such as barrel down, or back behind you?

The barrel length comes into play, in that OWB you may need longer shirts to conceal. For IWB, maybe it does not work well with your pants style or cut. Since I have pretty much always done OWB, and with 5”+ barrels, my clothing choices reflect that. Now I have moved to carry of shorter barrel guns (only 4” now), I do still carry their bigger cousins.


I just got around to trying out that method that one of you suggested this morning to see if the G21 would work at 4 o’clock. Since I was getting ready for work this morning I pulled out the mag approximately a half inch and stood still and reached. It didn’t print if I stood still and it seemed to print a little bit if someone is looking closely when I reached with my right arm. Now my work shirt is black since I work for a tire shop.
I tried it again with a grey Ruger shirt I have and the results are about the same. It’s just a tad more obvious being a light gray instead of black. But I don’t think it’d be obvious to the average person.


You know the firearm is there…if you see it’s not bad, that means nobody else will notice.

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Ask a friend/spouse/partner to “check” if you’re printing, if you’re in clothing you’re not sure of.

I always get “I didn’t even know you were carrying!” a lot, even without asking LOL.

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