A Double Stack Gun Isn’t Really That Hard To Conceal

double stack gun

The modern era of handguns belongs to the single-stack compact poly striker gun, without doubt, and a whole lot of people have opined that a double-stack pistol – even a compact one – just isn’t as good for concealed carry. Some go so far as to say a double-stack shouldn’t necessarily be a first pick for a carry gun.

Hogwash.

The truth is there are plenty of compact double stacks out there that are incredibly easy to conceal. Frankly, if you can’t conceal one of the smaller double-stack compacts, you’re probably doing something wrong. Here’s why:

A Great Many Double Stack Pistols Are Barely Any Wider Than Single Stacks


The width of a double-stack pistol is what does it, allegedly. What I’m saying is bull. In reality, the increase in width of a double-stack 9mm magazine (and therefore the slide and the grip) is not enough to make a significant difference.

Mind you, there are exceptions. Any of the big Wonder Nines aren’t going to be easy. Though some people do so, concealing and carrying a Beretta 92, a Sig P226 – or a Sig P320 for that matter, because even the “compact” is ENORMOUS – is not easy, because they are quite large. Obviously, such pistols aren’t really the most concealed carry friendly.

That said, the compact double stacks aren’t so fat that they aren’t easy to CCW.

Let’s start with some of the really popular models. Take, for instance, the Springfield XD-S, the S&W Shield and Glock 43 single stacks. All are very popular CCW pistols. The widths of these guns are 0.9, 0.95 and 1.02 inches, respectively.

The double-stack counterparts are the (the closest of the XD line to the XD-S 3.3-inch model) XD Mod.2 Subcompact, the S&W M&P9C and the Glock 26. These models all sit at 1.18 inches wide.

For a frame of reference, most 1911 pistols (very popular for full-size CCW) are about 1.2 inches at the grips. A J-frame revolver, which many people like to pocket carry – even if you should be carrying with a concealed carry holster – is 1.3 inches wide at the cylinder.

Overall, that’s a difference of a hair more than 5/16 of an inch. If that’s enough to go from concealable to printing like a crazy person, then you probably need some looser-fitting clothes. Which you’re supposed to be wearing anyway for easy concealment. There are plenty more out there besides these three that come in at 1.3 inches or narrower – the Taurus PT111 G2, Walther P99 Compact, Tri-Star T100 and C100 (excellent CZ clones) and the Glock 19 spring to mind.

Weight Increases With A Double Stack But That’s What They Make Gun Belts For

Another impediment for some people is the increase in weight. While it’s true that a double-stack gun does add a few ounces, it’s usually – again – not as much as you’d think with a compact model.

Let’s use the same three pistols, for the same reasons. (Because they’re popular.) The unloaded weights of those models (the XD-S, Shield and G43) are 23, 20.8 and 17.95 ounces, respectively. Going up to the double-stack counterparts (XD Mod.2, M&P9c and Glock 26) and the weight increases to 26, 24.7 and 21.71 ounces, respectively.

That adds up to an increase of 3, 3.9, and 3.76 ounces, again respectively. Granted, more weight will be added with the increase in carrying capacity, but we’re talking about an overall difference of less than 5 ounces. That’s 5/16 of a pound.

The added weight is really not that much and besides, that’s why there are gun belts.

Also, most of these pistols don’t add much in terms of barrel length or overall length – maybe half an inch.

If your concealment hinges on such small margins – less than half an inch of width, less than half a pound of weight, and less than an inch in length – then you’re probably doing something wrong in terms of your concealment.

That said, if you like a single stack better, carry one. Carry the gun that you feel best about when it comes to your personal defense. But let’s not kid ourselves about double stack pistols being harder to conceal. A lot of them aren’t.

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  • richardstevenhack

    Makes a good argument for only carrying double-stack compact firearms for concealed carry. Low-capacity semi-autos (let alone revolvers, which this article also proves are harder to conceal than a flat frame semi-auto) simply aren’t sufficient in a combat situation, if you plan to deal with the statistical outliers.

    It’s even more important if you carry a backup gun – which you should – in addition to reload magazines. A backup gun is the only way to deal with a firearm malfunction that can’t be corrected with immediate action. The backup gun should have the same capability and capacity as the primary gun – which means it too should be a double-stack semi-auto.

    • G50AE

      Glock G22/G27 combo.

  • Some Rabbit

    I’m 5′ 8″ and weigh 143. For years I carried a compact 8+1 single stack which I could easily conceal with a T-shirt. Now however I feel the need for more firepower so I’ve switched to a full size 17+1 double and I can still hide it with a loose button down shirt. It may not be as comfortable, but it IS do-able.

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      • John

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    • Jim

      Carrying a backup gun is actually illegal in some places. Check your laws before doing such.

  • John

    I am 5′ 7″, weigh around 160 lbs and carry a S&W M&P 9 (full size, not the Shield). I carry it in a Crossbreed holster and it conceals quite well. I do need to be mindful of bending over. I try to just squat down to lift.

    • Lee

      Do you carry appendix or small of the back?

  • Jim

    Hogwash? It all depends. People with certain ergonomic considerations may find certain pistols either difficult to conceal or uncomfortable. Not everyone is built the same.

  • William Cross

    I am small framed and 5′ 6″, weight 175 with a slight belly. I carry a Beretta 92FS full size at the 3:30 position. My holster is Stealth Gear and I use a 511 belt. It conceals nicely with just a Tee Shirt or Dress shirt untucked. I have carried that for this last year. I also have a Glock 23 and a Stealth Gear holster I carried for a few years as well.

  • Grimsinger

    Sure, it’s do-able, but why? A double stack gun is not half as comfortable. I carry an LC9s or Sig 938 and a small knife pouch with two extra mags. My guns are more than enough firepower, but I’m not in it for a protracted gunfight. I want to either hit my target, or gain enough time to escape.

    • Jim L

      And that’s just it. People have this idea they’re in a Steven Seagal movie or replaying the movie Heat. It’s always avoid trouble and if it comes, get out of the way if you can, if not, hit and run.

      • Grimsinger

        Right. I’m not a cop, I don’t have backup, and I don’t wear body armor. I’ll take a shot or two if I absolutely have to. If I miss, all you’ll of me is a$$hole and elbows headed in the opposite direction.

        • Jim L

          We aren’t cops, we aren’t soldiers and we sure aren’t immortal. The longer you stay in one place/spot, the greater the possibility of absorbing lead.

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