Apr 22

Glock Compact vs Sub-Compact for Summer Carry

I don’t know about you but I like to be comfortable.  When it’s cold I put on clothes to stay warm and when it’s hot I wear less clothes to stay cool.  I try not to let my decision to carry a gun dictate what I wear, no ridiculous photog vests or unnecessary outer garments for me when it’s pushing  anything above 80 degrees outside.  I have worn loose fitting short sleeve button up shirts but my main “go to” look is a nice fitting t shirt and cargo shorts.  Keep it simple and keep it comfortable!  That said not every concealed carry option (when considering pistol and holster type) is going to work well unless one doesn’t mind printing against a shirt like crazy.

Glock 19 and Glock 26

Glock 19 and Glock 26

If you are fortunate you have more than one pistol to select from when considering concealed carry.  My best option for discreet carry would probably be my Ruger LCP in a pocket holster but I absolutely detest that gun and have relegated it to my safe (trigger pull, sights, fit in my hand).  Not to mention while a .380 hollow point can be deadly I’m just not that fond of the cartridge, go ahead and insert comments about shot placement and using a .22 for self defense, something something etc etc.  I tend to gravitate towards the 9mm and .40 caliber (occasionally) and I won’t fault anyone else for carrying something different.  Heck I adore my .45 ACP Springfield TRP but don’t fancy attaching a boat anchor to my hip which has a length that rivals a Medieval broadsword.  Full sized 1911 for CC in the summer?  That’s the guy wearing a photog vest with the slide of his gun almost pressing against his outer knee.  Just nasty.

Enter the compact vs sub-compact option when considering summer carry. I love my Glock 19 and attempt to carry it as much as possible, this because it fits in my hand well and I spend the majority of my time on the range firing it.  Yet the extra size of it vs a Glock 26 or 27 makes it print just a bit more against my T shirt, making it more difficult to carry discreetly in the summer.

Glock 19 vs 26 size difference

Glock 19 and 26 Size Difference, especially in the grip length

While the 27 is nice to carry in a shorts and t shirt (my wife carries the 26) there are some trade offs, at least for me.  The subcompact Glock has a shorter pistol grip which makes retrieving it quickly from my holster a bit more cumbersome.  I actually change my grip and put my thumb over top of the rear sight when drawing the smaller gun.  Additionally the (albeit minimal) difference in distance between front and rear sight is noticeable, especially when considering targets beyond 15-20 feet.  Finally there is the round count capacity between the two, and let’s face it while the 19 wins if I need that many rounds the S has truly HTF.  That being said I’ll take a 19 with 2 spare mags all day long as long as the circumstances allow it.

Honestly there are so many factors here it’s really tough to throw a blanket over the topic and state with absolute certainty there is only one way to best accomplish something.   Body types, clothing selection, pistol preference and many other factors all play into what one carries when in the winter and summer.  For me I’d rather carry a G19 but when in shorts and T shirt sometimes the G19 is too conspicuous and as such I resort to my next best option, the subcompact G27.  Your thoughts?


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  1. Jeff

    I like my Beretta 3032 Tomcat–I know that there’s controversy about the .32 ACP for a self-defense round, but as an older guy with some arthritis, I can actually get much more consistent hits with it than I can with something bigger. Also, the tip-up barrel is great for slightly arthritic hands; you never have to rack the slide to check the chamber, and you can wipe the barrel clean after a practice shoot without taking the gun apart. And lastly, I must admit that I like my guns to have traditional lines and character. It might be argued that the way the gun looks is irrelevant, but I think feeling some affection for a weapon can improve your performance with it.

    1. PJ


      It’s all about personal preference and looks certainly factor into the equation! There are some pistols I find ugly too and they have no place in my heart or will they be in my collection. If you can shoot your Beretta well more power to you. I believe that I am probably more accurate with my 92FS than my Glock, but once again there are trade offs and I don’t fancy carrying a DA/SA gun which is big and heavy.

  2. The Maj

    I never was a fan of the sub-compacts and have never really been a fan of the 9mm. Yes, I am one of those “.45 guys”. However, I pretty much carry a sub-compact exclusively now unless I am working around the farm – in which case, I am opting for my revolver anyway because it is my beat around firearm.

    I still practice with my large frame autos and post SHTF, I am going with a combat sidearm. I practice more with my sub-compact than any other platform though.

    1. PJ

      Combat sidearm on a leg drop or belt holster? I suppose that depends too.

      1. The Maj

        Doesn’t everything “depend”? 🙂 I prefer the drop leg.

        1. PJ

          I realized that as I was typing the question. Guess I should have asked your preference

  3. mac coakwell

    I prefer my 4th Gen Glock 22. The G22 (designed for .40cal) can be converted to 9mm just by changing the barrel. The G22 and G19 use the same frame and magazine, the only difference is the barrel and slide. The slide on the G22 is beefed up to handle the higher pressure and recoil of the .40cal. The G19 cannot be upgraded to fire .40cal because the G19 slide cannot handle the increased pressure and recoil of the .40cal.

    In addition to changing the G22 from .40cal to 9mm the gun can be changed to fire .22LR by changing the slide, barrel and magazine. With the G22 you get three for the price of one plus modifications.

  4. TPSnodgrass

    I’ve long been a fan of the 9mm round. It is effective and with current modern ammo, it is outstanding. AS a now former law enforcement officer from the West Coast, I find myself carrying my Glock 26 with G-19 mags and grip adapters. That way I get slightly less overall bulk but retain the higher ammo capacity. I’m a huge fan of having the ammo on board.
    I do not now nor have I ever done the pocket carry “thing”. Not against it, just doesn’t feel right for me is all. In all my years in law enforcement, I never once saw a suspect who could tell the difference of what caliber they had been shot with, from the lowly .22LR to the .45ACP. not a single one. All complained about getting “shot” period, at least the ones that survived.
    I was late to the Glock brand, but now I’m so used to the Glocks I do have (all 9mm and .45ACP) that I don’t see much “need” to re-invest into another brand or system at this point. For me, I’m highly satisfied with my current EDC set up and am accurate with it. We all are responsible for our own salvation, and were I starting out now, in carrying, I’d have daily migraines trying to figure out which one to carry and why. I had limited choices a long time ago, and that wasn’t a bad thing. Still have my Smith and Wesson revolvers, BIG fan of those, they worked then and still do now. Just find out what works for YOU, then go with it and don’t look back.

    1. PJ

      Well stated TPS and thanks for the comment.

      1. TPSnodgrass

        Love the avatar photo! We have two of those in real life. Love them both! Oh, and THANKS!!!
        Wife now has puppy fever thanks to your avatar…..

        1. PJ

          If you have two you’ll know they go from that to a giant shedding beast which eats and poops like crazy! but well worth it 🙂

          1. TPSnodgrass

            In our home GSD hair IS considered a condiment!! And yes,m they are well worth it!

  5. Echo5Charlie

    I ditched the g30s for g19 for summer. I went with a bladetech appendix holster that I wear about 2 o’clock. Very comfortable and concealable, no printing with a t-shirt with my build. I got a bladetech spare mag holder for the belt and rotated it 90 degrees so it runs parallel with my belt. That is on my belt about 10-11 o’clock. It looks big and blocky, but blends right in once it’s on. I have been wearing this for about a month now and it has been my favorite setup so far. Very easy access to both, even when seated or driving and since they are both on the front I can always tell what’s going on with the shirt covering, when I was always conscious of the shirt with a 4 o’clock carry. I was considering the g26 but do not see a need with this holster.

    1. PJ

      I like appendix carry until it’s time to sit in a car or just sit down in general. Gun digs into my inner thigh and it gets uncomfortable. You’ve never had this issue?

  6. Echo5Charlie

    Yes, it digs pretty bad sitting in a car or leaning forward in a sitting position for me at 12 or 1. When I get the barrel just past my thigh, close to above my right pocket its perfect. Does not dig, can bend everyway and very concealed.

  7. TPSnodgrass

    Appendix Carry-
    Never have “liked” it, nor used it. Saw too many thugs shoving their roscoes/Gats/pieces down into their version of appendix carry and about half of them discharged their hand guns into themselves. While it WAS “funny” at the time, I also watched two different Narc detectives I worked with do the same thing with equally disastrous results. Both gave themselves the street version of a radical vasectomy and those two particular incidents made me swear off ever encouraging anyone to use appendix carry, regardless of the holsters selected.
    Then again, being an “old dog”(now), I stick with OWB carry, been using that so long, doubt my brain could remember where my guns were….if I moved them. Although, I am leaning towards getting a shoulder holster for my primary, now that my situation is purely civilian in nature. Never did “like” leg drop holsters much either, even in the military. Just my rather subjective opinion is all. You guys be VERY CAREFUL with appendix carry, please….

  8. Echo5Charlie

    Since it is past my midline there would be nothing to hit holstering that couldn’t get hit at 3-4 o’clock carry. I am very conscious of my trigger finger and practice drawing and reholstering regularly. But if someone is really concerned, you can remove the holster with the pistol in it and put it on with the pistol in it.

    This is why holster selection is key. The blade tech (and others like it) allows for one handed holstering and completely covers the trigger. So long as your finger is not on the trigger when you holster, you are good to go. I would recommend swapping the clip for a loop and snap on a strut type.

  9. Michael

    What Ive noticed from many years of law enforcement and looking for concealed weapons, is the advent of larger phones and belt cases under t shirts.

    These print excessively and my eye is drawn to the obvious line of them. But Ive also learned to use it to my advantage. A phone case on the belt outside, and an inside the waistband holster behind it provides a plausible answer to what is being carried to the casual observer, not to mention if I answer my phone its an overt movement, and innocent.

    Something to consider when its hot out

    1. PJ

      I think most people do not/would not notice a print against the shirt, too busy staring at their smartphones. Good point.

  10. RHC

    I agree with the comments made by TPSnodgrass reference to carry what works for you. Prior to retirement, I carried what my PD said I could, which turned out to be either a Smith snub or a G27. Now I seem to alternate between the glock and my smith bodyguard.
    All I have to say is-practice.
    Agree also with the avatar. Once you get a GS, you get hooked. My latest is a 2+ White GS. She sheds 3 times more than any other one I have had.

    1. PJ

      Agree: carry often, carry what works for you, practice with whatever it is you carry. One night I took my wife to the movies and decided to carry my full size 1911, hammer back/safety on. It just felt awkward as I usually carry a Glock. Carry what you practice with, that’s for certain.

  11. Greyhawk

    My Sig Sauer P938 hides so nicely that my wife always has to ask if I’m carrying or not. It also mimics my full sized 1911 so that training is not as complicated.

  12. Michael

    I live in southern Arizona, so what you deal with for a few months is realistically year round for us down here.

    Buy sweatshirts 1 size larger for cooler weather, button down shirts with a light t shirt under for warmer weather. Ive carried every day for almost 30 years and its not a matter of what gun,its the mindset to dress for the gun, not make the gun fit your dress

    For what its worth, I carry AIWB a Glock 17 or 20. Yes really, a large frame glock when the situation calls for it

    1. PJ

      Wow, gotta respect the AIWB Glock 17 carry. That’s a bold move! I definitely agree you have to dress for the gun yet some compromises are made for comfort, especially in my case.

  13. angelo jensen

    I carry a 27 all day long in a owb serpa cqc holster. I usually leave my shirt untucked. I carry everywhere I’m legally allowed in Indianapolis. I’m looking into a iwb holster but I’m not sure what I would like. Also I might be upsizing to a 23.

    1. PJ


      I’ve got a few IWB holsters, I like Crossbreed and Galco. Raven Concealment makes good stuff for OWB and IWB as well. I’m personally not a fan of the Serpa holster with the index finger release system but to each his own.

      1. John

        Good holsters for all day carry, live in the desert as well, helps break in the leather. This is some of the best holsters you will find. IWB, OWB, or both. Check them out, I bought a holster for hot undercover and this is by far the best..

  14. Barry

    I’m not a fan of changing firearms from summer to winter. I think that even minimal differences can throw somebody off a bit and that can be disastrous. Recently, I quit “borrowing” my wife’s Bursa Thunder .380 for deep concealed carry and bought a Springfield XDM 9mm compact. It carries 12 + 1 and takes the higher capacity magazines from other Springfields also.

    This means I have a nice 3.8 inch barrel for aiming down….and with the 12 round magazine inserted, only my pinky finger is curled under. I carry a cell phone case on my off side with two additional mags in it. By staggering a high capacity mag along with one of less capacity, the taller one is easy to grab and take out and gives me a full grip on the handgun if I’m still needing it.

    With modern ammo, both the .380 and 9mm are superb defense cartridges. The old debate over caliber has been over for a long time now and is only brought up by those to refuse to look at the data. Carry what is comfortable and what you shoot well…….but carry!

    1. PJ


      I’ll agree that a standard platform is best, I’m comfortable enough with the Glock to move back and forth between compact and subcompact. As far as the .380 vs 9mm goes, it’s not the cartridge but rather the gun that makes the difference (for me). I have a Ruger LCP but wouldn’t be comfortable trying to engage anyone outside of 5 yards…tiny sight radius (and terrible sights) and a trigger pull that is simply awful.

  15. JK

    Went to the range and shot the Sig Sauer 938 9mm. Amazingly compact and arguably the most accurate auto I’ve ever fired. Grip extender mags give 7+1 capacity. My choice for subcompact.

  16. RM

    I carry the GLOCK 26 with the GLOCK +2 extension. I can get all my fingers on the grip with the +2 extension and it’s still a compact little package with 13 rounds capacity.

  17. Glock 27 IWB Holster

    How well is the Glock +2 extension? I have heard very few things about it and not sure if I should commit to it.

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