I have carried a weapon of some sort for over thirty years, generally bigger than may be necessary, certainly bigger than most would expect. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we’ll put my weapon in the “or greater” category you mentioned.
People condition themselves for all sorts of things - long sleeve dress wear in the southern sun comes to mind - and do what it takes to live within those parameters.
I believe that almost anything (reliable) will do for meeting the needs of most personal self defense situations. However, having been at times in a position where I could only afford one of each type of tool (or less) in the box, I have always opted for the full size service pistol. Good up close, good farther away for those perhaps less “defensive” type situations as well, good when a high cap response is the only one that will do.
Once I got used to the idea and the weight, I feel as though I am wearing less than my best if I opt for a pocket gun.
Generally IWB. Occasionally hip pack, especially if water is involved.
My decision tree may look like this:
What type of weapon are you going to carry?
How or where will you carry it?
How or where, on your person, will you carry it?
How much concealment is necessary?
What clothing and other choices are necessary to do this?
I suppose I never really put the weight of the weapon in the rubric (for a handgun), that just came with the answer to number 1.
You may have to experiment a lot to find a comfortable holster for you. Then you get used to it. I hardly notice it is there most of the time.
Back on the holster thing - that probably has a lot to do with whether you adapt to comfortably carrying a larger weapon. On the hip, I have found that ones that position it vertically tend to dig into my lower ribs, which bugs me more than the weight, so I took one I generally liked and had one made which was angled so the curve of the grip met my ribs instead of the hammer or beaver-tail. That worked a lot better, and made carrying less burdensome.
I am still trying to find just the right adjustment for a shoulder rig, so I can’t speak to that. If anyone has any tips, feel free to pass them on.