How To Choose Your Holster


Most of us put a lot of thought into choosing the right handgun because it's an important decision. Unfortunately, many pick up a holster pretty much as an afterthought. It doesn't matter how good your pistol is if you can't rely on it being well protected, easy to handle and quick to get into action. It needs to be the right holster for you, your style of carry and your gun.


Concealed Carry Holsters

Concealed carry holsters don't just have to hold your weapon securely; they need to help make it as inconspicuous as possible. That means bulky flaps, padding and carriage systems are out; low-profile leather is in. There's also a limit to what a holster can do for concealment, and your choice of weapon is going to make a big difference. Opt for a long-barreled, large-frame revolver and your concealed carry options become very limited.



Inside the waistband (IWB) holsters are the most popular option for concealed carry. These holsters secure to your belt with a loop or clip, and hold the pistol inside the waistband of your pants. This is excellent for concealment, as only the butt and rear of the slide are exposed above the waistband. On the other hand it's not the most comfortable style, and exposes the weapon to perspiration. They work best with flatter, compact semiautomatics SHOP INSIDE WAISTBAND HOLSTER





Outside the waistband (OWB) holsters designed for concealed carry are a better option if you're carrying a revolver or larger semiautomatic. These holsters often have wide wings, which both hold it securely on the belt and help smooth out the shape, reducing "printing" on your shirt or coat. SHOP OUTSIDE WAISTBAND HOLSTERS




The Hybrid holster is the perfect holster for the person looking for a high retention Hybrid Holster. It features full retention control and a soft durable backing that is comfortable to carry. This holster has kydex that completely covers the trigger guard giving to the highest security you can have with a hybrid. Can be worn Inside or Outside the waistband. SHOP HYBRID HOLSTERS







Leather is the traditional holster material, and it's still popular today. Leather is hard wearing, versatile and looks good. Modern leather holsters vary from traditional styles to stiffened, molded ones designed to fit a specific model of pistol.

Leather is a great choice for concealed carry. It's flexible and, with wear, molds to both the body and the weapon. A good leather holster doesn't add much bulk, which helps with concealment.

There are downsides, though. Leather is maintenance-heavy. Poorly maintained leather can collect moisture from rain or sweat, and you really don't want wet leather wrapped round your sidearm all day. It also collects scratches and gouges, which won't damage the holster's function but degrade its looks.

Leather also tends to soften and crease as it ages, and this can be dangerous. Plenty of people have holstered a pistol in old leather which folded, got inside the trigger guard and fired off a round. SHOP LEATHER HOLSTERS



Kydex and other rigid plastics are excellent holster materials. They're tough, can be molded into just about any shape and really protect the weapon. Their rigidity also makes them ideal for holsters with retention systems. Usually they're shaped for a specific weapon.

The main drawback of rigid plastic is that it's often uncomfortable for concealed carry. It doesn't mold to your body the way leather does. Rigid holsters also tend to be bulkier and more obvious.

These materials are low maintenance and don't absorb water, sweat or dirt. Even if they're dripping with mud they can be easily cleaned. SHOP KYDEX HOLSTERS







Many holsters don't have any separate retention system; they just rely on friction between the gun and holster to hold it in place. Most concealed carry holsters come into this category. For everyday use it works fine. Nobody should be trying to grab a concealed weapon from you (they won't know you have it, because it's concealed) and you probably won't be running around too much, so a well-made, well maintained holster that fits your gun well should hold it in place just fine. Many modern holsters have a retention screw that can be adjusted to alter the amount of friction — and how securely the gun is held.




Thumb Break Straps

The straps fitted to most traditional police and open carry holsters can be released very quickly. However, while they do protect your gun from falling out, they don't do a lot to stop someone grabbing it — they can release the strap just as easily as you can. 




Retention Levels

Holsters are typically rated by retention level. A higher level means it's harder for someone to grab your weapon from the holster without your cooperation - but it also usually means your draw will be slower, so more retention isn't always better. The right level for you will depend on why you're carrying. If you're a cop or a civilian who open carries, someone trying to grab your weapon from the holster is a real worry. If you're a soldier, a flap that stops the weapon falling out should usually be fine.




Level 1 relies on friction to hold the weapon in place. A well-fitted Level 1 holster, especially if it has a retention screw, is secure enough to keep your gun in place through most activity - but it does nothing to stop someone else taking it. Most concealed carry holsters are Level 1.


Level 2 has a second retention method as well as friction. A strap is the most common option here, but trigger guard locks are gaining popularity.


Level 3 has two additional retention methods on top of friction. Generally this is a strap and a trigger guard lock. Many police departments specify Level 3 for duty holsters. 


Level 4 has three retention methods, plus friction. Level 4 holsters are extremely secure; it's almost impossible for anyone else to get the gun out if you don't cooperate.



There's no such thing as the best holster. The one that's best for you depends on a lot of things. Before buying, you need to know exactly what you need it to do. Once you've worked that out you can narrow the field down a lot. It can take a bit of work to make your final choice, but it's worth the effort. Get it right and you'll have a piece of equipment that will protect your weapon and make sure it's where you need it, when you need it.




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