Whether you are on duty or off, the kind of holster that you hold your gun in can both influence the way that you carry it and the places that you get to carry it to. Notwithstanding the kind of gun you have or where you choose to strap it to your person, there are two basic qualities that you need to look for in a holster. To begin, you holster needs to be capable of holding your pistol securely; then, it needs to allow quick and easy access to your weapon when you need it.
Stores selling tactical police equipment offer a wide range of holsters, many of them innovative designs by manufacturers trying to set themselves apart. Some of these new designs offer nothing but gimmickry. To pick the right holster, you need to be able to tell genuine innovations apart from meaningless ones. New designs aren’t really necessary, though. Holsters have been around long enough now that the basic principles of successful holster working design are established. Rather than run after every new design that holster makers come up with when you shop for a holster, you need to go for designs that deliver well on the basics.
Balance price against quality
Excellent holster designs made with quality materials aren’t necessarily expensive. A basic design by a quality brand should give you all the functionality that you need. Basic design, though, doesn’t equate to cheapness of quality. Many bottom-of-the-barrel designs have snaps that open with too little force, have rough edges that chafe the skin and don’t hold up well to exposure to moisture. The leather may swell in humid weather and may grow tight around the gun. Quality basic designs, on the other hand, have properly treated leather.
Look at the number of safety features used
Good holster designs use special retention designs to help make sure that the guns they hold never fall out by accident no matter what kind of rough and tumble they may be subjected to. Retention mechanisms also help make sure that no one is able to make a grab for the gun in the holster. Multiple retention mechanisms, though, have the effect of slowing down the speed with which a weapon is accessed. There needs to be some sort of balance between the kind of retention mechanism provided and the degree to which it slows down the draw.
In most cases, single retention mechanism designs are all that are needed. Any more than that could make it difficult for the owner of the gun to reach for his weapon in an emergency.
Look for active retention mechanisms
A button-down cover for your gun is an example of a passive retention mechanism – you need to engage it for it to work. An active mechanism requires nothing more than for you to push the gun down into the holster. Various spring-loaded devices hold on to your gun automatically. Passive mechanisms waste time and often require two hands for their operation – these aren’t a good idea. Active mechanisms are much better.
Don’t buy fanny packs or concealed-carry bags
Gun holders that are built into a handbag aren’t a good idea. In the event of a snatch-and-grab theft attempt, the handbag is the first target. Fanny pack holsters are bad idea, too – they invite the attention of thieves.
Do not buy a holster built into a tactical garment
Tactical garments – heavy-duty vests that have built-in holsters and weapons pockets – do offer great convenience when you need to carry weapons. They advertise the fact that you are armed and trained, though. Any mischief-maker is likely to take out a person dressed in this manner first.
Pocket holsters are a good idea
If you plan to carry your gun in your pocket, it isn’t good idea to simply drop the gun in your pocket. Not only does drawing not work well when your gun is in a flimsy fabric pocket, lint can jam gun mechanisms, too. If you plan to carry a gun in your pocket, you need a pocket holster.
A hip holster can offer excellent security
A hip holster places your gun in the hollow of your waist. Your elbow protects the gun from anyone interested in making a grab for it, too. Hip holsters offer great access to the wearer, too.
Synthetic materials can be excellent
While leather has always been the traditional material of choice for holsters, modern synthetic materials – plastics and carbon fiber, for instance – can offer excellent quality at low prices. Synthetic materials have the excellent advantage that the make reupholstering easy. Leather holsters, on the other hand, usually collapse when the gun is drawn. Re-holstering can take some time.
Finally, you need the right holster for every application
In general, you can’t have too many holsters – you need a different one for every purpose – hunting, competition, concealed carrying and so on. You can become much more efficient at the activity that you’re involved in when you have the right holster for the job.
Jeremy S has owned a gun for many years now. In his spare time, he likes to blog about guns and gun safety on various websites.