Unless You Read This…
For decades I’ve said it’s hard to buy a bad gun and easy to buy a bad holster. If you buy a handgun from a major manufacturer you are very unlikely to get bad gun. In general you’ll wind up with a serviceable self-defense weapon. On the other hand, it can be a challenge to find a holster just right for you and your lifestyle. Most people wind up with drawers full of holsters before they find the right one. Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Many holsters ride too high above the belt, which makes for an unnatural draw-stroke. It’s been alleged high-ride holsters conceal better under a shorter jacket than a normal-ride holster, but really the difference is small. High-ride holsters also allow a short gun to flop away from the body. A normal-ride holster, in which the belt crosses the trigger, will suit most people better most of the time.
Many holsters are canted too far forward. A forward cant in excess of 15 degrees can aid in concealment a little by pulling the gun’s butt forward, but a proper choice of a concealment garment will usually do the same thing. A gun canted too far forward can be very unnatural to draw from, and often thrusts the butt into a rib bone. Most (but not all) experienced people wind up preferring a straight-drop holster or one with only a very slight cant.
Note the gentle cant of the holstered pistol (in a FIST K-1 holster) making for a natural draw stroke. The gun is also carried low, putting the weight of the magazine near the belt. By contrast, the more severe but commonly-found cant of the Glock makes the draw-stroke less natural for most people. Proper belt is a Wilderness Frequent Traveler (green, 1.25″ width).
The best holster in the world is useless without a properly reinforced and exactly size-matched belt.
Here’s a “The Beltman” custom belt matched neatly with a Tauris Holsters LLC CC Snap Mount rig for a
J-frame. You simply can’t go wrong when you go to this sort of quality. Gun is custom J-frame by
Don’t Go Cheap
Many people cheap-out when buying a holster. While the gun provides the capability to defend yourself, it’s the holster allowing that gun to be with you when you need it. If you don’t have a good holster you either won’t carry the gun, or you won’t be able to draw it effectively. Its false logic to say “I just spent $500 on a gun, I’ll be damned if I’ll pay another $85 for a holster when I can buy one for $15.” It’s the old adage: “Ten dollar head? Then buy a $10 helmet.”
Let’s be clear about this too: a proper, purpose-designed gun belt is essential — essential, not nice to have — if you are to carry a holstered handgun effectively. A holstered gun isn’t an object most people carry, and therefore most belts — even sturdy wok belts — don’t properly support the weight of the gun, nor provide the leverage needed to keep it from flopping and shifting about. A proper belt is stiff enough to do this yet comfortable enough to actually wear, which is a bit of a trick to achieve. A proper gun belt is exactly the width of the slots or loops on your holster; not approximately their width. You will have to mate your holster and belt carefully and it’s not a mix-n-match proposition.
This Bobby Macs holster carries the revolver’s heaviest part, the cylinder, at the belt line.
If the holster rides too high, the gun will flop away from the body. Note also the straight
drop, preferred by many experienced pros.
It’s Not Fashion
Too many people will buy a “cool-looking” holster rather than one that works for them. Shoulder holsters and ankle holsters and other exotica have their place, but they are seen on TV and in the movies a lot more than they are seen in use by people who know what they’re doing. The strong-side hip holster (either outside-the-waistband, or inside-the-waistband) is the traditional holster for a reason. It’s comfortable, concealable and efficient and natural to draw from. It’s the place most professionals carry their concealed handgun if they have a choice. Start with one of these, and then try another style only if this traditional choice has shortcomings for you.
By Ralph Mroz