A Quality Holster Is Important!

By Corey Young

     A Quality Holster Is Important! In fact, it’s absolutely required if you want to safely carry a pistol. Yet there is no shortage of companies making subpar holsters. Below are a few quick thoughts on selecting an appropriate holster for your needs.

How do I define quality? Easy. Retention, rigidity and fit.

  • Fit: The holster should fit the gun securely without it flopping around. It must also cover the trigger and prevent it from being accidently pulled. In short, use the right holster for your type of gun. Small dimensional differences can have a big impact on the holster’s ability to perform as designed.
  • Rigidity: Use a holster that remains open and easily allows you to re-holster. This will prevent the need to "fish" around with the muzzle to find the opening when you re-holster. Obviously, this lessens the likelihood of pointing the gun at yourself unintentionally. Rigidity also means the holster mounts securely to your belt or “kit” and doesn’t flop around under the weight of a loaded handgun.
  • Retention: If you can't turn the holster upside down and shake it without the pistol falling out then it's probably not up to the task. This level of retention is the bare minimum and is easily found on any quality molded kydex style of holster. This is sufficient for most EDC/concealed carry applications and even most shooting competitions like IDPA or similar.

     A holster with secondary retention is the minimum I'd recommend for any run 'n gun, 3-Gun, tactical fitness, or equivalent type of shooting competition. This is usually a piece of plastic that "locks" the gun into the holster by the trigger guard or ejection port and must be released as part of the draw stroke to allow the gun to be drawn from the holster. It adds little to your draw time and greatly reduces the chances that the gun will accidentally come out of the holster.

     Unfortunately, not all holsters are created equal. The retention device must be easy to disengage, but should also engage automatically as the pistol is holstered. It shouldn't require a secondary action by the individual to engage. These often appear as "universal" or "tactical" style holsters with some sort of flap or strap and buckle arrangement that must be secured as a separate and distinct action.

     Not only is a quality holster needed, but how you mount and carry that holster is also important.

     Cross draw and chest mounted holsters are a bad idea. Mounting a holster this way makes it very difficult to draw and keep the muzzle pointed down range. It’s even harder to re-holster without pointing the gun at yourself or someone else. Furthermore, that method of carry almost guarantees that you will flag just about everyone you meet with your pistol. This is the same reason I despise when folks sling their rifles "inspection arms" style across their chest with their muzzle pointing into the sky at what amounts to head level. Loaded or unloaded, holstered or not, no one likes having a gun pointed at them.

     Similarly, drop leg / thigh holsters can be problematic and should be avoided. The vast majority I’ve seen at The Gun Run events are cheaper, cloth and MOLLE type setups that simply are not secure and stable enough to withstand extended dynamic movement. Unless you have prior experience with these type of holsters and train regularly with them, it's probably best to avoid them.

     This isn't to say you need a $200 holster to participate in a run 'n gun style of competition. There are many great holsters on the market to fit a variety of carry styles and applications. However, quality does cost money. So do research, ask your friends to try theirs and be prepared to pay for a quality setup. You’ll be glad you did!

Run fast and shoot straight.  I'll see you out there!


Disclaimer- I am not a professional shooter, nor an "Operator". I'm not even a certified firearms instructor. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, do you own research, seek out other points of view and come to your own conclusions. After all, it's you who is carrying a loaded firearm and you alone bear the moral and legal responsibility of carrying it safely.