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Choosing a Gun Holster

Choosing a Gun Holster

Choosing a Gun Holster

Choosing a gun holster can be a challenge. This guide is intended to briefly describe the different holster styles so that you can make an informed purchase.

Before searching for a gun holster, decide how and when you will carry the weapon:

  • How will you use your weapon?
  • Will you carry concealed?
  • Will you use your weapon on the range?
  • Will you participate in shooting competitions like IDPA or 3 Gun?
  • Is this a primary weapon or a back-up that needs to be carried in a secondary position?

The answers to these questions will provide you with a solid starting point. If you anticipate more than one specific use for your weapon, you may need to consider two different holsters.

Twenty years ago, holsters were made primarily from leather. However, thermoplastics (kydex) have grown in popularity. In today's market, you now have the following options:

  • Leather
  • Kydex
  • Ballistic Nylon

Each material has advantages and disadvantages. Leather remains the most popular holster material. Kydex is completely waterproof, a characteristic that is beneficial in hot or humid climates. Ballistic nylon is the least expensive of the three, but resists form fitting (molding) like leather or kydex.

Holster Models

Belt Holsters – A belt holster is one through which a belt is threaded. This type of holster cannot be worn without a belt and is sometimes called an “outside the waistband” (OWB) holster. Belt holsters have a number of applications and can be used for the following:

  • Concealment (certain models)
  • General range use
  • Competition
  • General carry (also called field use)

Belt holsters tend to be the most popular and are typically worn on the strong-side (same side as the shooting hand).

Inside the Waistband Holsters - Also called IWB holsters, inside the waistband holsters are the most popular design for concealment. This holster is worn inside the waistband so that most of the weapon is concealed, with only the grip exposed above the belt line.

Crossdraw Holster – A variation of the belt holster, a crossdraw holster is worn on the weak side of your body. With this holster, you move across your body to draw your weapon.

Small of the Back Holster - Small of the back (SOB) models can be either belt models or IWB models and are designed to be worn directly on the small of the back.

Pocket Holster - Made for small revolvers and semi-automatic handguns, pocket holsters can be worn in either a front pocket or a back pocket.

Ankle Holster - Ankle holsters are generally produced for small revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. They are designed to worn on the ankle of the strong-side leg. (For example, if you shoot right-handed, an ankle holster would ride on the outside of your right leg.)

Shoulder Holster - Shoulder holsters consist of a single or double loop harness system that fits over the shoulders. The holster rides horizontally or vertically under the weak-side arm. (For a right-handed shooter, the holster would ride under the left arm.)



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