The following is the first in a series of articles intended to provide a starting point for those new to concealed carry. There is much to learn and great satisfaction to be had but figuring out where to begin can be daunting for newcomers. The intent of the series is to provide useful information for those beginning the transition to the concealed carry lifestyle.
You’ve gone through the process and you’ve received your concealed carry permit, now what? Armed citizens must acquire the tools and develop the skills to be safe and effective. Choosing the right holster is a significant part of the process.
A holster must do three things well:
- It must hold the gun securely and stay in place
- It must completely and securely cover the trigger guard and trigger
- It must be comfortable
There are many options available regarding holsters. Choosing the right holster is a very personal choice. The perfect holster for one person might be a disaster for another. Body type, carry style, style of dress, and carry gun are just a few things that will influence your decision.
As you begin the process of finding your perfect holster, accept the fact that along with your perfect holster you’re going to end up with a box full of less than perfect ones. The pleasure is in the journey.
Holsters are worn in a variety of different ways and are designed accordingly. Some common configurations are:
- IWB or Inside the Waistband – This style of holster is worn inside the pants at the beltline and is generally (but not always) attached to the belt and pressed against the body. This configuration is more concealable but slightly less comfortable than others and may require wearing clothing that is a size larger than normal.
- OWB or Outside the Waistband – This style is worn outside the pants at the beltline and is attached to the belt. A cover garment of some kind is used to conceal an OWB holster and when properly done conceals as well as an IWB. OWB is generally more comfortable, doesn’t require a change in clothing size, and will usually enable a faster and easier draw than IWB.
- AIWB or Appendix Inside the Waistband – This style of holster is worn inside the pants at the beltline and pressed against the body at about the two o’clock position (over the appendix). Thinner men and many women prefer this style of carry. Appendix carry is very concealable and allows an easy draw from the seated position. This position enables a faster draw but leaves the muzzle pointed at your body.
- Shoulder Holsters and Cross Draw – These are two less common styles of carry by legally armed citizens. Both styles are more difficult to conceal and generally have the muzzle pointed in an unsafe direction. In addition, care must be taken to not muzzle yourself during the draw.
The following is an overview of the various types of holsters available:
This group of holsters includes bellybands, sticky holsters, pocket holsters, and most ankle holsters. These holsters are generally constructed of soft synthetic material that, in the case of the bellyband, will have elastic properties. Some sources include:
Kydex is a hard plastic-like material that is common in holsters. A high quality Kydex holster will be molded specifically to your model of gun. As a general rule you should avoid “one size fits all” type holsters. Kydex holsters generally have adjustable tension to vary the amount of hold they have on the gun. Kydex holsters may be slightly less comfortable than hybrid or leather but they work well and are economical. Some sources include:
Hybrid holsters consist of a piece of leather with a molded Kydex piece attached that holds the firearm. The leather rests against the body while the molded Kydex, mounted on the outside of the leather, securely holds the holster. Hybrid holsters are generally more expensive than Kydex but are comfortable and work well. Some sources include:
Leather holsters are probably the most expensive but are very comfortable, work well, and are very durable. Leather holsters can be beautifully crafted and tooled. Some say life is too short to only own ugly Kydex holsters. Some sources include:
The above list of sources is by no means comprehensive but should provide a place to start. Watch for additional articles in this series addressing more subjects of interest to the concealed carrier. Welcome to the carry lifestyle. Enjoy the journey.
The right to self-defense is a basic human right. Gun ownership is an integral part of that right. If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) in San Diego, Orange County Gun Owners (OCGO) in Orange County, San Bernardino County Gun Owners (SBCGO) in San Bernardino County or Riverside County Gun Owners (RCGO) in Riverside. Support the cause by listening to Gun Sports Radio live on Sunday afternoon or on the internet at your leisure. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.
©2020 Joseph T Drammissi
This article and more of Joe’s work covering the Second Amendment as well as other topics can be found on Substack at https://getagrip.substack.com