A holster is an important piece of gear you as long you are licensed to carry a handgun.
Either as civilian or if your job involves the use of handguns. The holster serves as a storage sheath for your handgun which stands between your body and the gun.
On the off chance that you need one, it is expedient you choose the right holster. But which are the best gun holsters?
A wrong choice of holster can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to retrieve your weapon in the face of danger which could affect your performance.
It is important to know that there are various types, forms, and shapes. Each holster is unique from the other based on how they are used and where they are placed.
At times, the type of handgun you carry will also determine the type of holster you would go for. Because of these factors and differences, it is important to know which holster is right for you and which rightly fits your need.
Types of Holsters
There are vast amounts of holsters in the market you can choose from. but you have to ensure you opt for the one that suits your needs. The type of holster you purchase determines the level of comfort and convenience you enjoy as you go about your daily activities, though you are not restricted to a particular type, depending on the number of weapons you keep.
Holsters are also distinguished based on what they are used for and are identified by a unique feature that makes them suitable for such purposes. In other words, a duty holster as used by an officer requires more retention than concealment, because they are expected to carry guns. Some would rather go for concealment holsters especially for covert operations where they don’t want to be identified. Furthermore, holster for sport events has more retention than concealment thereby, they are built to allow its user make a fast draw of the weapon when in front of a target.
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Other types of holsters have found their way into the market these days based on the need for something different and unexpected. Such holsters are usually referred to as exotic; this is because they are usually fit for places where guns are not expected to be used without causing a commotion. They could be built-in purse holsters, attached to waist bag or (inner) thigh holsters.
Waist (hip) Holsters
Waist holsters are usually attached to the waist/hip band of your pants. They are the common holster and are usually of three types depending on how they are placed:
- Inside the waist (IWB) holsters are usually held in place into the pants with its carrier easily tucked in. It is clipped on your belt for a firm and secure hold while moving about.
- Outside the waist (OWB) holsters, on the other hand, are the most common and easy to use holster types. They are also held in place by mounting on belts and allows for easy retrieval of guns.
- Belly band holsters are worn by people who like comfort. These holsters consist of a large band that is usually flexible like neoprene for example. They will fit most handguns and you can store additional magazines or personal belongings.
- They are easy to carry around
- They offer concealment
- Weapons are held securely and firmly in place
- Provide easy access and retrieval of weapons when needed
- Does not hinder free movement and operation
- Could be uncomfortable at times
- Some have abrasive edges and could leave scratch marks on a gun
- It is a common place to look for a holster if it’s concealed
Leg holsters are usually strapped to the thigh and can be reached from any position, while ankle holsters are attached further down the leg. These types are usually used for backup guns because they cannot be retrieved easily except from a certain angle or position.
- Highly concealable
- Used for backup guns
- Good alternative in areas where clothing does not allow the use of waist holster
- Easy to retrieve in sitting or bending position
- Concealment could pose a big deal, especially in summer when you might need to dress less
- They are usually heavy on the leg and restrict quick movement
- Requires the raising of pant legs which could take a while
- Does not fit with certain pants such as leggings
- Cannot be retrieved in a hurry
- Difficult to retrieve if you are dealing with back or knee pains
This is a more vintage or old-fashioned way of keeping firearms. It could be fixed vertically or horizontally across the shoulder or as a sling holster strapped across the chest.
- Easily accessible
- Easy to re-holster
- Not concealed except you wear a jacket
- Not suitable for summer when you will need to wear little
This is a good alternative to a waist holster. The holster is built to fit conveniently inside the pocket without a revealing bulge. It is usually only suitable for smaller handguns and can be easily retrieved when needed.
- Easy to retrieve
- Convenient and comfortable
- Easy to replace
- It takes up the space for usual stuff like wallets and car keys
- It is usually bulky
Factors to consider before choosing the right holster
Having understood the different types of holsters and which one is suitable for different purposes, it is also important to consider the following factors that would guide you into selecting the perfect holster fit for you.
Type of gun: it determines the holster type you would go for. This is because the shape, form, and size of the holster have to allow the gun to fit in securely.
Material: mostly leather, but others could be molded plastics (kydex) or nylon.
Comfort and convenience: a good holster should allow you to move about conveniently without hindrance; and in cases where you have to wear it for a longer period of time while, it should give no sign of discomfort such as pinching or rubbing on the skin.
Concealment: this is especially for covert operations. People should not be aware that you carry a gun unless you tell. It should stay invisible.
Position and accessibility: A good holster should be able to stay positioned at angles strategic for easy access and retrieval of a handgun.
Retention: this is the holster’s ability to hold the gun firmly and securely in place. The gun should not slide off its hold and should not be easily removed by any other person.
Safety and protection: a good holster should be safe for gun retrieval and re-holstering without causing an accidental trigger or disengaging locks.
Price/quality: the price of a holster is directly related to its quality. So if you go for cheap, you will end up getting an inferior quality.
Dressing: your dressing also matters a lot in your choice of holster. If you enjoy going casual and simple, you might need to get a holster that fits your style and vice versa.
Extra features: holsters should be free from straps, buttons and sharp edges.