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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There are a lot of threads started regarding the selection of a holster. I thought I’d throw this together to help those that are new to carrying a firearm or even for those that are looking to expand their carry options. A holster should do two things. First, it should retain the gun so it can’t fall out in a potentially dangerous or embarrassing situation. Second, the holster must cover the trigger so an unintentional discharge can’t occur.

Essentially, there are two ways a gun can be carried: open or concealed. Which method you choose is up to you and must be compliant with all laws in the area that you are located in. Let’s look at some holsters for open carry first.

For open carry, the firearm will be visible for all tosee. Usually this means the gun will be carried in a holster on the strong side hip outside of the waistband. Here are a couple of common types of outside the waistband (OWB) holsters. I should also note that these carry devices can be used for concealed carry provided you are wearing a garment long enough to completely cover the gun and holster.



Above is a Fobus brand paddle holster. It’s called a paddle holster due to the paddle shaped plate that is tucked into the waistband of the pants. This holster uses a “passive” retention system. The gun is held in by the way the plastic is molded around the trigger guard. It provides an quick and easy method of drawing but can be susceptible to the gun coming out too easily.



This is a common molded leather OWB belt slide holster. It called a belt slide holster because of theslots through which the belt slides. Notice the retention strap that holds the gun in. While leather holsters are generally more expensive than others, they usually last longer if they are made of high quality materials.



The holster above is a Blackhawk Serpa holster. Similar to the Fobus in construction, the Serpa has a unique retention system. The retention is actually achieved by a mechanical device built in to the holster. The button must be depressed before the gun can be removed from the holster which prevents the gun from coming out of the holster too easily but also adds a fraction of a second to the time it takes to draw the gun.



This is a crossdraw holster. It’s called a crossdraw because you have to draw the gun across your body in order to use it. While these are very comfortable for those that spend a lot of time sitting or driving, they take a lot of practice to get used to and to be safe with while presenting your gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)


The last for open carry is a nylon “universal” holster. It’s universal in the ways you can carry it,not in the guns it will accommodate. This type of holster can generally be worn OWB or inside the waistband (IWB). They are generally very inexpensive but not high in quality and will need to be replaced more often than other options. Notice the built in magazine pouch. Carrying a spare magazine is a good idea, however, a spare magazine should be worn on the opposite side from the gun and having it on the holster itself is only slightly better than not having it.



Now let’s look at options for concealed carry. There are far more possibilities if you intend to conceal your firearm.



First is a Fobus brand IWB holster. It is a very unique design and, although it works well, it is not the most comfortable option on the market. The Fobus IWB uses the same “passive”retention as it’s OWB brother.



The next option is a molded leather IWB holster. There are two leather loops that snap around the belt to keep the holster in place. This holster relies on the tension from the carriers belt to retain the gun.


This is a nylon IWB holster. These are fairly inexpensive and available for pretty much every gun on the market. They are not the most comfortable or the highest quality options available. Like the leather IWB holster,they rely on belt tension to retain the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)


The two holsters above are the Crossbreed and Kholster brand holsters. These are “hybrid” holsters by the fact that they are constructed of both leather and Kydex plastic. They are designed to be worn IWB and have agreat comfort factor. One nice feature of these kinds of holsters is the ability to tuck a shirt around the gun for concealability while wearing a tucked in shirt.



These are ankle holsters. While there are many kinds of ankle holsters on the market, they are not all created equal. Many are uncomfortable and some even move around while you walk. If you are willing to spend the time, you can find an ankle holster that suits you. One big disadvantage to an ankle holster is how long it takes to present the gun and the movement it takes to do so. An ankle holster is a good option for a back-up gun or for those that have no other alternative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)


These are commonly called “underwear” holsters. These are worn under the clothing and the gun is retained by the fact that there is a waistband holding it in. Underwear holsters are generally good for situations in which deep concealment is required. It should be noted that these DO NOT protect the trigger and one should never carry a chambered round in a holster of this type.



Next we have the shoulder holster. Shoulder holsters have been popularized bytelevision for decades. Some are good. Some are not so good. Models can be purchased for one gun, two guns, or a gun and spare ammunition. If a shoulder holster is the method you have selected for concealed carry, you should do a lot of research to ensure you are getting a very comfortable holster before you buy one that leaves you sore.



Finally, we have a pocket holster. For guns that are small enough to slip into a pocket, a pocket holster is still advisable to prevent the gun from printing on the pocket of the pants and to protect the trigger from protruding objects one might brush up against. Pocket holsters, coupled with the right sized gun, are generally very comfortable and convenient to use.

So there we have it. While these are certainly not all the options available, they are the basics that one can use to get started. I hope some will find it useful.
 

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Very good writeup! Thanks for the info!
 
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