Choosing the best holster for your needs is not as simple as you might think. Some folks are known to spend hours researching and trying out various holster options in order to find the right holster! A lot of people even like to “test drive” a holster before purchasing it.
But just how big a deal is it to have the right holster? And what do you need to consider, is it all just about which holster has the right price? Unfortunately not. If you do not have the right holster, it can become uncomfortable to carry your holster, but also importantly, it can hamper your speed and ease with which you draw your weapon. In a life and death situation, that is something that could have a massive impact on the outcome of the situation.
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Key Considerations When Choosing a Holster
There is no such thing as “the best holster”. That is because every person has different needs and likes, and for that reason each of us would have a different choice as the best holster. But how do we actually choose the best holster to fit our needs?
Carry style – Open Carry Vs Concealed Carry
How you want to carry is probably one of the first things you need to decide. Do you want to carry concealed or do you want to carry your weapon open on your thigh or perhaps your belt?
If you want to carry concealed, there are a lot of holster options to choose from. These include pocket holsters, ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, inside the waistband holsters (IWB)…and the list goes on. Which one you choose depends on your specific needs. You need to of course also be aware about your country or your state’s (if you live in the US) specific concealed carry laws.
If you want to carry open, there are some nice holster options also. These include thigh holsters, outside the waistband holsters, chest holsters, etc. Of course, wearing open carry in public might attract more attention to you, but these holster often allow for a more comfortable carry and quicker draw. These types of holsters are typically used by law enforcement or military personnel.
It Should Fit Your Weapon
Besides your carry style, the other very important factor to keep in mind is what weapon the holster should be able to fit. While some holsters are general enough to fit a lot of gun types, a lot of holsters are made to fit a specific gun model. So if you see a holster you like, first check that it will actually fit your gun.
If you have attachments on your gun, such as a laser or flashlight, you need to look for a holster that will accommodate these attachments.
Material The Holster Is Made From
This is where taste and personal preference comes in (and maybe even budget). Materials that holsters are made from typically include Kydex, Nylon or leather (and sometimes a combination of some of these). Each materials has its advantages and disadvantages.
Kydex – Holster made from Kydex are typically easy to clean and maintain (just use some soap and water), keeps your weapon well protected and looks pretty cool. But these holsters typically need to be specifically molded to fit your gun model and are usually not ideal for concealed carry (the hard shell gives off a print)
Nylon – Nylon is cheap and durable. Nylon holsters are typically your work horse holsters that you don’t have to feel guilty about giving a beating. However if you need to carry for long periods of time, Nylon is usually not the most comfortable option. Additionally, Nylon holsters do not have the same snug fit to a gun as Kydex or leather might have.
Leather – Personally, I love leather holsters. They are beautiful and they smell nice (when they are still new and haven’t absorbed by sweat!). But leather holsters are usually more expensive than other holsters and require some breaking in.