Choosing a way to carry is the first step in choosing the correct holster for you.
The most popular ways to carry are outside the waistband (OWB), inside the waistband (IWB), and the increasing popularity of appendix inside the waistband (AIWB). All three types have their pros and cons against each other such as weapon retention, speed of drawing, concealment, and comfort. Keep in mind carrying a gun will not be as comfortable as your Sunday sweatpants, but it isn’t supposed to be. The key here is to find what style works for you…then buy the best quality you can in the way that you choose to carry.
Being on the range more than a fair amount of time I have seen many different types of holsters. Many of those holsters being of the nylon variety have unfortunately made
appearances at the more “advanced” classes. Generally, nylon holsters tend to be
cheaper both in price and in quality. Because of the price point they happen to be very popular with the new shooter or usually the ill-informed. They are generally prevalent during a basic CWP qualification. This is one of the types of holsters that consistently fail. Even if the holster remains in one piece it fails because it does not do any of the above mentioned features and then it becomes a safety issue to keep the shooter on the line due to shoddy equipment. Do not be that guy! An instructor usually spends more time on the range than the oblivious nylon offender so don’t get upset when you are removed…it’s a safety issue, nothing personal. Being a new shooter does not preclude an individual from having a holster at least fit the gun and safely cover the trigger guard; especially in this day and age of easily accessible, free information. There is no excuse for a holster that falls apart though due to poor craftsmanship.
Having a holster fall apart on the line is usually just an embarrassing day for the student. Thankfully that is where learning occurs and the situation is a “self-correcting error”. Watching students holsters literally melt off their loops, stitching rip from just
drawing the gun, and watching a holster flop in the wind is something no man should get used to seeing. A flying holster is not just relegated to nylon…there are some really cheap
leather works out there too. One thing that doesn’t get old is seeing a cheap holster come off of the belt, or when the student goes back to re-holster the firearm the holster is no longer where it was before! Of course, a good belt is STANDARD with a good holster which will be discussed in the near future.
A holster being as imperative as it is to safe, comfortable carry, cannot be overlooked or to “cheap out” on. The material used is not so important as to the quality of the holster.
There are actually quality nylon holsters out such as offerings fromBianchi. Kydex is probably one of the most popular materials to be used right now as it does not bend, lose
elasticity, and retains the firearm incredibly well, and is often cheaper than a nice leather rig. Of course, it is hard to beat a good leather holster for all holster uses and they just have a classic look about them, especially when you put a nice 1911 or Browning Hi-Power in one.
The choice is yours, and the choices are plentiful so choose wisely or should you get the proverbial “box of holsters” collection that many, including yours truly can accumulate. Just like anything else, try to choose from holster makers that are established and highly reputable in both the construction and follow through of customer service when buying something as important as a carry holster. Doing so will save you time, money, and hopefully a little embarrassment in your next firearms training adventure.