When it comes to holsters, I have personally found that it is quite a touchy subject, especially for those who carry on a daily basis. What many apparently fail to realize is that carrying a handgun comfortably on a daily basis really depends on where they live and the attire they wear. Most don’t take this into consideration and are quick to judge as what is really the best concealment holster. What I also find quite odd is that while most are reluctant to spend a fortune on a handgun and looking for the best deal, they would not think twice to purchase a holster costing as much as $100. Why? Well it all comes down to quality, accessibility, comfort and finally…word of mouth. However, spending this much money on a holster doesn’t necessarily cover all these so-called requirements and you’ll be quite surprised when you take the time to research and find what may fit you best.
Whether it is a pocket, ankle, paddle, pancake or IWB holster, the choice really depends on both what you wear, where you live and how quickly you want access to your weapon should such a situation arise.
Starting with custom molded holsters, these typically end up costing you more than what you were really looking to spend. Yes, I will not deny that most of them are designed and built to the highest quality. However, are they really worth it or that much more convenient? Personally, the answer is no. There are many drawbacks to these holsters, some of which many will not realize until they end up purchasing a number of other handguns. For one, these are obviously designed to fit a particular handgun and if you end up purchasing another or switching at a later point, this type of holster will be completely useless. Second, most are made out of rough, quality leather/cowhide and therefore, are not necessarily designed to protect the finish of your handgun. After extensive use, you may notice some wear on the finish of your handgun and wonder why or quickly blame the gun manufacturer as the source of the problem.
Inside the waist band holsters are an excellent choice for ultimate concealment. However, there are some sacrifices you’ll have to make. The most apparent is overall comfort. Depending on the handgun you are concealing and the clothes you are wearing, daily carry in such a holster can be quite uncomfortable. There are some that are inexpensive and work quite well though. Holsters like the “Bare Asset” from High Noon are an excellent choice… when you factor in comfort and price.
What about pocket holsters? They must be the best option right? Personally, with the exception of a couple of back pocket options, I find these holsters completely useless. Most will disagree with me here but this is my honest opinion after much trial and error. What I have found is that unless you wear extremely tight pants/jeans, a front pocket holster is completely useless. I personally wear baggy jeans and a front pocket holster, regarless of what material they are made of, will not hold in place and you’ll be quickly drawing for both the gun and holster. If you disagree, are a fan of, or looking for a descent front pocket holster, the products from Elite Survival Systems are certainly worth a glance. They are not only very inexpensive when compared to many, but the material is designed to hold in place much better than most in its class. One of their products is featured in the two pics above. Bottom line is that front pocket holsters are basically designed to take care of the issue of “printing” but these will not work for many, unless you like wearing really tight pants.
Back pocket holsters are much better options and if you own a true “pocket pistol” like the Kel-Tec P-32, then this option may suit you well. While custom, which I don’t necessarily recommend, the holsters from pocketholsters.com are an excellent option. Yes, they are more expensive than all holsters featured in this article but after owning two of which were stolen, I was extremely pleased with them. What’s nice about these holsters is their hinged pocket guard that allows quicker draw from your back pocket while avoiding printing. However, if you are a fan of front pocket holsters as well, they are designed to accommodate both. Just remove the screws and turn it into a fully custom front pocket holster.
Next comes the ankle holster. This is personally one of the worst choices out there. They are not only uncomfortable and a highly awkward method of carry, but reaching for your handgun in such a situation will take considerably longer and may cost you your life. These are mainly suited for small snubnose revolvers and for those in law enforcement looking to conceal a secondary handgun. For civilians, this option is simply not practical…in all sense of the word.
Finally, we have that infamous fanny pack. Not only do I personally find it amusing when I see someone wearing one, but it practically tells the whole world that you are carrying a weapon. Despite the fact that these actually used to be “in style” and more of a fashion statement than anything else, I still see so many with these and it is so obvious that it strongly challenges the whole meaning of concealment in the first place. Not much more to say here actually!
So what is the ultmate concealment holster? Well, that’s quite a loaded question but it basically comes down to two options based on two completely different factors…
While many don’t take the time to think before such a purchase, most will not even consider a “universal” holster as an option. They are not only inexpensive, but can be the best choice for many in terms of all features, including comfort, flexibility and price. Holsters like the Jak Slide and similar clones are an excellent alternative and after owning a number of them, the best in my opinion. Take the generic holster above for example. It resembles that of the Jak Slide but manages to offer an additional carry option as well. The belt clip is removable, allowing you to choose your method of carry. Also, the benefits of owning such a holster is that it will support a wider range of handguns. Should you decided to switch or carry multiple handguns depending on attire, one holster CAN work for all your handguns.
Simple in design, but completely practical and comfortable. Think about this particular holster as offering the comfort and quick draw of a OWB holster combined with the conceal-ability of an IWB holster. The pic above demonstrates one method of carry. Unlike most holsters, the belt is actually inserted through the exterior belt slots. This results in a holster that rides closer to the body for easy concealment and comfort. Unlike IWB holsters, the gun doesn’t constantly rub up against your skin, causing a great deal of uncomfort and inability to draw as quick as you would with an OWB holster. A holster like this can even conceal your weapon well when wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. The icing on the cake? The above generic version of the Jak Slide will cost you only $20 and will support a number of handguns ranging from 9mm – .45 caliber. They even have a smaller one designed to support smaller caliber handguns (.22 – .380).
Before choosing a holster, regardless of how fond you are of your current carry weapon, think long and hard before you make a purchase. You just may end up paying too much, disappointed or worse off, regretting it when you end up with another or additional handguns.
Agree? Disagree? Comments? Discuss them here…