Shopping for holsters can be difficult, especially concealed carry holsters.
There are many different sellers out there. Some are cheap, some are expensive. Not all of them are worth your time.
That's because there are many factors which go into holsters, and not everybody hits all of the points
Let's look at some of those factors. Keep these in mind and you'll know how to choose the best concealed carry holster.
One of the most important things to look for in a holster is how well it can hide under your clothes.
It could be the best retaining and most comfortable holster in the world, but if it stands out like a giant lump under your clothes, you need to leave it at home.
Kydex holsters fit the form of the gun without adding any noticeable bulk. This helps in concealment.
You should also look for adjustability, so you can move the holster to an angle and height that blends in with your body and clothes.
You'll also need to make an important decision at this step. Inside the waistband or outside the waistband?
IWB holsters are more concealable but at the cost of being slightly less comfortable. They are generally better in summer when you won't be wearing a jacket or sweater.
OWB holsters are less concealable because you need to have something over them. However, they are easier to wear. This makes them a better choice in the cooler months.
Like anything, you need to balance your concealability needs with other aspects. However, I would lean toward "more concealable" as a rule.
If your holster digs into your side, you'll want to tear it off and throw it away. A comfortable holster will stay with you all day without drawing any attention to itself.
Properly designed belt clips and a large amount of adjustability can ensure that your holster will sit comfortably, no matter what you wear.
Weight can affect comfort as well. The heavier the holster, the more likely it is to weigh you down. The pistol is heavy enough, why add even more weight?
Kydex is an excellent choice for holsters because of this.
This is an especially important consideration when trying to figure out what's the best IWB holster.
Another of the most important considerations when choosing a holster is how well the holster retains the gun.
You probably won't do acrobatics while carrying, but if you need to put a hand on your gun to hold it in place while jogging, you're going to give yourself away.
On the other hand, you don't want a holster that holds the gun so tightly you can't draw it under duress.
If you can adjust your holster's retention, this ensures both retention and a smooth draw.
The flip side of retention is how easily you can put the gun back into the holster.
If you have to draw your pistol, you should reholster it as soon as the threat is over. But if your holster fights you on this, you can slip and drop the gun or have a negligent discharge!
Leather holsters are problematic for this reason because they can collapse when there's no gun inside, especially IWB holsters. It can take two hands, one to hold the gun and another to hold the holster. That's not a good thing.
Also, having the ability to reholster your firearm one handed could be advantageous; ie, holding a child, having your phone in your hand as you call the police, etc."
Kydex holsters maintain their shape even without the pistol, so you can insert them easily.
Adjustable retention helps as well so you can find the sweet spot of your firearm staying in place if you have to jump or move quickly, while still being able to remove your firearm from the holster when you need it.
Another helpful tip is to use a holster that clicks when you've successfully inserted the pistol all the way. That way you know for sure you safely holstered your gun.
Every person's body is unique, and the pants you wear one day may fit differently than pants you wear the next.
Why should you expect a non-adjustable holster to fit you properly? The chances are just too low.
Some holster companies offer different options for their holsters. For example, you can sometimes buy the same holster in low and high ride heights.
But that means you may need to buy two different holsters for those two pairs of pants!
Or, you could buy one holster that's adjustable for ride height and cant.
The more flexible the holster is, the more options you have for concealment.
6. Quality of the Craftsmanship
Quality is something you have to pay for up front but will save you money over the years.
I love leather holsters. But leather is an organic material that's susceptible to wear and tear, even when conditioned. Sweat, especially, can penetrate leather--and make its way to your gun!
That means leather will eventually become unsuitable as a holster, despite its expense.
Kydex holsters will last longer. They do not need conditioning and do not care if they get wet. Carbon fiber has the same advantages as well.
However, not all holsters are created equal.
There are plenty of low-quality gun molds out there. That's why We The People holsters makes all of their molds in-house.
When shopping for the best holster possible, make sure you choose a holster with a lifetime guarantee.
If it's made in America, all the better!
7. Proper Fit
One-size-fits-all holsters fit just about any pistol. But do they do it well?
The fit will be too tight or too loose. Retention will be all over the place. And they won't be as concealable as possible.
Holsters that fit any gun have their place, but that place is not on your person when you need to conceal a firearm.
Make sure to use a holster that has been molded to fit your exact model of pistol.
Kydex does this very well. You can mold leather too, but it will be thicker and not as detailed as a molded Kydex holster.
You carry a pistol to keep you and your family safe. Shouldn't the holster help with that goal?
Not every holster does so, however.
Some holsters do not cover the trigger guard. It could get snagged and fire through the holsters.
-Others cover the trigger guard, but the material protrudes inside of it. You could be holstering the gun, then *blam!*
Many other kydex holsters are built past the trigger guard entirely, which will cause it to pinch your fingers while you holster, or force you to change your grip when re-holstering or drawing your firearm.
Make sure that the holster covers the trigger guard using a rigid material that won't collapse inside over time. Kydex is a good choice.
9. Ease of Drawing
If you need to draw your pistol, every second counts.
You don't want to fight against your holster to draw your gun!
Many factors affect how easy it is to draw your gun. A properly molded Kydex holster with appropriate retention, set at a ride height and angle that's specific to your body, will let the gun almost jump into your hands.
10. Ease of Attachment
Your pistol can't defend you if you've left it at home.
I've left my gun at home because it was just too much of a pain to integrate it into my outfit that day. Thankfully, nothing bad happened, but if it had I would have been defenseless.
When you're choosing a holster, try to find one that's easy to put on and take off and can fit under a variety of clothing.
Not all clips are easy to put onto your belt. I've even seen some at gun shows I couldn't figure out how to use!
Would they have been secure? Yes. But they would have stayed secure at home because I already have too much junk to mess with when I head out.We The People holsters have clips that are designed in-house to be easy to use so you don't need to worry about this. Our gun clips easy to remove, but only when you want to do so.
Choosing the Best IWB/OWB Holster
These tips can be distilled down to a single sentence of advice:
Find a holster that fits the gun well and fits you well.
If everything fits properly, you will have a comfortable and concealable holster that's easy to draw and easy to re-holster. The gun won't fall out and the holster will survive long enough to be passed down to your children.
We The People holsters fits all of the above criteria. There's even an added bonus.
Even though the holster won't be seen most of the time, why not choose one that has a bit of flair when you're showing it off to your shooting buddies?