Shopping for holsters can be difficult, especially concealed carry holsters. There are also many different holster sellers out there, and some may have ideas about holster wear that might now work for you. Some holsters are cheap and some others expensive. Not all of them are worth your time.
That's because many factors go into holsters, and not everybody selling them hits all of the best holster points with every model they sell. Let's look at some of those factors, including how to wear a holster, for a moment. Keep these in mind, and you'll know how to choose the best concealed carry holster for your needs.
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.
When it comes to concealment using any holster, 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 should also consider the holster’s material, for example, kydex holsters fit the form of the gun without adding any noticeable bulk. This helps in concealment.
IWB or OWB Holster?
You'll also need to make an important decision at this step. Inside the waistband or outside the waistband? Here are some considerations:
- Inside-the-waistband or IWB holsters are more concealable but at the cost of being slightly less comfortable.
- On the plus side, IWB holsters work great during the summer. Especially when you’re not wearing a jacket or sweater, but you still need to cover your pistol.
- Outside-the-waistband or OWB holsters are less concealable because you need to have an item of clothing covering them to fully conceal your gun and holster.
- On the plus side, OWB holsters are easier to wear. The easy-to-wear nature of OWB holsters makes them a better choice in the cooler months.
Any holster that causes you discomfort likely isn't the best one for you. If you’re new to wearing a holster, it might take some time to get used to it, but consider the below factors when it comes to holster wear:
- 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 to your handgun?
Kydex holsters are an excellent choice that offer the most comfortable fit. This comfort issue is also an especially important consideration when trying to figure out the best IWB holster. Knowing how to wear an IWB holster comfortably is an essential part of EDC holsters.
Another of the most important considerations when choosing a holster is how well the holster retains the gun. The bottom line is that if your holster won't hold onto or grip your handgun sufficiently, you shouldn't use it. Why is that?
- Retention holsters do well when it comes to keeping your gun in the holster and not bouncing around on the ground or flying in the air.
- 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 print and give yourself away.
- On the other hand, you don't want a holster that holds the gun so tightly you can't smoothly and quickly draw it under duress.
An adjustable retention kydex holster makes for the best retention holster. If you can adjust your holster's retention, this ensures that your gun is where you need it and when you need it. It also ensures a smooth draw, whether it's an IWB holster with retention or an OWB version.
The flip side of retention is how easily you can put the gun back into the holster.
- For tactical and safety reasons, if you have to draw your pistol, you should reholster it as soon as the threat is over.
- Unfortunately, if your holster fights you on this, you can slip and drop the gun or have a negligent discharge when trying to reholster!
Why Holster Material Matters
Besides kydex, holsters come in a couple of other common materials: nylon and leather.
- Nylon holsters are often generic and more one-size-fits-all. Guns may not fit snug into nylon holsters because of that reason.
- Like nylon, leather holsters are problematic for this reason because they can collapse when there's no gun inside, especially when being used as an IWB holster.
- When reholstering your weapon after you've drawn it, many leather holsters require two hands, one to hold the gun and another to hold the holster. That's not a good thing.
- Kydex keeps its shape, allowing for the ability to draw and reholster with one hand. Having the ability to reholster your firearm one-handed could be advantageous, i.e., 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 that you can insert them easily, and they make the best retention holster.
- 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 gun 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. Correctly set-up kydex retention holsters click when you insert your handgun all the way into one of them.
Every person's body is unique, and the pants you wear one day may fit differently than the pants you wear the next day. Given this fact, 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. If you learn how to wear a gun holster, you'll also grasp why flexibility is important.
6. Quality of the Craftsmanship
Quality is something you have to pay for upfront but will save you money over the years. There are a lot of things to love about leather holsters, but leather is an organic material that's susceptible to wear and tear, even when it's been broken in and conditioned. Sweat, especially, can penetrate leather and then 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 make 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. Many inexpensive nylon holsters claim they're one-size-fits-all, but do they do it well?
The short answer is "No."
- 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. There's no doubt that 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. For example, some holsters do not cover the trigger guard. It could get snagged and fire through the holsters.
- Other holsters 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.
- Ensure that the holster covers the trigger guard using a rigid material that won't collapse inside over time. Kydex is excellent in this regard.
- We The People Holsters makes great holsters, including the most comfortable inside the waistband holster.
9. Ease of Drawing
If you need to draw your pistol, every second counts, and you don't want to fight against your holster to draw your gun!
Many factors affect how easy it is to draw your gun, however.
- 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. A good IWB holster with retention is noteworthy in this regard.
10. Ease of Attachment
Your pistol can't defend you if you've left it at home. When you're choosing a holster, try to find one that's easy to put on and take off and can fit under various clothing.
- Not all holster clips are easy to put onto your belt.
- You should not have difficulty figuring out how to use a holster clip. If you do, it’s one that you should stay away from.
Fortunately, We The People Holsters have clips designed in-house to be easy to use, so you don't need to worry about this. Our gun and holster clips are 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.
Every holster at We The People Holsters fits the criteria discussed here. There's even a bonus: Even though your 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?
Here at We The People Holsters, we offer a wide range of custom-printed holsters for most any handguns. Whether you like the Constitution, camouflage, the Thin Blue Line, or even a simple black holster, We The People Holsters have you covered, so visit us and pick out the right holster. While you’re at it, check out some of our many accessories, apparel, or other gear for your handgun.