What Exactly is a Paddle Holster?
A paddle holster for a gun consists of two parts. The paddle and the holster. The paddle portion is a flat, pancake-like paddle intended to fit flush against the wearer’s body, inside of the pants. The holster portion, which holds the gun, is intended to be worn on the outside of the pants. These two parts are fixated together to make a paddle holster.
Paddle holsters are a popular holster choice amongst civilians and law enforcement officers. Thanks to their flexibility, which will discuss more in a bit, they provide both comfort and versatility. Since they don’t require any sort of a loop or a hook, they are widely considered a superior option to their traditional counterparts. As is the case with any holster, paddle holsters come with their own list of pros and cons, but first, let’s review their history.
The History and Evolution of Paddle Holsters
Paddle holsters have been around for quite some time, but they have evolved significantly over the last few years. The earliest paddle holsters were typically made of a leather paddle. The issue with leather paddles was that they easily became rigid or lost their shape (think of a worn out baseball glove).
Modern versions of the paddle holster are often made of Kydex. Kydex is a lightweight plastic material that has often been used in aerospace engineering, car manufacturing and much more. Due to it being lightweight and durable, Kydex has become the preferred material choice for paddle holsters.
Another added benefit of modern paddle holsters is a reinforced section between the paddle and the holster which allows it to better grip a belt. This added layer of grip keeps the holster from shifting when you pull your firearm, meaning it will be in the same position it was in when it’s time to re-holster.
Pros of Paddle Holsters
There are plenty of benefits to carrying your gun in a paddle holster. If you’re focused on comfort, they’re one of the best choices on the market. Here’s a deeper look into the reasons that you might benefit from using a paddle holster for your everyday carrying needs.
Easy On and Off
While the paddle portion of the holster goes inside your waistband, the gun is attached to the outside. This means that you can easily attach and detach your holster simply by pulling up to remove and pushing down to attach. In most cases, paddle holsters don’t require a belt to attach to, although we’d still recommend using a belt for added durability. However, being able to effortlessly remove and attach your holster is a huge benefit to paddle holsters.
Paddle holsters are significantly more comfortable than IWB holsters. The Kydex paddle is the only part of the holster that touches your body, and thanks to its flexible nature, it will bend to the natural contours of your body. For firearm enthusiasts who like to keep their gun on them at all times, paddle holsters can provide all day comfort.
Ease of Draw
Since paddle holsters can be placed anywhere on your waist, you get to decide where you carry your weapon. This allows you to keep your firearm in a place at your preferred location on your waist. If you find yourself in a high-pressure situation where every second matters, being able to effortlessly pull your weapon can be the difference in life and death.
Easy to Re-holster
As important as it is to be able to draw your weapon without looking down and fumbling around, it is equally as vital that you are able to re-holster your weapon without breaking your line of vision. Since you get to choose where your holster rests, you can put it in a position that you can re-holster safely without looking away from your target.
Customization of Your Carrying Options
Because of the way that paddle holsters attach, there is more freedom to customize the location and angle of your firearm. While you should always carry your weapon on your strong side, many paddle holsters allow you to position your firearm at different places on your strong side in addition to the ability to holster your weapon at different angles.
Paddle Holster Pros:
- Easy to attach and remove
- More comfortable than many other options
- Easy to draw your weapon
- Easier to re-holster your weapon
- Customizable carrying options
Cons of a Paddle Holster
As is the case with any firearm or firearm accessory, paddle holsters do have their downfalls. Be sure to review these paddle holster cons when you’re considering whether to add a paddle holster to your inventory.
Lack of Control
If you find yourself in a physical altercation with an assailant, a paddle holster may not be the most secure option. Because of the way they are constructed, paddle holsters do open you up to the possibility of having your firearm pulled away from your control. While this is a worst-case scenario, it is something you should consider.
Decrease in Stability
Due to the method of attachment, paddle holsters may not be as stable as belt holsters. Unless you wear pants that are relatively snug, the paddle holster may shift from where you originally place it. This may not be a major issue, but if you need to draw your weapon, you want it to be where you think it is, which is why we always recommend a study belt.
Discomfort for Larger Users
There isn’t really a delicate way to say this, but if you have a large midsection, paddle holsters may not be the most comfortable option. Since your firearm rests against your waist at the top of your waistband, carriers who are heavy-set may feel like their firearm is pressing against their midsection.
Paddle Holster Cons:
- Decreased control of your weapon
- Lack of stability in some cases
- Less comfortable for heavy users
Frequently Asked Questions About Paddle Holsters
Can I carry a paddle holster in different positions?
Customization options are one of the biggest benefits of a paddle holster. While the paddle holster does have to attach to the top of your waistband, you do get to decide where the holster attaches. While many experts recommend that you carry a holster at 3 o’clock if you’re right hand dominant and 9 o’clock if you use your left hand, some people prefer carrying their weapon closer to the front or back of their body. Paddle holsters afford that customization option. In some cases, you can also have your weapon tilted in a way that makes it more comfortable for you and easier to draw and re-holster.
Can I conceal my paddle holster?
The short answer to this question is “yes,” but it comes with a caveat. Some industry experts believe that paddle holsters are not the ideal choice for a concealed carry holster. Since paddle holsters typically ride lower on your body, they are significantly harder to conceal unless you want to wear a jacket or some sort of baggy clothing. Form fitting clothing may make the imprint of your weapon and holster more visible. This is fine if you are looking to open carry and don’t mind people knowing that you have a weapon, but for total concealment, loose clothing would be a requirement.
Are paddle holsters good for open carry?
It is important to understand the gun laws of your state before you even consider looking for a holster that is conducive to open carry. Some states allow open carrying for all residents who are of legal age while others require a gun owner obtain a permit to carry a firearm openly. Before you even worry about whether or not your paddle holster is a good open carry option, do your research and find out where your state falls as to what they allow.
Overall, paddle holsters are a great choice for people who are looking for an open carry option. While you would need to tuck your shirt in to ensure that the weapon and your holster are fully visible for it to be considered “open carry,” paddle holsters provide a good way for gun owners to openly carry their firearm.
Are paddle holsters the most comfortable option?
Comfort is a subjective topic, so it’s hard for us to say what holster is the “most comfortable.” The paddle clip part of the holster will be flush against your body which will have a direct impact on how comfortable you are with your paddle holster. However, many users indicate that they don’t even notice the paddle inside their waistband. This is primarily because Kydex is such a lightweight, form-fitting material and contours to the body. If the holster being in direct contact with your body bothers you, this can easily be remedied by wearing an undershirt.
Additionally, the position that you will spend most of your day in will have a direct impact on your paddle holster’s comfort level. For instance, if you will be sitting for long periods of time, you may find that a paddle holster isn’t the best option for you. Whether you are at work or on a road trip, being seated for long periods of time can result in discomfort with a paddle holster.
Ultimately, the paddle that you choose needs to meet the basic criteria of gun safety. Outside of the basic gun safety rules, you and your firearm are safest when you can effectively use it should the need arise without the weapon falling into the hands of the wrong person. Paddle holsters are an excellent choice for firearm enthusiasts who are looking for a safe and comfortable way to carry their weapon.
Here at We The People Holsters, we realize that every gun owner is different, and therefore they all have different needs when it comes to carrying their weapons. We know how important safe and responsible gun ownership is when defending yourself, your family and your Second Amendment rights. Regardless of the holster style that you choose, we have a wide variety of holsters that will allow you to carry your weapon everyday while accessing your weapon quickly should the need ever arise.
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