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Gun Holster 101: What To Know And How To Choose

Woman wearing gun holster

Putting a lot of thought into the type of firearm you need is pretty much normal. Unfortunately, most people are not so thoughtful about a holster that way. There is a lot more to know while going holster shopping.

Firearms require proper concealment and ease of handling for quicker action. That’s why a particular concealed handgun holster needs to suit one’s firearm as well as their style of carrying.

Gun Holster Vocabulary

Guns for self-defense require firm carrying support with a draw angle for rapid demonstration. Consequently, an understanding of the terms like rake, drop, and cant might be helpful for perfect holster selection.

  • Rake – The angle of a handgun inside a holster. When the gun muzzle is advancing from the centerline, it is known as a forward rake. Similarly, the gun muzzle stands behind the handle in a rear rake position. Interestingly, the rear rake has been found to be more favored in comparison.
  • Drop – The position of a holster for concealed carry is referred to as drop. It might sometimes be called ride as well. Accordingly, high-ride holsters sit on an elevated position of the concealed belt. Although this position allows more exposure above the waistband, it greatly improves weapon draw speed. However, a low drop on the belt might support better concealment.
  • Cant – The presentation angle for a holster is referred to as cant. A cant of 15 degrees is common for comfortable tilt and draw of handguns. But a comparatively neutral cant might be more suitable for taller individuals.

Some Of The Holster Attributes To Look For

Handgun holsters are meant to secure a firearm onto the body of a user. So concealment of a weapon and providing easy access are among the vital qualities of good holsters. Few essential attributes for appropriate holster selection are:

  • Secure

Keeping a firearm secure is the prime feature of any holster. This indicates proper and complete guard of the handgun trigger during daily life activities. Different makers of holsters might use varying devices to ensure such security. The trigger guard needs protection from accidental operation while the owner moves, drives, or even runs. Saying that belly-band-type holsters might offer one of the best weapon security.

  • Concealment

For concealed gun carriers, their holsters must not telegraph the gun location on their body, as much as possible. Otherwise, it might compromise the whole purpose. Although, people who are legally authorized to open carry might not value it so much. The design of a holster is crucial for concealment, despite other affecting factors like holster drop or clothing choices. Even a user’s body type also has an influence over weapon concealment. 

  • Access

Quick and easy accessibility to a firearm becomes paramount in emergency circumstances. Such provision is expected from handgun holsters for optimum user protection. A suitable holster is one that allows easy draw of a firearm from all positions, while itself remaining stable. The smoothness in removing or inserting the gun from the holster needs to be consistent for each occasion. Holsters with a modular approach might be simpler to carry, with excellent ease of access.

Kydex Vs Leather Holsters

Leather holsters need to be made of thick and heavy leather variants, like a saddle skirt. On the other hand, Kydex holsters come with differing thicknesses. Some of these might be made of only plastic for thinner gears. The manufacturing process involves laying out patterns and forming molds. These are then either sewn for the leather variants or bolted together for the Kydex kinds. The holsters are finished by gluing together the edges in combination.

The welt portion or the reinforcement around the holster mouth is crucial for leather holsters. It can ensure that the mouth stays open after a draw for re-holstering. One-hand re-holstering is ideal for IWB holsters. Leather holsters also achieve a tight fit for firearms by using a smooth bone-forming wet leather around the mold. Steaming the leather might also be employed for a better fit, using a press. However, Kydex holsters are tight-fitting on the guard and muzzle of a handgun, by design.

A thorough examination of different available options might be in holster shopping. Individual needs and comfort differ, and so might be their choices too. Going for cheaper products might not be ideal when it’s about everyday carry. Handguns cost a hefty when compared to even the best of holsters available. So there is no point in compromising.


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