Concealed Carry License and a Drawer Full of Holsters


I never thought too much about holsters before having a Texas CHL. I took firearms back and forth to the range in a range bag and that was that.

I would be willing to bet that nearly every CHL has a drawer full of cheap holsters that they’ve discovered just don’t work. There are a LOT of bad holsters out there. People buy them because they are inexpensive. Then they get home and learn why they were inexpensive.

Some common problems with bad holsters:

– They can be uncomfortable. If you’ve got a piece of hard plastic poking you in the side all day or every time you sit down, you aren’t going to carry that setup for long. Sharp edges are a bad thing.

– They aren’t rigid enough. If you draw the pistol out of the holster and the empty holster smashes flat between your body and clothing, you are going to struggle to re-holster. Not only is this annoying, it can be dangerous fumbling around with a pistol at an odd angle trying to stuff the gun back into the holster.

– The holster doesn’t stay put. Your ankle holster slides down until it is a foot holster. The pistol at your 4 o’clock position ends up wedged in your 6 o’clock as you walk.

– The gun isn’t accessible. Holsters that carry the gun in an odd location or at a difficult to reach angle like the small of the back holsters you see on TV cop shows are impractical. Who wants to pin their own arm behind their back to reach for their gun?  That’s putting yourself at a disadvantage in any conflict.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say, there are more bad holsters available than good ones. So, what does a GOOD holster look like?

– Comfortable. After you adjust to its presence, you can’t tell without checking whether it is there.  This won’t happen immediately.  Leather molds to your shape over time.   Give it some break-in time.

– Steadfast. It stays where you want it without tilting, sliding, or otherwise moving about. Note that in a waistband holster, this is as much a function of a good belt as the holster. The best holster in the world won’t help if you attach it to a thin and flimsy belt. A rigid gun belt distributes the weight instead of leaving you with sagging pants.

– Retention. It holds the gun in place with enough tension that your gun doesn’t fall out but not so much that you can’t retrieve it when you need to.   In this regard, holsters made for a specific make and model of firearm are better than generic “one size fits all” holsters.

– Concealment. It has to be of a size, color, shape and position that isn’t readily observed by others. Think about the hot Texas summer. You need a rig that doesn’t requires a coat to conceal.  Or perhaps one that doesn’t require long pants.  Consider your wardrobe and your climate as primary factors in picking a holster.   Also your body size and shape.   The smaller your body frame, the harder it may be to conceal large items.

For a waistband holster (IWB or OWB) you will find many good options made of kydex, leather, or hybrids of leather and kydex. A couple of my favorites are the Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe and the Galco King Tuk. There are many other good options out there.

For inside the front pocket, I like the DeSantis Nemesis. They are grippy on the outside and slick on the inside. You can draw the pistol from your pocket but the outside of the holster grips to your pocket and won’t come out of your pocket when you draw.   You should remove the holster from your pocket and insert the gun back into the holster before putting it back into your pocket for safety.

Take care in your holster selection and think about how a particular holster will carry before you buy. Maybe you will be the lucky one and avoid having a drawer full of useless holsters.  If not, welcome to the club.

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