By Rick Barkett
If you carry a concealed handgun, a good holster makes a huge difference in your daily routine. Investing in a quality product that works well with both your body and your firearm will make you more comfortable – and reduce the chances of somebody noticing that odd outline underneath your shirt or shoulder.
Unfortunately, you have to spend some time using a holster before you can be sure that it’s right for your needs. Many people who carry concealed firearms go through several holsters before they find “the one.” Don’t be surprised if this happens to you. This is normal, so don’t worry. You can always trade discarded holsters with another person, or sell them online, to recoup some of your investment.
These tips will help you narrow down your choices and make the selection process easier. Soon, you’ll find the holster that you’ll probably carry for many years.
* First you have to decide on the style holster best suited for you, ie: belt slide, inside the belt, small of back (sob), paddle, ankle or belly band, just to site a few.
* Buy the right model for your handgun. A holster for a five-inch 1911 will not work with a sub-compact .45, so be sure that you’re shopping within the correct range. Most people already know this, but it’s wise to double-check before you make your purchase. Though you can usually exchange incorrect products, you really don’t want to wait, or make a special trip, if you can avoid it.
* Don’t commit yourself to one material. Kydex, ripstop nylon and leather holsters all have the potential to be the best you’ve ever owned. Don’t eliminate a holster just because you don’t think that the material will work. You might even end up with one holster for winter carry and another for summertime.
* Pay attention to body position. If you carry inside the waistband, for example, then you can put the holster pretty much anywhere – from your navel to the small of your back. If the current holster fails miserably just behind your hip, try moving it around.
* Cant – or the holster’s angle (8-18 degrees) – is also important. You might have a terrible time concealing a “straight up and down” configuration, but what if you adjust the cant just a few degrees? Keep this in mind when you try to find your new holster.
* Be sure that your holster accommodates your wardrobe. Some waistband (beltline) holsters let you tuck in your shirt; others don’t. Different ankle holsters are better or worse with your favorite khakis.
* Accessories matter. Do you carry an extra magazine? Does your firearm have laser sights? If so, be sure that the holster can accommodate these extras.
Your friends, family and fellow shooters will probably recommend holsters that work for them. Listening to their opinions is important, but remember that each person is different. What’s comfortable on your father’s waistband might be miserable on yours.
Keep looking, try different types of holsters and carry methods, and enjoy the search. Soon enough, you’ll find exactly what you want – and you can enjoy using that holster for many years. Just be sure to take good care of your new find, and enjoy finding new homes for the rejected holsters in your sock drawer.