all of the information we receive on wonder holsters, smarter
than average holsters and holsters softer than a baby’s
backside, the fact is the best we can hope for is a carry system
that is tolerable. Handguns are comforting, not comfortable, to
carry. There are certain carry modes that are miserable for
persons of certain builds, but with careful thought and research
we can find a carry mode to fit every lifestyle and dress style.
Some compromise in dress and behavior may be necessary, but you
are a serious gun handler aren’t you? Some may ask, ‘Why go
through the discomfort at all?’ Well, the answer is simple and
should have been addressed by the reader long ago. We have made
the decision to be armed. The decision not to be helpless before
our enemies is not made lightly.
it comes to holster design, some are more comfortable than
others but none are featherbeds. All represent a compromise in
comfort, speed, and concealability. The standard strong side
belt holster works often enough for many of us, but the bulge
that is seen under light clothing cannot be tolerated. We have
to leave behind point of hip carry and move the pistol to the
kidney position just over our right rear jeans pocket.
We may have to move to a holster type that offers more
concealability but less comfort. Sometimes, we have to
compromise on the handgun. The full size Glock or a
Government Model 1911 pistol is easy to shoot well and darned
easy to handle well. But a compromise is in order for concealed
carry. I do not like the Baby Glocks or Micro 1911s, but the
Glock 23 and Colt Commander are excellent compromises. Minor
compromise on the face of it, we aren’t giving up serious hit
potential or wound potential but making a qualified adjustment.
fit finish and quality of a holster may not be important
tactically but are the obvious means of choosing a quality
holster. Attention to detail, even stitching, and a holster
properly fitted to the individual handgun are important.
I am certain that most of you have the proverbial closet
full of holsters that have not made the grade for some reason.
And some have tried small guns but not been comfortable. Oh, the
drag on the bag is not so bad but that .32 just doesn’t look
so good when the likely threat profile is considered. Quite a
few gun writers tell us how easy it is to carry a full size
handgun, two spare magazines, their favorite brand of ‘combat
light’, and perhaps a can of spray that is not going to
qualify as nasal inhalant.
I have been going in harm’s way for over thirty years,
in high level security, police work, and as a recovery agent,
and have never carried that much gear off duty - and don’t
know anyone who has. And I run with some pretty big boys.
doesn’t mean that I allow compromises to undermine my
security. During the winter months, I easily conceal a full size
.45 auto. Sometimes, I carry a magnum revolver but only if I am
close to grounds that offer an opportunity at a meat animal.
Hey, my handguns are all-arounders and while personal defense is
important I have taken game cleanly with quite a few, including
the .40 caliber Glock. With any type of jacket, carrying the big
ones isn’t much of a problem. When the weather turns hot and
sultry, I have a problem. This is when the dedicated and the
hardly serious part company. First time CCW holders grow
frustrated and leave the piece at home. They need to remember
why they carry the handgun in the first place. Protection from
muggers, thugs, and the ever growing threat of roving gangs. You
will be conducting business, eating, and shopping, often with a
family in tow. I think that a little effort is worthwhile to
offer your family and your person a certain level of protection.
For some, this is a whole new lifestyle, for others, it is old
hat. But even the old hat needs to be dusted off from time to
new lifestyle evokes certain changes. Light belts and
lightweight clothing may not support your hip holster
effectively. The full size Government Model or the Glock Model
22 will be left at home. Never mind the guru who recommends two
handguns at all times, we will cross that bridge when your ID
reads LAPD SWAT.
will not be facing organized robbers or terrorists in all
likelihood, but you will need a piece that will reliably handle
one or two threats. A medium frame handgun such as the Kel
Tec P-11 or the Glock 19 is ideal; the snub .38 will do but
is increasingly seen as light for anti personnel work. Still,
anyone who goes in harms way on a regular basis usually owns at
least one snub .38. They are light, handy, stronger than the
.380 in the real world and always come up shooting.
strong side belt holster can work for such choices. They are
compact enough that a proper holster will conceal either under
the jacket. A five inch barrel revolver or semi auto may
protrude beneath the jacket lip; a 3.4 to 4 inch barrel pistol
is another matter. Not just any old nylon or fabric holster will
work. The holster must be made up by someone who knows the
proper relationship between concealment and speed of the draw.
An excellent example of a good combat holster is the El Paso
Saddlery Street Combat #88 holster.
This holster is impressively stitched of first rate
cowhide. The lip or holster mouth is reinforced to insure the
holster does not collapse when the pistol is drawn; the pistol
may be reholstered with one hand. The belt loops are offset in
order to shift the weight of the handgun and support this weight
on the belt. This is a variation on the popular pancake style,
and a good one.
style that is also well suited to concealed carry is the
scabbard. The vertical scabbard by Kramer Handgun Leather
is among the better examples. This type draws the handgun close
to the body but also features a reinforced tunnel loop that
offers real security for a rapid draw. The Kramer holster
features a reinforced holster lip and strong double stitching.
The Kramer does not feature a closed bottom; a closed bottom
adds perhaps an inch to the length of a holster. But unlike the
majority of open bottom concealment holsters, the Kramer is
pressed together to an extent in the bottom, offering greater
belt holster that I appreciate more each time I use it is the
Vampire from Ken Null. This is a first class holster
designed to fill a narrow niche - it is the archetypical driving
holster. This is a special purpose holster that allows quick and
easy access to a snub .38 revolver while seated. Null offers a
wide variety of excellent holsters, but as far as a specialty
holster of the best type, this is it.
interesting holster that fills a middle ground between the belt
holster and the inside the waistband holster is the Beltster by Scott
Key. Scott’s original concept has been copied, but there
is nothing like the original. The Beltster is a well made belt
of high quality leather. The Beltster features a built in belt
slide type holster. This allows the user to simply press his
handgun into the holster and go about his business. A simple but
effective concept, the Beltster is available in crossdraw and
inside the waistband holster is the ideal concealment holster
for most of us, but among the most uncomfortable until a certain
period of acclimation is undergone. The most intelligent thing
to do is to study different carry modes and carefully consider
your choices. Keep the mission of the handgun in mind. Personal
defense involves the need to quickly present the handgun from
concealment, and that the handgun is secure until that moment.
The less slop in the system, the more comfort. If the holster
flops around, you will be miserable. More than that, the handgun
will not be stabilized for the draw. The holster must mate
properly to the belt, and the holster should be designed to
retain its position. Some inside the waistband holsters have a
foot that keeps them stable, others rely upon a strong spine to
maintain position. The IWB holster does not extend past a jacket
line; it cannot because it is inside the pants. As such, a good
sized handgun can be concealed under relatively light clothing.
But remember, no matter how comfortable the handgun seems in
normal attire, when we engage in movement the pistol may make
itself obvious. The holstered handgun may poke and prod at our
clothing when we bend, stoop, or sit. Here the compact pistols
shine. A full size Government Model will pinch your butt when
you sit, but a Commander will not. The Glock 23 is more
comfortable than the Glock 22. At combat distances, either will
place all of their shots in one hole, and the differences in
control are purely conversational. Just the same, to carry these
handguns discretely, we must modify our movements. We don’t
have to walk like a zombie but we can avoid amateurish flashing
of the handgun.
relatively new holster that is affordable and well designed
comes from the world’s largest holster maker, Uncle
is among the most comfortable IWB holsters I have used. Early
Kydex holsters were very uncomfortable and while impervious to
oil, solvent, and contamination, were sometimes unwearable by
many individuals. The Kydex holster cannot be boned to fit a
handgun, but holds the piece in place by the long surfaces of
the handgun and locks into the trigger guard. The characteristic
SNIK as the pistol is drawn is no more offensive than the
WHOOSH of a handgun drawn from a leather holster. The
Uncle Mike’s holster features two reinforced belt loops and
definitely will not collapse after the pistol is drawn. With an
inferior type of IWB, the holster collapses and the trousers
must be lowered to reholster the piece. The Kydex IWB from Uncle
Mike’s has much to recommend.
Taurisano offers several designs in leather for those
preferring the supple comfort and quality appearance of leather.
My favorite design features a strong spine for support
that keeps the pistol in place, and a single loop set over a
reinforced welt. The holster is soft enough for comfort, but the
holster mouth is prevented from collapsing by a reinforced welt.
Also, a sweat guard rides behind the handgun, between the pistol
and the body, for additional safety and comfort. This prevents
the safety of a 1911 from wiping off and also prevents the
pistol from gouging the body. The holster is produced rough out.
In other words, the holster body is not highly waxed or
polished. This makes for greater adherence to the holster's
position, and keeps the holster in place during rigorous effort.
But the inside of the holster is waxed in order to facilitate a
rapid presentation. Overall, this is a great holster from a
holster that I often use is the Blocker ST 17. The ST 17
features a strong metal belt clip that works. Inexpensive belt
clip holsters should be avoided, Blocker uses one of adequate
strength and dimensions for predicted long term use. The holster
is finished in the trademark Blocker pine tanned finish. A
strong welt marks the holster mouth and the stitching is well
executed. The ST 17 has stood the test of time, serving American
professionals for over a decade.
rather interesting holster from Josh Bulman has passed
its test. This holster demonstrates Bulman’s trademark ability
to produce thin but strong leather. A real problem with modern
handguns such as the Glock and the SIG are the blocky
contours of the pistols. This makes concealment difficult, and
space and comfort are at a premium. Bulman has managed to treat
his leather holsters specifically for concealed carry. I have
tested an IWB holster for the SIG P 220, a difficult handgun to
conceal. The Bulman holster features a strong but abbreviated
spine that proved adequate for stabilizing the handgun. The two
belt loops offer good security and the holster mouth is properly
reinforced. The holster is properly boned for the pistol.
Concealing a large handgun such as the SIG P 220 is a daunting
proposition but the Bulman holster proved to be up to the task.
looking for concealed carry comfort and protection, compromises
are inevitable. But we cannot compromise our ability to defend
ourselves. Too little, too little gun, too little in a holster,
and we will be caught short when the ball goes up for real.
Consider your options and choose well.
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