This Is NOT A Sign Of A Quality Holster! Stop Touting It As One Holster Makers | Gun Guy Thoughts

Have you been shopping for a Kydex holster and come across a video of the holster fitment where the holster maker inserts the gun into a holster and shakes it upside down or slowly inserts it so you can hear the click?

Sure, you can fix Kydex holster fitment with a heat gun, hair dryer, or flame in about 5 seconds, but stop and think that there are a lot of shooters out there that don’t know that it is that easy.

I ran across these videos on several smaller holster maker’s sites a while back when I was searching for a good holster for a new gun. Unfortunately, I can’t locate any of the videos leading me to believe that the holster makers closed up shop or the internet just doesn’t like me today. Thankfully I was introduced to an almost perfect holster than I use every day (you can read the review of the Old Style Designs Holster by clicking the link HERE) but I ran through several subpar holsters that showcased their fitment just as I described.

There is a problem with this though. In almost every instance, the holster is not on a belt and is not being worn by someone so the retention the holster provides will almost always change once you put it on. Kydex flexes a bit and will change shape when it is put on a good gun belt and the belt is cinched down. This means that previously “perfect” holster fitment has now changed, likely to a point where the holster is too retentive and probably not as adjustable as it should be to get back to ideal retention.

Youtuber Leadfarmer INC did a pretty spot on video about it that got me thinking even further.

The thing is that a gun audibly clicking into a holster or doesn’t fall out when the holster is turned over and shook off a belt isn’t really a sign of quality or proper fitment, just that the holster has a molded in retention mechanism that is tight or aggressive enough to be audible.

As soon as you put that holster on, the level of retention is going to change when your body puts pressure on the holster and can create a situation where that so called mark of quality creates a situation where the holster holds onto the gun far too tightly.

Recently, I reviewed a NovaTac Designs holster that was advertised in exactly this manner. Novatac had several videos showing the holster clicking into a holster audibly as well as the ‘shake it like a polaroid’ test as well. As I quickly learned when I put the holster on, the retention was far too tight for the holster to be useable.

With a leather holster, the gun remaining in the holster when shook is a perfectly acceptable test of fitment and identifying if the holster needs replacement. Kydex doesn’t retain a gun in the same manner as leather and shouldn’t retain the gun when shook unless it is a retention holster.

So holster makers, please stop.

I would much rather see a video of someone wearing the holster and drawing with the belt visible. How much movement there is when the gun is drawn is far more telling than someone clicking a gun into a holster and shaking it upside down.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and TFBTV Host. He likes guns and has liked shooting guns for as long as he can remember. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at TFBpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • The only reason to show that is literally to show the holster has proper gun retention, and that’s about it.

    • QuadGMoto

      I disagree. My holster has proper retention when I’m wearing it with my belt. But when it’s sitting on the table it has almost zero retention; the pistol would fall out if you turned it upside down.

      The first copy I got of it did have sufficient retention to keep the pistol from falling out when not wearing it. But when it was on my belt it was almost impossible to draw. I could swear I looked like I was having some sort of seizure while trying to get the pistol out of that <insert swearing here> holster. There was no adjustment I could make which solved the problem. It had to be replaced. Fortunately, the maker took good care of me.

      • That’s absolutely true, and is mentioned in the article. However the “demonstrating retention” maneuver is helpful in cases where a customer or client is questioning the use of a holster that will otherwise fit their needs because they’re paranoid about the gun falling out.

        An experienced shooter knows a lot of these nuances, but try explaining and teaching all of that in a gun shop to every new person buying a gun and a holster, especially in a small shop where you don’t have a lot of time. I’d rather get them through the basics of what I can *demonstrate* to get them started, and then go from there.

  • pun&gun

    “Fit” is the word you’re looking for. A “fitment” is a physical part that goes into the assembly, “fit” is how well those components are assembled. The clip, screws, and kydex body of the holster are fitments. The retention of the pistol, as well as the tightness with which the holster components are fastened together, are fit.

    • YoraDork

      nerd

  • Bradley

    I have never had an own if kydex holster that noticeably got tighter when I put it on. Besides most good ones have adjustable retention anyway. I think the point is to show how secure the retention can be. It’s kind of hard to turn it upside down with a person attached to it.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      A lot of great holsters like Henry Holsters, Phlster and some of the Veil Concealment lineup have non adjustable retention and are great products but with everything there are advantages and disadvantages.

      • Bradley

        True, I have had a few good ones that were fixed. I would rather be able to adjust it though, and I can’t see a disadvantage to making it that way. A lot of things can affect the amount of retention you want.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Agreed. Adjustable retention and fixed retention have their advantages. If someone wants a maintenance free holster a fixed retention holster with soft loops loctited on with red loctite can’t be beat. This is coming from a manufacture who doesn’t offer that product and at this time only makes adjustable retention holsters.

    • El Duderino

      I’d watch THAT video for sure.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    It’s almost impossible to show retention in a good way using video video. There are way to many variables even with the belt test you mentioned. What belt are you using? How stiff is it? How tight do you wear it? With the shake test how hard are you shaking it and at what points are you holding? Etc…

    If you’re wearing a stiff belt that isn’t cinched down your requirements will be different than a belt that isn’t as stiff but is cinched tight. That’s why we make adjustable retention holsters.

    We are in the process of machining our own molds and on some guns we can get a very loud click with almost no retention so that isn’t the sign of a good holster necessarily but it’s certainly something customers like and it’s an easy to achieve byproduct due to our vacuuming forming process.

    Also what is the proper amount of retention? I tend to think most people go a little light.

    Steve Fisher stated on a Practically Tactical show that he has had issues with his carry gear going flying in the past during car accidents so he prefers a lot of retention for the safety factor. I tend to agree with that line of thinking.

    Andrew Henry of Henry holsters as stated he increased the retention on his holsters after taking Craig Douglas’ ECQC.

    Jon of Phlster test his holsters with guys that do a lot of grappling to make sure the gun will stay securely in the holster in that environment.

    I saw a video about a year ago on periscope where Baret Fawbush(AKA TruExodus Mr. 3 shots under 1 seconds) was tightening down his sidecars a lot to get more retention. He said the effect on his speed was detrimental but barely there. For myself I’ve found it to show me down just under .1 seconds.

    We are way for likely to get in a car wreck that a gun fight so if extra retention slows down my draw by .1 seconds I can live with it.

    • GaryOlson

      Are holster makers statistically more likely to have auto accidents? Do you have to declare that to your insurance? Did Flo stick a gadget in your car in the middle of the night? 😀

      • Harry’s Holsters

        LOL

  • Kyle Wheeler

    Funny, I’ve been saying this for a while doing reviews too… retention ≠ quality.

  • Ryan L

    What most fail to realize is that while the retention of the molding is a highly visible and tactile part of the holster…the attachment points are the key to a good setup. If the bottom of your plastic clip don’t hold tight against the kydex or your jhooks aren’t in the right spot or they aren’t canted right, or your soft loops are too close together…or… IMO it’s the connection points that make or break the holster.

  • will ford

    Get VEDDER it is BETTER

  • valorius

    I honestly seriously dislike kydex holsters. Leather or horsehide for me, please.

    • InfidelCrusader

      Same here, I avoid Kydex like the plague now. I bought a S&W 360PD a few years back and bought a Fobus holster for it (prior to this incident I was a fan). I took the holster out of the package and inserted the revolver until I heard the “click”. When I pulled it out there was a deep scratch on the trigger guard. That scratch cost me $250.00 to get repaired. Never again.

      • Cory C

        Can I see your man card really quick? No reason. 🙂

        • InfidelCrusader

          Then why did you ask?

          • Cory C

            No reason. I’m definitely not going to cut a corner off because you’re complaining that your gun got scratched. Nope. Not going to do that. 🙂

          • InfidelCrusader

            Thank you for being so generous. It was not just a slight scratch on the finish but a deep groove into the metal of the gun. A repair that was not covered by warranty. A gun should not get damaged just by putting it in a holster. Kydex has the potential to significantly damage some guns.

          • Cory C

            I agree. I’m just busting your chops.

          • InfidelCrusader

            Cool.

          • Cory C

            I know, right?

          • InfidelCrusader

            Sure.

          • MadMonkey

            Damage? Or wear….

      • Bradley

        Fobus holsters aren’t kydex they are some kind of hard, machine molded plastic. Even if they were that would be like me saying I hate leather holsters because a $5 universal one I got from ebay didn’t work well.

        • InfidelCrusader

          I was not aware of that. I would never be so petty. I bought a brand name holster made specifically for my gun and it took two seconds to do $250.00 in damage to the gun. Neither S&W or Fobus warned me of that possibility or I wouldn’t be so sore about it. It was not that the holster didn’t work well, it caused damage.

          • Bradley

            That sucks, and I would be angry too, but even through they are well known Fobus makes very poor holsters overall. Actually I’ve seen some of their models that are supposed to fit more than one weapon. I bought one for one of my first holsters and the gun physically would not go into it.

          • InfidelCrusader

            I learned that lesson the hard and costly way. Prior to this incident I had good luck with Fobus holsters so I had no reason to believe that this time would be any different. I had thought that Fobus used Kydex to make their holsters until you educated me to the fact that they use another material. Perhaps I may try a Kydex holster in the future now.

          • Bradley

            They’re not all created equal either. I think people expect them to be dirt cheap because they are “plastic”. I’ve had a bucket full if you need recommendations.

          • InfidelCrusader

            Thank you for the offer. I’m pretty well set for the moment but you never know what the future holds in store.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    I guess I can say I am uniquely qualified to comment on this one. You see I have been carrying since 1996. but I have been disabled since 1987. Broken neck and back. From 98 until late 2015 I was in a wheel chair. I fell out of that chair A LOT. Which makes carrying safely, difficult.

    I must say when I go m first KYDEX holster I was more than happy for that “Click” because when I fell out I no longer had to worry about my carry falling out in an inappropriate place. And it didn’t. It held, and still holds “upside down”. Luckily in 2014 and 2015 I finally had the back and neck operations that were able to get me out of that wheel chair. I waited a total of 27 years for the VA to diagnose a freeking broken neck and 19 years to diagnose the broken back. I am still considered a quadriplegic but at least I can walk.

    I would recommend anyone unstable on their feet or in a wheel chair to use a kydex holster for IWB over any other holster that requires a latch or a leather snap. Why? Because I have little to no feeling in my fingers and that snap is a problem when seconds count. However I can grab and pull that weapon out smoothly with a little “click” put it on target and do 3 inch groups at 15 yards all day. In fact I do it quite often.

    With a rifle my favorite joke is the golfer joke. The golfer is proud he can hit that ball 275 yards and I am proud I can hit that ball at 275 yards.

    • Cory C

      Party on, Mike. You’ve got every reason to be a sad bastard but you’re a gun-toting badass. Thanks for the inspiration.

      • Mike Lashewitz

        Nope not really “sad” so much. Just pissed at the VA for making me the guy everyone talks about when it comes to totally effed up medical care.
        But at least I am still shooting and still accurate.

        • Cory C

          Giant thumbs up.

  • RazorHawk

    Yep, I don’t worry about the gun falling when the holster is upside down. It is highly unlikely I will ever be upside down.

    Just don’t ride a roller coaster when you are carrying.

  • David Morris

    What is the best holster available? What is being said by the people about IWB Holster, Ruger LCP holster? You can Check out the honest, unbiased and detailed reviews on the best tactical assault gear at SOLIDGEAR.

    • FLdeepdiver

      Wut?

  • baserock love

    Is that really true about leather holsters? I’m not sure if i’ve EVER encountered a leather holster that’s been well worn where you could turn it upside down and it wouldn’t fall out if there isn’t some sort of retention strap over the grip. If i put my cardon holster on, my belt sandwiching it to my body gives me perfect retention. If it’s off, it will instantly slide out of that holster if i turn it over.