Now Let’s Talk About Holsters

    A 16th-century pistol holster from Tbilisi, Georgia. Satin-stitch embroidery with gold and silver thread on velvet, silk and cotton. 32X13 cm. Art Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi

    So, a friend of mine approached me about holster selection the other day, and I thought about it a little bit and decided I really didn’t have a good answer. And really, neither did the internet (at least not a consolidated answer).  Along the lines with gun buying tips for new shooters it would be decent to have a resource like “Holster Buying Tips for New Shooters”.

    There are a few good articles I found out there, from people like Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training, or Aaron Cowan at Recoil. But by and large most of the articles and resources are biased by the writers’ opinions (duh), which are based on how they carry. And I found myself falling into that same trap. I like to carry a couple of specific ways, and outside of that I’m not really sure how to recommend something. Not to mention the way I choose to carry is not right for everyone. My wife, for instance, is not at all interested in appendix carry. She doesn’t like it, she doesn’t feel comfortable with it–it is a no-go for her.

    The other factor is that I believe there are good and bad holsters, and good holsters with poor features and poor holsters with good features. And when trying to work with someone new, how do you impart the correct things to look for, and more importantly, the critical thinking necessary to select a holster right for their situation.

    I would argue that each method of carry has an optimal way, and a number of variations, some of which work for some people, and some that don’t. And those methods are a near religious war with the carriers that espouse them. Some people will have an aneurysm at the thought of a ClipDraw, while others are anti-leather. The list goes on.

    The problem is that very few people have experienced every holster variation out there. Other than people that are sent units for review, I would assert that most people narrow in on a solution that is decent for their situation and then optimize that. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that, but it is limiting.

    I would like to get a discussion going in the comments about what YOU think makes a good holster and why, or what makes a bad holster and why. I’d also like to hear some thoughts on why you carry certain ways (e.g. why do you love/hate appendix/ankle/small of back/etc.). Depending on where this goes maybe we can do some short articles discussing each carry method, and the reader sourced best and worst features in holsters.

    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT or at