Gun Holster Frequently Asked Questions
- What is composite material?
- What do the different levels of retention mean?
- Where can I find my model number?
- What's the most comfortable carrying position for CCW?
- How does the holster's position on the body affect the draw?
- What's the difference between a single stack and a double stack?
- What's the difference between IWB and OWB?
- How do I find the correct size for a nylon holster?
- How do I measure the barrel of my gun?
- If my weapon has a Picatinny rail, will that affect the way I choose a holster?
- I have a rail-mounted weapon light. What type of holster should I consider?
What is composite material?
A lot of holsters are made out of composite material. This means the holster is made out of a strong, reinforced plastic that offers the weapon durable protection. Composite holsters are known for its ability to withstand extreme conditions and temperatures.
What do the different levels of retention mean?
Some holsters are categorized by their retention: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Each level indicates the number of mechanisms in place on the holster to keep the weapon from being drawn. The level number corresponds to the amount of mechanisms in place. A law enforcement duty holster is generally a Level 3 while a concealed carry holster is generally a Level 1 or 2.
Where can I find my model number?
It really depends on the gun. Typically the model number can be found on the gun box, side of barrel or on the manufacturer's website.
What's the most comfortable carrying position for CCW?
That's like asking someone which beer is best—it's a total judgment call. You’ll have to try out different holster types to find out what feels best for you.
OWB is known for being more comfortable than IWB. However, carrying OWB requires the correct clothing to ensure your weapon is not exposed.
How does the holster's position on the body affect the draw?
For a normal draw, the holster should correspond with the dominant side of your body. The holster type should match your dominant hand. So if you're right-handed, look for a right-draw holster; if you're left-handed, look for a left-draw holster. This is also true for hip, ankle and boot holsters.
The only exception is for SOB or lower-back carry. Because this type of firearm placement requires you to reach behind to release the weapon, choose a holster opposite of your dominant side. For example, if you're right-hand dominant and choose to carry on the small of your back, purchase a left-hand draw holster.
Prefer cross draw? Purchase a holster with the same draw type as your dominant side. Place the holster on the opposite side of your body.
What's the difference between a single stack and a double stack?
A single stack magazine has cartridges loaded one on top of the other in a straight line. A double stack magazine displays the cartridges in a staggered, zigzag pattern. A double stack typically has a higher capacity than a single stack.
What's the difference between IWB and OWB?
IWB stands for inside the waistband while OWB stands for outside the waistband. Ideal for conceal carry, IWB puts the holster between the body and the pants. OWB holsters fit or clip onto a belt. Although more comfortable than IWB, OWB holsters require more clothing coverage for concealed carry. Because of this, OWB holsters are more commonly used for open carry.
How do I find the correct size for a nylon holster?
When it comes to nylon holsters, you won't be able to determine the holster size by looking at the gun model. Instead, there are three elements that will help you make this decision:
- The length of the barrel (in inches)
- The weapon style (pistol or revolver)
- The weapon frame type (full, large, compact or sub-compact)
After you determine this information, use the size chart on any nylon holster product details page to find the right size for your gun.
How do I measure the barrel of my gun?
On pistols, measure from the front of the barrel to the back of the ejection port. To measure a revolver's barrel, measure from the front of the barrel to the front of the cylinder.
If my weapon has a Picatinny rail, will that affect the way I choose a holster?
Yes, aftermarket rails can be larger than the original rail, which could then cause the weapon to not fit into the holster. Please take this into consideration when shopping for a new holster.
I have a rail-mounted weapon light. What type of holster should I consider?
To ensure the weapon fits properly in its holster with the accessory, you'll want to look for a nylon, light-bearing holster.