How To Choose A Gun Holster

How to Choose a Gun Holster

Choosing a gun holster is like choosing your future spouse. Ok, maybe not that intense, but it still has to be the perfect fit. You need the correct draw, type, finish and material for your tactical needs. People spend plenty of time, effort and money researching, choosing and investing in a quality firearm. However, all too often, little thought is put into the device used to properly store the weapon. When stakes are high, a weapon is useless if it isn't stored where you need it, when you need it.

We understand holster shopping can be overwhelming. That's why we've mapped out the main points you need to consider when selecting a gun holster. Read on, and we'll walk you through your shopping experience.

1. How Do You Carry?

Do you prefer concealed carry? Or is your holster more for tactical or duty use? Answering this question is the first step to discovering which carrier to choose.

If you're looking for a holster for civilian use or off duty that will keep your gun out of sight, you'll want to shop our concealment holsters. There are many different ways to conceal and carry. Pocket carry, OWB, IWB, ankle, bellyband, lower back and shoulder holsters are all designed to keep your weapon hidden. To learn more about these specific concealment carry types, consult our Gun Holsters Glossary.

For patrol officers and security personnel, you'll want to shop our collection of duty holsters. Duty holsters will feature a level two or three retention and cover rear and front sights of a weapon. These are carried openly and worn on a duty belt.

Military, SWAT teams and special operations need to look toward our selection of tactical holsters. These high-retention designs usually feature a drop-leg or MOLLE-compatible design. If high-intensity missions are part of your job requirement, you'll need the placement, features and durability of a tactical holster.

2. Safety First

Regardless of the way you carry, there are a few things to look for to ensure you stay safe. You'll want the holster to retain the firearm until you draw it. A well-designed and well-fitting style will stay exactly where you want it until you purposefully change the position. In addition, the trigger should be partially covered to prevent unwanted objects from accidentally firing the weapon.

3. Get That Cloud-Like Comfort

It's no surprise that the hard, angled frame of a gun isn't the most comfortable thing to have wedged against your body. However, a quality holster will act as a protective barrier, providing relief between you and your weapon. If wearing your weapon is unbearable, you either need to upgrade or change the placement of your holster.

4. It's Got to Look Good

For some holsters, there are different options that allow you to pick the most attractive style. Composite holsters give you the option of different finishes. You can choose between plain, glossy, basketweave and appliqué cosmetic treatments. Whether you want it matte, shiny or textured, you can have it your way with this material.

The most classic-looking choice is made of leather. One of the oldest and most traditional of carry materials, leather holsters are a go-to choice for those looking for an attractive option.

To learn more about material and how that influences the holster's appearance, durability, comfort and maintenance, refer to our Gun Holster Material Guide.

5. Finding the Correct Draw

After you've selected the style you want, most holster types require you to choose a left or right draw. Determining your draw is dependent on how you're carrying.

For a normal draw, the holster should correspond with the dominant side of your body. The type should match your dominant hand. This is also true for hip, ankle and boot styles.

The only exception is for small-of-back (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 it on the opposite side of your body.

6. How Do I Find My Size?

Sizing depends on material of your gun. Leather and composite holsters determine size based on the model of your gun.

Nylon holsters make it a little more difficult. You won't be able to determine the 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 page to find the right size for your gun.

Now that you know what you need to consider, you're ready to shop our holster collection. Happy carrying.