I just Googled “concealed carry holster” and it says there are over 1.5 million results. I realize that’s quite a bit to sift through, but it’s actually less than I thought would pop up. Either way, so that you don’t have to visit 1.5 million different sites, here are some criteria to use when looking for a good concealed carry holster.
First, you need to decide what type of material you want the holster to be made out of. Do you want a cloth holster, a leather holster or a kydex/ABS holster? I’ve had cloth holsters and they’re typically cheaper in price, but also more cheaply made. They won’t withstand wear and tear very well so I would generally avoid cloth holsters. I also own some high-end leather holsters, but the problem with leather is that it deforms over time and gets easily sweat soaked.
The truth is, most of the holsters I use these days are Kydex or ABS. This material isn’t affected by sweat and can take a beating. Plus, if the holster is dusty and dirty after training you can simply run it under water to clean it off without worrying about ruining it.
(An ABS holster for Px4. Click the image to learn more)
Once you decide on the material you like, you need to decide on how you’re going to carry the gun. Are you going to carry it on your hip, in your pocket, in a shoulder holster or maybe on your ankle?
Personally, my favorite places to carry a gun are in my front pocket or on my hip at the 4 o’clock position. I’m not a fan of ankle carry because it takes too long to draw the gun. I believe you should only use ankle carry for a backup gun. I’m also not a fan of shoulder carry because most people end up muzzling others while carrying and drawing the gun. I would only use a shoulder holster if you were a driver in an executive protection detail.
After you decide on the material and the way you’re going to carry the gun, then you can start testing out holsters. What I mean is, you’re going to have to try out several holsters before you find one that you like. To ensure this process doesn’t bankrupt you, I would find out the return policy on every company you order from and I wouldn’t buy a holster from a place that wouldn’t allow me to return it within 30 days.
When the holsters start arriving in the mail the real tests begin. Number one, does the holster cover the trigger guard? This is critical and never in a million years would I use a holster that doesn’t cover the trigger guard. Usually, you can tell this before you order one but some of the new minimalist holsters look like they cover the trigger guard but in fact don’t.
Number two, can you get a firm firing grip on the gun while the gun is still in the holster? If not, move onto another holster because a firm firing grip is critical to a smooth draw. The last thing you want is to have to adjust your grip while you bring the gun up on target. This wastes precious time, which could cost you your life.
(Make sure your holster covers your trigger guard and you can get a firm grip on your gun when unholstering it. Click the image to learn more)
Other tests you need to do with each holster are the “running” test and the “upside” down test. In other words, while you’re running does the holster keep the gun in place or does it move around? Also, take the holster off your belt and turn it upside down. If the gun falls out, the holster doesn’t have enough retention. If you have either of these problems then you need to keep searching.
The next one is pretty obvious but important, does the holster actually conceal the gun? For instance, if you’re trying to carry a gun in your pocket, does the holster break up the outline of the gun? Or does your front right pocket scream out “look at this gun”?
Also, don’t forget, a holster must be comfortable. Your holster could meet all of the criteria above, but if it’s not comfortable then you’re never going to wear it.
I certainly realize that finding a holster is not the easiest process. But since it’s such an important piece of equipment I encourage you to have patience. You may have to search through 15 different holsters, but once you find the one you like it will be well worth it because then you’ll carry your gun all the time.