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Everything You Need to Know About Gun Holsters

Posted Sep 5th, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Gun Holsters

A gun holster is an accessory you’ll definitely need to purchase for your firearm – and it’s going to require some serious thought on your end. If holsters were a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, an entire industry wouldn’t have existed. 

Gun holsters come in a variety of materials, sizes, and colors. Each of them serves a specific purpose. To save time and effort, people use one or two holsters for their entire lives. However, this isn’t exactly the best way to do things. 

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss everything you need to know about gun holsters. 

Material Options

Cloth and Nylon 

There are several holsters out there made of heavy-duty fabric. Such holsters have two components. First, we have the interior frame which holds your gun. Then, there is an upper hood or a flap that envelopes the entire assembly. Fabrics such as nylon and cloth are comfortable for the carrier. 

They protect the firearm against wear and tear due to exposure to the elements, and they also don’t develop scratches and cracks, unlike holsters made of leather and composite materials. 

However, these holsters are not too convenient when accessing a firearm in a hostile situation. To access your gun, you have to remove the flap and then pull out the weapon, which could cost you a couple of valuable seconds. 

Composite Materials

Various holsters these days are made of composite materials such as Kydex. Other composite materials include synthetics and plastics. These holsters are durable and affordable, especially when compared to high-end materials like leather. Some manufacturers are now making holsters that allow you to lock the firearm within the holster, thus providing an added layer of security. 

Interestingly, these materials come in various colors. Therefore, you are free to pick the color that is visually appealing, matches your gear, or fulfills your camouflage needs. 


Leather holsters are the most common ones out there. Leather is a sturdy material that can last a lifetime, and age like fine wine. The more worn a leather holster is, the more comfortable it becomes for the carrier. Moreover, leather is one such material that can be worn directly against the skin. Sure, it may cling to the skin a little bit, but unlike Kydex and plastics, it doesn’t cause any irritation. Furthermore, leather holsters appear professional, and they are a treat for the eye. 

They usually come in beautiful combinations of browns and black. Some manufacturers are now blending leather with composite materials, which only adds to your convenience and comfort. The leather part can be directly worn against the skin, while the composite properties secure the weapon into the holster. Some leather holsters come with a hard and smooth finish, while some of them come with a rugged and subdued finish. Each of them is as good as the other. 

Other Material Options

You can even find holsters made out of a rubber-like material with fabric over the lining. If you are creative enough, you can even carve a holster out of wood. Regardless of the material, you must ensure that the holster will protect the firearm, is durable, and will make it easy for you to access your gun when needed. 

Gun Carrying Guidelines 

Hip Carry

Fastening a holster around the hip region is the most common way of carrying a firearm. Holster manufacturers usually have a clock system in mind when designing a holster. They design it with regards to how a right-handed individual will access their firearm. 12 o’clock is designed to fit right below the belly button. 3 o’clock holsters are placed directly on the side, and so on and so forth. Another important consideration is whether you will wear the weapon exposed or whether you’ll conceal it. Inside the waistband holsters or IWB holsters come in handy if you prefer concealed over exposed carry. 

  • Carrying the weapon on your strong side makes it easier for you to draw your gun when needed.
  • Cross-draw carry makes it easier to access the weapon while freeing up pockets in your pants. 
  • Appendix carry ensures great concealability as some people allow their shirts to fall free rather than tucking them in. 
  • Back carry allows your firearm to be covered up by garments since shirts fall freely towards the back side, as opposed to appendix carry. It ensures maximum concealability, if you don’t want to be noticed with a firearm. 

Shoulder Carry

Shoulder carry is the most stylish way to carry your firearms. However, this kind of carry is mostly used by law enforcement professionals. The benefits of this approach are concealability, comfort, retention, and accessibility. It doesn’t take long to get accustomed to handguns hanging underneath your arms. Luckily, there are belt clips available out there that lock the harness in place, thus allowing you to make it through the day without any discomfort. 

However, just like small back carry, with shoulder carry, you can muzzle yourself or others around you. Therefore, you must spend some time practicing before adopting this gun carrying approach. Moreover, unlike appendix carry, shoulder carry makes it difficult for you to draw your gun when needed. Again, to ensure your own safety and that of others, it is better to spend some time practicing. 

Ankles and Thighs 

When choosing a thigh holster, it is important to note that they come in two types. One of them offers concealability and the other one is big and bulky and is used for tactical purposes. The tactical thigh holsters are known as “drop leg” rigs. 

Ankle holsters are great for concealability. It is best to wear them on the non-dominant ankle. They can fit very well under your pant legs and are perfect for people who spend most of their day seated. You can easily bend down to fake tying your shoelaces, and draw the firearm to tackle a threat. 

However, it is important to factor in the size of the gun and the width of your pant legs. Usually, it is a good choice to carry a small 25-30 bore pistol if you adopt the ankle approach. Big guns like 9mms will flaunt too much as you walk or run. 

Thigh holsters are designed on the same principle as ankle holsters. However, they are good for people wearing baggy shorts or women in skirts. 

Pocket Carry

There are various handguns out there that will sit effortlessly in your pocket. However, just because they fit doesn’t mean this approach is convenient for you to adopt. There are a few important factors you need to keep in mind. Keeping a firearm in your pocket can be potentially fatal, unless your trigger is locked. Every time you reach into your pockets to pull out your phone or car keys, there is always a chance of interacting with the trigger.

To seclude the trigger, it is best to keep the gun in a compact pocket holster. Moreover, you should designate a special pocket for the holster, and not integrate that pocket with other items. If you do, you will end up exposing the silhouette of the firearm, thus making it difficult for you to draw it when necessary. 

Bags and Purses

The easiest way to carry a firearm is using a bag or a purse that is specially intended for the purpose. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about your wardrobe while still having access to the firearm. Whether you carry a backpack, a fanny pack, or a briefcase, there are holsters out there that will sit with your firearm, thus accommodating your daily carry. 

The only downside is, if you forget your bag somewhere, and someone else gets a hold of your bag, you will lose control of your weapon. When adopting this approach, it is better to choose a bag with reinforced straps, so it cannot be snatched, cut off, or jerked for that matter. Moreover, if you are prone to forgetting your belongings, it is better not to take this route. 

Deep Concealment

Some holsters are designed to be worn with a base layer of clothing. These holsters are also known as “deep conceal” holsters. You have belly bands, which serve to conceal a firearm on your belly, your chest, and can be covered with a shirt. Moreover, there are undershirts and bras with built-in holsters for extra convenience. 

The great thing about such holsters is that they help you ensure you have the firearm on you, regardless of the situation. Sure, these holsters cannot dodge metal detectors, so you can’t go to court hearings; however, you can use them in outdoor events without being noticed. For extra safety, these holsters can be worn under tuxedos or evening dresses. 

The downside is, these holsters are hard to approach, and drawing a weapon can be difficult in hostile situations. While it is easy to strip away to approach your firearm, it is better to spend some time practicing so you don’t find yourself helpless in desperate situations. 

Holster Attachment Techniques 


Holsters with harnesses are easy to wear. The great thing is they distribute the weight of the firearm over an extended area. Some harnesses come with extra features, which allow you to fasten other items like knives and pepper spray cans. Because these harnesses organize the entire assembly, it is easy to take them off or wear them. 

Loops and Clips

Just like a waistband, holsters with clips and loops usually wrap over something, and therefore, are more secure. Most IWB holsters use loops and clips to secure them to your side. Some even allow you to tuck your shirt around the holster but behind the clip or loop. There are different types of clips available for the same holster. While some offer durability, others are designed for concealability, thus hiding your weapon from the public. To ensure a stronger attachment, it is better to be wise about your wardrobe selection. 


Holsters with a paddle attachment can be easily looped over your waistband. The paddle sits against the side, while the holster hangs outside your pants. You must still wear a belt to maximize performance. The good news is, they can be put on and taken off without unhinging the belt. They come with teeth that hook to the belt, thus ensuring the holster won’t pop out. It is important to note that by prying the paddle back just a little bit, you can easily let your belt slip free of the teeth. Again, it will be easier for you to take the holster off or put it back on. 

Another upside to the paddle approach is that it offers a broader base that can fit against your body. Such a mechanism prevents any unwanted twists, thus ensuring a smoother and safer draw. The only downside is, they push the firearm away from the body, which defeats the entire purpose of carrying a concealed firearm. 


Belt holsters have a couple of slots. Your belt tends to slide through these slots, thus keeping the firearm secure. A quick trick to keep the holster in place is using one of the loops on your pants’ waist and the slots on your holster. You can use the two loops on either side of the holster to ensure maximum concealment. Sure, there is no hard and fast rule, but by doing so, you can make it more convenient to carry a firearm. 

Final Word

When choosing a holster, there are a few things you need to consider: 

  • The make and model of your firearm: Your holster should be compact enough to fit your specific weapon. 
  • Accessibility: You should be able to draw the gun whenever needed, without wasting time. 
  • Daily Routine: Your holster should allow you to carry on with your daily routine with a firearm fastened against your body.  
  • Concealment: It is important not to make your weapon too visible. Your holster should fulfill your concealment needs. 

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