In the old days, all you needed to slap iron was a tough piece of cow leather to hold your gun on your belt, and when things started to get fancy they added a snap. If you were cheap, you could just stick the gun in your belt holster-less. However, with new types of carry, both open and concealed, and new materials being introduced, the holster of yesterday has evolved into a complete system.
Like many gun owners, I have more than one handgun. When I carry concealed, I will switch which gun I have on me depending on what I am wearing and how I want to carry it. Each different gun means a different holster, and some of my guns also have lasers or lights on them, which means yet another holster. There are also universal holsters out there that have certainly been improving significantly. Here are some everyday carry holster options that have “out of the box” thinking built right in!
The Versacarry is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) concealed-carry system that is very nearly universal. It holds my gun securely and comfortably in place and accommodates lights and lasers as well. The ingenuity of the system revolves around the barrel retention rod, which is made from a self-lubricating and tough polymer, that is inserted into the front of the barrel at a 45-degree angle and holds the pistol or revolver against the polymer clip. A polymer triggerguard is user installed in the retention clip for safety and can be set for right- or left-handed carry, and the integral belt clip fits up to 1.5-inch belts. The whole thing really does live up to its “Zero Bulk” name as it is one of the smallest and lightest IWB holsters you will find.
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The holster’s one-piece belt clip and body comes in different lengths to accommodate pistols with barrel lengths from 2.75 inches to 4 inches. This keeps the grip above the belt line for an easy draw. If concealability is a priority, I found that using the longer Versacarry with a subcompact pistol completely hides the gun below the belt line.
As a welcome accessory, Versacarry also offers a spare IWB magazine holder with similar minimalist dimensions as its holster. The magazine clip is designed for single- and double-stack magazines and provides retention with a clip at the bottom that holds the top cartridge on a magazine inserted baseplate up. Small tabs on the side keep the magazine properly oriented. This provides a secure hold with an easy release when the spare magazine is needed.
Recently, Versacarry also started offering high-quality leather gun belts available in a variety of colors and in either single- or double-ply for extra stiffness. A good gun belt keeps your holster from sagging or riding when you try to draw. It is an important part of your self-defense kit that is too often ignored. I found the Versacarry single-ply belt to be very durable, though I might opt for the two-ply belt for a full-sized gun.
Finally, the VersaHub Bedside Mounting System ties everything together and provides for personal protection in the home. Made from a durable polymer, the VersaHub slips between the mattress and boxspring and holds your gun and spare magazine in the Versacarry holster and magazine holder. This system keeps your CCW handgun conveniently at hand while you sleep.
BlackHawk has developed a new IWB holster specifically designed for appendix carry. Appendix carry, which involves keeping the pistol in front of the body between bellybutton and hip, is growing in popularity because it provides faster access and improved concealability, and some find it to be more comfortable.
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The BlackHawk Appendix Reversible Carry (ARC) IWB Holster includes adjustable belt clips that allow it to be used on ether the right or left side. These clips, which fit 1.5- and 1.75-inch belt sizes, can also be adjusted for cant and height to provide the user a more custom draw as well as improved comfort. BlackHawk has also used a softer polymer that offers more give and more comfort over a similar Kydex holster.
The holster’s retention is also user adjustable with an adjustment screw that can be loosened or tightened to provide just the right feel. Given the popularity of rear-mounted, micro red-dot optics on many defensive handguns, the rear of the ARC holster features an open design that allows for the unimpeded use of these types of optics.
Blade-Tech, which makes excellent polymer holsters for competition, duty and concealed-carry use, has a new system in the Total Eclipse line that offers a great deal of versatility for the end user. This holster can be carried in six different ways including on the waistband, inside the waistband, right- or left-handed and either with a straight drop or an FBI-style forward cant.
Like the Eclipse holster on which it is based, the Total Eclipse features a very thin pancake design that rides close to the body and provides a full grip of the pistol for a secure draw. It also features a full sweat guard to protect the firearm and increase comfort while carrying, and it offers a low-cut front opening for a faster draw. The friction retention is adjustable as well to suit user preference.
The Total Eclipse differs from its predecessor not just in its versatility but also in how the continuous curve design now includes the attachment system as well. With this holster you get all of the extras that make it fully adjustable, including the quick clip on-off system in the IWB mode. This makes removing and replacing the entire holster a very easy affair without having to remove the belt.
Of course, just because we are modern people doesn’t mean we can’t still appreciate a fine piece of leatherwork. Likewise, just because you are making a holster out of fine leather doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate modern design elements. In this regard, Tagua Gunleather has accomplished quite a feat with its 4-in-1 Inside The Pant Holster.
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This leather holster is available in black or brown, and either with or without a retainer thumb-break strap for added retention. What really sets the 4-in-1 Holster apart is that it can be carried inside the waistband or outside the waistband, appendix style as well as cross-draw and sideways in the small of the back. This versatility is accomplished without having to make any adjustments or change any tabs on the holster itself, and making life easier is a good thing. The secret is in the installed metal clip as well as the vertical, horizontal and canted belt loops on the opposite side. Both right- and left-handed holsters are available to fit your needs.
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