Selecting a Concealed Carry Holster, Milt Sparks, Blackhawk, CrossBreed, Galco
(Photo by Paul Rackley)

It can take a while to choose a concealed carry holster. In fact, most folks who get serious about everyday carry typically have a box full of holsters because of trial and error.

The main reason for this is that there are a lot factors involved in choosing a holster. These include both material and retention, but the biggest factor will always be location. Everything else is secondary. Before anything else, you must decide where you want to carry.

Concealed Carry Holster Location

Many decisions must be made when deciding where to carry. In fact, it goes way beyond simply where you want to draw from. Sacrifices typically have to be made regardless of location. Some sacrifices might be minor to some but huge to others.

Those who don’t want to increase their pants size shouldn’t go IWB. At the same time, those who prefer to tuck shirts shouldn’t carry OWB, unless they’re willing to wear a coat. Something else that must be considered with location is access.

Those required to go into possibly sketchy areas might want to make sure the gun is easily accessible; strong side, IWB or OWB, works well here. On the other hand, those in an office might need deeper cover, such as a bellyband or ankle holster. Of course, if suits or sport coats are required for work, it might be easier to just carry somewhere on the waist or in a shoulder holster. Everything depends on the specific needs of individuals.

Material, Retention & Manufacturer

It’s amazing how little things can affect other factors regarding a concealed carry holster. Your daddy always carried in a leather holster, so you prefer leather. Or if your cop uncle told you a story about how a thumb snap saved his life, you might want retention. You might also want a really nice holster, such as a custom leather rig, because you know you’re going to carry daily and might as well do it style. However, years of carrying can change things.

I used to carry my Kimber Ultra Carry in a Milt Sparks Versamax II. I loved that holster; it was beautiful and comfortable, and its dual loops kept it from ever shifting forward or back. But unless the belt was uncomfortably tight, it came up a half inch to an inch with the draw. It did this even after 10 years of use. When it wore out, I didn’t order another. And I’m not the only leather aficionado to consider other materials. The advancement of Kydex and polymer has converted many a shooter in recent years.

In addition to its durability and speed of draw, plastic holsters can provide retention, both passive and active. It’s one of the materials benefits; it can be made into almost any shape. On the same level, some people have loyalty to manufacturers. This is typically because of a problem that the company handled well, such as bad stitching on a holster that the company replaced for free with no questions asked. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being loyal to companies that are loyal to customers.

Regardless of where you decide to place a gun, you need to think about what you need for a concealed carry holster. It’s a very personal decision that can absolutely affect your life. However, as long as you consider the factors required for your situation, you can come off of a location and rig that works for your lifestyle. Unfortunately, you might end up with a box full of holsters in the process.

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