Choosing the Right Holster

Carrying a gun is a big responsibility. Choosing to carry is an important decision. You have chosen not to be a victim. You have chosen to take care of your family. You have decided that you will come home to your family. Carrying a gun for self defense is also a lifestyle choice. Along with continued learning and a sheepdog mentally there are EDC choices that need to be made. There are items that you should never leave your house without such as a wallet, cell phone, small flashlight as some examples. I would like to discuss holsters as a part of everyday carry.

I carry a gun with me every time I leave the house. If I’m doing specific work I carry my 1911. If I’m doing my regular errands I carry my Sig P238. It is still a 1911 platform but SIGnificantly smaller. Each holster has a specific job and there is a time when each are beneficial. I would like to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each type I have experience with.

Neck holster

When I purchased the little Sig it came with a Kydex holster with their logo. There was a single hole in it with a lanyard attached. This gun was designed for concealablity. This particular Kydex holster was designed to be worn around the neck. The holster had great retention. The problem was it points straight at the face when worn. I can’t figure out why SIG would license a product like that. I have never used that holster based solely on the fact I don’t like guns pointed at my face. If the gun hung horizontally that would be different. I would not recommend this type of carry with the holster I have.


Iwb (Inside the Waistband) 

This is my preferred method of carry. I have carried a Glock 23, a 5″ 1911, a K frame Smith and Wesson, and a 380 all inside the waistband. Every holster I own is leather except for the neck holster I just mentioned. I prefer leather. Kydex holsters have their place. I enjoy traditional gun styles compared to the modern combat Tupperware. Striker fired guns are great. I have owned some. I carry 1911 style guns because I want my muscle memory adapted to the same platform. Every semi automatic pistol I carry will have an external safety and have a single action trigger. The exception to that is a revolver. If you are used to a Glock platform then carry only striker fired guns. This would eliminate pulling the gun and forgetting to toggle the safety.

Single clip

I purchased two single clip holsters from SIDEGUARD HOLSTERS. I really like the holster designs and the quality they build into each holster. I carry my two largest guns in these single clip leather holsters. When I first began to carry the instructor that trained me had a good background. He had multiple certifications and was well recommended.
There were techniques he taught that I still practice such as shooting from the hip and gun hand transitions. He carried his full size M&P in the appendix position. His theory was based on a scenario where a bad guy grabbed his hands and had control of his arms. He believed you could still draw and fire from the appendix position. He understood that if the gun was worn on the hip and you were in a struggle the bad guy could control your arm at the elbow preventing you from being able to draw the weapon.
I don’t think appendix carry is completely practical. I carried there for 3 years. What I noticed was my range of motion was limited in my legs. It effected my ability to walk and run. I could not kick effectively. It was an unnecessary obstacle even with small guns. I began taking martial arts a few years ago. I realized that for self defense the gun did not solve all situations. This induction into complete personal protection led me to the understanding that before I pull a gun in a confrontation I need to create distance. Being able to fight with empty hands is just as critical as marksmanship. Using empty hand to create distance between you and the bad guy allows you to safely pull the weapon without fear of being disarmed.
Single clip holsters are great for placing the gun anywhere in your belt. You can adjust the cant easily to make access or sitting much easier. I still use the single clip holster regularly. I no longer carry in the appendix position.

Double clip

This variety of holster seems to be my favorite. I carry a Sig P238 in a double clip holster I made. This is my default carry method. The first reason I prefer using this type of holster is the gun is always in the same spot. It does not move or twist in your waistband. I wear this just behind my right hip. I can quickly access and present my gun from this position. I’m too thin to wear it directly on my side so I move it back some. If you are wearing jeans the holster would go where the tag is.
The double clip holster holds the gun close to the body. I am rarely conscious of my gun printing through my shirt. I can act normal and not be constantly checking the position of the gun. The only draw back that I notice about this method is sitting in the car. Even though it’s a small gun the pressure of sitting on it will fatigue your back or hip after a while. If I’m going on a long drive I will typically choose a different holster.
OWB (outside the waistband)

Cross draw

Earlier I had mentioned that carrying a gun in a double clip holster becomes uncomfortable on long car rides. The cross draw holster(a.k.a. The Carjacker Rig) is perfect for seated positions. Sitting in a car access is very simple. Be aware of how the seat belt is wrapped around the gun. You do not want to get hung up if you need get out of the car quickly. For a daily self defense carry method I don’t recommend this style of holster. The first reason is how accessible the gun would be to an attacker. It’s a perfect position for someone to pull right out of your holster. That would be a bad day.
The second reason I found that it is hard for me to conceal. My cross draw holster is an outside the waistband rig. Inside the waistband might be easier to hide. I don’t have any experience with a cross draw holster IWB. I do have a very good friend who carries that way. It’s not for me. I have to constantly pull my shirt down to keep it covered.

Alternate carry methods

Shoulder rig

I bought a shoulder holster years ago for my 1911. I was trying to find a more comfortable way to carry that very large gun. It was a comfortable way to carry. I found that when I carry a 5″ gun the barrel would stick out past my back. It was not concealable with regular shirts. If I wore a heavy jacket I could hide it. These types of holsters are very expensive. They are usually double what you would spend on a IWB or OWB holster. If you have the chance to try one prior to purchasing I recommend it. If your camping or out in the wilderness this rig is more practical.

Ankle holster

I made an ankle holster for the little Sig 380 I like to carry. There were a few things that have really jumped out as considerations for this style of holster. I only use an ankle holster as a back up gun when I carry a full size gun. Ankle holsters are difficult to get to. I’m in pretty good shape. Bending is not difficult for me but if you have limited mobility this would be a challenge.
From all the research I have done attacks are so quick I believe it would be over before you could get the gun in the fight. If I am only carrying one gun I want it on my waist somewhere. I always carry at least one extra magazine. I built one into the holster. If you do carry on the ankle keep an extra magazine even for a back up gun. If there is no other option than to carry on the ankle having a gun is better than not having one.
The last characteristic I noticed is that ankle carry can be uncomfortable I built my holster with a garder that wraps above my calf. This keeps the weight of the gun from riding on the ankle bone. It is significantly more comfortable to carry the gun higher on the leg. Even with a small gun like my 380 I still notice the weight when I’m walking around.

Pocket holster

I recently built a pocket holster. The jury is still out. I find that I like to wear the pocket holster in my back pocket like a wallet. I slide my thumb and first finger into my pocket and retrieve the gun fairly easily. I would not use a pocket holster in the front pocket of denim jeans. It would be too difficult to access safely. The front pocket would definitely be more practical in slacks where the pocket is cut from the side of the leg.
The other problem I have found carrying in the front pocket is retention. My holster holds the gun well. Because the holsters fits well it makes it difficult to pull the gun without the holster coming with it. About half the time they come out together from the front pocket. His could probably be solved with a looser holster or a modification to this one. When I pull from my back pocket the holster has always stayed in place. I will experiment more with this type. I also think that when I build another pocket holster I will use the rough side of the leather facing out so there is more texture to keep it in my pocket. IMG_4176.jpg

Summary

I have had years of carrying concealed weapons. I have never been in a gun fight. All of my theory’s are just that theory’s. I started a self defense mindset while in the military. I have continued my training privately with experienced instructors. I use these theory’s doing private security. I am good guy that is not willing to let a bad guy turn my family into victims. If you have questions about holster making or holster wearing I would love to help. I spend a lot of time on the subject. Please leave comments below.

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