Which type of holster to choose?

Which type of holster to choose?

This is a discussion on Which type of holster to choose? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know that I should choose a holster that feels right to me, but I have a few questions and little experience. While as a ...

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Thread: Which type of holster to choose?

  1. #1
    New Member Array SN1976's Avatar
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    Which type of holster to choose?

    I know that I should choose a holster that feels right to me, but I have a few questions and little experience. While as a Military Police officer in the Army, I used a nylon holster on my duty belt. For my carry as a civilian, I used a nylon holster. Now, I am looking for something different. I have a Tri-Star L120, which is a clone of a CZ75B. It is a tad longer than a 1911. I initially had it in a nylon holster as well, but I didn't like the feel of it. The holster slid vertically on my belt, and it felt that the weapon was too heavy for that holster.

    I was looking at shoulder holsters. I can wear it fine during the winter, but it wouldn't be practical in the spring/summer months as I am normally in shorts and tank top or muscle shirt.

    As far as leather holsters go, I need a little help here. With them being leather, do they rub excessively on the weapon? I realize that my weapon is a tool, but I paid good money for it and would like it to last as long as possible.

    My next option is Kydex. I have the same question for those. Do they rub excessively on the frame?

    My biggest concern is retention. I live in Indiana, and the state law does not require a CCW. I just received my carry license today. I want something that can be carried both open and concealed.

    I found a couple paddle holsters and Kydex holsters that I really liked, but due to time constraints, I wasn't able to speak with the sales rep. It has also been my experience that salespeople will lean towards the higher priced items. I figured I would go on here and ask the average person what their thoughts were.

    I apologize if these questions get boring to the "old-timers", but I just wanted to make a good decision when I went to the register. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!


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    Carrying concealed your retention is your concealment with a good holster. Go with a Milt Sparks VM-II you won't be disappointed.

    Not a big Shoulder holster guy, but if thats what you want I would recommend a Galco Jack Ass or a Miami Classic.

    Curious about your avatar is that a pic you took? For some reason i'm fascinated with COPPERHEADS.
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    First off welcome.
    I prefer leather for everything except IWB. then I prefer hybrid holsters with leather against my body and kydex outer so reholster is easier.
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    VIP Member Array JDE101's Avatar
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    First, welcome to the forum. You'll find a lot of different opinions on holsters -- probably as many as opinions on different guns! And over your "career" of carrying, you'll probably end up with a drawer with several holsters in it. That said, a lot of picking a holster is personal preference, just as in which gun you choose to carry. There are several holster makers who are sponsors of the forum. My personal preference is leather. It holds the gun a lot better than nylon holsters and makes for a much better draw. And a good leather holster has a certain "cool" factor too. I have a Galco Summer Special IWB holster that I carry my 1911 in most of the time. In fact, it's on my waist right now as I type this. It is not the most comfortable holster I own, but is the easiest to conceal. I also have a leather Galco OWB holster that I used when I took a couple of advanced classes. It is more comfortable to wear and quicker to draw from, but a bit more difficult to conceal. I use it when I go to the range or am out in the woods or am dressed in a manner that makes it easy to conceal. I have a Galco Miami Classic II shoulder holster that I use when I am driving and sitting for a long time, and sometimes when I'm riding my motorcycle. I also have a Blackhawk Kydex holster, which was the first holster I bought, but I don't use it much any more. Basically, just on occasions when I want the added retention it offers. And as important as the holster is a GOOD gun belt. If you have a local gun shop that will let you try on a variety of holsters before you buy, that would be great. Any holster will cause some "wear" on a gun. But the wear from a good holster specifically designed for your make and model of gun should be minimal. Just my .02. Good luck in finding what fits you.
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    I carry both Open and Concealed. My holster of choice is an IWB leather holster. I use the same holster for both modes of carry, it pulls in tight to the body, so I'm not concerned about someone trying to grab my gun. As for wear, the amount of holster wear from either kydex or leather is going to be minimal, IMO not enough to even worry about.
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    New Member Array SN1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob99VMI04 View Post
    Carrying concealed your retention is your concealment with a good holster. Go with a Milt Sparks VM-II you won't be disappointed.

    Not a big Shoulder holster guy, but if thats what you want I would recommend a Galco Jack Ass or a Miami Classic.

    Curious about your avatar is that a pic you took? For some reason i'm fascinated with COPPERHEADS.

    Hi Rob. Thanks for your suggestions. I will check them out. Yes, this is my snake. She is an 8' Columbian Red-Tail Boa Constrictor. I got her as a rescue. I am the Vice-President of a Herpetological (study of reptiles and amphibians) society. Glad you like her. She's awesome.


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    New Member Array SN1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDE101 View Post
    First, welcome to the forum. You'll find a lot of different opinions on holsters -- probably as many as opinions on different guns! And over your "career" of carrying, you'll probably end up with a drawer with several holsters in it. That said, a lot of picking a holster is personal preference, just as in which gun you choose to carry. There are several holster makers who are sponsors of the forum. My personal preference is leather. It holds the gun a lot better than nylon holsters and makes for a much better draw. And a good leather holster has a certain "cool" factor too. I have a Galco Summer Special IWB holster that I carry my 1911 in most of the time. In fact, it's on my waist right now as I type this. It is not the most comfortable holster I own, but is the easiest to conceal. I also have a leather Galco OWB holster that I used when I took a couple of advanced classes. It is more comfortable to wear and quicker to draw from, but a bit more difficult to conceal. I use it when I go to the range or am out in the woods or am dressed in a manner that makes it easy to conceal. I have a Galco Miami Classic II shoulder holster that I use when I am driving and sitting for a long time, and sometimes when I'm riding my motorcycle. I also have a Blackhawk Kydex holster, which was the first holster I bought, but I don't use it much any more. Basically, just on occasions when I want the added retention it offers. And as important as the holster is a GOOD gun belt. If you have a local gun shop that will let you try on a variety of holsters before you buy, that would be great. Any holster will cause some "wear" on a gun. But the wear from a good holster specifically designed for your make and model of gun should be minimal. Just my .02. Good luck in finding what fits you.

    Lots of good info here. Thanks for the response. You have given me several things to check out as far as options. Thanks again.


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    New Member Array SN1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    I carry both Open and Concealed. My holster of choice is an IWB leather holster. I use the same holster for both modes of carry, it pulls in tight to the body, so I'm not concerned about someone trying to grab my gun. As for wear, the amount of holster wear from either kydex or leather is going to be minimal, IMO not enough to even worry about.
    Thanks for your response. I have been thinking about going IWB, but I am 5'11" and about 220 lbs. I will have to see if that is an option. Thanks.


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    I use a Brommeland MaxCon V IWB in leather for my full sized 1911.
    Recently received a Hays Holsters "shorty" for the 1911A1. OWB with a nice cant, also in leather.
    The IWB is fantastic but the 1911 gets pretty heavy after about 4 hours and I don't wish to use suspenders either.
    The Hays shorty OWB was worn for 12 hours today and I forgot that big old 1911 was there. Conceals under a tee shirt or untucked button shirt easily.

    For you I would suggest an OWB shorty or pancake from Jeff Hays. You'll love it. Relatively fast turn around for a custom holster too. Only about three weeks vs. 8-14 weeks for many others. Jeff has a fantastic price point too.
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  10. #10
    Member Array Mdauben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SN1976 View Post
    I know that I should choose a holster that feels right to me, but I have a few questions and little experience. While as a Military Police officer in the Army, I used a nylon holster on my duty belt. For my carry as a civilian, I used a nylon holster. Now, I am looking for something different. I have a Tri-Star L120, which is a clone of a CZ75B. It is a tad longer than a 1911. I initially had it in a nylon holster as well, but I didn't like the feel of it. The holster slid vertically on my belt, and it felt that the weapon was too heavy for that holster.

    I was looking at shoulder holsters. I can wear it fine during the winter, but it wouldn't be practical in the spring/summer months as I am normally in shorts and tank top or muscle shirt.

    As far as leather holsters go, I need a little help here. With them being leather, do they rub excessively on the weapon? I realize that my weapon is a tool, but I paid good money for it and would like it to last as long as possible.

    My next option is Kydex. I have the same question for those. Do they rub excessively on the frame?

    My biggest concern is retention. I live in Indiana, and the state law does not require a CCW. I just received my carry license today. I want something that can be carried both open and concealed.

    I found a couple paddle holsters and Kydex holsters that I really liked, but due to time constraints, I wasn't able to speak with the sales rep. It has also been my experience that salespeople will lean towards the higher priced items. I figured I would go on here and ask the average person what their thoughts were.
    As they say, there are no dumb questions, so ask away! :)

    As far as holster material goes, IMO the only real advantage nylon offers is low cost. In just about every other way, leather and Kydex are superior. Now, they will cause "holster wear" after prolonged use. That's just a fact of life. Generally, blued guns suffer the worst from this. Many new pistols and revolvers use harder, modern coatings that will last longer but even they are likely to show some signs of wear after a few years of daily use. Stainless guns are probably the least effected by this, although even the will often show polishing at wear points if they have matte or satin finishes.

    Regarding shoulder holsters, most people don't seem to like them for daily use. Personally, I like them on prolonged car trips as I find them more comfortable than belt carry and easier to access than either belt or pocket carry. For regular use around town I prefer belt carry, though.

    I think trying to find one holster for both CC and OC is a mistake. You are going to have to compromise on at least one function. I can understand wanting to save money but be aware you would be compromising comfort, security, and/or conceal ability to do so.

    Paddle holsters can be nice for OC or even CC if you are wearing bulky cover garments. They are especially nice if you need to take your gun on and off during the day. Be sure to examine the connection between the holster and paddle, though. Some paddle holsters (such as Fobus) are distressing easy to break off the paddle in a scuffle for your gun.

    As far as specific recommendations go, holster choice seems to be a very personal thing so all I can tell you is what works for me. For semiautomatics, my hands down favorite is the Summer Special style IWB holster. Milt Sparks makes the "official" SS holster and they are a little pricey and can be subject to long waits depending on your gun but there are a number of manufacturers who make similar products.

    For revolvers, my choice is the PMK (an OWB holster) also from Milt Sparks. Again, there are alternative makers, but what you want to look for is a tunnel strap on the right side and a belt slot on the left (or reversed if you're left handed). I find this configuration helps pull the butt of the gun tight against your body for better concealment.

    I'm afraid I don't have much experience with OC holsters other than a couple of Western style belt rigs! I do think that unlike CC that some form of weapon retention device is critically important on an OC holster. At the bare minimum you want a thumb break but you may want to look into even more effective modern retention systems used on police duty holsters.

    Hope that helps! B)

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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Wunderneun's Avatar
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    I like Kydex or plastic for blued steel. Walther, SIG-Sauer, etc. Leather or nylon (IWB) for more durable finishes like Tennifer, Duracoat, baking lacquer, etc.

    I do like to keep them looking new for as long as I can. I go to great lengths to make sure they do.
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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1393727352.345148.jpg

    Here is a picture of my soon to be EDC. I appreciate everyone's comments and I will take all suggestions into consideration.


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    SN1976: WELCOME!!

    First point: Not matter what you do, you will end up with a bunch of holsters, just count on it and enjoy the ride

    OK, IWB, especially a holster that allows you to tuck the shirt over the holster gives you LOTS of options for concealment. IWB also gives better retention as it is held closer to your body. If you go with IWB, you will have to buy new pants with an additional 2" in the waist, unless you already have slack in your slacks

    I carry a 1911 4" Commander size.

    I have a Crossbreed Supertuck that I liked, but wanted to go with all leather eventually, so I bought this from Desbiens gun leather http://www.desbiensgunleather.com/wp.../IMG_18351.jpg

    I also have a horsehide pancake OWB from Kramer leather that I wear sometimes in the winter.

    If you want a nice shoulder holster, take a look at Andrews Monarch, Andrews Custom Leather its expensive but is quality workmanship--I have used mine quite a bit this winter as the chemo has made my stomach quite tender and unable to cinch my belt tight. The back strap is a nice touch and keeps the holster and mags in place and makes the draw easier.

    Speaking of belts, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for a quality gun belt. I have a leather belt from here Gun Belts by The Belt Man I also use a rigger style nylon belt from Uncle Mikes, when I don't need to dress up.

    Good luck with your searching.......
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Been carrying 40 plus years have tried a awful lot of holsters. Milt sparks summer special is tuff to beat a hundred bucks an it will last your lifetime. I use it for my CZ an all revolvers. For owb I like hayesleather.com the guy is a artist. I like holsters that do not take up so much space an are comfortable an you can reholster with one hand. image.jpgimage.jpg
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    I have several different holsters for my handguns. I prefer a hybrid iwb (kydex/leather). All leather iwb will break down and collapse to easily. Kydex is the best in general. Kydex is thin, won't absorb body order and water. Light weight and will last a very long time. Also kydex has the best retention. I would never use nylon, just seems to cheap for such a expensive tool and of course safety issues.

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