holster tightness, how much?

holster tightness, how much?

This is a discussion on holster tightness, how much? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I just received my first IWB custom holster. Prior to this everything i have used has been safariland either drop leg or belt holsters. They ...

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Thread: holster tightness, how much?

  1. #1
    New Member Array Olive Drab's Avatar
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    Jun 2007

    holster tightness, how much?

    I just received my first IWB custom holster. Prior to this everything i have used has been safariland either drop leg or belt holsters. They have been able to retain the pistol while loaded if held upside down. This IWB holster in the same position will have the pistol falling out. Now, I realize that the belt will provide additional tension but what is the acceptable looseness for holster fit especially a new one?

  2. #2
    Member Array Rob Edwards's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    OD, are you saying that this holster does not have a way of tightening the retention? I like my holster tight on the weapon. I want to give it a good tug when I grab it. I am running a Blade Tech IWB for a Glock 19 with a light. If you do not have a retention, contact the custom maker and see what they can do for you. The weapon should not fall out with a loose IWB holster but we all know how Mr Murphy works.
    Rob Edwards
    LMS Defense

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    IMHO IWB is a different game and different fit than owb . Just how loose is loose ?? for me my belt is more the retention than the holster , but i wear tight waistband wranglers . Ill suggest you call the holsteremaker you ordered from and discuss it with them . I can see where some clothing styles would need a tight holster or a retention strap that i simply dont worry about for an iwb .
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    OWB for most custom holsters are very well formed because they generally don't have retention straps.

    IWB requires less retention and easier draw because to counteract the belt holding on the gun for drawing.

    It is personal preference in the end. I made an IWB that the customer asked for it to be tightly formed. His test was to put the gun in it and violently shake it upside down. Mine passed with 3 shakes for a 20+ OZ gun. Not my normal plan of IWB because you can risk depending on the clip or loop having the holster come out of your pants on the draw.

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking" - George S. Patton.

  5. #5
    New Member Array KyInvestigator's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Louisville, KY
    IWB holsters typically get most of their retention from the wearer's belt tension. If you do not want to have a tight belt, then I would suggest something that has an adjustable tension. You will find that most leather IWB's do not have a tension screw, and the maker may not want to add that to their line for liability reasons. This would leave you with something akin to the CompTac line (think either MTAC or CTAC).

    Personally, I would suggest getting used to a tighter belt and a good quality leather holster as your primary choice, the other option being the MTAC since it has a leather backing. The latter allowing you the adjustability to suit your needs.

  6. #6
    Member Array T. Kanaley's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote Originally Posted by Olive Drab View Post
    I just received my first IWB custom holster. Prior to this everything i have used has been safariland either drop leg or belt holsters. They have been able to retain the pistol while loaded if held upside down. This IWB holster in the same position will have the pistol falling out. Now, I realize that the belt will provide additional tension but what is the acceptable looseness for holster fit especially a new one?
    You will probably get a hundred different answers on this one. First I would ask, is the holster loose to the point that the gun can be shifted in the holster or does it rattle about when in place? Most important, how well does the holster retain the pistol when you have it in your waistband with a belt over top?

    Somewhere and at some point on the internet, someone came up with the idea that a test for true weapon retention is to hold your holstered weapon upside down over a bed and shake it violently until the pistol falls free. Some have even come up with a benchmark on the number of shakes it should take to retain the weapon for the retention to be adequate. This shaking the holster over the bed stuff may have some serious merit if we all went about our daily business carrying our holstered weapons in our hands instead of attached to a firm belt like they were intended to be.

    Lets take a new holster as an example. Some guy gets a new holster in the mail and immediately puts it to the test. Shakes the devil out of it and on the third shake the gun falls free. Well good enough, it passed the first phase of internet holster retention test 101 with flying colors. Now onto the actual wearing of the holster.
    The guns in place, holster is on the belt and now the guy can't get the gun out without producing a wedgie. Guy calls holster manufacturer, holster manufacturer describes method used to block pistol and holster, guy follows through and can now get pistol out without a problem. Pistol with newly blocked out holster is again subjected to internet holster retention test 101 and this time pistol falls free on first or second shake!! Panic starts to set in because the guy read somewhere on the internet that 3 shakes were the benchmark and any less was unacceptable!! Another call to the manufacturer and the manufacturer explains this is normal and is a function of the holster breaking in and not to worry about it. Guy accepts explanation, although somewhat reluctantly and continues to wear the holster.

    A few weeks, or months later, guy is getting along great with his new holster. The pistol draws very smooth and even a little easier than when he first blocked it out and no apparent issues with retention. Then on a whim, the guy decides to give it the old tried and true, internet retention holster test 101 and the gun falls free without a shake!! No detectable movement of the gun while it is in the holster on the body and the leather is still firm, but guy is now convinced this is just not right!

    First off, I'm not trying to make fun of the poster or anyone else here. But this little scenario comes up an awful lot on the many gun forums these days. And even though I've seen makers try give facts, it's usually a losing battle in these internet discussions since the argue'ees tend to believe the makers are simply in CYA mode.

    When a holster is new, the gun it is destined to fit is generally very snug as slight dimensional differences in the pistol, as well as finishes, texture and other things will all impact how a gun fits a holster even within the same make and model of gun. The holster, even though it might be precurved to match the users torso, will not be a perfect fit most of the time and will require a settling in period. With the gun and holster in place on the body, the holster body will slowly form to the contours of the users torso and further stretch around the gun. But only as needed as quality leather will not stretch beyond the item that contained within it. With those changing of dynamics, the holster, while in place on a belt will eventually tend to grasp the gun the way it did when the holster was originally held in the hand, whereas when the holster is now held in the hand it will be looser.

    Looser does not necessarily equate to being too loose.

    All my above ramblings can be summed up in a single sentence. If the holster can adequately retain the weapon while it is in place on your body, held in place by a decent belt, then that is all that really counts. Shaking a holster over a bed to judge real world holster retention is about as usefull as looking through the bore of a barrel to determine it's accuracy. The proof is in how it actually performs in its intended function under real world conditions.

    If you have the holster in your waistband and it feels secure enough, don't worry about it.
    Last edited by T. Kanaley; November 19th, 2007 at 02:00 PM. Reason: cleaned up some choppy sentences
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." ~Ernest Hemingway

  7. #7
    New Member Array lynnr's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Scottsboro Alabama
    I recently purchased a Sparks VM-2 IWB holster for my 3" EMP from Lightning Arms. I timed that call perfectly because they had just received a shipment. This holster did not need any break-in. It worked perfect straight from the package, no blocking needed. I really like this holster, it has a very smooth draw. I also had ordered a Mitch Rosen OWB premier for the same pistol. I ordered it 10-29 and was told approximately 8 weeks for delivery. I received it last week. It too is a very fine holster but was very tight (which it should be). I am currently breaking it in by wearing it and making many draws. I expect it will have a very smooth draw also. I can't give enough praise for these two holster makers, I am very pleased. Kudos for Mitch & Milt!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Orange Park, Fla.
    Do you plan to do a lot of walking on your hands or gymnastics that will invert you? If not, a good Holster and belt will hold your pistol very well - even if it falls out on the first shake over your bed. It certainly isn't going to jump out under any condition you are likely to encounter.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. - George Orwell

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