What would you want to see in a holster review?

This is a discussion on What would you want to see in a holster review? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Holsters have been kind of an infatuation for JD and me from the get go. It all started with a Fobus Roto holster that broke ...

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Thread: What would you want to see in a holster review?

  1. #1
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    What would you want to see in a holster review?

    Holsters have been kind of an infatuation for JD and me from the get go. It all started with a Fobus Roto holster that broke and spilled my husbands gun out onto the floor in the middle of the mall and we decided that there IS such a thing as a bad holster. Add to that the fact that I am a small-frame woman trying to comfortably conceal a larger firearm and it made for an interesting search for those "perfect" holster. Since that day we haven't stopped.

    Combined we have more holsters and have tried more means of carry than your average six carriers and we have no intention to stop any time soon.

    Our holster box contains over 30 holsters for a wide variety of firearms and represents hundreds of dollars of some good choices and some not-so-good choices.

    I figured I would do some good by going through the box, one-by-one and reviewing every single holster that we own.

    I've done two reviews already but I want to make sure I'm covering information that people REALLY want to know about a holster, especially a new carrier or someone looking for a specific design or function.

    Currently I've been covering the following:
    1. Back information. I try, if I can, to give a little back information on the holster, it's design or where it came from and its intended purpose.
    2. Features such as material made out of, means of attachment to the body, retention devices (if any), colors, right vs left-hand selection, adjustability with pros/cons mixed in as one man's pro could be another man's con.
    3. Whether it will accommodate crimson trace grips.
    4. I do a retention segment where I check for passive retention.
    5. JD and I take the holster out into our garage and wrench on it a bit seeing how well it stays in place.
    6. I also do a drawing and reholstering segment to see how well it allows for a speedy and comfortable draw and reholster.
    7. We also do a concealment and comfort section where I show how the holster conceals on both my frame and my husbands and how comfortable I think it is.
    8. Finally I go over who made the holster, contact information, firearms the holster can fit or be made for, warranty and care instructions, if any.


    I was considering adding a "torture" test wherein I submerge the holster in water with a blue gun and see how easily it will draw after that. I'm also thinking of including pouring sand over it with blue gun and rolling around on the ground.

    Of course it would mean some serious abuse to some of our holsters and while your average CCW holder would never put that kind of abuse on a holster the entirety of their carrying experience, it would be nice to know what a holster is capable of.

    Do you think that's a good idea or going to far?
    What else would you be interested in seeing or hearing about before you purchased a particular design?
    Is there something you feel is always missed in reviews until you buy the holster and find out for yourself that could have been a deal breaker had you known about it ahead of time?

    I'm very interested in feedback from people who carry on a regular basis.

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    Member Array monk's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're covering what I'd want to know. The only thing I would change is what guns the holster fits, should be the 1st thing on your guide not the last. Being a web-surfer myself the ones I like to go to will give gun names/models clicker, then I don't have to waste my time looking though a lot of stuff I don't want.... But it looks like you're doing a good job to me...
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    Senior Member Array Avenger's Avatar
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    Seems good. I look for all those things. My biggest thing is function. I want to know how well it functions, how well it conceals, how comfortable it is, what its made out of, special features, turn around time for the maker, art work quality if any, PICTURES, and time. I dont want to hear from someone who just received their holster today. I want that review after at least a few weeks, gives a bit of time to see if its really a good one or not.

    I like to do a bit of abuse to the holster, over time. I wouldnt ruin a good holster just to see what might happen. Submerging a quality leather holster in water for a prolonged period of time will ruin it faster than you can blink, and will most likely loose the warranty if any. But small things like bumping it, normal wear over time, thousands of practice draws to see if retention gives, ummm, and talk about why its in the box!

    Lastly, I would like to see in a review, HONESTY! Not just from the OP writing the review, but from the people who comment on it. If my new $600 holster looks like crap in someones eyes, I want to know. Dont just say "looks good." And from the OP writing the review, if you are unhappy with it, SAY SO! I dont want to make the same mistake you did! I have seen this quite a bit actually. Someone will get a holster for a gun model and write an awesome review. 3 months later, asking for another maker for the same model. Tells me the first one probably wasnt all that great! Just be honest.

    Thats really it, tell me what you like and dont like.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    I would also add the ease of one-handed holstering....durability...stitching (for leather holsters)....pictures of how the testing was conducted....

    You mentioned ability to accommodate CT grips...what about a weapon light?

    Just some quick thoughts
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    Member Array Samwolf's Avatar
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    I agree with monk, first thing I'm interested in is , "Will it fit my weapon"?

    Comfort comes in a close second, if it's not comfortable, I'll end up not wearing it.

    Great idea, could have save me some time and money if this where available earlier.
    Samwolf

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Love it Lima. The only suggestion I might add is price, where you got it, and if you've had any interaction with the company on a customer service call. Not that you would on many holsters, but if you have that would be useful information in the "other stuff a lot of people might not need but just could prove to be helpful" section.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Lima you have covered just about everything that can be covered.
    The only thing I might add is pictures. Pictures do say a thousand word, and seeing the holster and belt(since they do work together) would be a help.
    As a short person, with a short torso, one thing that I find I need to watch for is the cant of the holster anything that hold the firearm straight doesn't work well for me, 15-20 degrees of cant makes all the difference in how well the grip hides.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I think dunking a holster in water is going beyond the call of duty unless the holster is furnished free for testing.
    I am real concerned with how a holster works with a particular type of gun. Such as works well for a small frame revolver, large auto, sub compact auto. Most manufactures don't show pics of but one style gun actually in their holster.
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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    You answer one of your questions by indicating, as others have, about the "box of holsters" you have. A holster is REALLY PERSONAL; if you buy on internet, without benefit of truly trying it, feeling it, etc etc, you run risk of putting it into "that box". ABILITY TO RETURN OR HAVE IT MODIFIED IS A MUST even if you have to pay shipping. Everyone is different and for every "its great" there is an equal and opposite "its not so great".

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    Senior Member Array Saint77's Avatar
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    I have discovered that the things I am interested in aren't often covered in reviews. For example, in the case IWB holsters. I found that my Crossbreed Supertuck, when I adjust my belt, will distort a bit, making the draw/reholster somewhat different. Its not a reflection on the build and make of the holster, its just something that probably wont occur to any potential buyer. Comfort and fit is huge. I don't expect a reviewer to know anatomy, but I like to see reviewers consider how the holster fits when one sits, stands, walks, even runs. Not just static fitment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    The only thing I would change is what guns the holster fits, should be the 1st thing on your guide not the last. Being a web-surfer myself the ones I like to go to will give gun names/models clicker,
    I failed to mention that these reviews are in video format with "chapters" to any section. I know what you mean about the order of interest and I made it easy for people to skip anywhere they want to in my videos to see whatever interests them about the holster. If you just want to see how it functions and what it fits, that's all you have to watch. I've been thinking of reordering anyway to bring down the time and also to make it all flow better and might consider doing that first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
    My biggest thing is function. I want to know how well it functions, how well it conceals, how comfortable it is, what its made out of, special features, turn around time for the maker, art work quality if any, PICTURES, and time.
    Yep! I cover all of these things.
    And as I've said, it's in video format so you get to see the holster A LOT... it's features, the looks, the quality, how it draws, etc.

    I dont want to hear from someone who just received their holster today. I want that review after at least a few weeks, gives a bit of time to see if its really a good one or not.
    I agree. It seems like every holster review I have ever watched or read is something along the lines of, "Well, I just got this holster today and let me tell you, I LOVE IT!"

    Well, I know from personal experience that as a holster wears or as you wear it into different setting and the LENGTH of time per day with which you wear it can make a HUGE difference.

    I REFUSE to do a "first impressions" review. I have made a personal limit of 120 hours of carry before I will review a holster. I just got a new holster to review and it will be a couple weeks before anyone hears a peep out of me as far as a review goes.

    I like to do a bit of abuse to the holster, over time. I wouldnt ruin a good holster just to see what might happen. Submerging a quality leather holster in water for a prolonged period of time will ruin it faster than you can blink, and will most likely loose the warranty if any. But small things like bumping it, normal wear over time, thousands of practice draws to see if retention gives, ummm, and talk about why its in the box!
    These are good points. I agree that I wouldn't want to submerge a good leather holster although most of the leather website I have been to say that getting it wet won't ruin it and give instructions how to dry it out. I still wouldn't want to get some of my nicer leather holsters wet. It is not completely inconceivable to get caught in the rain CCing and have to draw while being rained on. I might be willing to go from submerging to letting my husband spray me with the hose while carrying and see how it still draws.. hmmm.

    And yes.. there will be some talk as to why it have not made my EDC list as a holster.
    Lastly, I would like to see in a review, HONESTY! ... Just be honest.
    No problem! The whole point of doing this is to let people learn from my successes and mistakes. If I don't like it, I will say so. Of course there is some bias that might need to be sifted through but I will be honest about that and say, "Hey, I never liked this feature. There's nothing wrong with the holster and it's not a bad thing that is just MY personal preference."

    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    I would also add the ease of one-handed holstering....durability...stitching (for leather hol i=ph[]i m iosters)....pictures of how the testing was conducted....

    You mentioned ability to accommodate CT grips...what about a weapon light?
    Yes, I cover the things you mentioned above and, again, as it is a view you get to see the testing.

    A light.... ah ha! Didn't think of that. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by MinistrMalic View Post
    Love it Lima. The only suggestion I might add is price, where you got it, and if you've had any interaction with the company on a customer service call. Not that you would on many holsters, but if you have that would be useful information in the "other stuff a lot of people might not need but just could prove to be helpful" section.
    Actually, I'm actually making a point to call or email the manufacturers and talk to them about the holster I'm reviewing. Some holsters get a reputation for doing this or that or being made for this or that and I like to go to the source for my info.
    I think it is very important to be fair to the holster makers themselves and give them a chance to either dispel myths, give their opinion or advice, care and comments before I admonish their product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergirl View Post
    Lima you have covered just about everything that can be covered.
    The only thing I might add is pictures. Pictures do say a thousand word, and seeing the holster and belt(since they do work together) would be a help.
    As a short person, with a short torso, one thing that I find I need to watch for is the cant of the holster anything that hold the firearm straight doesn't work well for me, 15-20 degrees of cant makes all the difference in how well the grip hides.
    RG, Like I said, it's a video review so you will see the holster a lot although I'm also considering doing a written review to accompany the video review as many people would rather read a review than watch one. Either way, I agree with you that a pictures are important.

    I also stress cant as, even though I have a longer torso I still don't get a great draw from a strong-side, straight up-and-down holster unless it is a drop holster, but then it's pretty impossible to conceal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevew View Post
    I think dunking a holster in water is going beyond the call of duty unless the holster is furnished free for testing.
    I am real concerned with how a holster works with a particular type of gun. Such as works well for a small frame revolver, large auto, sub compact auto. Most manufactures don't show pics of but one style gun actually in their holster.
    I would love to do a review on the same holster with different firearms but there are very few holsters that we have gotten multiple copies of for different types of firearms and it's usually only because we have LOVED the holster and want it in different types of firearms. I do, however, usually start out with a holster for one of my 1911s. The reason for this is if it is comfortable carrying a 4lbs, full-frame 1911, it's a pretty safe bet that it's going to be comfortable carrying a smaller gun at half the size. But that's just my reasoning.

    I agree, also with what you said about dunking a holster that you paid good money for as if you ruin it you are out a good holster that would have lasted a lifetime had you not abused it but if it were furnished for just such a test I'd have no problem dunking it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kelcarry View Post
    ABILITY TO RETURN OR HAVE IT MODIFIED IS A MUST even if you have to pay shipping. Everyone is different and for every "its great" there is an equal and opposite "its not so great".
    Agreed. If I give an opinion I try to stress that it's just my opinion or my bias and give examples of why other people don't agree with me. And I also try to list whether or not there is a warranty or any kind of guarantee for fit or comfort, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint77 View Post
    I don't expect a reviewer to know anatomy, but I like to see reviewers consider how the holster fits when one sits, stands, walks, even runs. Not just static fitment.
    Exactly! This is why I hate "I bought it today" reviews. The reviewer simply hasn't had enough time carrying in a variety of situations that would cause shifting, sagging, running, sitting in an officer chair all day, etc.

    I had a cheapo nylon holster that I thought was the most comfortable thing ever until I carried it to work with me. After four hours I thought I was going to die.. by hour seven all I could think about was my discomfort and how I couldn't WAIT to get home and take my gun off. Just because something is comfortable in the first two hours of wearing it doesn't mean it will still be comfortable at hour eight. It's kind of like shoes in that respect.

    Which is why I WILL NOT give a review of a holster until I've worn it for weeks and tried a number of different scenarios with it.

    Thanks everyone for all of your feedback. If you think of anything else, PLEASE, let me know!

  13. #12
    Member Array luke213's Avatar
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    Agree with pretty much all the comments here.

    On the wetting the holster or dunking it, depending on the top coat that the company is using you'll get pretty varied results but I don't think it will be of allot of use in a review format. I think the spraying is probably more applicable but it's going to vary person to person. Myself I consider most of my holsters to be underneath cover garments which will protect them from a great deal of the things that can damage holsters. That's not to say they won't take it or aren't built to but I also don't expect that most of them will have to endure severe torture. I have done some dipping of my holsters in water on purpose and accidental over the last while and the basic rule that I've learned is that often they lose just a little retention just getting wet and drying out(if they are wet through and through, IE soak for a little bit). If they just get a light amount of water they usually recover 100%, if someone were to soak the holster then draw I think you're asking for a quick loss of retention. That's the reason when guys are wet molding these in the shop there is disagreements on whether you let the holster dry with the gun in place after the mold or you remove the gun then do a little more work to make sure the tight areas around the trigger guard and chamber didn't move to much when you removed the gun. Either way I don't think you would really cause damage that couldn't be repaired by just reboning the holster but once the top coats are on etc it gets a little more difficult to do those steps.

    Either way I'm curious to see the results, are these going on youtube or some other media?

    Luke
    I am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, luke@adamsholsters.com

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke213 View Post
    Agree with pretty much all the comments here.

    On the wetting the holster or dunking it, depending on the top coat that the company is using you'll get pretty varied results but I don't think it will be of allot of use in a review format. I think the spraying is probably more applicable but it's going to vary person to person. Myself I consider most of my holsters to be underneath cover garments which will protect them from a great deal of the things that can damage holsters. That's not to say they won't take it or aren't built to but I also don't expect that most of them will have to endure severe torture. I have done some dipping of my holsters in water on purpose and accidental over the last while and the basic rule that I've learned is that often they lose just a little retention just getting wet and drying out(if they are wet through and through, IE soak for a little bit). If they just get a light amount of water they usually recover 100%, if someone were to soak the holster then draw I think you're asking for a quick loss of retention. That's the reason when guys are wet molding these in the shop there is disagreements on whether you let the holster dry with the gun in place after the mold or you remove the gun then do a little more work to make sure the tight areas around the trigger guard and chamber didn't move to much when you removed the gun. Either way I don't think you would really cause damage that couldn't be repaired by just reboning the holster but once the top coats are on etc it gets a little more difficult to do those steps.

    Either way I'm curious to see the results, are these going on youtube or some other media?

    Luke
    Thanks for the comments. Obviously it shouldn't do anything to a kydex or polymer holster to be dunked or even a nylon one but the leather is what I'm worried about (especially since it's the most costly).

    And like you said, there aren't going to be many situations wherein a holster is going to have to go through that much torture.

    Yes, these are going up on YouTube. I already have two up but they are my "first attempts."

    I have the Galco N3 and the UBG Regulator done.

  15. #14
    Member Array Craiger's Avatar
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    I would say I look for comfort and I mean real comfort!
    Say in a 1911 I dont want the hammer, the grip safety or the muzzle
    leaving marks on my skin after a 14 hour with any IWB.

    I also look for some type of reinforced opening for easy reholstering and a sweet shield that is double layered and stitched or has some type of other method preventing sweet shield from looking like a floppy eared hound dog after the first week you have the holster.
    In God we trust, Everyone else we monitor...

  16. #15
    Member Array luke213's Avatar
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    Just one suggestion while I'm watching the video to describe carry position my normal means to explain it verbally is to tell people to imagine a clock where 12 o clock is your belt buckle and 6 o clock is the center of your back. Most people seem to pick up this idea very quickly so far for me;)

    Still watching though, might have some other suggestions as I watch them, like the length though, it's a positive and a negative. Too long and guys won't watch them, too short and not enough info. I would suggest at this point to actually shorten them some, maybe 10-15 minutes would be better for my impressions. I think if you trim out a little more of the fat so to speak you could get the same content in that area. The other thing is depending on camera a wireless mic would do wonders for the audio. It's worse in the garage, but again not a problem but something that would improve the quality.

    Good job so far though all around.

    Luke
    I am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, luke@adamsholsters.com

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