We have found that high-quality holsters are distinguished from their lesser brethren by more than just look and feel. Subtle design differences, perfected over time, make a significant contribution to a well functioning holster.
We prefer model-specific holsters over one-size-fits-all holsters for the superior retention they afford. A good test for adequate retention is usually to turn the holster upside down. If the gun stays firm in the holster upside down, you can feel comfortable that it will do so even during rigorous activities. (This excludes flexible inside waistband holsters that require belt pressure for retention.) Active retention mechanisms like straps or buttons are only considered necessary for duty use – police or security officers whose firearms are not concealed.
The shape of the holster, and particularly the type of belt attachment, play a vital role regarding how well it fits with the curvature of your specific body shape. Two belt loops, located next to the pistol body, makes for a flatter profile that is easier to conceal during everyday carry. A single belt attachment, located on top of the pistol body, positions the pistol more proud of the body – ideal for range or competition use. We prefer holsters that allow some adjustment, as well as location points for specialised attachments like claws or wedges. This is especially true for appendix (front of the body) carry, which can benefit greatly from minor tweaks.
We often find carrying spare magazines to be disproportionately difficult to carry, considering their modest size. While it can be easily concealed inside the waistband, the tension that the firearm puts on the waistband from the other side can make it quite uncomfortable. For that reason we find clients trying various options (inside, outside, horizontal, pocket) before settling on a solution.
The role of the belt in carrying the pistol is often overlooked. It must be able to carry the extra weight of your firearm and spare magazines with minimum flex. This is usually achieved by reinforcing, double layer leather, or both. Choosing the right size is crucial, as you will need all the adjustability you can get to cater for both outside- and inside the waistband carry.