Why Use a Holster?
By Jeff Gonzales
If you’ve been around the gun industry for any length of time you will see trends, patterns that repeat themselves. I have to shake my head at some of them and one that rubs me the wrong way is when folks question using a good, quality holster.
Define the Mission
What is a holster's purpose in the first place? At times, you may get a response to the effect, “a holster is to pistol, what a sling is to a rifle.” That doesn't help some who don’t appreciate a good rifle sling and there are loads of folks who don’t bother with rifle slings. It is hard to get anywhere in a discussion if this metaphor isn’t understood or more importantly valued. The popularity of concealed carry in our country has created an opportunity for some to ignore the importance of a quality holster. In so doing, they risk injury or worse unnecessarily.
The Same, but Different
If you are new to concealed carry selecting a holster can be an intimidating task. On the surface, they all look similar and perform the same function. Speaking of function, what is their function. Their primary function is to protect the gun, secure its retention and provide immediate access when necessary. Protecting the gun seems unnecessary, but if you are carrying frequently not only are you protecting the gun, but yourself. Most guns will have edges, sharp corners and other abrasive features. While some are softened over time they can still abrase your body. Long before that, they become uncomfortable. When you are no longer comfortable you begin to fidget. This squirming attracts attention, attention leads to scrutiny and scrutiny leads to discovery. Discretion is a critical component to concealed carry, don’t give it up recklessly.
Don’t Loose It
Securing the retention is difficult to appreciate until you carry regularly. In your daily activity, you want to ensure you do not loose your gun. That really means it falling out when performing light activity. Everything from getting in and out of a chair, to hailing a cab, to running down a flight of stairs. All very reasonable activities, but holsters that lack suitable security can create embarrassing moments at best and legal consequences at worse. What some overlook is the physicality of a close quarter fights. Remember, for bad guys to act, they will need to be close. It is hard to mug someone from across the street. You may be involved in a fight or are trying to subdue another violent actor as you come to the aid of a victim. It is during these times you cannot afford to loose your gun.
The Delicate Balance
Immediate access is more a double edge sword. When justified, you will want to bring to bear your gun in the fastest manner possible. The double-edged sword I mentioned is the balance between access and concealment. You want immediate access, but you don't want to give up concealment in the process. On the flip side, deep concealment will cost you time as you attempt to gain access. Training and selecting the right equipment will help manage these concerns. One overlooked component is safety.
Where the Rubber Meets The Road
Whether carrying outside or inside the waistband you need to do so safely. Learning the proper way to quickly draw a gun from your holster is a series of steps. Doing so from concealment adds more steps. The holster must protect the trigger from unwanted access. Everything from clothing, foreign objects and even your own trigger finger are considerations. You want to ensure the security of the holster so it doesn't fall off during activity as mentioned earlier, but you also want it to stay in its intended position. It should not slide around or move when properly secured to your body. The mouth of the holster should be designed so once the gun is drawn it can easily be replaced without the use of your other hand.
Before you get overwhelmed with selecting a quality holster, understand why it is used. Then select a holster within your price range with the minimum safety features described you can feel comfortable wearing for extended periods.
Trident Concepts, LLC
About The Author:
US Navy SEAL Jeff L. Gonzales is a nationally recognized weapons and tactics instructor. He serves as president of Trident Concepts, LLC and director of training for The Range at Austin.