5 Considerations When Choosing a Concealed Carry Holster

As I mentioned in my review of the Galco King-Tuk IWB holster, I have been carrying a concealed firearm for most of my adult life. I also discussed the difficulty I encountered in identifying a holster which was both functional and comfortable enough for continued wear. What I did not discuss was what I now feel was the main reason for rather large collection of holsters I will probably never wear again – trial and error.

When I first started carrying, I did not have the benefit of someone with experience who could show me the finer points of selecting the best holster for me. Hopefully, the following tips will allow anyone who is considering concealed carry to make better decision earlier than I did.

Sounds like a no brainer, but the first consideration when selected a concealed carry holster is your ability to actually conceal it. Many holsters are designed for plain clothes carry, meaning they do not require a standard duty belt, but are not necessarily designed to conceal their presence. Although these holsters work very well for non-uniformed personnel, such as detectives, they are not an ideal choice for the average citizen.

Regardless of what holster you select, or where on your body you decide to carry it, it is vital that it both stays in place and secures your weapon. Modern holsters come with a wide variety of retention levels and methods. You will need to select one that you are comfortable with based upon your skill level, but it must include the ability to secure the weapon and the holster itself during normal day to day activities. Whether you realize it or not, routine activities such as getting into/out of a vehicle, loading groceries or even walking through the mall can cause a poorly designed holster to shift and even loosen its grip. Best case scenario, it ends up in an uncomfortable position, worst case scenario it ends up laying at your feet while you’re strolling through the toy store.

Again, this seems to go without saying, but I cannot count the number of times I have heard other concealed carry proponents talk about getting the latest and greatest holster, only to follow with a comment about how much it hurts their back/leg/shoulder ect to wear it for more than a few hours. If your holster is not comfortable, you will be tempted to leave it in the car, then leave it at home, and eventually not wear it at all.

My drawer of rejected holsters.
My drawer of rejected holsters.

More are better
Unless you wear the same clothes and perform the same tasks day in and day out, you will eventually find that no one holster will meet all of your needs. An ankle rig might work fine Monday thru Friday, but what will you do when you shed your khakis and don a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for a weekend at the beach? While you do not want to create your own drawer of rejected toys, you will want to acquire two or three quality designs that meet each of your individual needs.

While you may not be in a position to say that cost is not an option, it should not be a barrier to obtaining the best holster possible. Many manufacturers offer discounts for military or law enforcement personnel, especially firearms instructors, but may not advertise this in catalogs or on websites. You need to ask. Remember that a quality holster, like a top of the line firearm, is an investment and any money you save now is likely to be lost due to the eventual need to replace cheaper models.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

3 thoughts on “5 Considerations When Choosing a Concealed Carry Holster

  1. I wish I had someone telling me this stuff when I first started to carry. I have a junk pile of holsters that hurt, come unclipped, don’t retain the gun, or have fallen apart over the savings of a few bucks.

  2. Seth,

    Thank you for reading the article. As you can see from the picture of my “junk drawer” I wish I had similar advice when I started carrying as well!

  3. When I first began to carry, I do not have an experienced person who can tell me the best choice for my holster nuances benefits. These tips are correct?

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