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A Lifesaving Decision, Firearms Saving People’s Lives The decision to carry a firearm is one of the most important you will ever make. Not only can it provide safety, it also improves confidence and situational awareness. Training and learning to carry a gun are much more than just buying a gun and sticking it in…
Figuring out which type of holster to buy for conceal carrying can be overwhelming. There are seemingly infinite varieties. You can go for the always popular waistband holsters like OWB, IWB, or AIWB. You could choose “police” inspired holster like the shoulder or ankle. Or, you could choose one of the holsters we discuss today:…
Fanny pack holsters can be the perfect alternative if you’re looking to conceal carry without using a conventional holster. We are starting out this post with some background knowledge about fanny pack holsters, but if you don’t care to read a bit, you can jump to the beginning of the list here. If instead, you…
GUN HOLSTER Styles and Options
IWB HOLSTERS (Inside the waistband): It is very convenient and the ultimate in being prepared. The IWB holsters fit between your pants and body at various positions around the waist. Ideal for a small firearm. The larger the firearm the more difficult it gets to carry inside the waste band. Big advantages are built into concealed carry holsters. You can use them anywhere, they should be low profile and if done properly no one knows you have it. The fabric of your clothing hides most of the firearm. The only part exposed is the grip. With an IWB holster your firearm is likely to stay just where you want it. IWB holsters keep your gun tighter to your body. Kydex holsters are thinner than leather so the width of stuff inside of your belt is minimized. However, you will need to wear bigger pants, at least 2 inches larger than you normally wear when using a IWB holster. CROSSDRAW IWB HOLSTERS makes it easier in certain circumstances such as driving. The weapon is easier to get to when sitting to reaching across and grab the firearm. Find our ULTIMATE GUIDE TO IWB Holsters here
OWB HOLSTERS (outside the waistband): OWB are the most popular concealed carry option. OWB holsters offer the easiest and fastest draw available. The gun position is slightly away from your body so there is plenty of room to obtain a proper shooting grip prior to drawing from the holster. Options include automatic locking feature that is engaged by simply holstering your gun. This makes it more difficult for someone to take your gun from you. You can wear your normal pants as long as the belt loops are large enough for your gun belt. The firearm is less susceptible to corrosion because your body’s natural oils are not directly contacting the firearm. The firearm is completely outside of your clothing so you will need to wear a long shirt of jacket to cover the firearm. You will also need to move that shirt or jacket out of the way in order to draw. If you do not have the dexterity to carry strong side while driving, you may want to use an OWB CROSS DRAW. FInd our Ultimate Guide to OWB Holster here
ANKLE HOLSTERS: Ankle holsters are usually made of wide neoprene or padded elastic strap with holster pocket attached. You wrap the band around your ankle and the firearm is carried on the inside of your lower leg. Good way to carry a small firearm. You will need to consider how you sit because if you cross your legs, your pants will ride up and expose your firearm. However, the firearm is hard to get to quickly. You have to bend over to reach it, then it takes two hands to draw, one to move your pants and the other to grab your firearm.
BELT LOOP HOLSTERS: The holster attaches to your belt. You are going to find the spot on your pants that is most comfortable for you as a righty or lefty. When you have to get in and out of a vehicle or even just sit down, this may dig into your side.
CLOTHING HOLSTERS: Shirts, shorts, jackets and vests and pants now come with concealed carry pockets. Just remember not to take off your jacket or vest and hang it up or over a chair as you firearm is not in your possession anymore.
HIP HOLSTERS: The position in which they are worn make you reach up to retrieve your firearm and bring your arm up even higher to remove the firearm from the holster. This makes your action slower and more difficult in close quarters. Hip holsters do offer superior concealment.
FANNY PACK HOLSTER: When you decide on a holster to use on an everyday basis, you still end up using other styles for a variety of situations.
The concealed carry fanny pack conceals your firearm in plain sight. However, any old regular fanny pack won’t hold your firearm in place. It must secure your firearm, ensuring it stays in place. You want your fanny pack holster to offer comfort and security. You do not want your firearm to move in the fanny pack as you are moving around as this is unsafe. Also drawing from this type of holster can result in injury if you are rushed or distracted. If you fired a round as you drew from your holster, you could shoot your own hand or arm. You want a style that allows you to draw in a manner that protects your hand while maintaining a quick draw. The fanny pack is accessible as it sits right in front of you so you can just open and fire. However drawing is slow and requires two hands. A fanny pack is not safe on the range because you cannot see the trigger finger of the one drawing the firearm from the pouch and beginners may not think about keeping their finger off the trigger.
The FANNY PACK also has pockets for your wallet, keys, cell phone, lip stick, etc and is the most common solution for runners who are also gun owners.
PADDLE HOLSTER: The paddle holster is convenient. You can place it wherever you want to. If you have to get in or out of a vehicle, you can slide it in your belt seam to wherever you need it to be comfortable- the front or the small of your back. Also if you need to take the holster off you just pull it up without the belt loops getting in the way. The paddle holster is named for its shape. The clip is actually shaped like a paddle and it is actually used to clip it onto the user and keep it securely in place.
PURSE HOLSTERS: Due to the variation in a woman’s wardrobe, a PURSE HOLSTER is more convenient. Make sure your purse has a holster pocket. Men may carry a briefcase or man bag of sorts. Remember when you set your purse or bag down, the firearm is not longer under your control.
PANCAKE HOLSTERS: Is a good concealed or range holster. The 2 inch wings on each side allows the belt to pull the holster in really tight to your hip. If you are a thin person, your waist being less than 32” the wings tend to bunch up and are really uncomfortable. Body type, style of clothing you wear determines the effectiveness of how well any holster type conceals your handgun.
POCKET HOLSTERS: If you are carrying in your front pants pocket, make sure you never carry a firearm in your pocket without a proper holster so that your firearm is secure and the trigger is protected.
SHOULDER HOLSTERS: Usually a set of leather straps cross over your shoulders and back, allowing a holster and spare magazine carriers to hang on opposite sides of your body. The idea is you can cover your firearm by wearing a jacket or spots coat. If you sit in a car or at a desk most of the time, the shoulder holster would be comfortable. The magazine carriers on the other side help balance the weight so you are not leaning away from the weight of your firearm.
Horizontal shoulder holsters are the most common and the easiest to draw from. They are not very good for concealment as they tend to make the muzzle poke out at the rear and the butt in the front. When you draw your firearm you have to sweep the muzzle across an unintended target. Most suitable for handguns with shorter barrels and frames.
Vertical shoulder holsters: There are two types: First is the upside-down holster which has the muzzle pointing upward. They are easy to conceal but hard to achieve a good firing grip. Second is the holsters that carry in the opposite direction with the muzzle pointed down. These holsters are easy to draw from, but you lose a bit of concealment.
45 DEGREE SHOULDER HOLSTERS: You carry your firearm at a 45 degree angle with the muzzle pointing up. The grip is easier to access and it is easier to hide. You need to be flexible to use this holster. Women do better with these holsters than men.
SOB (small of the back) holsters are similar to the IWB HOLSTER but the SOB HOLSTER does not have a hip plate as it is not designed to be worn on the hip. It slides into your pants and uses a clip to attach to your belt. You can also do a reverse configuration and carry outside your waistband by hooking onto your belt. The firearm is positioned with the butt of the weapon facing upwards. There are two styles referred to as “palm out” or palm in”. When you reach for your firearm behind your back which way is your hand facing? The palm out style is similar to the standard IWB holster. The palm in style is used by hooking your belt into it. How sturdy it is depends how well your belt is woven into it. The firearm should never been worn where it is directly resting on your spine as it makes sitting uncomfortable. Also if you fell on your back you could cause serious injury. Wear your holster in the 5 or 7 o’clock position depending on your dominant hand.
THIGH HOLSTER: Positioning of the thigh holster when worn correctly places the firearm at nearly the exact spot your hand naturally falls to the side of your body. It is good to note that if your dominant hand was injured, you could still reach your thigh holster with your non-dominant hand to retrieve your firearm. However, thigh holsters can be uncomfortable while driving and can get caught on different items.
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