- ▼ 2010 (37)
A very common topic in CCW circles revolves around the best handgun for CCW. Guys and girls converse about calibers, models, pros and cons. One of the most common issues I see in trying to conceal a pistol involves the size of the weapon itself. Quite simply, larger handguns are harder to conceal. Ever try to hide a Beretta 92?
Part of the issue with carrying concealed seems to stem from choosing a weapon that is just too large or bulky for CCW. Try to stick with handguns that are small enough for you to shoot well and can be relatively easy to conceal. My favorites are models like:
- S&W J Frame
- Kahr series
- Colt Officers or 3" 1911
- Glock 26 series (a little thick for my tastes, but it works)
It's not that hard to find a compact handgun that has enough caliber and round count to meet your needs. It will make your concealment efforts so much more successful.
This site has some excellent concealed carry holster options.
A pocket holster is a small holster designed to carry an equally small handgun in a front pocket, trouser pocket, or jacket pocket.
Well designed pocket holsters should do the following:
- Provide a safe method to carry a weapon in the pocket - Covering the trigger area, not only protects this area during your draw, but it also keeps debris out.
- Conceal the weapon - A properly constructed pocket holster should break-up the outline of the weapon in the pocket, and minimize printing.
- Make the weapon readily accessible - The pocket holster should be wide enough to keep the weapon in an upright, accessible position within the pocket.
- Allow for immediate and deployment- It should allow for quick access, a full firing grip, and quick weapon deployment from the pocket.
What are pocket holsters made of?
Today pocket holsters on the market are usually produced from either:
Leather - About 80% of all pocket holsters on the market are made from leather. Some manufacturers use a stiff grade leather, while other use a softer style leather. The stiffer leather tends to be thicker in width, which can add to the overall bulk of the holster.
Nylon - Many of the lower priced pocket holsters are produced from nylon. Personally I don't feel that nylon isn't really strong enough for the daily rigors of a pocket holster, and feel that it lacks the rigidity to properly break-up the weapon outline. If you're on a really tight budget, than nylon pocket holsters are definitely going to be something for you to consider.
Kydex - As kydex continues to evolve in holster applications, a select few manufacturers are now using it to produce pocket holsters. As kydex is significantly more rigid and stronger than leather or nylon, the kydex pocket holsters tend to be very thin.
Concealability is an absolute must for CCW. Pocket holsters are specifically designed for and work best with small handguns. Please be realistic with your concealment expectations. It's going to be almost impossible to conceal a Beretta 92 in a front pocket holster. Choose the right size weapon, and pocket carry becomes much simpler.
Although there are a number of different types of pistol holsters on the market, paddle holsters tend to be the most convenient holster models available. The convenience with paddle holsters comes from the fact they are fairly easy to put on and take off. Unlike most other types of weapon holsters, paddle holsters don't directly attach to the belt so the belt doesn't have to be removed to put the holster on or take it off. In most cases, the paddle itself slips down inside the belt.
However, are paddle holsters a good choice for concealed carry? Probably not. The same paddle design that makes it easy to put on, also causes the holster to ride farther away from the body than a traditional belt holster. In addition, paddle holsters are fairly stable, but they aren't as stable as a belt holster as they aren't really affixed to the belt. Paddle holsters generally lack the stability of belt holsters and may shift back and forth while being worn. Some of the same reasons that eliminate the paddle holster as a concealed carry choice, also eliminate it as a competition holster.
Paddle holsters are a good choice for other holster applications like range use, general use, training, or in an open carry environment like hiking. Paddle holsters come in several configurations including open top models or thumb break models, forward cant models versus straight up or neutral cant versions, and leather, nylon or kydex versions. Some models even feature an adjustable cant along with options like a bodyshield or tension screws.
When paddle holsters first came on the market, most of them featured a thin, narrow leather paddle that slipped inside the pants. Today, paddle designs have come along way. Most modern day paddles are wider for added stability, and features hooks or wings that wedge against the belt through the pants. These hooks or wedges serve to increase stability and minimize shifting, while keeping the holster itself seated on the waist. For added comfort, many paddle models are also lined with soft leather or suede.
Paddle holsters offer somewhat of a trade-off. They lack the security and true stability of a belt mounted holster, but offer the convenience of quick on and off. For certain applications, they are a great choice of holsters. For others, they probably aren't the best choice. Take the time to evaluate your needs and then decide if a paddle holster might work for you.
Over time, the weapon holster industry has changed significantly in the sort of materials it uses for holsters. One of these more recent materials, kydex, has an a variety of benefits and downsides that you must consider when buying a holster for your pistol.
But first, what's kydex? Kydex is a man-made thermoplastic material that now dominates that pistol holster market.
From a material perspective, its sturdiness and other fascinating traits make it tough to beat in this market.
Kydex is generally produced in sheets of varying thickness and color, which are then cut and formed. The sheets are non-porous and are simply shaped into the specified shape by heating, forming, and cooling the material. As well as weapon holsters, other applications for this material include aircraft interiors, food processing appliances, electric parts, medical products, and store fixture parts. Today, nearly every type of weapon holster ( IWB, OWB, Tactical, and so on) is available in a kydex version. When formed as weapons holsters, kydex sheets have a number of benefits over leather.
Moisture can soak into a leather holster and affect the weapon finish, as well as produce a bad smell. Kydex is water-resistant, making it a superb choice to be used in damp or tropical climates.
Additionally, you can simply clean kydex holsters with a wet fabric. With a Rockwell R scale toughness of ninety, a torn or damaged holster is a thing of the past.
Kydex holds its shape, which makes for simple re-holstering. Not just that, but holsters made of this material won't stretch or shrink under ordinary conditions. From a user viewpoint, kydex may appear to be a "comfortable" material for holsters, but the reality is, it is terribly cushty to wear on a day by day basis.
There are a number of holster makers in the industry who produce kydex holsters. Some of the better known makers include:
The ideal weapon holster is created for your weapon. The bulk of common holsters employ an one-fits-many methodology. The holster you use should fit your handgun tight enough to hold it without counting on straps or strain screws. When you remove your handgun from the holster it should stay open, and you should be able to re-holster your handgun using one hand. Your Holsters' belt loops or slots have to match your belt. This way your handgun stays strongly ready feels cosy, and allows for fast drawing. Outside of the Waistband Holsters are exceedingly comfortable to wear for a considerable time, and are straightforward to draw from. To hide this kind of pistol holster, you want a jacket or a shirt worn outside of the pants.
Within The Waistband Holsters aren't the best to wear, but you can simply hide even a full sized handgun. Shoulder Holsters : If you employ a shoulder holster, pay attention to the way the handgun is positioned in the holster as well as to the way the weight is distributed.
Shoulder holsters are really good to wear under a suit jacket, and also for outside use. They supply straightforward access and are comfortable. ( for those that hunt with huge caliber revolvers, concealment is no issue. ).
Belly Bands : Belly bands are exceedingly comfortable, hide even full sized handguns, but don't give the most simple access. Ankle Holsters should only be used and depended upon as a back-up option. An ankle holster is awfully tough to reach quickly, and ankle holsters aren't always the most secure. This steering will help you in choosing the proper pistol holster.
FIST Inc. is a NY based company that features custom leather products, law enforcement training supplies, and self defense materials. There are probably best known in the handgun industry for their in-depth line of gun holsters. As a custom leather shop, FIST holsters has the ability to produce some of the finest quality leather holsters on the market.
FIST is one of the few custom holster makers that will give the customer the opportunity to select a base holster model and then customize it with a number of unique options like:
- Tension screw
- Thumb break
- Handboned leather
- Closed bottom
FIST utilizes a heavy grade of 8-9 ounce leather for most all their leather holsters. The leather from FIST is available in 8 different colors ranging from black all the way to a light tan. All holsters, mag carriers, etc. are dyed together to ensure a uniform color. If you prefer kydex, FIST offers kydex holsters available in two different widths: thin and ultra thin. Both are very thin kydex with the ultra thin being about the width of heavy duty construction paper. For IWB applications, the ultra thin is a good choice, while the thin is better choice for OWB holsters.
Don Hume Leathergoods has been producing weapon holsters for nearly 50 years. Founded by Don Hume in Miami (looks like Miami, but is actually pronounced like my-am-a), Oklahoma; Hume started out producing law enforcement gear.
Mr. Hume started his career in law enforcement, and quickly realized that there was definite need for high quality, affordable duty gear. He started fulfilling that need, and Don Hume Leathergear was born. In the beginning, the company consisted of Mr. Hume and 2 others, but it quickly grew in size. As the company grew, in addition to LE gear, Mr. Hume also saw a need for off duty and concealed carry gear. Some of his original CCW designs are still sold at Don Hume today (like the Double Nine model).
Today, Don Hume offers a wide range of holsters that covers the following areas:
- Law enforcement
- General range use
The law enforcement line covers all security levels (Level 1, Level II, and Level III) and Hume also produces matching LE belts, mag carriers, etc. Predominately working in leather, Don Hume has added nylon holsters and duty gear within the last 5 years. For a number of years, Hume only produced concealed carry and range holsters in a saddle brown colored leather, but, in 2007; they started offering most every holster in their line in a black leather color as well.
Like their competition (Galco, DeSantis), Hume is a production company that makes holsters on a production line. By operating in this manner, Hume can produce very nice holsters at very affordable prices. Personally, I feel that they are a great value for the money. In 2007, Don Hume was acquired by Oklahoma Leather and is still based in it's original location.
Don Hume's most popular holster models are the inside the waistband clip-on model (H715M W/C) and the JIT Slide (stands for Just In Time). With both selling for under $30.00, these are both a great value. I've got a number of JIT's and H715M's for various weapons and haven't been disappointed yet.
- Concealed Carry Holsters