In the past few months I have seen some amazing (not amazing in a good way) stuff on the interwebz. I have no idea where this stuff is coming from, but it is not letting up. Since I have a blog, to write about whatever I want, I am here to set the record straight on the topic of using good gear. Today, I am specifically addressing holsters for every day carry (EDC).
Before we get too far into the purpose of a holster, I have to get real for a minute. Finding a good holster is like finding a comfy pair of shoes. There is no one size fits all approach. I have even been known to tell people that *gasp* there is no such thing as a perfect holster. You may have also heard me say this about guns in the past. The key with holsters (and guns alike) is to find one with flaws that you can live with. I am not alone in this line of thinking, Jeff agrees with me. I may have even borrowed this concept from him.
A holster has three main purposes, which are to make you safer, to keep the gun secure and to keep the gun readily accessible should the need arise.
A proper holster makes you safer as it will completely cover the trigger guard. This in turn makes it so no one is able to pull the trigger when the gun is securely in the holster. Kydex and leather are two of the more common materials that come to mind when we think of safe holster options. Some elastic belly band type holsters can also work. Just make sure that the material (elastic or otherwise) is thick or rigid enough to fully protect that trigger from being pulled through the material.
One more thing that needs to be mentioned about belly band type holsters is that they should come with some kind of retention. A thumb break is a popular one (although they are rarely used properly) another well-known brand of belly band type holster comes with magnets sewn in the pockets to help with retention. I am actually a big fan of the magnets and if I use this holster, I have magnets sewn into all of the pockets that I am likely to carry my gun in.
The second purpose of a holster is to keep the gun secure. If you go to the trouble of getting a holster to keep the gun safe from having the trigger pulled unintentionally, then you will also want to make sure that the holster stays where it is intended to while you are wearing it. This is why I do not recommend the use of holsters without some sort of belt clip to attach onto your belt or the waistband of your pants in a pinch. Sticky holsters, I am dissing you here. Simply placing a sticky holster in your waistband is not a safe holster option.
There is another way to check the security of your holster and that is the tip test.
The tip test is when you take a fully unloaded gun (double and triple check to make sure it is fully unloaded, please) and place it in the holster that you are testing. While standing by a soft surface such as your bed or couch tip the holster and gun upside down a few inches above the soft surface of choice. If the gun falls out of the holster then that holster in not considered to be safe. If you have retention screws to tighten then you can probably make it work. But otherwise it is not advisable to use that holster to carry in.
Last, but not least, a holster should keep your gun readily accessible in the event that you need to get to it. If this happens, it is likely to happen fast and fumbling around for your gun is not an option. If your holster keeps your gun in the same place all the time and you have practiced (with all of the different holsters that you use) getting to the gun then you are much better off if you are in a fight for your life.