Paddle holsters are very popular due to the comfort and the ease with which you can take them on and off. But they do have drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at the biggest complaint when it comes to paddle holsters, how a modern design may fix it and the deciding factor on choosing the right holster.
The Big Problem with Paddle Holsters
Paddle holsters rely on friction between the paddle and your pants and undergarments to remain in place. Paddle holsters are a compromise between comfort and retention, so they should never be worn open, only concealed.
Undercover or plain-clothes officers who use paddle holsters should only use ones with belt guides or hooks that catch on the belt and help prevent the holster from being detached too easily.
The weak point of the paddle holster is the link between the holster and the paddle.
Early models could literally have the holster ripped away from the paddle in a disarming attempt by a bad guy, leaving the criminal with the gun and holster and the paddle still securely held in the trousers of the person who was wearing the gun.
Modern Designs Are a Different Story
Modern paddle holsters have a reinforced section between the paddle and the holster, and most feature hooks or other devices to help the holster grip onto a belt, preventing the entire thing from being pulled out while drawing the weapon.
For example, BLACKHAWK! SERPA paddle holsters have a plastic tab securing the holster in place.
Others, like the Fobus Roto Paddle Holster, use a small ledge on the outside of the paddle that engages the belt or waistband to prevent the paddle from being inadvertently dislodged.
Are Paddle Holsters Right for You?
Comfort is often a deciding factor for people who carry concealed handguns. If a holster isn’t comfortable, it’s all too easy to just decide to leave your pistol at home.
As everyone knows, a pistol on the nightstand does you no good if you find yourself in an encounter while out and about.
If you decide to go with the comfort of a paddle holster, you should be aware that this holster design is for concealed carry only, as paddle holsters do not have the same retention ability of other types of holsters.
As always, practice using your holster frequently, and most of all, stay safe out there!
Do you wear a paddle holster? What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published in January 2011. It has been completely updated and revamped for clarity and accuracy.