Gun Gear

Tips for Choosing the Right Holster

Tooled leather case with dark brown edge and gold, red and orange design on a woven gray-and-white background, with the stippled black handle of the Ruger showing.

Finding  the right holster should not be hard to do, but it can be. How many of us have a box, bag, or drawer full of holsters we do not use? Why are they there? Like most people, you likely purchased them and they either did not fit your gun, were the wrong type, did not wear comfortably or you just decided you didn’t like it.

Arex Rex zero one paddle holster
To find the right holster you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
  1. What hand do I draw and shoot with?
    What? Too simple you say, but think about this; most shooters are right-handed, but if you are left-handed you want a holster that you can draw easily from with your strong hand. Also there are many people that buy a shoulder holster thinking that the left hand holsters are correct because they want the gun under their left arm, when the correct holster is a right-handed holster. If you want an inside-the-waistband holster worn in the small of the back and are a right-handed shooter, than you want a left-handed holster. This will put the handgun’s grip in a position that will be easier to grab. Pocket holsters are constructed where one side is stiff and flat, which is to help hide the outline of the gun in your pocket, the wrong side will show the outline of the gun in your pocket.
  2. What type of material are you looking for?
    You can choose leather, nylon, or Kydex. Leather is good for a comfortable concealed carry holster that is worn on the belt or inside the pants. Nylon works great for carrying your handgun when out hunting, in either a shoulder holster or a belt holster. Nylon also work well when you want a holster that it not affected by sweat or water. Molded plastic is good for concealed carry on the belt; most are molded to lock the gun in place without the need of a retention strap. Nylon, leather and plastic can be molded to fit a certain model of gun, for a tight precision fit. Nylon is normally the cheapest in price, molded plastic can cost a little more if it is a mass-produced holster or a lot more if the holsters is custom-molded. Leather is normally going to cost the most, but almost all leather holsters are made by hand and take time to construct.
  3. What type of carry position do you want?
    There are many different carry positions, on the outside the waistband, inside the waistbandankle, pocketshoulder holstersmall of the backfanny pack, or on the thigh. Carry position is very important. For example, you would not want to carry a large gun like the S&W 500 in an ankle holster. But some people do try to carry a large-frame gun like the Ruger P90 or Beretta 92 on the ankle and you can see it within about 20 feet of them, not what you want for concealment. Pick the holster that works best for your style of carry. If you are carrying the gun for hunting, a shoulder holster or belt holster would be a good pick. For SWAT or a tactical situation the thigh or leg holster would work well.
  4. What size is your gun and what is your body size?
    You also have to think about your body size. Someone that has a small frame may not want a large gun pulling down on their belt. A person with a large frame can carry a larger gun on the belt or shoulder. Think about your size and the size of your gun. Remember, in a lot of states where concealed carry is allowed the gun has to be kept hidden, so pick a holster that keeps the gun close and well hidden on your body.

What’s your favorite holster and carry position? Do you carry a backup gun? Share your answers in the comment section?

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (15)

  1. Good breakdown of the points to consider when shopping for a holster, and a valuable article for newbies and old hands too. Drawer full, I think I’m on my 3rd box full of holsters that didn’t make the grade, so I agree with the author on all of his points and considerations. Just because a holster works well for one pistol, doesn’t mean that it will make the grade for another in your collection. My CC holster (an Alien Gear 3.0 IWB) for my PPK/S is great, but it doesn’t work well with my Beretta 92 or Walther PPQ. An old Hunter is great for my Colt clone SAA with its 8″ barrel, but an Uncle Mike’s nylon is easier to carry my 3″ S&W Mod. 60 as a trail gun. An Uncle Mike’s nylon is used for my Walther P22 Target for field carry, but I use a Hunter Vintage for my 1938 High Standard Model B.

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