Gear, Parts and Accessories

Tips for Choosing a Safe, Comfortable EDC Holster

A guest article by Jason Hanson I own a lot of holsters. I literally have a box that’s overflowing, full of holsters that I’ve tested over the years. I’m sure that I’ll be testing holsters for the rest of my life, but for now, I’ve found a few that work well for me and I’ll give you their names in a moment. But first, I want to mention a story out of Michigan that someone passed along to me. A woman was carrying concealed using a bra holster. The story didn’t mention the exact type, but irrespective of the brand, this woman couldn’t get the holster to fit right and was adjusting it on her bra trying to get comfortable.

Somehow, she ended up with her finger on the trigger and the muzzle of the gun pointing at her face as she was looking down at her bra trying to fix the holster. She pulled the trigger, shot herself in the face, and ended up dying at the hospital.

What a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided by following just two firearms-safety rules: 1) Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re on target and ready to shoot; and 2) Never point the muzzle of the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.

However, it’s unfortunate that the holster design made it so easy to point the gun at herself. Obviously, this is a design flaw, and I’ve never recommended anything in that vein to any women who’ve taken my training.

Besides such a design being dangerous, another reason I don’t like holsters of this type is because it points the muzzle horizontal, so you are muzzling your arm anytime you raise it, and you are also muzzling anyone who’s standing next to you.

Instead, when choosing a holster, you always want to ask yourself, “Will this holster cause me to violate any of the safety rules?” You also want to ensure your holster holds the gun firmly, and the gun won’t slip out of it if you’re running or even just getting in and out of a car. An easy way to test this is by simply turning the holster upside down with the gun in it.

What’s more, a holster has got to be comfortable. When you get a brand-new holster, put it on, and walk around your house with a safe and empty gun in the holster. If the holster is so uncomfortable that you have to adjust it every other second, then return the holster. Because if it’s that uncomfortable, you likely won’t end up using it, and if you do, you’ll draw too much attention to yourself every time you make an adjustment.

Don’t forget that a good holster will allow you to get a firm grip on the gun while the gun is in the holster. Over the years, I’ve tried several “creative” holsters (ones that look like a cell phone case) and I could never get a good grip on the gun, which means I was having to adjust my grip during the draw, which is never a good thing.

Last, remember that every holster needs to cover the trigger guard. There are a few companies that make “minimalist” holsters that simply clip onto a belt and have no protection for the trigger. I think this is a terrible idea, and I would never use one of these holsters. All it takes is one instance where a shirt or drawstring gets caught in the trigger and you end up shooting yourself in the leg.

So what holsters meet my criteria? For my 1911, I use a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2. This is a leather, inside-the-waistband holster, and it makes carrying a full-size 1911 very comfortable. It will run between $120-$140.

The holster I use for my Glock 19 is an inside-the-waistband leather holster called the Clipper-DL, which is sold by Dillon Precision. This holster is made for many makes and models of guns and costs $65. I also own several Kydex outside-the-waistband holsters. There are several companies that make these types of holsters, such as Bravo Concealment, Tac-Tech-Cal, and LIION Defense, to name a few.

For my pocket-carry guns, I use a Kydex pocket holster, and like the other Kydex holsters, there are several companies that make these designs, such as Aholster, F3 Holsters, and Alabama Holsters.

You and I are fortunate to live in a time when there are so many holster companies making so many quality products. Take your time when purchasing a holster, and make sure you can return it within 30 days if it doesn’t work for you.

Most important, never purchase a holster that clearly violates a safety rule and causes you to endanger yourself or someone else.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and security specialist. He’s appeared on numerous television shows, including ABC’s Shark Tank and The NBC TODAY Show. To get a free Spy Flashlight from Jason, visit

Is your holster safe and comfortable? Have you bought holsters you didn’t like? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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 decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. The answer to that is yes. I have had to buy pants a full size bigger to accommodate my IWB holster and gun. Otherwise you are very uncomfortable with everything cinched up, assuming you can even fasten your pants. I am a size 36 normally, and I find that buying size 38 pants.shorts works our perfectly.

    You can also get elastic waistband pants made specifically for CC from LA Police Gear and 5.11. Of course, they aren’t jeans, but to be honest, I do security work and these are the kind of clothes I wear anyway, so no big deal. Either way, when you decide to carry, you have to make certain adjustments in your wardrobe but it’s worth it in the long run.

  2. Crossbreed makes an excellent IWB holster custom fitted to your gun. I carry my full sized XD .45 daily in it comfortably and safely.

  3. This might be a dumb question but, never having worn a IWB holster do you need to buy bigger waist pants to carry this way. Just a little confused.

    1. yes. I carry either a Glock 26 or 19. I had to go up 2 inches in my waist size. I have to admit though, my older pants were getting a bit snug without the gun.

  4. I recently purchased a Taurus Judge Public Defender. Recommendation from Taurus was a “Talon” IWB. I checked the website. They looked really good. They move the massive clip further back giving plenty of room for the “large” cylinder. It works great! Not a lot of folks carrying a revolver IWB. But if you do, check them out. They do a full line, not just for revolvers

  5. I carry my Glock 26 in a Comp-tech Minataur IWB or a Blade Tech OWB depending on my attire.Either are very comfortable and very concealable.

  6. I just bought a Beretta 92 to replace a Glock 17. Would also not carry a cocked and locked 1911. We all know better than to put our finger on the trigger until we’re ready to shoot but in a real situation we don’t always do what we’re supposed to.

  7. Like all you experienced concealed carry holders, I’ve tried a lot of holsters. IWB, OWB, ankle, pocket, belly band, shoulder holsters, and even inside the pants. The best holster for me is the CrossBreed IWB I use for my XD .45. A full sized gun with all the benefits, and it rides comfortable, safe and ready to rock-n-roll when needed. I tried an Alien Gear and it was horribly uncomfortable. Better to spend another $30 and get a CrossBreed. There are times in certain environments when I am reduced to carrying a mouse gun in a cell phone case type holster. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

  8. I recently purchased a Springfield XD Mod 2 in 9mm. I really don’t like the holster that came with the gun, however I am finding my choices limited. Does anyone have recommendations for a good holster for this firearm? Either isw or osw.

    1. I have two Crossbreed IWBs, a SuperTuck for a 4″ Springfield 1911, and a small Microclip for a SIG P238 (e.g., “winter pistol” and “summer pistol”).
      I know they sell for the XD’s because I looked into that when I considered carrying one of my XD Tacticals, but they’re just too big for my taste to carry.

  9. Jason brings up some very good and important points. I too have a bushel basket full of holsters (and a safe full of handguns.) There is one additional holster feature that adds a great deal to safety: A safety strap. If it is the thumb-snap release variety it offers additional and more positive firearm retention with no appreciable difference in draw time. For my 1911 carry, the safety strap goes between the hammer and firing pin when carrying cocked and locked, affording yet another level of safety, and confidence. Safety is supreme and that is why I choose that carry rig.

  10. :”However, it’s unfortunate that the holster design made it so easy to point the gun at herself. Obviously, this is a design flaw,”

    It’s also a design flaw to solely require a finger on the trigger to fire it, too. Yes, Glock, I’m talking to you.

    1. You’d also be talking to S&W, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Walther, and every other manufacturer out there who makes a DAO pistol without a manual safety (essentially anyone who doesn’t exclusively make 1911 or HiPower clones).

    2. To a point. Springfield Armory proves that a DAO doesn’t have to be as unsafe as that. It’s all fine and good to say “don’t touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot” but, sometimes sh%& happens…as the article illustrates.

    3. Tell me – if you’re doing any sort of administrative handling that requires gripping the pistol, where is the web of your hand going to be?

      The grip safety effectively serves as a drop safety and additional trigger safety should something other than your finger get inside the trigger guard. It’s not going to protect the against unsafe handling.

    4. “Tell me – if you’re doing any sort of administrative handling that requires gripping the pistol, where is the web of your hand going to be?

      The grip safety effectively serves as a drop safety and additional trigger safety should something other than your finger get inside the trigger guard. It’s not going to protect the against unsafe handling.”

      It would have saved her life because unless she has another joint that other humans don’t have a grip safety wouldn’t have been engaged.

      Also, that woman in Idaho whose 2 year old killed her in Walmart. You think he had a full grip?

      A pistol without another safety (using “another” loosely because a safety attached to the trigger isn’t one; it’s always Condition 0 as you put x pounds of pressure on the trigger and it goes “boom”) is like a pit bull: it won’t kill you until it kills you–or someone else.

    5. Which is one of the main reasons I switched from a Glock to an XD for EDC. I just feel more comfortable with the extra safety a grip safety gives me, but i still don’t have to worry about manipulating a mechanical safety lever in the heat of the moment.

    6. I wasn’t present for either of those incidents, and it’s almost certain that neither were you. Given that, you’re left with the position that a grip safety MAY have made a difference rather than WOULD have made a difference. Be very wary of the “if there’s a chance it could save one life…” line of reasoning.

      At the same time, it’s undeniable that safe gun handling would have made a difference regardless of the safety features (or lack thereof) of a specific firearm model. In the case of off-body carry, that includes never leaving the case/bag/etc unattended (say, by putting it down in reach of a toddler) in addition to the four universal safety rules.

    7. Sure, but one you can try for yourself, and the other all you have to do is look at a 2 year old’s hand. That might be an educated guess, but it’s a damn good one.

      ” Be very wary of the “if there’s a chance it could save one life…” line of reasoning.”

      And what line of reasoning is that? Did you see me advocating anything? I’m just pointing out that the Glock (etc) design is less safe than other designs. To use your language, grip safety’s “may have made a difference” but the lack thereof made sure there was no chance of anything making a difference.

      “At the same time, it’s undeniable that safe gun handling would have made a difference”

      That’s true…but in my world, sh^%$ still happens. I may not need the airbags in my car, but I’m damn sure glad they’re there.

    8. It’s one thing to argue your XD-series pistol is less likely to discharge unexpectedly than a Glock because it has a grip safety, and another to say Glocks have a “design flaw” (your actual words) because they don’t have a manual or grip safety.

      Your XD would be safer still against negligent discharges if it had a manual safety, fingerprint scanner, and 14-pound trigger. The lack of those features does not constitute a “design flaw” by Springfield.

      For the record, I don’t own any Glocks. I just take exception to blaming an inanimate object for the results of a person’s negligence or malice, because that’s the road to irrational and ineffective gun control laws.

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