I’m sure that a lot of you out there are just like me when it comes to holsters: since you’ve chosen to carry concealed, you’re constantly searching for the perfect rig for your death-ray.
If you’re really like me, you probably have a pile of gunleather in your closet, each one having been “the be all and end all” of holsters when you purchased the damn thing. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably had all different kinds of holsters recommended to you by other gun people as “the most perfect holster ever”.
A short anecdote will illustrate the great frustration I have with picking new leather. I was at a local, unnamed gun shop, where I was shopping for holsters. Specifically, I was interested in a good IWB holster for my Taurus Pt92. The chap who was “assisting” me was a swarthy fellow, a good 5 inches taller than I am and at least 100 pounds heavier. He was constantly recommending holsters that “worked really well for me”, with the “me” being him. Because a holster is very much like an article of clothing, what fits him well might not necessarily fit me well.
That’s my frustration with holsters right there. It really is like an article of clothing in that individual fit and feel is important. Out of the dozens of holsters I have purchased, I’ve really liked maybe 4 or 5.
The one thing I’ve learned from my various holster buying adventures is that if I can, I should really try before I buy. This usually allows me to evaluate a rig for the things that are important to me.
The most important factor for me when I’m buying a holster is comfort. I want holsters than when I stuff whatever gun I’m carrying in there that they’re not going to pinch me, bite me, or make me want to rip my holster off and sling it across the room. Comfort encompasses freedom of movement as well; I don’t want to feel like my mobility has been hindered.
The second most important thing to me is concealability. If my rig doesn’t do anything to conceal my carry gun, it’s pretty useless – with the notable exception of some rigs that I use for open carry only.
The final factor is durability, I don’t want my holster to start falling about after two months of use. Durability is pretty hard to evaluate, which is where a lot of the researching things, reading reviews, etc comes into play. But honestly, if I found a holster that was comfortable, concealable, but fell apart after 6 months, I’d just buy a new one after 5 months.
Ultimately, the best holster is the one that meets your requirements. For me comfort is the number one requirement. The most comfortable rig I own that is also readily concealable is actually one I made for myself.
I started with one of these holsters, which I had originally purchased for packing my EAA Bounty Hunter around. I noticed that it fit my GP100 very well, which gave me an idea. I cut the flap off the back, leaving me with just the holster pouch. Since the GP100 is DAO, I didn’t need the hammer thong as a retention device, so after knotting it in the back to make sure it didn’t pull through, it became the part of the rig through which your belt goes to hold it in place.
I punched a second hole towards the rear of the holster and looped another strip of leather through it; that way the belt gets threaded through two points of contact. The outside surface of the holster where it makes contact with the inside of my trousers was roughed up a bit with 240 grit sandpaper. This gave the holster a grip on the inside of my trousers so it wouldn’t slide around. The pressure from my belt acts as the retention for the new IWB holster. I can run, walk, sit, and stand without the holster shifting around and revealing my revolver.
Ultimately, the best holster is a lot like the best gun – it’s not necessarily the most expensive, it’s just the one that works.