Holsters & Belts

Everyone who is cool is talking about holsters right now; I have decided to drop my two cents into the communal pool.

I deal with an annoying situation when I carry, namely the fact that as a not-exactly-large guy, I have to choose my holsters very carefully when I’m carrying anything larger than a pocket pistol.  I’m not exactly brand loyal, which is a nice way of saying that I have a drawer full of holsters that I’ve tried and ultimately discarded for being uncomfortable/impractical or just plain bad.

As a self-described metro-tactical person, my holster selection is further confounded by my choice of clothing.  Assuming for the moment that I’m not carrying a pocket gun like my Beretta .25 ACP, my preferred method of carry is an inside the waistband holster.  For me, that’s been an ideal solution, as it allows me to usually carry a full-sized handgun without having to strap a giant holster on to my not giant frame.

When I carry outside the waistband, it is really a mixed bag, although I tend to use a lot of Galco holsters as I like their construction and durability.  But I’ll also go plastic fantastic sometimes with my holster, as the Blackhawk designs often allow the fastest access to the gun from concealment.

Tam is absolutely right about holsters – you need to put as much thought into your rig as you do into the carry gun itself.  Because I’ve taken the time to develop my carry guns, to carefully chose which holsters work best for which carry situations, I’ve reached a point where I can be pretty safe to guess which new rigs will and won’t work for me.

But the key to getting to that level is carry your gun a lot.  A lot of people buy a new blaster with a crappy holster and then leave the gun in the sock drawer because “it’s too heavy” or something, not realizing that it’s probably your holster that’s causing the problem.

The most often overlooked component of your carry set-up isn’t your holster though – it’s your belt.  Because the holster rides on the belt, a crappy, saggy belt will go a long way towards reducing the efficiency of any holster that you use.  Galco and other companies actually make purposely designed belts for carry, which are often reinforced with plastic linings inside the belt.  The problem with those is that sometimes they’re not exactly stylish, but that’s okay.  For a man or a woman, any thick, stiff belt will be a good choice.  One of my favorite gun belts is quite “hip” (or whatever the kids are saying) as it’s thick leather with two roles of metal rings reinforcing it.  I can carry my Beretta 92D and two spare magazines on this belt like it’s not even there.

Even though I’ve already said it two or three times, you need to try a lot of holsters before you find “the one” that works.  Just because your first holster/belt combo didn’t work isn’t a reason to toss the gun, it’s just a reason to find a new holster and belt combo.  Then someday you can be like me and have a drawer full of holsters you never wear.


  1. Unfortunately the belt isn’t the only factor in IWB carry, particularly if you use J- or C-clips. The stiffness of the waistband and the number and position of the belt loops affect the comfort and stability of the holster to a big degree.

    Does anybody make IWB-friendly slacks that have more than the normal number of belt loops and a stiffened waistband?

    Alternatively, how difficult is it to stiffen the waistband of regular pants by adding material, and add more belt loops?

    Tactical Tailoring, indeed!

  2. Feel free to send me any unwanted holster that fits a 1911. It’ll cut down on the research costs, and I can then pass the unchosen ones to someone else for the same reason.

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