MY PERSONAL SET UP
A special VODA fan on Facebook recommended that I provide a light consultation on the best kinds of holsters for Shooters and Gun-Fighters alike. And I have to first say that there is an abundance of holsters to choose from. So with that said there is no way possible that I can provide a consultation on them all! However, I will provide a consultation / recommendation on some of the types of holsters that I have personally used and or owned.
Remember when choosing a holster look for at least three things:
Let’s face it most people (no matter what their shooting level is) will at some point have a hang up when extracting out of the holster. Take your ego out of the equation - IT WILL HAPPEN AT SOME POINT. I need you to also understand that it not the fact that a hang up will occur it’s what will you do about it when it happens. That is the true mark of retention - not simply the holster itself.
How much retention do you need? Do you need a "hood", which is a feature that is mostly found on POLICE duty carry holsters (Level 3 retention)? Professionally I’m not a fan of hoods. Also for those of you that are running Kydex, I need you to consider how much retention do you need via the screw sets that come with the holster.
RULE OF THUMB: retention should be no too loose that the firearm "falls out", but not so tight that you as a Civilian Operator™ find yourself struggling to extract the firearm when you need it the most (or during simply dry firing practice).
Now-a-days holsters feature either a Passive or Active Locking System.
Passive Retention: being that the holster DOES NOT require the Operator to manually engage any locking mechanism
Active Retention: being that the holster DOES require that the Operator manually engages the locking mechanism.
Thus, with that said; the Passive Retention holster will allow the Operator to be faster. However, an Operator utilizing an Active Retention holster can be just as fast.
There is something else we must also consider when we are talking about holster retention. Let us consider the 4 types of retention that are available for holsters in the Gun Game.
Level 1 – simple friction within the holster to stop the gun from falling out.
Level 2 – active retention mechanism (finger break, thumb break, or hood) in addition to friction.
Level 3 - active retention mechanism (finger break, thumb break, or hood) with an addition of a trigger locking mechanism in addition to friction.
Level 4 – this level of retention entails the holster having all of the above mechanisms in addition to friction.
This is another big thing not only for Law Enforcement; but even more so especially for the Civilian Operator™ that either Open Carry and or Conceal Carry. Why? Because if carry a firearm no matter your carry style if it’s not comfortable people are simply are not going to carry their firearm. And this holds especially true for women! No one wants to feel bogged down with a ratchet (firearm) on their PERSON. NO ONE.
Can you carry more than one firearm of similar build with the same holster? No granted some holsters will be firearm specific (especially when using Kydex), and this is compounded when you start adding lights, lasers and other crap on your gun. Can you carry with or without a paddle? Is belt carry an option? What about the Civilian Operator™ that runs some sort of "Kit"? The question you should be asking yourself is: "Can this holster transition from my Kit to my everyday set up?”
These are just some of the variable that I examine when I look for a holster. There will be other variables that you as a Shooter or Gun-Fighter will have to explore for yourself such as:
Just some starting points for your homework.
Alien Gear - PRICE POINT $43.88. For everyday carry Alien Gear is my absolute favorite! It is very comfortable and it also comes with a life-time warranty (damn good thing). Alien Gear also caters to both the IWB (inside the waist band) and OWB (outside the waistband) demographics. Another thing is that their holsters are adaptability in that is allows you to use the same holster to carry multiple types of firearms. And lastly it’s the price - YOU SIMPLY CANNOT BEAT IT!
BLACKHAWK! - PRICE POINT $60.00. If you are utilizing the "Omnivore" holster you have the ability to holster up to 150 different kinds of firearms.
SERPA - PRICE POINT $50.00. this is the gold standard when it comes to modern day holsters. BLACKHAWK! was one of the first that I know of to introduce holsters such as these. Now some ranges won’t allow you to run this holster due to cited "safety concerns" and I’m here to tell you that IT'S BULLSHIT! Either the Operator keeps their finger off the trigger or not when they extract the firearm - THAT'S IT! Don’t blame the holster, blame the Operator. Another thing that great about this holster is its adaptability. I can go from carrying it on my hip to carrying it on my drop. Just simply switch the screws. Drop leg sold separately.
Bravo Concealment -OWB PRICE POINT $50.00 / IWB $60.00. What can I say about Bravo Concealment other than they just make great holsters. They are very robust in their construction. The also accommodate the IWB (inside the waist band) and OWB (outside the waistband) demographics.
Clip Draw - PRICE POINT $30.00. I have to say as a minimalist this is as minimum as you can get - and the price is right as well! There are only two things that I have to say: HEAT and LEAD. If you have to do alot of shooting the gun will be hot, so holstering immediately afterward may not necessarily be a good idea. Secondly, if you are tucking your shirt into your pants after shooting (or even before) you could stain your clothes. Other than that this is very good option for concealment.
Flashbang - PRICE POINT $50.00. for my ladies - especially for my ladies I’m going to recommend this manufacture! I’m so glad that someone had you in mind. Now in all honesty, we know women are not built the same! Some have curves while others don’t! Some have bigger breast while others don’t and that’s OK! Flashbang has something for ALL of you ladies out there! Again Flashbang is great for women’s concealment! I (VODA) need you to be a sexy and as fly as you possibly can (so you can wear those sexy dresses and outfits without printing while being comfortable). LOVE YOU XOXOXO!!!
*SPECIAL THANKS TO HANK STRANGE & LOLA STRANGE - MAKE SURE YOU TUNE INTO HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL!!
SafariLand - PRICE POINT $50.00 - $75.00. This is my holster that I actually use for when things go sideways (see the very top photo). My set up is coupled with a G-Code Mule (you have the have the Male and Female), RTI Hanger. I have an older model. And no I'M NOT CHANGING IT DAMN IT IT WORKS FINE!!! But the adaptability is there. Just switch my screws and I can attach my paddle for my SafariLand holster and I’m good to go! UNDERSTAND - for me SafariLand means go time (Kit up).
FOBUS – EVOLUTION - PRICE POINT $40.00. Yet another great holster. I don’t see it as much anymore but it is truly a functional holster and should not be forgotten. This holster is great for “semi-conceal carry”. What I mean by this is that you carry the firearm outside the waistband in and open fashion but you wear something like an open shirt over the gun.
INCOG SHADOW ECLIPSE XC-1E – PRICE POINT $80.00. we all know that Travis Haley is a pioneer in the gun game and we should always give good respect for this man. I (VODA), personally say thank you for ALL the work that you have done and I again thank you for putting out to market this particular holster. A Client of mines had one and I did get the opportunity to run it. And I have to say it has a great feel and it is not “boxy” or excessively an “inconvenience” in terms of a concealment holster. Granted it works like any other holster within it's class, but the feel of it puts it in a class of its own – thanks Travis Haley.