Using a holster to carry your defensive firearm is necessary to 1) secure the trigger from negligent discharge, 2) consistently position the gun for safe and rapid deployment, and 3) achieve sustainable comfort for long periods of time. John Correia of Active Self Protection identifies the three critical qualities of a holster as: 1)cover the trigger guard completely, 2) hold the firearm securely, and 3) allow access to the firearm reliably. Holsters are generally made of leather, KYDEX® (thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite), or a combination of both.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Why Do You Carry a Gun for Self-Defense? ]
Holsters use a variety of methods to secure the handgun until it’s needed. The most common retention method (known as “Level Zero” or “Open Top”) is nothing more than a snug fit to keep the firearm in place as you move about (walking, running, jumping, bending, etc.) while allowing it to be quickly retrieved without an extra step.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Matters to Consider When Deciding on a Handgun ]
For an added level of retention, holsters (“Level 1”) are also available with a top strap or some type of release lever, usually activated with either the index finger or the thumb. These holsters can provide further confidence that your gun, especially when open carried, will remain in the holster until you need it.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Directory of Firearm Podcasts & Video Channels ]
The following are the different styles of holsters available to keep your defensive gun readily accessible in a variety of settings and clothing considerations:
- Inside the Waist Band (IWB)
- Appendix Inside the Waist Band (AIWB)
- Outside the Waist Band (OWB)
- Shoulder Holster
- T-Shirt Shoulder Holster
- Belly Band
- Fanny Pack / Backpack / Sling Pack
- Off-Body Carry (OBC)
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Self-Defense Training Directory ]
An abundance of holster creators are available online. Here’s a directory of links to a few of them (we highly recommend SwapRig), as well as articles about holsters: