By: Tom Claycomb III
I don’t want to be a drama queen, but the holster you pick is almost as important as the pistol you pick. Here’s why I say this. If your pistol is not readily accessible or due to a substandard holster, it is slow to remove from your holster, it really doesn’t matter how good your pistol is because you’ll never get it out to defend yourself.
There are a lot of factors determining which holster you should use, and those factors are different for every scenario. So, let’s go over some of the different scenarios in which you’ll want a holster and I’ll tell you why I favor this or that style of holster.
Let’s start off with the obvious question: “Why do I need to have a holster? Why can’t I just stick it in my pocket or waistband?” Here’s how I’d answer that question: Once I pulled my Bersa .380 out of my pocket and a roll of Life Savers was in the finger guard just like it was my finger. Besides slowing you down to remove the roll, What if it twisted and discharged your pistol while in your pants. That could be Bad!
Also, twice I’ve pulled out my pistol and my key ring was in the trigger guard and somehow had twisted around the trigger. Both times it took 4-5 minutes to get it untangled. That would have been a bad deal in a crisis-situation. And next, you don’t want a pistol like a Glock, that doesn’t have a safety, laying on your truck seat without the trigger covered. If something hits the trigger, it can shoot off.
While on the idea of covering your triggers. When I’m up in the mountains hunting, I’m usually wearing a canvas holster. When busting through the brush while hunting, a limb can pull an exposed trigger. Make sure your holster covers the trigger; many of the canvas holsters don’t. Also don’t buy a canvas holster with plastic belt loops. They usually crack in a short amount of time.
After fishing in Alaska, I started wearing a Diamond D Guide’s Choice Leather Chest Holster. They’re the best shoulder holsters that I’ve found. I was fishing on rivers in brown bear country. One day I saw a cub across the river from me and the next day a sow and two huge cubs came in at a fast walk and ran me out of my hole. Sure, I had a pistol, but it was under my waders. I’d have had to undo the belt around my lower chest, and then pop off the suspenders before I could access it. I’d have been bear poop by then. The coroner would have put a note with my belongings: “Sorry Mrs. Claycomb, the waders are chewed up, but this pistol is like new. You should be able to get a premium price for it because your husband never fired it!”
So, above are the two holsters that I like to wear in the mountains. But I wear the shoulder holster in more circumstances than flyfishing. I also like it when I’m riding horses or when I backpack in to flyfish. Due to weight/bulk, I don’t pack in waders. When I’m wading and fishing in shorts, to keep my pistol dry, I wear a shoulder holster.
Whether it’s your concealed carry or hunting holster, remember that if your holster is uncomfortable to wear, you’ll be inclined not to wear it. And a pistol left at home is…. pretty much the same as not owning a pistol at all. Make sure a holster is comfortable before you buy it.
A factor that I look for in choosing an EDC pistol holster is that I want it to set semi-high on my hip so it is concealed if I leave my shirttail out or am wearing a windbreaker. Granted, I don’t want my holster setting too high or it is awkward to pull out my pistol. But I for sure don’t want it down on my thigh fully exposed like I’m a Western gunslinger! I live in an Open Carry state. Not a right or wrong, but I don’t hardly ever carry open unless I’m up in the mountains, hunting, fishing, or backpacking. I want the element of surprise on my side if I ever need my pistol.
It’s not a matter or right or wrong, but the above is what I look for in my EDC holster. I recently got a BRG9 Elite 9mm pistol and needed a holster for it since it is going to be my new EDC. It’s a solid built, 16 +1 capacity 9mm, so it is a great self-protection pistol for around town. A buddy of mine recommended that I check out Alien Gear holsters. After looking, I decided on the Alien Gear Cloak Belt Holster.
It sets up on my waist somewhat for better concealment, is easily accessible, and is comfortable to wear. I’ve flipped my four-wheeler a couple of times, and got bucked off a horse, and landed sideways on my hip, so my hip is a little tweaked. A hard holster can be a little uncomfortable to wear if it rides in the wrong spot. The Alien Cloak Belt Holster disperses the weight of the pistol over a larger area than a conventional holster, and it is softer than the rigid hard plastic type of holster. It is constructed out of hard plastic but is attached to a neoprene base. The base provides cushioning, which makes it a very comfortable holster to wear. If I slap it on and go out for a while, it’s so comfortable that I forget that I even have it on.
As you decide to purchase your next holster, put a little thought into which one best suits your needs. Unfortunately, one holster doesn’t fit all scenarios.
Ps – I don’t see them much anymore, but shoulder holsters are still good for wearing in town, as long as you’re wearing a sports jacket. Plus, a lot of them have sheaths, so you can carry two magazines.
Tom has been an Outdoor Writer for over 20 years and has columns with numerous magazines, has weekly outdoor columns with multiple newspapers, websites and freelances for many other publications and has e-articles & books on Amazon Kindle. He publishes 325-375 articles/yr. He’s on Pro-Staff with numerous Outdoor companies and conducts 40-60 seminars/yr. from Texas up to Vegas and on up to Alaska at the big shows and has taught hundreds of seminars at Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop and is a guest speaker at various events.
He’s been on multiple TV shows, radio interviews and has produced YouTubes with RonSpomerOutdoors. As a young man he rodeoed professionally as a bareback rider and now lives in Idaho with his beautiful wife Katy.