View Full Version : Thumb-break vs. open-top holster

February 2, 2002, 06:02 AM
Seeing as I live in California, I have zero experience with carrying a gun anywhere outside of a public land during hunting, therefore my question may seem naive to many.

I have a simple but functional holster for my CZ 75B. It has a strap at the top, I believe it is properly called a "thumb-break" type. I have also seen holsters that do not have any strap. I tried to place a gun in some of them, then turn them upside down. The results were mixed. Some appeared to be holding the gun reasonably well (but not with the same confidence, I felt, as a thumb-break holster, and also pulling the gun out of some was quite a trick), some were outright iffy (gun appeared to be dangerously loose or would outright fall out).

My question is, am I missing something here (I know I must be)? How do people depend on the "open-top" holsters with their carry weapons and not be worried of the gun landing on the ground while bending over to pick something up or just working the gun out with the movements of the body? Is it perhaps that I only saw el-cheapo holsters that are no good (some of them were $50-$100 range)?

If this subject has been beaten to death already, I apologize as I couldn't find it (search function appears to be temporarily out of order).

Captain Bligh
February 2, 2002, 09:55 AM
Cocked and locked .45 in an open topped holster is my carry of choice.

I used to carry in a thumb-break holster but the thumb break kept clicking off my safety--a pretty poor design if ever there was one. I carry in a Galco Royal Guard. It's not top of the line like a Milt Sparks or an Alessi but it holds the gun securely.

My advice is to avoid cheapie open tops. I've had a gun take a tumble out of an Uncle Mike's nylon while I was bending over. I bought it because of price so I would have something while I searched for the holster I really wanted. Cheap is not a good idea.


February 2, 2002, 11:27 AM
Holster fit is amost a science... especially when talking about open top leather holster.

My normal carry holster for my 1911 is a Rosen ARG which I've been using for almost 6 years. Still keeps the gun secure when I turn it upside down (unless vigerously shaken). The holster took some breaking in and the draw is smooth as silk.

Something to remember, a carry "system" consists of holster, belt, and extra mag (if your going to carry an extra mag). Belt and holster really are not seperate items, but work in conjunction with each other.

Like Captain said, cheap is not a good idea, expecially with leather. I at one time bought a inexpensive copy made by a major manufactuer of my current holster... within a year it was practicly following the gun out of my pants when I drew. I "retired" it and got the real thing... though expensive up front in the long run I have paid less due to the quality.

Another option is a Kydex open top. Guns "click" into and out of these. Very secure, and no resistance after the gun is released from the tention part of the holster (the click).

February 3, 2002, 08:23 AM
There is nothing quite like a custom, like Milt Sparks, or top-line holster, like from Galco. The fit, finish, durability, and the way they address the real-world practical issue of wearing a big lump of gun are to be experienced.
Only way to understand.

That's why there are so many gun-rag articles about "boxes of unused holsters"; folks usually learn the hard way, and most folks aren't willing to spend one or two hundred dollars on their leather -- at least not the first (or second) go-around.

Takes a while to learn the value of correctly wearing your gun(s).

There's a good number of places now to get great gear. I prefer Sparks, Galco, Alessi, Rosen, Rykba.......and my belts are from Hellweg and Bianchi.

February 3, 2002, 07:03 PM
Top notch custom leather holster (Alessi, Sherrick, Sparks). Top notch belt to go with it. Those will retain your gun.

Cheap *ss nylon cr*p like many Uncle Mikes? Sure, those won't retain worth beans and need a strap.

For open carry, I can see a thumbstrap. For concealed carry, I use open top.


February 3, 2002, 07:17 PM
Open top holsters also use retention and friction to hold them in.Most Kydex holsters have a retention screw to tighten the holster around the gun.This keeps the gun from falling out and provides for a custom draw.

Bartholomew Roberts
February 4, 2002, 12:03 PM
Weshoot pretty much described my experience - I started out with Mexican carry, then I bought the cheap black nylon "tactical holster" that had to have a thumb break just to keep the gun from falling out. I then climbed the ranks slowly from copies of good leather holsters, to Galco, to Milt Sparks.

On the one hand, I could have saved a lot of money by just buying the Milt Sparks rig first (not to mention the "Have you lost your mind?" looks from the spouse when she sees you buying another holster knowing full well you've got 7 you don't ever use :) ). On the other hand, I learned a lot about what I liked and didn't like, and what worked for me personally and that process would have been a lot more expensive at $150 a pop. Maybe there is no way to shorten that learning curve.

Still, I think in the end that professionalism of the people at Milt Sparks, Lou Alessi, and some of the top line guys can go a long ways in helping sort out what will work for you and I do know, that once I bought my Versa-Max 2, I stopped holster shopping (at least for THAT pistol).