View Full Version : Holster features … What works for what and why?

Scott Evans
March 9, 1999, 11:02 AM
There are many, many variations of holsters out there. Some are designed for a specific purpose others are intended to serve a wide variety of needs. Of all of the above what are the features that most if not all holsters should have (in your opinion of course) to qualify them as a quality rig. Also list why you feel such features are necessary. You do not have to list every possible thing; pick one or two and we will see where the topic leads.

Additionally I want to hear form makers (Kydex, leather, nylon or what ever) and users. Such an exchange will reveal why some makers do what they do and also provide good input from those who use the gear.

Last: let's keep this to an exchange of information without "commercials".

One of the features that I think is paramount in a quality holster is "Retention". A good rig must hang on to the weapon. The flip side to this is the "Break" (the point at which the holster lets go of the weapon). A clean break with no drag. IMO the best way to achieve this is with a form fitted Kydex holster.

Rosco Benson
March 9, 1999, 04:47 PM
A holster must permit a full firing grip to be attained on the pistol as it sits in the holster (trigger finger straight, natch). In particular, the holster must permit one's middle (driving?) finger to come into contact with the bottom of the trigger guard (for auto's) or the deepest postion of the recess created by the frame or stocks, behing the trigger guard (in revolvers). "Sweat guards" tend to work against this and I do not like them.

The trigger guard should be sufficiently covered to keep one's finger off the trigger while the piece is at rest.

The holster should have retentive qualities as required for its mission. Friction or molding of the holster body may suffice, or some sort of mechanical latch might be needed. An open-carry police holster should probably have a stronger and more proprietary retention mechanism than is needed on a concealment holster.

Pretty generic features...but it'll do for a start.


Jim V
March 9, 1999, 05:10 PM
Rosco has it right on the features I like, but the holster has to look good. The workmanship has to be there. If I found a holster with all the features I wanted from two different makers and one holster had unfinished edges, the dye job (on leather) was spotty and uneven stitching but was less money than the other holster, I would still pass on it and spend the extra money.

Ne Conjuge Nobiscum

March 10, 1999, 04:02 PM
Holsters that are comfortable for women are few and far between, but there is a holster maker using a drop loop technique that helps keep the grip of the gun out of our armpits. Comfort is a bigger issue to me than cosmetics.

Just my 2 cents.

March 11, 1999, 06:59 AM
To me, fit of the holster to the gun, and fit of the loops to the belt. If your gun is not where you left it, it is hard to draw in a hurry. I like the looks of detail molding, but fit comes first.
Just my $.02

Mark THG
March 11, 1999, 10:17 AM
Any good quality holster should have those features. It should also be as thin as possible from the given material. A leather holster should have tight stitching from a high quality Mil spec nylon thread. A full combat style grip should not impede your ability to get a good secure proper grip and cover the trigger. Sights should not snag on the holster material regardless of what it's made of. If properly made you should get many years of reliable service.

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March 11, 1999, 08:41 PM
Not all inclusive, and in no particular order:

1) FULL firing grip, before gun even starts to move.

2) FULL sight channel. Galco has more than one where the sight channel STOPS 1/2 way up !

3) COMFORTABLE. If it ain't comfortable, you ain't gonna wear it ! ( a drop shank is NOT required to make a holster comfortable for a woman.)

4) SECURE. The gun MUST be there when you reach for it !

5) STABLE The HOLSTER must be in the same place everytime.

6) Trigger must be covered.

7) MUST allow one hand reholstering. This means the holster cannot collapse when the gun is drawn.

8) CONCEALABLE. While Duty rig and Outdoor/hunting designs do not need to take this into consideration, the rest should.

9) DETAILS. Did the maker pay attention to the details ? Dye evenly applied, stitches straight? Are the kydex edges sharp and rough, or buffed smooth ? If there's a "speed cut," will the gun FIT THRU it ? ( I'm amazed how many DON'T!)

10) BELT. You must have a GOOD belt to carry the load. You can have the absolute best holster in the world, but if you put it on the belt that came free w/ the pants, then you'll NEVER know how good the holster is.

There are more, of course, but these are the main ones.


Innovative Kydex Tactical Gear

March 13, 1999, 12:21 AM
You might find this website interesting:


March 13, 1999, 12:22 AM
You might find this website interesting:

www.horseshoe.demon.co.uk/holsterdesign.htm (http://www.horseshoe.demon.co.uk/holsterdesign.htm)

March 20, 1999, 05:58 PM
All of the preceding posts have made excellent points and been right on the mark. I only have the following to add:

A hard use, exposed carry holster must protect and cover the rear sight of the weapon. When moving through buildings, it's all too easy to bang the rear sight of a weapon on a door jamb. When going prone, it's an invitation to shovel dirt behind the rear sight. The holster also needs to be resistant to the elements as well as abrasion and impact. Exposed carry holsters, especially for law enforcement, require thumb breaks, as well as the ability to retain the weapon without the thumb break secured.

March 20, 1999, 10:02 PM
Joyce, Did you look at fist holsters, they have a line for the ladies among us


[This message has been edited by snoman (edited March 20, 1999).]

March 23, 1999, 08:35 AM
A friend of mine has a couple of the Fist holsters and apparently has been working with them to try to develope more womens holsters. The quality of the workmanship looks to be excellent. Her's is a lefty and I am right handed so I didn't get a real good feel for the draw. I don't know that I liked the loops around the belt. It is great for easy on and off, but it wasn't real secure. It's tough to find the right mix of comfort, security, concealability etc.