View Full Version : What type holster for beginner?

February 20, 2001, 02:22 PM
So which type is best for a beginner to learn CC with?


And what about the cant? Is it just personal preference? What do you think is best? Straight drop, "FBI" cant, other?

And last-but-not-least what about the pros and cons of the material of the holster....leather, kydex, nylon?

Thanks in advance!

February 20, 2001, 03:00 PM
It really depends on what you wear, and what kind of gun you carry. My favorite all around holster is the Galco Concealable. It's a great strong side holster. It's leather, conforms to the waist, no snap but very snug fitting, well made, etc.

February 20, 2001, 03:37 PM
branrot wrote:
It really depends on what you wear, and what kind of gun you carry.
Branrot's right. I use a Milt Sparks Versa-Max II for IWB carry, which,IMHO, is the best mode of carrying with normal clothing. (What's "normal" varies with climate and season. FWIW, I'm in central Texas.) I like it because it's one of the few holsters with belt clips offset from the pistol, so their thickness isn't added to the thickness of the gun. Well made and comfortable.

February 20, 2001, 03:55 PM
well I normally wear jeans or khakis and a button-down shirt or sweater and a jacket (2 or 3 seasons out of the year).

and I own a CZ 75B, a Bulgarian Makarov, and a soon to be acquired HS 2000 (waiting on FFL transfer).

I think the CZ is a tad too large for CC but the HS 2000 looks to be a little smaller...I might carry it. The Mak is definitely small enough for carry.


February 20, 2001, 04:22 PM
The advice you have received is very good. Let me give you some more. The selection of a CW holster is, indeed, much a matter of personal taste and comfort. I prefer a Galco IWB model (Royal Guard) for my daily use. My advice is that, whatever you choose, opt for a good quality holster and an equally good quality belt. It does not make any sense to place a $750.00 quality handgun in a "two bit" holster. You will always be better served and better armed with a quality holster and belt.

Bartholomew Roberts
February 20, 2001, 05:28 PM

Concealed carry has a lot to do with personal taste and I think you are going to have to experiment with what works best for you.

Having said that, I would recommend against crossdraw or shoulder holsters for a beginner. Both of these require you to sweep a pretty large area during the presentation and have the drawback of presenting your gun to any adversary as well.

Strongside carry either on the belt or IWB remains popular because it is the best way to carry for many (though not all) people. If you go with belt carry, then the length of the barrel will be a factor in how easily you can conceal it. If you go with IWB carry, barrel-length becomes much less of a factor although thickness of the gun will be an issue.

On cant, the idea behind cant is to better conceal the gun by tilting the butt of the gun (which might normally protrude) forward. A straight drop holster is usually faster; but less concealable to some degree

On pros and cons of material, Kydex seems to be the lowest maintenance and fastest. It is cheaper than custom leather as well. I have pretty limited experience with it but IMO (which is worth what you paid for it) it is less concealable and comfortable than leather.

As far as nylon holsters go, 99% of the ones I have used have sucked. The only ones I would even consider using are all open-carry style holsters designed primarily for military use.

February 20, 2001, 05:54 PM
You're getting GREAT advice here, but I'm going to have to step away on one point...

In order to figure out which type of holster works best for you, I suggest that you DO purchase an inexpensive Uncle Mike's brand holster in IWB, Belt Slide, and any other carry methods you want to try for your gun. This way, you can decide for yourself which of these works best for you, and you don't spend a fortune doing it!!!

Most everyone on here admits to having the drawer full of holsters that they bought and didn't work for them. How much sense does it make to spend $60 - $120 for each of those holsters, only to learn that you don't like that style???

My way, you spend $10 - $20 to figure out which method of carry you prefer, THEN you come back to TFL, and post something like :

"OK, I've decided that, for my (your gun here) I have found that I prefer to carry it (your choice here). what brands have you found most comfortable in this type of carry?"

These guys and gals know their stuff, and with their help, you WILL find the perfect rig for you. I'm just trying to save you a few $$$ in the initial process. ;)

February 20, 2001, 07:53 PM
Very much a personal choice.
At the moment I favour belt slides with a thumb snap (i.e. Aker #132. I find them to be lite and secure.

February 20, 2001, 09:10 PM
I bought a Bianchi paddle holster for my KP-95, and thought it would sit a little closer to my body than it does, but it really hangs down and out more than I cared for. Then I bought a Bianchi IWB with a strap for my Kel-Tec for $22.00 and realised that the snap-strap got in the way of the grip... so I cut off the strap and now I have what a lot of people are paying big-money for. It's now a high-riding, snug, full grip, strapless IWB that conceals very well. It may not be pretty but I'm proud of it, and who's looking?

I say if you're of average build, IWB is the only way to go... they conceal best IMO.


Captain Bligh
February 21, 2001, 10:33 PM
I think there is some great advice here. As a "first" holster, I don't think you'll go wrong if you study what others carry here and buy one of those. We generally don't talk about what is in our discarded holster drawer.

If you buy something others like, it may not be your "ideal" holster but you can probaby rest assured it isn't trash and it will do until you find what is your "ideal."

When I started to carry concealed, I didn't know where to start so stupidly I went as cheap as possible until I figured it out. I bought one of the popular nylon brands. My first trip to the range, I was bending over to pick up brass, target,or something and the gun tumbled right out of my holster. I am embarassed to confess that before I got home that day, I had dumped the gun again. Needless to say that holster became the start of my discarded holster drawer.


Country Boy
February 22, 2001, 04:50 PM
My thoughts: Buy a quality holster. In holsters, as in many aspects of life, you get what you pay for. I recently spent $140 on a holster and mag carrier, but not a cent was wasted, because it wears great and fits my needs perfectly.
Personally, I like strong side IWB holsters. The holster is sandwitched between my body and my pants/belt, and to me it feels very secure. With an IWB, the weight seems to be carried by the body, where with a belt holster, the weight is carried by only the belt.

If you are looking for a holster, depending on your needs and wallet, I would recommend a Milt Sparks Versa Max II. Its a little pricy, but worth every cent. The belt loops are spread out to aid in stability. The loops can be replaced with clips so that you may tuck in your shirt while carrying. Highly recommended by yours truly.

A few other holster-related comments. I am satisfied with the butt-forward FBI cant. If you buy a leather holster, it will probably seem rather tight at first. Let your handgun sit in it overnight and wear it around for a while, and it will loosten up a little. Depending on who you order a holster from, it may take 7-12 weeks for the holster to arrive. If you go with an IWB holster, start buying your pants a size or two larger than usual.

/Long-Winded mode Off/

4V50 Gary
February 23, 2001, 02:24 AM
Factors to consider in selecting your holster:

1) Type of firearm - size of firearm matters. Carrying a 6" revolver is not really feasible in a hip rig if you want to carry conceal.
2) Your size - face it. If you're a small stature person, don't try hiding Big Bertha. It may not work.
3) Your clothing preference. Sure you can wear a shoulder holster, which is great if you go to the potty since you don't have to remove your gun (and leave it behind like one cop did in SF), but a sportcoat when everyone is wearing a sportshirt is a bit out of place. You don't want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe and the holster/gun combo must be concealable under what you have.
4) Comfort, both physically and mentally. If wearing that holster in a certain spot is uncomfortable, you might not carry anymore until another holster is obtained. I tried an ankle rig once and when I ran, that holster slid up my calf and came crashing down on the ankle bone. Ouch! Limp, limp, limp. Besides physical comfort, it must be something you are confident and comfortable with using. If it feels strange to draw, despite practice (which should be at least 1,000 times), then it's not right for you.

Good thread, but a better forum for this would be Gear and Accessories so look for it to continue there.

February 24, 2001, 07:36 AM
I agree w/ everyone here that you need to have a good holster for your gun.If maximum concealment is your preference, I would recommend an IWB holster.There are quite a few great ones out there like the Royal Guard,Summer Special, Executive Companian,Versa Max.If you do decide w/ an IWB, make sure it has belt loops and not 1 plastic or metal clip.Blade Tech and KYTAC make some great quality kydex holsters as well.The kydex holsters are better at keeping sweat away from your gun as well as allowing you a faster draw.One thing no one here has mentioned is that a good quality HOLSTER belt is also needed for a comfortable carry.If you get cheap and use a standard holster, most likely you will be uncomfortable carrying your handgun(OWB or IWB).

February 25, 2001, 02:15 PM
If you think you might want to look into Kydex consider Ky-Tac {probably the very best to be had} @ http://www.skdtac.com Cen_Dex @ http://www.cen-dex.com and MD Labs {aka "Mad Dog"} @ http://www.mdenterprise.com/holsters.htm These three are arguably the best to be had currently in Kydex.

February 25, 2001, 05:07 PM
My personal biases:

For Kydex: Mad Dog's GunGlove line. It's done right.

For leather (which I prefer for CCW):
You've gotten some great advice. I would 4th or 5th the motion for a Milt Sparks VM2; just be prepared for a wait (currently 6-10 weeks, I have another on order as we speak).

The other maker you really ought to check into is Lou Alessi. You can see some of his stuff at http://www.rfholsters.com or email him directly ([email protected]). Lou is a superlative gentleman and will answer any and all of your questions. His holsters are every bit the equal if not surpassing Sparks stuff (IMO). I currently have one on order from him as well. You can also search some reviews here (ArmySon did one a year or so ago if my memory serves me correctly).



[Edited by KODB on 02-26-2001 at 04:55 PM]

February 25, 2001, 05:15 PM
Don't forget about getting a good gun belt. A nice holster with a crappy belt defeats the purpose.

February 26, 2001, 04:57 PM
Thanks ArmySon!

I knew I forgot something.

I just got an order confirmation back from Lou Alessi and he says he's making belts as well, so this would be another good reason to check out his (very fine) wares.



February 28, 2001, 10:38 AM
Don't forget about getting a good gun belt. A nice holster with a crappy belt defeats the purpose.

You're right, Son. I think my wife put my horsehide belt in with clothes given to charity(arrrgggghhh!), so I have another belt on the way from Kramer Leather as I write this...


March 6, 2001, 10:26 PM
I also have to agree with the good belt. I bought a 2" belt from Cabela's ( I think it's made by Aker)It makes a world of difference on how the firearm carries. Much better than a dress belt.