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Old November 25, 2013, 08:44 PM   #1
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Holster Talk/Guidelines

The last time I purchased a holster was in 1997 for my SW 4013 .40 cal. Now I am down sizing to a S&W 9mm Shield, as mentioned in another recent post of mine. Looking at what is avail on the market today can easily become overwhelming. With so many brands and styles for carry, how does one choose? Myself, I am looking for both an IWB and a OWB holster to start with. Obviously, trying all the various holsters until you find one you like is the way to go. But for someone who has been out of the loop for a while, like myself, what are some basic guidelines to look for in a holster? Plus where would anyone find all the holsters they want to try first? I am looking specifically for a holster for concealed carry, but I believe this discussion could help many others looking for holsters regardless of style of carry.
There are pancake, paddle, clip on -both single or double clip, belt, and so on. Then you have a choice in which cant you want, forward, FBI, straight up and down, and so on. Then a choice of leather, both cow and horse, nylon, plastic, and combos of either.
Did I say it gets over whelming? So what I would like to know from those of you experienced with concealed carry, what do you look for in a holster? No doubt, there are quality holster brands, and some not so quality minded. Some that you love, and others you would call junk. Which brands do you trust to hold up, and which brands are a waste of money.
A couple holsters that have caught my eye, though I have not yet been able to put my hands on are the Galco King Tuk IWB, the N82 Tactical, and Bianchi Professional Waistband holster. Clip on and paddle seem to be more convenient than belt holsters for easy removal and putting on. From what I have seen, there is not a lot of selection in my area. So ordering on line might be an only option. But before I would do that, I would like suggestions of holster brands you trust for fit and quality, and what carry style and particular holster you yourself have chosen. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by keithdog; November 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM.
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Old November 25, 2013, 09:45 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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My experience with clip-on and paddle holsters has been rather dismal. I don't like them one iota. I have about the same opinion of inside the waistband holsters.

I prefer a belt type holster of the so-called pancake type. Why? They hold the gun, and rig, closer to the body.

Further, I want the holster long enough to cover the muzzle, certainly not one of those skeleton type slides. Should my jacket or vest ride up, only leather is exposed, not blued steel.

And I want no retaining snap straps, hammer thongs, or thumb break. Just a good leather holster. Definitely not plastic.

My favorites are those from Don Hume.

Here is a Model 19 Smith in a Don Hume rig, a model H171OT, I believe:

And, same holster for a bigger Smith, a Model 586, 4" bbl.:

Bob Wright

P.S. For a man of my mature build, paddle holsters are not as easily put on or taken off as you would expect.
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Old November 25, 2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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I have tried many different ones, except the molded plastic. In nylon I have only found one I like and it has not lasted as long as I think it should. After fooling around with a bunch in different price ranges I have decided that quality leather is the thing for me. I like the Bianchi and triple K brands. I mostly use belt holsters that have the cant I want or multiple loop holes to allow for different cants on the same holster. Bianchi has a paddle, slip in the waste band, kind that I like and it is adjustable for cant and rise.

I used to mostly carry at the 4 o'clock and liked it canted forward. I have found that 3 o'clock and a bit forward or straight up is more comfortable for all day carry.
Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 25, 2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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I use a Theis Kydex holster for when I'm out and about for any length of time or a Desantis Nemesis for pocket holster if it's just a quick run to the store. And I have the Shield as well.

Here's a link to the Theis holster. Good stuff. Very responsive, small shop but quality work.

The one I have is the horsehide IWB
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Old November 25, 2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Kevin, I checked that website and they do look like nice holsters. definitely worth considering for sure. And Bob, the OWB belt style holster your describing is what I've been wearing all these years up to now. The only thing I don't like about them is having to partially remove my belt when wanting to take the rig off. Such as when I am sitting down in my car to drive. But your are right about that style holding the gun nice and tight to the body. And it's comfortable. It's not an option though in the summer months when I am wearing shorts with a shirt tucked in. But in winter, it works great most of the time. As long as the holster isn't hanging out from under my sweater where everyone can see it.
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Old November 25, 2013, 11:14 PM   #6
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I'll second the Tommy Theis Holster suggestion. I ordered an E-Z Clip holster for my Shield from him. The clip is wide and beefy. I also went with horsehide.
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Old November 25, 2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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For IWB carry for the shield, I would suggest looking at the Sticky/Remora style holsters. No straps, no belt attachments- they hold in place with a an aggressive (but not rough) texture and the tension of your belt. The reason I reccomend them for smaller pistols is their ability to fit almost anywhere- IWB, pocket, man bag, etc. I keep one for my J-frame, and it does everything i need it to.

Last edited by JimmyR; November 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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For carrying my GP100 in the woods, I use a kydex paddle holster.

But for concealed carry, the paddle interferes with my hip/thigh when I sit down. Plus the plastic holsters do not hold the gun tight enough against the body for concealed.

I am with Bob Wright.... I prefer leather for a holster I am going to be wearing all day close to my body.

I have had real good luck with pancake leather holsters from High Noon. I like the soft non-molded types, not the expensive molded ones.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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It's not an option though in the summer months when I am wearing shorts with a shirt tucked in.
If you are looking for a tuckable holster, I recommend the Crossbreed Mini-Tuck. I use their Supertuck for a compact gun and have never had a problem wearing a tucked-in shirt over it. All that shows are two belt clips, and if you blouse the shirt out at all, they are pretty much covered.

I tend to carry with a basic, leather slide holster when I can, as I also prefer the gun as close to my body as I can get it to prevent movement, but I go with the slide as I prefer it to be as small as possible which leaves the muzzle exposed.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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use a Theis Kydex holster for when I'm out and about for any length of time or a Desantis Nemesis for pocket holster if it's just a quick run to the store. And I have the Shield as well.

Here's a link to the Theis holster. Good stuff. Very responsive, small shop but quality work.
+1 on the Theis. I have one for my KAHR CM9, and one for my Springer XD 40 Sub Compact. Very comfortable, and secure. Even with the somewhat bulkier double stack XD. I will also be ordering one for my Ruger LCR soon. They are very well made, adjustable, and less costly than the popular hibird IWB. Plus delivery time has been much faster. 6 or 8 days vs 6 or 8 weeks!
For pocket carry I use a DeSantis Nemisis for my LCP, but also have one for the KAHR, and the little Ruger revolver that work well in larger pockets.
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Old November 26, 2013, 01:34 AM   #11
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If you're interested in Kydex holsters, I consider Raven Concealment to be top-of-the-line.

My Shield rides in their Phantom model. With the addition of the Modular Mounting System, the Phantom can be worn IWB or OWB.

Check it out.
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Old November 26, 2013, 07:00 AM   #12
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If you ever feel like taking a road trip to SW Ohio here is the place you need to go.

Not only do they have a full line of quality leather holsters made on site, they have just about every style of holster from major manufacturers right there in the store for you to try out. I'm fortunate in that I only live a few miles from them.
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Old November 26, 2013, 02:51 PM   #13
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I like Kramer horsehide...( cowhide is rougher ...horsehide is tougher and easier on finish of the gun ).

and he makes a lot of styles...but in an OWB ...I go with a belt scabbard with a forward FBI tilt....and for an IWB I go with a belt holster as well, over the paddle, with the forward FBI tilt. ( most models retail for around $ 125 ). His holsters are "gun" and "model" specific...not generic..although a holster that fits a full sized 1911 will also fit a 4" / or a S&W K frame revolver holster for a 4" will also fit a 2 1/2"....

I have had elbow and shoulder surgery ...and the forward FBI tilt helps me get a solid grip on the gun - where a straight upright holster puts a little more strain on my elbow and shoulder ( its a subtle difference / but I find its important).

I use the scabbard style at the range most of the time ...and the IWB to carry most of the time....

Kramer has a good website...or you may find a local retailer that stocks some of his holsters...he has a solid national reputation for tactical - civilian holsters ...they hold their shape really well / which is key when reholstering a weapon one handed.
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