Recently, TTAG asked their Armed Intelligentsia, “How Do You Carry Your Gun?” As I read Robert’s post – and the responses from the AI – I began running through my carry setups in my head. By the time I finished scanning the comments (94 of them, at last count), I came to the conclusion that the search for the perfect carry setup is a lifelong endeavor that may never be completed with 100% satisfaction.
Holsters are to gun guys what shoes are to fashion-conscious gals. As I sit her writing this, there are eight holsters next to me for a total of only three guns. Why so many? Well, just like shoes in the closet, the response is the same: each one serves a different purpose.
Here’s the rundown of guns and holsters that regularly make an appearance in my EDC:
I started out carrying my G19 in a Galco Tuck-N-Go, an all-leather IWB holster with a reinforced mouth and a plastic attachment to the belt. It’s a minimalist setup that I thought I would like because of that. Turns out, I didn’t find it as great as I had hoped. Now, that’s not to say it isn’t a good product; I’ve yet to find a Galco holster that’s junk. My problem is that there’s minimal distribution of weight and the singular attachment point causes the gun to move around a bit more than I’d care for.
Next, I have a Safariland 7390 ALS OWB holster with an optional ALS Guard. This is an incredibly comfortable setup to wear that is very secure. The ALS latch is intuitive to use and offers great retention with fast deployment. The optional ALS Guard is a lever that covers the ALS latch for extra security. I found it nice when I’m on horseback to have that extra bit of retention. The only downside to this setup is that the 7390 is a duty holster, which means it isn’t small or concealable at all. It’s also awkward in certain chairs and car seats, depending on the contour of both.
I then decided to pick up a custom-molded Kydex OWB holster at a local gun show. I couldn’t pass up the $10 discount for being an exhibitor and the option to customize it by getting a “Don’t Tread On Me” design put on the holster. The molding is top-notch. The gun fits like a glove and can be turned upside-down and shook, all while retaining the gun. I like this OWB option a lot.
Finally, I got a Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe IWB holster. To look at it, you’d think it would be an uncomfortable, unwieldy beast – something you certainly wouldn’t want to try and cram in your waistband. Instead, it’s the most comfortable IWB holster I’ve ever used – period. The contoured leather and wide design distribute the G19’s weight and the gun feels like it disappears in the holster. I rode comfortably on horseback with it and even took a nap on the couch with it.
SMITH & WESSON 638
When I bought my snubby revolver 5 years ago, I picked up an open-top OWB holster by Masters at the same time. It’s a small, unobtrusive holster for a gun of the same description. I wear it frequently and it’s a very comfortable minimalist setup. With the right t-shirt, the gun disappears on my waistband.
I then decided to try out pocket carry. I picked up a cheap, black synthetic one at Wal-Mart 3 years ago and have carried my 638 in it more than any other gun or holster setup. I will say, though, that it’s about time to get a new one. The edge of the holster below the barrel and in front of the trigger guard is losing its rigidity, causing it to shift slightly in my pocket. No matter – for $10, I certainly got my money’s worth and will buy a new one shortly.
I had been searching for an IWB snubby holster and finally came across one in a discount bin. Made by Shado of South Africa, it is a sturdy, leather holster with a reinforced mouth. The gun fits very well in the holster, but it isn’t without faults. The attachment to a belt is accomplished by looping the leather strap under your belt and securing it at the top with two snaps. It works, but the snaps aren’t the most secure thing in the world. In the end, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but for a $5 discount bin find, I can’t really complain.
I just picked this gun up a week ago, so I’ve only got one holster for it. I’m using an OWB belt-slide rig made by MTR Holsters. It’s very well molded and hand stitched, providing a great fit. Since it’s just a belt slide piece, the holster is minimal in terms of material and adds very little weight to the already-beefy 1911. So far, I really enjoy it and don’t anticipate getting an IWB for it. I’m fairly certain that’s more gun than I’d like to fit in my waistband.
So there you have it. Eight holsters for three guns. Each one has a different purpose. Some worked out well; others, not so much. At times, your style changes and it necessitates a new holster. Or, you get an itch to buy another gun, but can’t really afford to spend that kind of money. Instead, a new holster can scratch that itch for a time.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever find the one perfect gun and one perfect holster in which to carry it. That’s not a bad thing. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Click here for a free 3-page download with tips about caring for your antique and collectible firearms.