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This post was inspired by a similar feature over at 5 Must Have Concealed Carry Holster Features. The boys at epic came up with the following list: comfort, warm weather suitability, easy access in all postures, compatibility with your current wardrobe and proper gun fit. All true, of course. But only one is important enough to make the rabbi’s top three. In consultation with the gun guru, here are the most important characteristics for a gun holster . . .

1. Buy a holster that fits your gun perfectly

A concealed carry gun holster has two main jobs: keeping the gun secure and allowing a quick, easy and effective draw.

Paging Goldilocks! This search for a “just right” combination of security and accessibility explains the existence of so many holster companies: trial and error keeps them in business. As any CCW carrier will tell you, it’s something you gotta go through.

Although says “Universal Size gun holsters can be a great choice,” the flip side is more often true. It’s best to order a holster made for the specific make, model and barrel length of your carry piece. If you have more than one gun, you’ll need more than one holster.

There’s only one way to test the holster: test the holster. Insert your UNLOADED gun into the rig and run, jump, sit, stand, lean over, ride your bike, etc. Try to dislodge the gun from the holster. Then practice your draw, wearing whatever you wear. Don’t get hung up on speed; not getting hung up on your clothes is more important.

There are dozens of holster variations—inside-the-waist-band, outside-the-waist band, various cants, materials aplenty, etc. The chances of your first choice solution working are practically nil. Buy from a company that has a no-questions-asked returns policy. You will use it.

2. Buy a holster that assures a proper grip

We’ve said this before: your initial grip on the gun must be the same grip you use whilst shooting. In other words, do NOT buy a holster that forces you to adjust your grip in a high-stress self-defense situation. Bobbling a loaded gun is a bad idea even at the best of times.

So assume a pre-draw posture (i.e. crouch) and place your hand on your gun. If you can’t get your hand into the proper position at the moment of contact, if you can’t keep a proper grip all the way through the draw-stroke (until you’re on target), get a new holster. It’s possible to train yourself to adjust to a given design, but instinct trumps adaptation any day of the week and twice on Mondays.

3. Buy a holster that stays open

If you buy a holster that deforms (i.e. crushes flat) after the gun is withdrawn, you double your chances of shooting yourself. You may do so whilst inserting the gun initially, or, more likely, whilst re-holstering the weapon.

Not to steal a line from Barack Obama, but it’s commonsense. How do you use a deformable holster with one hand? And if that second hand is anywhere near the muzzle of a loaded gun, it’s in real danger—especially after a self-defense situation.

While we’re at it, regardless of the holster’s deformability, give serious thought to re-holstering. One of the main reasons I prefer outside-the-waistband carry (Comp-Tac Minotaur): I can re-holster safely without looking, with one hand. No second hand pulling my clothes out of the way.

There are lots of other key variables: the ones mentioned by and others (e.g., the security of the holster’s attachments to the belt loops).  Suffice it to say, if a holster fails to provide any of the three must-haves above, don’t bother with the rest. Start again.

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  1. Once again – CrossBreed Super Tuck Deluxe is the best holster I have found that fills all the above requirements, AND is also adjustable (important but not mentioned), comfortable, Made in USA, and Lifetime Warrantied (although I dont think I’ll ever need to use it!)

  2. i have a holster for my .9mm but its kinda bulky and you can see my gun(holstered) after i put a shirt over it. (is this illegal, even though technically its concealed carry?) but my question is, can i just carry the gun between my body and pants? (like most would say “like a wanabee gangster”) but i find it more comfortable carrying my gun this way than with my everyday holster. just for the fact that you can still see i have a gun after i put a shirt over the holstered gun?. i live in florida by the way, if it helps any?

    • You should purchase a good inside the waistband holster. Remora makes an excellent IWB and they are around $30 with a no questions asked warranty. I carry a sig P238 and a S&W CS45 and I have Remoras for both guns in both left and right hand configurations. I have the left hand versions for small of the back carry even though I very much prefer strong side carry. Either gun conceals with a simple t shirt and a pair of shorts. I have even carried both of these guns with sweat pants although you do have to tie them a bit tight to keep them in place if you doing more then walking around. I also have OWB holsters specifically designed for each of my pistols. The Sig came with a kydex strong side and for my Smith I have a desantis thumb break scabbard. I prefer my IWB remoras. Your going to have to try a bunch of rigs out. But for $30 and really complete concealability… cannot and will not go wrong with a remora. Put your gun in a holster.
      As far as FL is concerned…..dont think you are breaking the law by having your gun print….but you are not doing yourself any favors by having your gun printing either.

  3. I completely agree with 1 and 2 but If you follow number three you are not going to be able to have a pocket holster as an option. Also I don;t really agree with the need to easily be able to re-holster. It is obviously the time an untrained individual will likely ND, but if the CCW is out of the holster than you should have already pulled the trigger at this point you can go as slow as you want to re holster. I came across which elaborates a little more on some other important selection criteria

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