Newbie Question: Holsters and IPSC/USPSA


February 5, 2005, 10:45 AM
I'd really like to give IPSC/USPSA shooting a go. I've been a shooter for decades, but know nothing about holsters. And I do mean nothing. Sure, I've looked around, and there are a myraid of styles and options. The only thing I have a preference on is that I'd prefer leather over plastic.

This wouldn't be for defense or CCW, just for 'gaming'.

What is the best STYLE of holster for L-10 or Production? (Being new to a sport, and even the concept of trying to draw fast, I would prefer options that facilitate the best muzzle control/saftey as opposed to speed. I'd like to focus on safety, form, and getting 'A'(s) first. Speed would only be a consideration later. Just into this for some fun.)

I'd probably be looking to use a 1911 for L10, and a CZ75 for production.

Once I have a style/type identified, I could consider different brands.

Any help would be appreciated. I'm clueless.

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Chris Rhines
February 5, 2005, 11:13 AM
There are all manner of sport holsters available - CR Speed, Safariland, Ghost, etc. They all have their disciples and detractors, but they all work about the same - really well.

Then there are those of us who follow a narrower path, and use conventional Kydex OWB holsters. You'll need to use one in Production, and they are no real disadvantage in any other class (unless you're a GM, and maybe not even then.)

Leather? Well, you can, but there's no good reason to. Kydex is faster and much more durable.

I shoot from a Comp-Tac belt holster. The Blade-Tech straight drop OWB is a good choice, too.

- Chris

February 5, 2005, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the help.

A few more quick questions...

So the best type would be a 'paddle' holster?

With respect to cant, Is there rules regarding straight-drop, FBI cant, etc? Which would be preferred?

Also (and I know this is in flux), if it says 'IDPA-aprooved', is it also IPSC/UPSC legal?

I'm reconsidering the leather vs. plastic. But for Safariland, what is the difference between the 518 style and the 5183 style?

Thanks much!

February 5, 2005, 12:58 PM
I agree with Chris: a kydex OWB is your best option for IDPA/USPSA. I prefer actual belt-loop holsters rather than paddles, but there's nothing wrong with a good paddle. Comp-Tac's locking paddle has a hell of a following. IDPA has recently revised the holster rules, so you want to make sure your new gear is legal there if you want to shoot IDPA.

I'll second Chris' recommendation to go with Comp-Tac. They are up on what is and is not legal for IDPA and their gear is awesome and the service is awesome.

Re: holster cant: get a straight-drop. The cant of the holster is there for two reasons: 1) to make the gun easier to conceal 2) to present the grip to your hand at the proper angle. A holster that is right at 3:00 on your hip should be straight-drop, this keeps the grip in a position that when you drop your hand to the gun, it fits just right. As you move the holster back around farther and farther, you want more and more of a cant to keep the grip angled to meet your hand. Try sweeping your hand slowly around your side, like you were going for a gun - you'll see how as your hand moves farther towards your back, the angle increases.

So, for an OWB competition holster, it's straight-drop. Some people actually prefer a little muzzle-forward cant to it, but that would make it illegal for IDPA.

- Gabe

Chris Rhines
February 5, 2005, 12:59 PM
For a lot of your questions, I can only give that most useless of answers - "Try it out for yourself and see how you like it." :) Seriously, picking a holster is about as personal a choice as one can make. Your style of shooting, height, weight, body type, everything is a factor.

Paddle holsters tend to ride a little high for me. All else being equal, a lower holster allows one to draw with less overall movement. My Blade-Tech belt holster rides about an inch lower than my Comp-Tac paddle. The Comp-Tac is nice in that I don't have to remove my belt to put it on or take it off.

The rules in USPSA regarding holsters are very, very loose. The relevant sections are Section 5.2 in the USPSA rulebook, and Appendix D9, Section 23 in the Appendixes. Here's a link to the rulebook:

I prefer straight-drop holsters.

I've actually never used a Safariland holster, so I don't know much about them. Can anyone else chime in?

- Chris

February 5, 2005, 01:02 PM
A paddle is not necessarily the best..but it does offer easy on and off..

the 518 has a thumb break..the 5181 has raise sides to cover the sides of the gun and the 5182 doesen't..check out or to see pictures..

IDPA has a rule against adjustable cant holsters..for IDPA an FBI cant or straight drop works well..if it works for IDPA it will work for USPSA generally.

I am using either Kytac or Comp-tac holsters for my USPSA production, will see for IDPA and a Ghost holster for my USPSA open, limited and limited 10 guns..

Holsters are a very personal choice..what works well, carries well, comfort, secure for one person is not for another...I got boxes of holsters..if I were going strictly leather..I would go with Milt of the best out there..

February 5, 2005, 09:05 PM
IDPA has a rule against adjustable cant holsters..The rule has been clarified to mean only holsters that you can adjust while you're still wearing them. If you have to take it off to adjust the cant, it's OK.

- Gabe

February 6, 2005, 05:59 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the help. Many good points.

I've given this a bit more thought, and have done a lot more research into the holster/belt/mag decision.

I'm pretty much leaning to a belt-holster. Due to input on paddle holsters riding higher, and in some cases, not being secure. Since this is just a 'gaming' holster, SOB holsters are out, and IWB seem too likely to be uncomfortable.

I'm also seriously considering Kydex as an option, there appear to be some well engineered stuff out there, with may proponents. Leather, to this newbie, just seems like it would be higher 'quality', or perhaps I'm an anti-plastic-bigot. But I could believe that kydex would help on the draw.

What causes less wear? Leather or Kydex. I mean I realize that my 1911s are my tools, and on an old rifle, actually appreciate a touch of wear and tear. (I know that dirt is the big enemy.) I had considered holster use getting my 1911s, and although I prefer a blue 1911, I have a stainless and a hard chrome 1911. I don't know if these will survive unscathed.

I appreciate the input I've gotten...(here and on another board).

I'm drifting towards the following options.


- Dillon 'Master' holster/Dillon 1.5" double thick belt/Dual leather mag holders.
- Milt Sparks CC-AT Holster/Milt Sparks Belt (geezzz$80?)/leather mag holders


- Comp-Tac Belt holstet/Wilderness 1.5" belt/plastic-kydex mag holders
- SideArmor Modular Belt Holster/Wilderness 1.5" belt/plastic-kydex mag holders

I'm figuring that if they are IDPA approved, it opens up other options, and can be used in IPSC too.

Also, I did see 1911 Govt' holsters that said: * - Will not fit Springfield

...and both of my 1911s have Springfield frames.

More advice is always appreciated!

February 6, 2005, 11:51 PM
Lots of information to digest...just keep asking away..

Kydex can get rough if dirt and dust get between the holster and the gun...really scratches stuff up..but as you

The Sparks stuff is good..I got three belts from 15 years or so ago..and they are still in great shape and I wear one of them every day...

Not sure if they still do..but Springfield frames used to have a different shape dustcover...they had more flat on them than a Colt frame and so did not fit the same molded holsters...

February 7, 2005, 10:04 PM
I like the Blade-Tech straight-drop holsters because they are legal for Production.

I wouldn't use the CZ-75 for Poduction unless it has a decock lever. If you consider all of the equipment needed, it would be worth considering a Para-Ordinance LDA for production. If your single action gun is a single stack 1911, then a single stack LDA can use the same holster, magazines, and magazine pouches.

The only drawback of a single stack LDA for Production is that the box requirement will limit you to factory-length 8-round magazines. So another approach would be a double-column single action Para-Ordinance and a double-column Para LDA which could share magazine pouches and the holster. The magazines for Production will need the flat base pad so they will fit in the box with the gun. If you want to shoot Limited or Open it would be helpful to have at least one magazine with the long (+2) base pad, or a Grams Engineering kit that will extend the length to 140mm and give you about 4 extra rounds.
Richard (

February 8, 2005, 03:48 PM
I have been shooting in the USPSA Production division now for about a year. I was a little intimidated by all the differant holsters out there when I first started looking at equipment. I finally settled on Fobus belt holster. It has proven to be a great holster that is easy to draw from. I gotten my draw and fire times down to 1.4 seconds which is good enough for me. It is solid and has plenty retention. In fact it had a little too much retention so I modified it to make it easier to draw from. Fobus and UM also have some very nice mag carriers.

February 8, 2005, 05:56 PM
A lot of the kydex holsters actually grip the trigger guard. They don't use pressure on the slide to really hold the pistol and may show less wear than leather.

I recently upgraded my uncle mike's stuff for production to ky-tac holster and mag carriers and a CR speed belt. I haven't received the ky-tac stuff yet so I can't comment, but I got the belt.

I would seriously consider the CR speed or another 2 piece belt. The CR speed pushes your holster and mag holders a little bit further from your body and makes things easier to grab. Also once you get your positions set up for your holster they remain on the outer belt. No rethraeding stuff on and off around belt loops. More importantly no restrictions on where your holster or mag pouch is because a belt loop is in the way. The CR speed belt is $45 bucks. About the same as a typical one piece belt loop.

I have tried the CR speed belt with my uncle mike's stuff and it makes a noticeable difference in the stability of my holster and pouches.

Holster style- my advice is kydex, no retention straps, front of holster is cut as low as legal (1/4 inch below ejection port). I also don't like a lot of material below the trigger gaurd. That is when I grip the pistol while holstered I want to be able to put my fingers where they will be when I am firing. The bottom of the trigger guard should almost be visible. Look at the Ky-tac holster for an example. I dremeled the extra material off of my Uncle Mike's holster and I think this was a big improvement.

February 9, 2005, 07:21 PM
Straight-drop kydex or other "plastic" holster...

on a CR Speed belt!

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