New Holster--Sharing My Experiences


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Kleanbore
June 13, 2014, 12:50 PM
Admitting some mistakes, here, for the benefit of others....

I started out carrying IWB several years ago. The idea in my mind was to ensure that nothing became visible below my shirt tail.

For one pistol, I bought a leather-kydex combination holster from a well known manufacturer. I had a lot of trouble with the gun falling out when I lowered my pants. It looks as if the manufacturer has redesigned the belt loops, but I ended up not carrying that pistol very often.

I bought three leather IWB holsters from two excellent holster makers for my various carry guns. No complaints at all, so I'll name them: Milt Sparks and Bell Charter Oak. Excellent fit and workmanship.

A combination of two things caused me to change my usual method of carry. First, Michael Bane opined on The Best Defense that OWB carry was more comfortable for him. I generally put a lot of stock in the recommendations on that program.

Second, I signed up for a training course on the Personal Defense Network tour (see the thread in ST&T). An OWB holster was required, and I had to find one in a hurry, so I ordered a leather one from a well-known manufacturer, and I wore it for a while to break it in and to familiarize myself with it.

That did require me to get some longer shirts.

The holster was OK for carry, but I had an awful time re-holstering during the class. It is one thing to holster once in the morning and a few times for practice, and quite another to re-holster many times during a training class. The holster really did not fit the gun very well at all. I took it off--for the last time--after the second day of the class. The trainer strongly recommended a kydex holster.

So--I ordered a horsehide and kydex OWB holster from Crossbreed.

Re-holstering is so much easier that I feel stupid for not having made the change before.

In addition, the comfort level for me is an improvement. Again, I wish I had made the change before.

It won't work for everyone, but I dress very casually almost all the time, and when I don't, a sport coat will cover the gun.

When I was at the class, I handled another holster that should be mentioned here. It is the Range and Carry holster, sold by the I.C. E. online store. If you happen to carry a Glock, a Smith and Wesson M&P, or a Springfield XD, you can get one. I am told that they intend to sell one for the XD-S also.

The (or rather, one) advantage of the RAC holster is that it has a little lip on the outside that helps guide the pistol during re-holstering. That should be a real advantage when re-holstering numerous times during a training course, and I recommend considering it if you are planning to attend a course and if they make one for your pistol.

There you have it--some recommendations from a duffer who learned things the heard way.

I hope the proves helpful.

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40-82
June 13, 2014, 01:37 PM
I generally agree with you that the outside the waistband holster is more comfortable and easier to learn to be fast with. I especially dislike wearing an inside waistband holster with a blued gun when I'm working hard enough to sweat profusely--its hard on the finish of the gun. And as you mentioned even the best inside the waistband holsters are at a disadvantage when you re-holster. That said, I would not want to be without the option of an inside the waistband holster. There are times when wearing a light shirt or even a light jacket when I find the inside the waistband offers a higher level of concealment. If I am reduced to the choice of a 1911 in an inside the waistband holster as opposed to say a two-inch .38 in the front pocket in a pocket holster, I will take the 1911 in the inside the waistband holster.

For several years I competed with a 1911 in an inside the waistband holster, and I gave up very little if anything in speed for the first shot. I wouldn't do that again. Better choices existed then and now. So, I would agree with you this far: use something more comfortable when you can, but keep your inside the waistband holsters.

BSA1
June 13, 2014, 02:06 PM
For IWB I love the Sparks Executive Companion. I carry a compact semi-auto and think I am going to order another one for a recently acquired P239. it sounds like you are carry a larger gun so your mileage may vary.

For OWB I just can't warm up to Kydex. One of my favorites is the Nelson designed 55BM sold by Sparks and a bunch of other holster makers. For the money though I might try a Kydex lined with smooth leather for a full size semi-auto.

JTQ
June 13, 2014, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the observations and comments. They will be helpful to many.

For those not familiar with the ICE Range and Carry holster (I wasn't, and I'm somewhat of a "holster hound") here is a link. http://icestore.us/Holsters/I-C-E-RAC-Range-and-Carry-Kydex-Holster.html

Here is the Crossbreed model http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/OWB/tabid/159/Default.aspx



Holster preferences I've learned.

I'll agree if you are doing a course or class with lots of reholstering, it is really tough to beat a kydex holster. They stay open, and you get the reassuring "click" letting you know your pistol is fully inserted in the holster.

As a 1911 shooter, I've really come to dislike tall sweat shields designed to cover a beavertail grip safety. I expect to find the thumb safety on my gun while it is holstered, not disengage it while holstered, but get my thumb near it so I don't have to hunt for it after the draw. Short shields that end at the back of the slide work fine, as they act as a ledge or index point for my thumb and my thumb finds the thumb safety immediately during the draw stroke. I think no sweat shield is best, and tall sweat shields are just in the way.

The other thing I've learned, and it looks like my observation will be counter to the two OWB models you've favored, is I don't care for "slide style" holsters, that leave a portion of the pistols slide exposed while holstered. I've found that I frequently contact the muzzle end of the gun on an armchair while sitting down and have nearly launched my gun out of the holster on several occasions.

Another problem I've had with slide style holsters is the muzzle of the gun will contact some seam on my pants. This is especially a problem with jeans. I've torn seams on my pants doing lots of reholstering due to this. Here is a link to "Sarge's Roll Call" showing a review of a Simply Rugged CID. I have an El Paso Saddlery High Slide, but the holstered gun pictured in the review shows how the muzzle of my 1911 rode. I eventually tore the back pocket seam on my jeans from reholstering.

http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/2008/08/cid-holster-from-simply-rugged-april-of.html

JTQ
June 13, 2014, 04:16 PM
For the money though I might try a Kydex lined with smooth leather for a full size semi-auto.
I have a Garrett Industries Silent Thunder. It is leather lined kydex. It is an excellent holster. It would be a fine choice for a training class.

http://www.giholsters.com

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