1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Educate me on different styles of concealed carry holsters

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by Armchair Bronco, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Well-Known Member

    Can someone give me a quick sketch of the different flavors of concealed carry holsters and the pros and cons of each?

    From the El Paso Saddlery site, I see the following choices:

    - strong side
    - dual position
    - cross draw
    - IWB
    - pocket
    - shoulder
    - paddle
    - small of back

    Without knowing *anything* about this, the styles that seem like they might work for me would be cross draw and small of back.

    Also curious what the % breakdown is for each flavor among the concealment crowd.
  2. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Well-Known Member

    Did a bit of research on my own, and it looks like small of back is a BAD choice. Apparently if you fall on your back, you can badly injure your spinal cord. Some police forces have banned them or are phasing them out.

    For deep concealment, something like a Guardian 32 ACP paired up with a pocket holster might be a great way to go. I already walk around with my iPhone in a leather flip top case in my front pocket, and a Guardian isn't much bigger.

    Just a lot more powerful.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  3. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    Generally, small of the back holsters are not recommended. You'll find some of the top makers, Milt Sparks for one, won't even offer them.

    Unless you are carrying a small pocket pistol, as you mention above, a belt holster, and strong side, is usually the most recommended. Other options, such as cross draw or a shoulder holster will work for a specific need such as use in a car, but the strong side belt holster, either Inside the Waistband (IWB) or Outside the Waistband (OWB) are the most recommended.

    The two best sources for holster design I've found are at

    Horseshoe Leather http://www.holsters.org/holster-design.htm


    High Noon Holsters "Questions" section http://www.highnoonholsters.com/_Questions/_questions.html

    You mentioned cross draw, here is an article on the subject. http://www.gunweek.com/2005/feature0101.html

    Here is some information on kydex holsters if you get to that point. https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/the-case-for-kydex/
  4. rayban

    rayban Well-Known Member

    A word about IWB (inside the waistband)..while it may be the most concealable, it may also be the most uncomfortable...itf you're thinking about it, just tuck a gun inside your waistband and go through your daily paces around the house.....see how you like it.
  5. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Well-Known Member

    I would agree with this but would add that my P226 ST carries better in my Kirkpatrick IWB than my Galco Fletch OWB. I think that my pants might help distribute the weight a little. And of course you have to have a good belt to go with it. I find that the belt is equally as important as the holster, really.
    Just my .02 and, of course, YMMV.
  6. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    No. Just no. The whole point of using a IWB or any type of holster is distribute the weight across your body for comfort and concealment. Sticking a firearm in your waistband will not feel the same as in a proper holster.

    In general, the more types of holsters you have, the better for different situations. I have several types of pocket holsters, ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, IWB and OWB. In a business suit, a shoulder holster might be a better choice than an IWB holster.

    Small of back is discouraged for most applications. The risk of spinal injury aside, it is rather uncomfortable compared to carrying in the 3 to 5 position for right handed (7 to 9 for lefties). Appendix and cross draw carry are typically only comfortable with small, pocket sized 380 or 9mm firearms. But on occasion someone can carry a 1911 there fine.

    Paddle holster is less of a type and more of accessory. The paddle of the holster makes it easier to take on and off with less belt manipulation.
  7. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    Small-of-back rigs have some big negatives. First, in no particular order, one must never bend forward in public! Second, the drawstroke must cover a lot more real estate, increasing the time from perception of threat to presentation of weapon, and a corollary to that is that one cannot very well discreetly move one's hand to be nearer the weapon, in preparation for the draw. Third, the drawstroke from S.O.B. puts one's arm most of the way into an arm-lock position, which is of particular importance if surrounded by opponents, and/or if already within touching distance of one opponent. Fourth, falling upon one's back can be aggravated by a hard object striking one's spine; why risk carrying a hard object over the spine?

    I work for a very large PD. For a while, many of us carried handcuffs in the S.O.B. position, but some of us were hurt when falling onto the handcuffs, and S.O.B. quickly fell out of favor. One female colleague was hurt really badly by her handcuffs.

    While mentioning the LEO aspect, I hope and pray ALL of my armed-felon opponents use S.O.B. carry, as it gives me an advantage!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  8. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    My preferred "primary" carry position is "strong" side*, about 0300 in military clock language. I will sometimes carry a secondary weapon in a straight-draw or cross-draw holster at 0100-0200, in what is usually termed appendix-style carry. I often use a pocket holster carry for the secondary weapon. Shoulder rigs? Well, due to my area's climate, shoulder rigs usage is rare, but when it is cold and rainy, a shoulder rig can be very useful for a secondary weapon. (I like to always carry a weapon at 0300, because I am likely to reflexively reach there, by default.)

    Yes, I like secondary handguns; it is my habit. One "primary" at 0300, and one "roving" gun, carried as dictated by environment. I think the "roving" term comes from British military terminology, perhaps from the time of the troubles in Northern Ireland, by way of a Brit expat friend, Anthony. My adoption of the term is NOT an endorsement of either side of that conflict! Anyway, this allows me the freedom to wear one gun in an ideal position for the circumstances, and
    another at the default "primary" position. Carrying a second gun is a personal choice, not necessarily a recommendation; I am just expaining why I do it.

    *I use "strong" side to mean the side one chooses as the best arm for drawing the weapon. Quite a few folks' primary weapon hand is not necessarily stronger; it is more complicated than that.
  9. Mainsail

    Mainsail Well-Known Member

    They will all work for you because your Washington CPL allows you to carry concealed, it does not require you to carry concealed. (Assuming you have a CPL)

    Open carry, partially concealed, inadvertently exposed, printing, etc, are all lawful methods of carry.

    Now, I understand you may be concerned with openly carrying or having your concealed carry gun exposed, but keep in mind that most people don’t notice when I carry openly, so they’d notice a lump or even a full outline print much less.

    Any good OWB holster with a shirt or sweater to cover will be the most suitable and comfortable.
  10. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Well-Known Member

    It's really up to your build/preferences/activity level/gun choice. Very difficult decision to make, kind of have to learn as you go.

Share This Page