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Holsters and Carry Methods: pros and cons

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by RetiredUSNChief, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. TRX

    TRX Active Member

    Sep 5, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Weather permitting, my preferred setup is a shoulder rig. It doesn't drag my pants down, doesn't have to be removed at the toilet, doesn't get snagged in seat belts, doesn't dig into my abdomen, doesn't get snagged on chair arms.
  2. Chocolate Bayou

    Chocolate Bayou Member

    Dec 23, 2013
    Brazoria County, TX
  3. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Participating Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    Some thoughts:

    IWB vs. OWB
    Generally OWB holsters will be more comfortable, although some IWB holsters are extremely comfortable. IWB holsters will conceal better in most cases, although there are plenty of clothes that will conceal an OWB holster just fine. OWB holsters will be faster to access.

    Appendix carry

    Pro: Very concealable, quick draw with practice. Better access while seated than many hip carry styles.

    Con: Having the muzzle pointed at your body is uncomfortable for many. Deep concealment holsters here are hard to draw from in this position with regular pants and a belt, although any clothing with elastic waistbands makes this substantially easier. Uncomfortable to sit with for some people.

    Strong-side hip carry

    Pro: Probably fastest and most natural draw. Good comfort. Good retention.

    Con: May be hard to access while seated.

    Small of the back carry

    Pro: None, really.

    Con: Awkward draw stroke that either sweeps the person drawing or other people around that person. Concealability is not bad until you reach up or bend over, at which point it disappears entirely. Risk of injury if you fall on your back. Tendency to make very distinguishable and unnatural noises (of two hard objects colliding) when sitting down on a hard seat. Very uncomfortable to sit down in, and extremely hard to draw while seated.

    Crossdraw carry

    Pro: Best draw stroke from the seated position. Very good retention (Note: Some people think crossdraw has terrible retention because a person in front of you can readily draw your gun. This is true, but you will see them going for it, whereas a person going to grab your gun from a strong-side holster from behind may approach unseen and have just as easy a time grabbing it.) Good concealability, avoids the butt of the gun printing when bending over, which can happen with strong-side carry.

    Con: Slower draw stroke in most situations than strong-side hip carry (However, a very fast crossdraw draw stroke is to blade off from your target with the holster side closest to your target and your hands resting in front as though on your belt buckle).

    Pocket carry

    Pro: Comfortable and practical. If your situational awareness sets you off, you can have the gun in hand and yet still appear to be only a person with his hands in his pockets. Good for cold weather, as a snubnose revolver or small semiauto can be put in a coat pocket for ready access, and it can even be fired from the hip while still inside your coat.

    Con: Very difficult to draw from a seated position. Very few people can carry guns bigger than a subcompact semiauto or snubnose revolver in their pockets. Limits your storage space, as there should not be anything else in the pocket with a pocket-carried gun. Slower draw than most belt carry methods.

    Shoulder carry

    Pro: Easy access while seated. Good concealment. Can allow you to carry a larger gun than is comfortable on your belt.

    Con: Weight is on your shoulders instead of your hips. Draw stroke tends to be slower and sweep other people with the muzzle. Most conceal poorly under light-colored shirts. Forgetting to secure the retention snap means the gun will rapidly fall out of the holster.

    Off-body carry [purse, shoulder bag, etc.]

    Pro: You can carry just about anything easily.

    Con: You have little retention of your gun, and most people do not actually take the bag with them literally everywhere, so you may become separated from the gun with relative ease.

    Ankle carry

    Pro: Great for backup, relatively easy to unobtrusively access during a ground fight, if you can successfully keep your opponent in your guard, by reaching over your opponent's back while bringing your leg up toward your hand. This is part of an effective defense against punches (clinch) while in the inferior position in the full guard. Decent access while seated, particularly in a car.

    Con: Extremely difficult to access in most other situations. Limited to small guns. Without a retention strap, movement or groundfighting may dislodge the gun, leading to the extremely awkward skittering sound of your gun bouncing over the floor.
  4. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Senior Member

    Feb 7, 2004

    I find just a few simple ways to pack.

    Either a IWB or OWB open top holster behind the hip or a IWB in the appendix position.

    No straps or gizmos to slow the draw down.

    Any way you carry the gun you will have to practice quite a bit to be fast with it.

    And that is another reason to shun exotic methods.

  5. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Mentor

    Jul 9, 2012
    SC (Home), VA (Work)
    A SAA in my gunfighter holster under a leather duster would be appealing, if a bit outside of my normal style of dress.

    Be hot as Hades in the summer, though.

  6. heycods

    heycods New Member

    Jan 29, 2014
    West Cent. Texas
    having the lack of a butt to hold my pants up, waist carry is out, drags my pants down even with the smith 36, so its shoulder rig for me with second button of shirt left unbuttoned
  7. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Participating Member

    Oct 27, 2013
    Where ever the good LORD puts me.
    Hey at least you would look cool!:D
  8. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Mentor

    Jul 9, 2012
    SC (Home), VA (Work)

    Darn skippy!
  9. 1SOW

    1SOW Senior Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    Chief, I'm mil. retired, skinny (approaching old) and live in a hot climate. Fast access, concealment and comfort are my order of priorities.
    I prefer hammered metal/steel pistols.
    I need the pistol in the car and seated at establishments like restaurants. I walk , ride a bicycle and fish.

    Sig 239, IWB open top, 11:00, Cross-draw
    A retired LEO recommended this holster. I tried it and found it fits all my priorities and also gives some position options for colder weather where concealment is easier.

    Safariland lined plastic/kydex Model 18 :Sig 239, Rt Handed, IWB with two adjustable snap beltloops that "lock" into position with an allen wrench, Adjustable for cant around to 3:00 or so.

    The holster stays in position and doesn't print much "with the right belt" with any slightly loose shirt. Fast access without having to make a show of clearing the shirt in the car with seat-belt on or seated in a restaurant. Weak-hand clear and complete draw without noticeable movements. Standing it's fast . Bonus: it reholsters just as easily and discretely.

    I can forget it's there except when squatted down tieing my shoes. :)
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  10. NewGuy1911

    NewGuy1911 New Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Cross draw

    Hi 1SOW,

    Pictures please. Also, you're THR name?
  11. B1gGr33n

    B1gGr33n Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Central Minnesota
    I have two guns I carry three different ways depending on conditions and attire.

    1: Taurus TCP with
    A) suede leather pocket holster
    B) Barsony leather top-snap belt holster
    C) nylon ankle holster.

    2: Glock 22 Gen4
    A) Uncle Mike's Reflex holster - Belt loop attachment
    B) " - " paddle attachment.

    The Taurus is the petite carry, the Glock is the work horse. I've tailored the carry methods as such.

    When I carry the Taurus as the primary weapon, I use the pocket holster. The suede keeps the holster firmly in the pocket for a nice smooth draw, and the whole rig looks like a wallet in the pocket. I've carried it in a suit and tie with nobody being the wiser. The trade-off here being that you need to buy pants with enough room for a decent sized wallet, so skinny jeans are a no-go.

    The Taurus in the belt holster is for discreet daily wear. I can conceal it easily and comfortably in the 2:30-3:30 position under a loose shirt or jacket. I tried an open top leather holster for a while, but got tired of constantly having to make sure the gun wasn't working loose (it fell out a couple times). The top snap cured that problem at the expense of losing a second in draw time.

    The ankle holster is purely for carry as a backup gun when carrying the Glock, I wouldn't ever want to trust my life to my ability to grab my ankles faster than the guy coming at me with a knife.

    I pretty much only carry the Glock when I'm not concerned about having to conceal it. Not to say it can't be done, I've done it several times under a Carhartt coat, it's just not convenient. I've been favoring the belt holster mostly because the paddle holster with the Reflex is way too tight on the pants in my opinion. Makes it very difficult to adjust or take on and off, which I believe is the intended design benefits of the paddle in the first place. I know some people say that a paddle should really grab hold of a belt so it's harder for a bad guy to grab, but I think that's more of an issue for Police Officers or guards, not the average joe. I chose a paddle for the ability to quickly remove the gun from my person if I have to run someplace like a post office or courthouse.

    That's my experience so far. Take it for what you paid for it.
  12. mugsie

    mugsie Active Member

    May 8, 2006
    If I'm carrying my LCP, then it's in my strong side pocket. If it's my 642 or my P250SC in 9mm, it's in the 4 - 5 o'clock position.
  13. mongoslow

    mongoslow New Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    I'm real simple, I carry a G-23 in a blachawk serpa2 sportster holster at 3 o'clock it just works for me. as far as concealment i wear t-shirts and let it cover the pistol best it can. When im around home i tuck my shirt in and open carry, i dont change it around and i always know when i start my draw my hand finds that G-23 right where it should be :)

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