Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by Captain Quack, May 17, 2021.
The vast majority of IWB holsters are designed with friction retention. However, there are some models available with retention straps.
Kydex (or Boltaron or whatever plastic), and leather are the two most often chosen materials for holsters. They each have their pros and cons.
I'm not familiar with your pistol, but you want to make sure your holster is designed specifically for your pistol and not a generic fit holster.
Large, heavy guns often benefit from widely spaced loops to spread the weight of the gun along the belt. On the other hand, little guns don't need that and are often better suited to more compact holsters.
Having a proper belt for carrying a gun is a big deal.
This video from the late Paul Gomez may give you a start for what to look for
High Noon https://www.highnoonholsters.com/faqs
Tucker Gun Leather https://tuckergunleather.com/faq/
Milt Sparks https://www.miltsparks.com/questions.php
soft fabric of the holster
Captain Quack, just general advice, stay away from holsters made of anything other than leather or Kydex/polymer/plastic.
Nylon is just terrible except for very limited circumstances. Whichever material you choose, go with a reputable maker (some very well regarded listed above).
the whole darn thing came right off my belt when I bent
Your IWB holster and belt must allow you to move about without this risk. They work as a team.
If you like Kydex, I can recommend pjholster for IWB. But there are plenty of good makers out there. His I like because of the clip type (integral to the holster body) and general good quality.
For pocket Kydex I like Aholster/lefthandholster, they stay in the pocket when the weapon is drawn. I have had issues with others, these seem to work fine.
I use a leather belt from Hank's belts, but again, any of the well known quality makers will work. Belts from stores will not work, waste of money.
Here are a couple of old guys, Bill Wilson and Ken Hackathorn, talking about holsters. It is a little competition related as they were both big time competitors, but they do talk about concealment and IWB holsters a bit.
On the good side, I suspect as a retiree, you can probably choose cover garments with a little more freedom than the office worker.
If you're having trouble finding holsters for your gun, Ruger sells holsters for the Max9 on their website. I did a quick scroll through their offerings, and there are a few I wouldn't consider (avoid nylon as mentioned above), but most any of the Mitch Rosen offerings should be good.
Since they offer Mitch Rosen holsters, that would indicate Rosen covers the Max9, and if you don't see what you like at Ruger, you can check out Mitch Rosen to see if they have a style you prefer.
"Soft fabric", like the nylon used in many entry-level holsters, is usually a poor choice for a holster. I have no personal experience with the "Frequent Flyer" belt but note that it too appears to be made from nylon, which may not offer the support that a good leather belt can.
There are many makers of good quality leather and/or Kydex IWB holsters, and belts to go with them. I personally have found best comfort from Tucker Gunleather's "Texas Heritage" IWB holsters, and like Beltman belts quite a bit as well.
Whatever you choose, I would plan on spending at least $150 dollars for the holster with belt, and sticking with leather and/or Kydex. Anything else is liable to be less than ideal. I am sure their are people who would argue it, but that has been my experience.
The OP's Ruger Max9 weighs all of 18 oz ( https://ruger.com/products/max-9/models.html ). I use a Wilderness Instructor belt with a Colt Government Model. The Ruger Max9 will be no problem.
Some data points on The Wilderness Tactical belts ...
Gunsite sells The Wilderness Tactical 5-stitch Instructor belt in their Pro-Shop https://www.gunsitestore.com/product/apparel/belt/5-stitch-wilderness-belt/
Milt Sparks, who makes their own top notch leather belts, sells the Instructor belt on their site https://www.miltsparks.com/store.php#!/Wilderness-Belts/c/28386548
Here is Gunsite's Ed Head wearing a Wilderness nylon belt with his 1911 beginning at about the :30 mark.
Aaron Roberts with a Frequent Flyer belt with his 1911
Kyle Defoor with a Frequent Flyer belt
First of all, let me say that you're walking a path well worn by many of us here. That "first holster" many of us obtained we did so out of an abundance of ignorance on the subject, not fully understanding the importance of a quality, well built holster (and belt).
I don't know why so many of us have done so, but I rather suspect it's a "human nature" thing. We'll happily spend a wad of money on a firearm, then convince ourselves there's savings to be had in a "cheap" holster for it. The reality is that it's most often the path towards aggravation and frustration, accompanied with the realization that we just threw out whatever money we did on a holster we're definitely not happy with.
A good holster is WORTH the price you pay for it. You don't have to get an EXOTIC holster, just a GOOD one. I have a Milt Sparks Criterion IWB. I don't remember what I paid for it a decade or so ago, but it was over $100. Looking at their website now, it's $165, plus $37 for the "self closing loop" option. Call it $200.
I wish there were an "easy" way to shop for such high dollar items, but there isn't. I do have some recommendations, though:
Find other people who carry IWB and see what they have. It doesn't have to be for your particular pistol. What you are looking for is the quality and functionality of their rig. Does it ride well when worn? How is it worn? How is the weapon retained? Single or double loop? (Double loop will hold the holster more securely and will not allow shifting which could affect drawing or holstering your weapon.). What belt loop size and design? What's the cant of the holster? What material is it made from? If you can don the holster for feel, how does it feel? What position do you like?
Unfortunately, Idaho isn't in my back yard, so it's not an option for me (and many others on this site) to meet up for something like this. But you may have people local to you who would be glad to help like this.
I use Kore Essentials belt with my full size 1911 or 686 Smith and Wesson.
I generally never even look at return policy on holsters. I have several holsters, and I don't even know if any came with a return policy and I bought none of them locally. Chances of finding a quality holster at the local gun store is not likely. You may live in an area that has a top holster maker local, and the store may stock their stuff, but most quality holsters are bought on line. Quality holsters can be resold with very little loss, especially a holster such as a Milt Sparks that may have a 20 week waiting period, as many will pay a premium over the list price to get it with no wait.
Most of us have several holsters as it really is a trial and error effort. You can get great recommendations from the forum, and buy a quality holster, but it just may not work for you. Also, carrying a holstered gun is not as comfortable as not carrying a holstered gun, so anything you put on is going to be less comfortable than what you were doing before you started carrying.
I'll throw this out there, I'd probably choose an OWB holster, as I think they are generally more comfortable, and your gun is very small and will not extend much beyond the bottom of the belt even with an OWB holster.
Seeing Mitch Rosen covers the Max9, the OWB holster I'd start with would be the Mitch Rosen Upper Limit Express Line, which is specifically designed for small pistols like your Ruger.
The other thing to think of is there are several uses for holsters. A holster that may not work particularly well for concealment, may work great for a training class, or for competition, so if it doesn't work for your concealment needs, it is still available for other uses.
One of my early holsters was the Raven Concealment Phantom, the original kydex pancake holster. It allowed you to adjust the cant and ride height, and could be worn IWB and OWB with just changing out the attachments. It's not the best holster I have, but it is very good and it allowed me the ability to better understand what works for me as far as cant, ride height, and IWB or OWB with just the investment in one holster.
By the way, did you order a 1.5" belt?
Of course it's not made for your Max9, and shouldn't be expected to work well with that gun.
You've been given excellent guidance and I can only add some seemingly small but crucial advice:
Find one underused but capacious drawer.
Designate and label "Holster Drawer."
Fill to capacity
Rinse and repeat.
Separate names with a comma.