Post ressurection from 2008
After the flame wars over caliber effectiveness and autos vs. revolvers, the next most discussed pistol issue would have to be holster choice. The options for discussion are numerous; inside the waistband our outside? Ankle carry, shoulder rig or waist? Retention or scabbard? Leather or Kydex? and on and on.
IMO many people get too far into the weeds when talking about holster choice. As I see things, the primary concerns for civilian carry should be finding a holster that safely retains the weapon and prevents accidental discharges. It should present the weapon consistently and be comfortable and convenient enough that you will wear it. The “top of the line” holster you never wear is a waste. Having the weapon on you when needed is first and foremost.
Many people confuse law enforcement retention requirements with what a “civilian” CCW carrier is likely to face. Uniform cops or detectives that “open carry” have to be concerned with gun grab attempts because the bad guys know that you have a gun on you somewhere. Undercover cops and civilians don’t typically have the same concerns. Decent retention and ease of access from under clothing are larger issues. I own a number of holsters; from pricey leather to cheap polymer. My pistol pictured above is in a Fobus, polymer holster. A few years ago an “issue” with these holsters came up:
This caused a big stir in the gun nut community. People were afraid that while walking through the grocery store some tweaker or terrorist was going to attack and break their weapon off of their hip. My problem with this whole hullabaloo is that the holster wasnt designed for external, level III style carry. It’s a beautiful holster for when I’m carrying under a sweater and my Buffalo winter overcoat. It’s fast on the draw with no straps or levers to deal with. It has a positive “click” retention that wont let the weapon bounce out on its own. But Id never carry it exposed on duty or working a plain clothes detail simply because it’s a paddle holster, nevermind the possibility of it breaking off in a struggle.
You must choose your equipment with the purpose you intend to use it for in mind. If you want a holster for range carry or casual low-risk concealed carry, you can use these less expensive holsters. If you are in a job where a real possibility of a struggle over your weapon exists, you should get a high-end holster and belt rig with added security features.
Keep in mind however that even a level IV holster can be defeated given enough time and intellect on the part of the BG. Safety features only buy you time to try to prevent the disarm.