Below is a article written by a staff member with many years of firearms experience. Hopefully some of his insights will help you decide what type of holster to buy
As a retired police officer I have often used many different kinds of holsters for all sorts of reasons over the years. A lot of these holsters are utilized for special reasons hence the reason most of them end up in my gun room unused! A couple of my favorite holsters are broken in like an old pair of boots; perfectly comfortable and showing signs of wear and tear. But honestly, these are my favorite ones! If you live in one of the 39 states that have a concealed weapons law and you carry a gun on an everyday basis you know how what I'm talking about! These holsters may just be "equipment" to some people, but to a lot of people like myself, it's not just a piece of equipment it's an extension of your body and just as important.
Holsters in general are used for all sorts of reasons and with all sorts of guns like the Glock 23 or Smith & Wesson. Of course some people just end up using an old gun belt but, I prefer the holster for its dependability, efficiency and durability. One of the most popular holsters is made from Kydex which is actually a type of plastic also used in knife sheaths. These holsters in particular are quick, adjustable and almost indestructible. My Blackhawk Sportster Paddle has had thousands of draws since the day I got it and it's just as good now as it was when I first got it! Seriously if you want a good paddle the BlackHawk is like no other!
One of the most common textiles used in holsters is leather. Obviously you would think any sort of leather would be good but there are actually several different levels of leather available on the market today. In states such as Mexico and South Carolina you will usually see users that wear brain-tanned leather. Personally I don't like this kind because of the questionable troubles I have had with these items such as the dye bleeding or the cross stitching coming undone. One of the heftier options is to get a select horse leather product specially made by artisans. These pieces will most likely last you a lifetime and a half. One of the most outstanding holsters I have ever seen was one made by Galco Holsters.
If your looking for a more modern holster made of plastic or as aforementioned; Kydex or other artificial materials are great because they are weatherproof, waterproof, cost efficient and incredibly durable, however, some of the old plastic molded holsters are often known for wearing against the side of your gun! The most important thing you can do when buying a new holster is to check out the specs and do some small-time research to see if anyone has had any problems with the holster itself.
When I was a police officer I carried a Glock in a Kydex holster and I never had to worry about the gun falling out or the gun becoming worn off by the holster. Of course the plastic holsters aren't very "pretty" but they do what they are supposed to do; protect your gun and give you a quicker draw. These holsters are incredibly practical and very functional. They do exactly what you need them to do!
Holsters are mainly chosen by the type of "carry" you use. Only a couple of states in the US have some sort of a law against a concealed or open carried gun, and nowadays more and more citizens are allowed to carry guns but keep in mind, these guns are concealed! But just because someone can't see your gun doesn't mean you won't scare the heck out of the stock boy in the grocery store or the gas station attendant in the gas station. A concealed weapon should always stay - concealed, no matter what the situation. In other words; a holster that bulges out from your jacket, shirt or pants, wont work well at all.
Some people that drive a lot during the day might want to think about getting a cross draw holster. Now for a right handed person the holster will be placed between the front of your left pelvic arch and your navel with the main grip placed downwards the middle if your body. When seated in a car or other mode of transportation this is the position that is easier and will allow you to draw your gun more naturally plus it also allows for greater concealment
Usually depending on your body type you will need to look at different kinds of holsters. For instance a person with a big belly might not be able to wear a holster to where the gun is kept on the hip and for other people their pelvic bones are too "bony" so they can't wear hip holsters very comfortably! Shoulder holsters are not only incredibly favorable but, they are also comfortable in that they fit with your body type. Paddle holsters on the other hand offer a belt-less option but, they also allow for the same quick draw (if need be). If you watch a lot of TV you have probably seen ankle holsters, and honestly these are pretty useless because they are clumsy and uncomfortable. When you think about, whether you are sitting or standing, reaching down to your ankle to draw is going to be one of the more awkward stances. Whereas if your sitting or standing the closest body part is going to be your hip or shoulder!
The small of the back holsters, also known as SOB holsters, lie on your spinal column. Sometimes this can become really uncomfortable for people that are of smaller stances. One of the most important things you need to remember when wearing an SOB is the fact that it is on your spine, so you need to be careful not to fall on your back or you could risk serious injury. Besides that, even if you don't actually injure yourself you could be knocked back by the amount of pain and if you're in the middle of a gun fight this is absolutely the worst possible position to be in! It's also important to place the muzzle of your gun when wearing an SOB at the point where it will cross your body. Think of it like this, if a right handed person draws their gun from their back with the grip facing outward then the muzzle of the gun naturally crosses their body. So if the grip points towards his or her spine instead, then the gun is in turn naturally moved out and away from the shank.
If you are a female looking for a gun holster, you might want to consider a bra holster. Of course these types of holsters aren't the most comfortable thing in the world but, if you need to you can have the option available to you. If you are carrying a gun either off the job or you just have a gun for protection or whatever other reasons you also might want to just place the gun if your purse. Obviously this is more comfortable but at the same time, it's slower to draw your gun from that area., especially if you aren't ready and then you need to unzip your purse or open it up. You could be losing valuable time!
Field hunters often enjoy using a nylon holster or a Cordura hip holster with a flap. Just remember that leather is often heavier but it also ages wonderfully. It really depends on you and what you want or are looking for. In most cases, hunters will get by with just an inexpensive holster since it will be used for a couple of days out of the year instead of every single day. It's important when buying an inexpensive holster that it is still of good quality, however, because obviously you don't want the holster falling apart at an essentials moment in time.
A lot of the heavier handguns and also the scoped handguns are often carried better (weight wise) in a bandolier holster in or around the middle of the chest. These types of holsters even out the weight of the gun with a changeable harness. The well-known "inside the pants" holsters are known for being flexible and comfortable, for the most part anyway. Lean individuals with "tight" pants might find that the "in the pants" holster, isn't even an option! Plus not only can it get unbearable uncomfortable but you can also cause injury with the hammer of the gun and that is just not something you even want to go through!
The paddle holsters available on the market now will often have an extra flat tongue that is often positioned between your body and your pants. Paddle holsters are usually used for installation and removal without having to lead a belt through your pants. In most all cases the actual paddle works really well and are quite secure.
Most all holsters have some sort of a holding device to forestall loss of the gun during activities. One of the most simplistic forms of retention is friction, however, a lot of holsters also include some sort of a snap or band across the opening of the holster where the gun sits. Snaps are most likely positioned so that they open towards or away from the torso. It's essential that you realize what kind of snap you have included with your holster because some of the snaps take some actual force to trigger the opening where as others can easily be opened just by flipping the gun up against it. In most all instances, people in law enforcement are required to have their gun be "forced" up or pushed down before the gun can be removed. This is simply for safety reasons and nothing more, these types of holsters are often called "security" holsters. Now when you have three different methods of retention these types of guns are referred to as "level three security holsters". These holsters along with the one mentioned before it simply prevents law enforcement from having their gun taken away from them, say, in an altercation of some sort.
If your looking for a really innovative and new product on the market there is a specific molded security holsters you should take a look at known only as the SERPA Line of holsters from BlackHawk. Some of these Blackhawk holsters are level two and some are level three but both are as easily drawn as the non-security holster. This line of holsters has been made with you the user in mind. The holster is incredibly advanced in that they are ergonomically designed and they do not slow the draw time. With this type of holster you can buy the holster and then also attach a number of platforms such as a shoulder holster, belt, bearing vest, thigh holster or even a paddle. These are nice because they are much more cost efficient in the fact that you won't have to buy various holsters. You also have the option of buying a holster for a different gun and then using the aforementioned backing platforms mentioned above. All of these attachments are easily connected together with just a few simple screws!
Well we hope this guide gives you a better idea of some holsters that might work for you. Here are links to our various holster brand sections:
5.11 Tactical Holsters
Blackhawk CQC Holsters
Blackhawk SERPA Holsters
5.11 Tactical Holsters