Types of Holsters for Different Uses

Your gun holster serves three primary purposes: security, safety and accessibility. It has to securely hold your firearm so you maintain positive control over it at all times, and at the same time, it has to protect the trigger from accidental contact. Finally, it has to keep your gun accessible so you can reach for it and draw without thinking, even when you’re in a tough situation.

But not every holster is right for every situation. You’ll need a different holster for working out than you would for patrolling the streets or shooting in a competition. These are five main types of holsters:

  1. Outside the waistband holsters, or OWB
  2. Inside the waistband holsters, or IWB
  3. Pocket holsters
  4. Shoulder holsters
  5. Ankle holsters

Concealed Carry Holsters 

Concealed carry holsters need to be secure, stay hidden and provide you with easy access to your firearm in an emergency. A holster shirt may be the ideal solution for you because it allows you to reach your gun quickly and easily while minimizing the risk of printing.

H3: Best Holsters for Concealed Carry

  • IWB holsters
  • Pocket holsters
  • Shoulder holsters
  • Ankle holsters

Competition Holsters

Every competition you participate in will have its own rules about holsters, including USPSA and IDPA competitions. You’re looking for speed on the draw, comfort and flexibility – especially if you’re participating in a competition that requires you to move between targets quickly.

Best Holsters for Competition Shooting

  • OWB holsters, like the ThumbDrive® holster
  • A holster combined with a thigh rig
  • A holster pouch attached to your kit

If you’re shooting in a 3-gun competition, you might need additional equipment like a VTAC® 2 Point Padded Sling.

EDC Holsters

When it comes to everyday carry, it’s important to put your personal preferences first. You have to be able to reach your gun under any conditions, so think about where you naturally reach, and get a holster that suits your draw.

Holster Hack for EDC: Muscle memory goes a long way, and it should go without saying that practice is essential – especially if you EDC.

How to Choose Which Holster is Right for You

Choosing the right holster will help ensure you’ll ALWAYS BE READY®. Use these tips to make the right choice:

  • Determine which holster placement will feel most natural on your body. Stop into your local 5.11 to test the options on for size.
  • Decide whether you want a molded plastic, leather or nylon holster. Remember that each type of holster material has pros and cons, and what you choose should depend on your mission.
  • Figure out whether you need Level I, Level II or Level III retention. (The higher level of retention, the harder it is to draw the gun from the holster.)
  • Keep your reason for carrying in mind when choosing a holster – if you’re going to be subject to the rules of a competition, check and double-check them before you buy.

As long as the holster you choose meets its primary purposes – security, safety and accessibility – you’ll be in great shape. That is, of course, as long as you’re practicing often enough to build up the reflexes you need to draw fast and true in any situation.

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