Holsters. It’s a love-hate relationship. Everyone has an opinion on what is the best and what you should try. By the time all is said and done, you become another gun person with a box full of holsters. They’re just sitting there taking up space — as useless as a pair of jeans that no longer fits. But you just can’t bring yourself to throw them out. There’s got to be a better way, right? As a woman in a man’s world of firearms, looking for fit and comfort in a holster may leave you settling.
We talk about fit and comfort as though they are interchangeable. They’re not. Personal experience will tell you that while one holster may fit well … comfort is a whole different ballgame. There shouldn’t be a trade-off. Unfortunately, there is no perfect holster. I’ll make that one aspect clear right away. As someone new to the concealed carry lifestyle, this was one lesson I learned the hard way.
Choices, Choices: So Many Holster Choices
As if the copious types of holsters to select from isn’t enough, the number of options in style can be overwhelming, to say the least. You have leather, Kydex, inside the waistband, outside the waistband, belly bands, thigh holsters, on and on and on. I mean, the list is seemingly endless. And several features will affect how well the holster will fit you and how comfortable it is to wear every day. That really is the ultimate goal: to have at least one or two go-to holsters that allow you to carry your firearm every day.
When I started this journey, I was fortunate to have the help of Beth Alcazar and Kevin Michalowski. They were able to point me in the direction of a couple of different holsters that could work for me. Of those many suggestions, I selected a few that were tried and true. I started with the CrossBreed appendix holster. Excited about my first purchase, I quickly went to test it out and hoped that I would be lucky enough to find the perfect holster right out of the gate.
While I really liked having the Kydex to protect my firearm as I took baby steps into carrying with a round in the chamber, the overall fit was very bulky for me. I failed to take size into consideration as I shopped initially. While wearing the inside-the-waistband holster, even with bigger shirts, I still printed terribly. There was a good amount of discomfort while sitting as well. The bottom of the holster dug into my hip and leg while I was working at my desk.
I moved on to the Elite Survival Systems Inside the Pocket Holster. Great concept, but this particular holster came with a design issue. Since my pockets weren’t big enough to use this as suggested, I holstered my firearm and tucked it between myself and my waistband (similar to a Sticky holster and other clipless inside-the-waistband designs). Still, the heat-sealed seam at the bottom corner left sharp edges that scraped and dug into my hip.
I did love the fact that I could move the pocket holster from appendix carry to the 3 or 4 o’clock position with such ease. But I found that it wasn’t worth the discomfort as I kept shifting the holster and firearm to find the most comfortable spot. This pretty much defeated the purpose of concealed carry since I kept drawing attention to it. Now I knew to check the material and all the edges on holsters I was trying, especially ones kept directly against my skin.
Summertime Concealed Carry
I’m a dress kind of girl when it comes to spring and summer fashion. From Beth, I learned that a thigh holster can help me carry my firearm while remaining fashionable. Can Can Concealment makes belly bands, thigh holsters and even garters for firearms carry! I was really excited about the possibilities. It concealed my firearm well, and there was even a little pocket for an extra magazine.
Sometimes though, things can be too good to be true. On the inside of the fabric, there is a magnet to hold the barrel of the firearm in place. After wearing this holster, I quickly learned this may be best when out with friends for a couple of hours. Wearing it for more than 10 hours over a whole day turned into a lot of pinching and bruising. It could have been user error with finding the correct fit too. But you should take how long you will wear your holster into consideration.
There is no perfect “one-shot” holster, and there is a lot to think about when it comes to finding the right one. But take my own experience with a grain of salt. Each holster will fit everyone differently. We are all forever learning on this journey. Finding a practical way of being able to carry comfortably is as important as finding the right gun to put in the holster in the first place.
Want to follow along with my journey to Carry Confidence? Become a USCCA Member today to watch the whole season of Member-Only Weekly Training.