Cautiously, I opened the lid to the large, overstuffed container, trying carefully to avoid the jack-in-the-box explosion that I expected at any moment. Luckily, everything stayed put, enough that I could remove the lid, carefully pull out layer after layer of various objects and place them in a line on my bed. I shook my head as I started to count the items … 9, 10, 11 … and I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Now up to 16, 17, 18 … I stood back and took it all in. It was like I had inadvertently created a holster graveyard! All different shapes, styles, materials, brands and sizes lay there silently — unused and untouched for probably years.
I know that I am not alone. Just about everyone I know who chooses to live the concealed carry lifestyle has a box, a drawer or a spot in the closet that is dedicated to the holsters that are for special occasions, that fit only with certain outfits, that work best for training, that are a bit bulky or uncomfortable or that are just no-gos overall. And while we all have some holsters that make it to the winner’s circle, it’s definitely not uncommon, at all, to buy a holster, try a holster and then retire said holster to the dust bunnies.
The problem with holsters is that most of the time, you can’t try them on before you take them home. And a holster that appears to check all the right boxes for your carry needs on paper may disappoint you in real life. The only real test is consistent practice and long-term, daily carry. There’s no doubt that you’ll learn a lot of lessons from that along the way. You’ll find that some holsters don’t work with certain clothes. Some bruise or pinch. Some slide or shift more than they should. Some might be time-consuming to set up. Or some might be surprisingly comfortable and secure.
This leads me to ponder the theory that some people hold true when it comes to holsters: that you should have only ONE durable, reliable, everyday go-to choice. That thought process puts a lot of people on a seemingly endless quest to find the perfect contender. That can be stressful … and sometimes unsuccessful. And that’s why I tend to disagree. This is not like the motto from the Highlander movies, in which the immortal warriors assert, “There can be only one!” While most responsibly armed folks would highly recommend carrying the same firearm in the same holster (and location) every day, we know that this is not always feasible. Depending on your job, your lifestyle, your hobbies, your clothing and even the makeup of your family, you may have to break out the holster options … and break them out often.
So what’s the perfect number, then? How many holsters should you have? I believe that number will be different for all of us. However, unless you’re proud of your growing museum collection, I think it would be perfectly feasible to narrow down your holster selections (weed through the graveyard if you must) to about four or five trusted options. This might include two or three of the ones you love and use the most for everyday carry and then a few extras to make up for special occasions, training events, competitions, etc.
All in all, when it comes to holsters, there might not ever be “the one.” There may be “the few.” In fact, you may be wearing the “right one” … for right now. Or the newest, best thing for you may be right around the corner. Accept it. Embrace it! You’re on the right track if you remember that the quest for a holster is unique to you and to your specific needs … and when you realize that this quest may never end!