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Holsters / Types of Holsters

holster on belt

A holster is a holder for carrying a handgun or other firearm. A holster is typically made of leather, but can be made of a variety of other materials. It is used to hold or restrict the undesired movement of a handgun. A well-designed holster will provide protection to the handgun when inserted or removed from the holster or while being carried. This prevents three things: accidental trigger movement, accidental disengagement of the safety mechanism, and forward or rearward movement of the hammer. These features will vary greatly as applicable to the action of the handgun. The safety features of a holster generally require that a holster must be designed for each specific model of handgun.

Types of Holsters

Pocket holster

Pocket holster
image of pocket holster

A pocket holster is a holster designed to carry a concealed firearm in the pocket of an article of clothing. Holsters are generally designed to offer protection to the handgun, secure its retention and provide ready access to it. View a USCCA guide to pocket carry.

Shoulder holster

person wearing shoulder holster
image of shoulder holster

A shoulder holster consists of straps connected in a manner similar to a backpack, with the actual holster mounted to a strap on the right or left side. Normally, the straps cross over on shoulders and back and the gun can generally be placed over the chest or under the armpit, depending on the design. Shoulder holsters distribute the weight across the shoulders instead of directly on the belt. This is to provide better comfort than a traditional holster. 

They are designed to position the handgun in one of three ways: a vertical position with the barrel pointed generally toward the ground, a vertical position with the barrel pointed generally upward or a horizontal position with the barrel pointed generally behind the carrier. Spare magazines typically hang on the opposite side of the body from the holster. The firearm is then easily concealable with a jacket.

Hybrid holster

Hybrid holster
image of hybrid holster

A hybrid holster refers to the merging of two or more different types of materials in a holster’s construction. For example, a holster with a leather back pad and a polymer shell would be a hybrid holster. 

Related Articles From the USCCA Blog

Holsters for Beginners

Holsters for Beginners

Bob Campbell — March 12, 2020

Holster Comparison: Kydex vs. Leather

Holster Comparison: Kydex vs. Leather

Bob Campbell — June 13, 2020

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. We make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. 

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