The Nine Worst Holsters by Samuel Middlebrook

The Nine Worst Holsters


It’s time to talk about holsters.  There are nine holsters that are the worst ones on the planet, and here they are.

1. The holster that doesn’t cover the trigger guard.
A good holster will cover the entire trigger guard, so that nothing can get inside the trigger guard while the firearm is in the holster.  Many holster manufacturers will skimp in this part of the design, allowing some of the space behind the trigger to be exposed.  This is dangerous, cheap, and not worth carrying.  This is especially true of those who carry striker-fired handguns.  A good holster will cover the entire trigger guard.

2. The holster that doesn’t provide a full firing grip.
A good holster will allow you to get a full firing grip with your strong hand even while the firearm is fully seated in it.  You should be able to draw the firearm with the exact same grip as when you are indexed on target.  If your holster doesn’t allow a full grip, it’s time to buy a new one.  I’ve seen way to many students show up to courses with holsters that force them to draw with one grip, transition to another grip, and then finally find their shooting grip. It’s not only slow to draw, it’s also horribly unsafe. Make sure you can achieve a full firing grip while the handgun is in the holster.

3. The holster that doesn’t retain the firearm even when off the belt.
A good holster will retain the firearm even when the holster is taken off the belt, turned upside down, and shaken.  John Correia from Active Self Protection has a brilliant video explaining this concept (along with the other first two points I’m making here). Here’s a hint… you can’t do this with a hybrid holster.

4. The holster made of nylon.
Friends don’t let friends carry nylon holsters.  There are many brands that create this type of holster, and all of them suck. All of them. The list is almost endless as to why, but here’s a few examples I’ve seen firsthand.  I have seen nylon holsters shake completely loose from their belt mount, meaning that the belt clip stayed on the shooter’s belt, but the entire holster and the handgun inside it fell freely to the ground.  I’ve seen shooters struggle to draw because the front sight gets snagged inside the holster on - you guessed it - the nylon!  Friends don’t let friends carry nylon holsters.

5. The holster that has a “gun list”.
If you are looking at a holster, especially one sold at a big-box retailer like Bass Pro Shops, and it gives you a list of all the different gun models it will fit, run away quickly.  This means that this holster is cheaply made, not formed to your handgun, and will certainly not provide quality performance.  You’re not buying a T-shirt, so avoid ANY holster that comes in sizes S, M, L, and XL. (Author’s edit: this does not include the Safariland GLS, or solid holsters like PHLster Floodlight. This is way more about cheap one-size-fits-all options that should never be considered)

6. The “Flip Flop Gun Bucket”
The “Flip Flop Gun Bucket” has a piece of leather or neoprene that WILL become soft and flexible over time, essentially becoming a worn-in flip flop.  Attached to this flip flop is a gun bucket. It’s one-third of a kydex holster, or what I call a “gun bucket”.  The most common name for this kind of holster is a hybrid holster.  Most hybrid holster manufacturers break the second and third rule of this post.  They don’t provide a full firing grip (you’re thumb is difficult) and they will not retain the gun when taken off the belt and shook upside down.  Another HUGE safety risk here is that most hybrid holster wearers wind up pointing a loaded gun at themselves as they put the handgun into the holster.  This happens because the flip flop gets in the way of the gun bucket.  Avoid these types of non-holsters. 

7. The Blackhawk SERPA
Much as already been written on this.  Greg Ellifritz from Active Response Training has complied an excellent resource on this that you can find here:

8. Anything with the words “Urban Carry” on it.
The Urban Carry holster is a colossal failure.  Their IWB leather folding satchel demands a two-hand draw, and their newly released OWB leather holster has a retention device inside the trigger guard (no, I’m not joking).  DO NOT use these unsafe, miserable products.

9. The “I Don’t Train” Strong-Side Magazine Combo
A great way to prove to the world that you don’t train with your handgun is to have a strong-side holster that also has a spare mag pouch attached to it.  That’s not how it works, and anyone who has taken a fundamental handgun course knows this.  If you choose to carry strong side, and you choose to carry a spare mag, make sure your spare mag is accessible by your support hand.

Your holster is your choice, but make it an educated choice.

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