Are traditional holsters really a necessity? With all of the cool conceal carry women’s clothing and purses out there, you may think not. You need to think again.
Although I love my conceal carry tank tops, sometimes I just want to tuck a gun into my pants and go. But finding a holster that will stay secure, guard the trigger, and is comfortable to wear is quite the task. Most of my gun carrying lady friends will agree that shopping for a holster is no ones kind of fun. It is the one kind of shopping none of us look forward too.
The biggest challenge with buying traditional holsters is that there aren’t too many stores to go into and try them out. Even the big box stores like Bass Pro and Cabelas have extremely limited selections. There are simply too many different guns in the market to carry a good selection.
So what do we do then? Google is your friend! In my case, too good of a friend. Do you see that pile of holsters in the above picture? My goal for this article is to prevent you from having the same kind of “collection.”
Types of Traditional Holsters
There are many types of traditional holsters on the market. You are probably most familiar with the “in the waistband” (IWB) style and the belt holster, or out of the waistband (OWB) holster. However, there are many other types of traditional holsters as well. Pocket holsters, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters are just a few. For the purposes of this article, we are going to take a look at IWB traditional holsters only. Not many of us will ever have the need to open carry with an OWB holster.
Traditional Holsters: Reasons Why You Need An IWB
Everyone should have at least one good IWB holster for every handgun they own. Even if you never intend to clip it inside the waistband of your pants. These holsters not only protect your trigger, but also act as a safe storage unit for your gun. Whether you drop it in your purse, slide it under the seat of your car, or lay it on your nightstand, it stays protected.
As ladies, most of us do carry purses at least some of the time. If you do not own a conceal carry purse, how do you carry your handgun in it? Dropping it in loose is never a good idea. Do you know how easy it is for something to get caught in the trigger? And how much dirt and lint get into the barrel and inner workings of the gun? While purse carry is the least encouraged method I recommend, at least have the gun in a hard holster if you do. And have the holster clipped to the inside of your purse, not just laying at the bottom of it.
How many of you “just run into the gas station” or bank or store, and leave your purse in the car? If your gun is in a IWB holster, you can quickly clip it in your pants and go. The ONE time you are going to need your gun is when you left it in your purse in your car. When you get done, you can take it off your pants and put it back in your purse.
Being a country girl, I spend a lot of time outside in my barn with my animals. I have to wear an IWB holster while doing nightly chores. A few weeks ago I forgot to put it on. Can you guess what happened? A huge copperhead snake was in the hay and my dog and I nearly got bit. I ran back up to the house to get my pistol, but never saw that snake again. Dang that Murphy’s Law! Never again.
Traditional Holsters: IWB Styles
There are so many I don’t even know where to start! Basically, IWB holsters come in 3 styles: kydex, fabric, and hybrid. Kydex is hard, fabric is soft, and hybrid is a combination of the two. Ultimately, what you want is something both protective and comfortable. While this sounds fairly easy, it is not.
I have yet to find an IWB holster that I truly love. None are comfortable when sitting, that’s why I prefer the tank top. In all honesty though, drawing from the tank takes practice and will never be as quick as an appendix draw. Ever. That scares me a bit.
Right now I am carrying in a Gunners Custom IWB Holster with sweatguard and FOMI clip. This is the only IWB holster I own that I can turn a cartwheel in and know that the gun is not coming out. Not only does it stay put, but it has adjustable cant settings so I can set it to my liking or according to what I am wearing.
I also like my Remora Sticky Holster. Advertised as “no clip, no slip,” this holster is simply just a pouch made out of a rubber fabric that sticks to your skin and/or clothes. You just slide your gun in, and the pressure of your pants and skin holds it in place. Pros: It is not gun specific; each size holds many different kinds of pistols. It is also very comfortable.
The cons, however, are extensive enough to not make this my regular carry holster. I’m just not comfortable with the lack of trigger protection, being that it is soft sided. Also, it tends to slip in cold weather. It only stays put if I am sweating. I have actually had my pistol fall out on the ground while wearing this holster. Why do I still use it? Comfort. While doing barn chores it is simply the best choice for me. But I never wear it away from home.
Traditional Holsters: How To Make Them Work For You
There are several things that can help make carrying IWB more bearable. First off, tight jeans and pants are a no no. By forcing the holster in an already too tight area you are asking for trouble. Not just by getting poked but also by getting rubbed raw on the stomach by the textured grips. If your vanity is more important than your comfort and safety, you aren’t meant to carry IWB.
Wear a belt. This is the single biggest game changer. Guns have weight to them, and if you don’t have it clipped to a sturdy belt you will end up adjusting your sagging pants all day. Belts prevent guns from slipping.
Wear loose shirts. The best way to hide however, whatever, and wherever you are carrying is with a long, flowy shirt. It can be a pretty shirt though! Carrying a handgun on your body is a lifestyle choice. You must be able to accept altering your current style of dress to accommodate your gun.
Traditional Holsters Vs. Conceal Carry Purses
I have come to the conclusion that the reason so many women carry in their purse is because it is not easy to carry on the body. But that does not mean you don’t need an IWB holster. You should get into the habit of taking it out of your purse and wearing it at least once a week out in public. Once you clip that thing in your pants and walk around a store a few times, you will feel a sense of empowerment that is truly indescribable. It actually becomes addicting!
As always, please practice pulling and firing your handgun from wherever you carry it on a continual basis. Having it and not being able to get to it quickly enough could cost you your life.