Pistol Holster, Magazine Holster and Gun Belt

If you’re going to carry a pistol, you need a holster. The holster should be made specifically for your model of pistol. A good criteria for a holster is one that fully covers the trigger and trigger guard, stays open when the pistol is drawn and fastens securely to the belt. After that it all depends on how you want to wear the pistol.

There are two main types of holsters,  outside the waistband (OWB) and inside the waistband (IWB).  OWB can just be strapped onto the belt. An IWB usually requires you to buy a slightly larger pair of pants(I went from a 34 to a 36 inch waist in my jeans. IWB are usually more concealable.

I steer new students to wear the pistol on their waistline and use an inside the waistband holster if their body type allows. I try to dissuade new students from wearing the pistol on the: ankle, shoulder, pocket or purse/briefcase. The farther away the pistol is from your waist the more time required to learn a quick draw.

The most common locations on the waist to carry the pistol is behind the strong side hip (Often referred to as the 4 o’clock position). The second position on the waist is the appendix position (1 or 2 o’clock position). This is on the waist just to the strong side of your belly button and is usually called Appendix Inside the Waistband(AIWB). Strong side being the right side if your right handed or the opposite if you’re left handed. AIWB is comfortable for all day wear for those of us that sit down all day. But it can kill you. See warning below.

A warning about holstering your gun with a holster in appendix position:  If you shoot yourself while holstering in appendix position there is a good chance you will shoot yourself in the upper leg. This is critically bad. You’re femoral artery runs right through this location. Shooting your femoral artery has a high chance of being lethal. If you decide to carry AIWB I suggest you buy a holster specifically made for it. AIWB specific holsters tend to have a curved backside to push the grip of the gun into your stomach. This makes it more concealable and pushes the muzzle away from your body.

No matter how you decide to carry your pistol and especially if you choose to carry in the appendix position please practice drawing and holstering an empty gun for a few weeks. The life you save my be your own. I now carry my Glock 19 in a JM Custom Kydex holster AIWB (modified to push the muzzle away from my leg). When I holster the gun I watch that gun go into the holster. When the trigger is about to enter the holster I suck in my gut, cant the muzzle(barrel) even farther away from my body and then finish holstering the pistol. If the gun goes off I only shoot my holster, pants and the floor in front of my leg. You must practice this and gain experience with an empty gun first. I carried an empty gun for two weeks around the house while practicing to draw and holster every day. We will talk more about this in the drawing and holstering post. When in doubt go get training first.

What holster material you desire is up to you. Kydex against bare skin can get cold or clammy when in the weather. Leather is softer and often more comfortable to wear all day. Sometimes this is dependent on your body type, wardrobe and job. If you wear dress clothes then a tuckable IWB holster is best as it can be worn with your shirt tucked in or your shirt loose. It is more versatile. My suggestion is to find a large gun store where you can try on these holsters, including a magazine holster. Just don’t grab a holster for your gun. Get the gun you want and try the holsters on with it. Make the sales person earn their money for your purchase. Comfort and concealment is what is important. If you want an AIWB holster you will usually have to buy it over the internet as they are not normally sold in gun stores.

A brief note about your belt- if it is not a thick Carhartt’s type belt then you should think of saving up your money and buying a belt made for carrying a gun. There are many out there. I suggest if you like the belt you have now, you look around for a gun belt that matches that size and style. Most gun belts are simply a belt like yours but made of a double layer of leather or with a plastic insert so they can support the weight of the pistol and magazine.

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