My newest convert to KIMBER writes:
“Have you any recommendations for holsters? I saw your reference to Kydex. My only criterion is that I can draw my arm quickly sans any snags. I don't plan on competing. I just want to practice enough to be able to stop any would-be attackers.”
The gun in question is a KIMBER, 45 in a commander size (4in barrel, full size grip) configuration. The person wearing the holster is male about six foot tall, in the 180 lbs range and about a 32 or 34 in waist. This is his first handgun for non-hunting or plinking. I figure the advice on what kind of holster will work for most anybody.
There are 5 basic places on the body that a person might carry a gun:
- ankle/boot holster
- waist band
There are two basic methods of carry:
- open, in plain sight
Two kinds of material:
Three kinds of retention system:
- no retention
- tension retention
- barrier retention, strap, snap, flap etc
Observations, a 45 isn’t the best boot gun, its hard to conceal on this part of your body, either of the two tactical methods I mentioned aren’t really a everyday situation for most shooters, the shoulder holster is great if you are wearing a jacket a lot or driving/sitting. My guess is that over 60% of the time most guys carrying a 45 do it on the waist.
Each kind of holster has its place and is uniquely suited for doing the job at hand. The first thing you need to decide is how you’re going to carry the gun, open or concealed. There are any number of holsters that will fit the open carry method. Concealed carry is a different matter all together.
This pic shows the 4 holsters I use the most.
From top left to bottom right:
IWB, no retention, synthetic; IWB strap with snap, leather: OWB, tension retention, leather; OWB, tension retention, Kydex.
The IWB’s are my concealed carry holsters, excepting the #3 holster which I on occasion carry concealed under a jacket.
- I don’t like fooling with straps, I want an open top holster with either a tension or no retention. I want to grip it and go. I get away with no retention in an IWB holster because my spare tire helps hold the gun in place. In an OWB holster I use tension retention.
- Leather is traditional, it grips the gun great, Kydex seems to be a half second faster to draw from, because, synthetics don’t trap moisture from sweat as bad I think they’re better IWB. It’s a question of apples or oranges.
- The pics represent just shy of $200 worth of holsters and I own several more. Which one do I use the most? The cheapest one. It’s the $5.99 IWB that the Kimber was in. Which leads me to point #4
- There are a lot of great holsters out there and you’re going to end up owning more than one kind for different applications. Pick the applications you’re going to use most and try out several brands to see which one best fits the bill.
OK fellas help a new gun owner out and give him your 2 cents.*IWB = Inside the waist band, in the gun is inside your pants
*OWB = Outside the waist band.