It seems to me that a lot of times we-in-the-training-community think we are helping people make a choice between a barely functional holster or an excellent one.
But from the other person’s perspective, they are actually making a choice between an affordable, readily-available holster or leaving the gun at home.
This mistaken understanding of the options on the table often leads to confusion and resentment on both sides of the conversation.
This confusion sometimes leads to a bit of resentful mockery: “Why won’t you foolish people use the gear we recommend??!” vs “Why do you people keep acting like snobs in your gear recommendations!?”
(I truly hope that I have never fallen into either one of those traps, but being human it’s very, very likely that I have.)
But this whole thing is one reason I spend so much time educating people about the very basic functions of a carry holster. Any product designed to carry a gun for defensive use in ordinary life must do these basic things:
- Cover the trigger guard completely with something sturdy enough to keep the trigger from moving if something brushes up against the outside of the holster;
- Hold the gun securely enough that we can trust that the trigger will stay covered at all times, that the gun will stay in the same orientation at all times, and that the user can visit the bathroom without having to take the gun out of its carry location (so that the gun will reliably not fall to the floor if the holster gets inadvertently tipped upside down and shaken gently); and
- Allow the user to access the gun when they need it.
These are the non-reducible minimums for safe and responsible concealed carry. As long as a proposed holster does all these things, it is a “good” holster.
After those minimums are met, we can start talking about the benefits and trade offs of specific holsters and carry methods. We can discuss hard-sided versus soft-sided options (and yes, there are ways to protect the trigger when wearing a soft product). We can debate “How fast is fast enough?” when it comes to accessing the gun. We can measure the speed differences between carry designs worn in different places on the body. We can talk about durability of design and materials. We can discuss minor differences in design that make a big difference in speed, comfort, or concealability.
But none of those things matter until the minimums are met.
And once the minimums are met? It’s all gravy.