The Cornered Cat
A Better Holster, Part One

A few days ago, I blogged about what makes a “good” holster — and especially, about the dynamics that drive some of the bewildered (and sometimes angry) conversations between people within the firearms training community and their students.

Today, I’m thinking about the type of questions people ask when they are choosing between two carry options that both meet the three basic requirements for a good holster. Once the non-negotiable needs have been met, how do we choose between carry products? What makes one holster better than another?

It’s tempting to say that it all comes down to personal choice. And there’s no doubt that personal choice and personal priorities do play a big part when it comes to secondary concerns. But fair warning: although I’m a big fan of people making up their own minds about stuff, and setting their own priorities, I’m also a big fan of making choices based on solid evidence.

This means that I do think there are some holsters that are objectively “better” than others, especially in how well they meet these primary needs. This isn’t an insult or a personal attack against anyone’s taste in holsters or other carry gear. It’s simply a matter of making careful and well-informed choices in our personal defense equipment.

Of course, any one of us might sometimes choose the objectively less-good option for our own quirky reasons. And that’s okay. We tend to want to jump between saying either, “This is the best holster EVER and EVERYONE SHOULD USE IT, YAY!!” or, “This holster is the devil and will GET YOU KILLED ON THE STREETS IF YOU EVEN LOOK AT IT, YO.”

But real life isn’t always quite that black and white, and most holsters fall somewhere in between those extremes. And again — that’s okay. As long as the three non-negotiable basic needs have been met, it’s all gravy after that. 1

At the same time, I think it’s very, very important that we’re aware of what we’re gaining and what we’re giving up with each of the choices we make. That way, we’re more likely to notice (and change) when it’s time to do something different.

So, what makes one holster better than another? To my way of thinking, the first thing that might make a holster “better” is when it performs one of the three basic requirements in a more consistent, more reliable, or more durable form. This is not the only thing that might make a holster “better,” but it’s a good place to start.

More about that tomorrow.


Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post? Want the bottom line right now? Sure, here it is:

  • A good holster protects the trigger, holds the gun securely, and allows the user to access the gun when they need it. (These are the non-negotiable, bare minimum things a holster must do. A holster or carry product that does not do these things is not a good holster, no matter how much it costs or who recommends it.)
  • A better holster does one or all of these things better than the bare minimum.

But the details matter, too. Tune in tomorrow!


  1. Do I really need to add here that the reason these basics are “non-negotiable” is because a holster that fails to protect the trigger, hold the gun securely, or allow the user to access the gun really can get a person killed? We can joke around with some of this stuff, but never forget that we really are talking about stuff that can seriously hurt or kill someone if we get it wrong.

One Response to A Better Holster, Part One

  1. larryarnold says:

    protects the trigger
    Quibble: The holster should protect all the controls.
    I tried a particular fanny pack with a 1911-style semiauto, and found that it would click the thumb safety off.
    It flunked the wear-it-around-the-house-to-see-if-it-works test.

Post a Comment