The Cornered Cat
Holsters Are Like Shoes

The question seemed fairly simple:

“What is the best conceal carry for anywhere on your body? … Also, where can I find holsters for any part of body?”

The answer isn’t what you think.

First off, I get it, I really do. Flexibility is good! Being tied down is hard! Boo for lack of choices! Yay for more choices!

That’s one reason so many of us find it hard to ‘pack light’ for a weekend trip.

Me, standing over the suitcase: “Well, I don’t know what the weather will be like that morning, and what if I don’t feel like wearing blue that day? Okay, so I’ll add the green shirt, just in case that’s what I feel like wearing, hmmm, gotta have an undershirt for that one, here we go, oh it needs a scarf too — but what if I want to wear a skirt instead of pants? Better put the skirt in, plus the other pair of shoes, and you know what, I really like the tan shirt with that skirt too so have to add that…”

… and pretty soon I discover I’ve packed six pairs of shoes, and the suitcase weighs 73 pounds, and I’m wondering why my makeup bag doesn’t fit. I want to be prepared for everything that might possibly happen, including the remote but seems-reasonable-in-the-moment possibility that I will suddenly feel the urge to don a skirt I honestly haven’t worn since 2014.

So. Holsters. Holsters are like shoes.

If you’re looking for one holster that will fit every possible clothing choice you might make for the rest of your life, remember that holsters are like shoes. You would not hope to find one pair of shoes that would work with every outfit you will ever wear. You would use a different strategy entirely, and for good reason.

So before going too far down the single-holster-forever road, I would recommend you think about the 80/20 principle. That is the rule of thumb that says that 80% of the value usually comes from 20% of the thing. Think about your closet and the clothes in it. If your closet is ten feet long, the chances are that most of the time, the clothes you wear will come from just two feet of that space. The rest of the space is taken up by special events clothes and clothes that you don’t wear as often.

What does this have to do with holsters? Everything!

When looking for that first holster, we’re often tempted to search for one that will work for absolutely every conceivable situation — just like I too often do when overpacking a suitcase. I want to be prepared for every possible eventuality!

But that’s not the most efficient or smartest way to do this thing.

Here’s a better plan:

Instead of trying to find one holster that will work for 100% of your clothing including outfits you don’t even own right now, do this. Look for one holster that will work for the 20% of the clothing that you wear most often. Make sure that one works very, very well, and that you can use it for the outfits you wear most often and feel most comfortable in.

Then carry, every time you can and every place you can.

As you get more comfortable with concealed carry through daily experience, you will find that the ‘limited’ holster you chose will actually get you through a lot more situations than you really thought it would at first. You will also become more realistic about the marginal and alternative options you’ll be looking at to fill in when you’re wearing specialty clothing.

Some of those alternative options will look a lot less attractive after you’ve experienced comfortable and secure carry with a good holster, while others will look more attractive once you’ve experienced the challenges built into carrying the gun on  a regular basis. In either case, you’ll have a much more realistic way of looking at things after you have some carry experience under your belt.

Keep an eye on the 80/20 principle as you choose your first holster. Look for something that will work with the clothes you wear most often, and then carry your gun whenever you can in those clothes. As situations come up where you’re struggling to wear the gun because you’re wearing different clothes than the ones you wear most often, you can take note of what you actually need in order to make those clothes work for concealed carry. And then you can fill in those holes with other purchases, as and when you need them.

Remember that holsters are a lot like shoes. It is much easier to find a practical pair of every day shoes than it is to find a single pair of shoes that will work for every outfit in your closet! (Do they even make such a thing?) Specialty shoes go for specialty outfits. You don’t expect your everyday shoes to work with your fanciest clothes, and you know your fanciest shoes aren’t practical for everyday wear. Holsters are the same. It is much easier to find a practical every day holster than it is to find a holster that will work for every outfit in your closet. But you can — and should — fill in with specialty products for special occasions once you have the daily footwear problem solved.

Be sure that every holster or carry option you choose:

1) Holds the gun securely. By securely, I mean that the gun will not slip out if the holster is tipped upside down and shaken gently.  This makes it possible to use the bathroom without significant risk of the gun falling out and landing on the floor.

2) Protects the trigger completely.  It is not enough for the trigger to simply be covered – although that is also necessary. What you need is the trigger to be covered by something that will actually protect it from any movement as long as the gun is inside the holster. Usually this means a stiff sided holster, and if you go with a soft sided holster you will need to put something rigid over the trigger guard area.  Also note that the entire trigger area must be covered.

3) Allows quick and reliable access to the gun. A lot of times people wonder why this is on the list, because isn’t it a given? Sadly, no. A lot of people never think of this one at all. They only think about how comfortable and concealed the holster is, and they forget that the whole reason they are carrying the holster is so that they can get to the gun quickly when they need it.

Stay safe.

2 Responses to Holsters Are Like Shoes

  1. larryarnold says:

    Thanks, Kathy. Good information about holsters, and it reminded me why I’m glad I wear guy-clothes.

  2. Pingback:KR Training December 2017 newsletter – Notes from KR

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