I hate holsters. I like what they do, I just hate that I have to use them. Buying one is like buying a high-end audio system. What do you mean I have to pay $100 for cables to make the system sound the way you made it sound when you played it for me in that acoustically perfect back room? You just spent $600 on a gun, and now you have to pay $30-$60 for a holster you don’t really want, but know you need.
Yes, need. I can think of very few things more dangerous than putting a loaded gun in your pants without a holster. Holster are to guns what condoms are to sex. They protect not only your gun but also you and everyone around you. It utterly baffles me that no one in movies uses holsters unless they’re cops. Watching movie characters stick guns in the back of their pants usually results in me yelling at the screen, “That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works!”
I don’t think many readers of this site are inclined to just stick a gun in their pants, but it seems useful to go over what wearing a holster accomplishes for you.
Covers the Trigger Guard
This is the overarching reason for using a holster. In my mind, triggers are like magnets. Put a gun in the hands of someone who hasn't held one before, and immediately their index finger goes straight to the trigger like there’s a “please press here” sign on it. You’d be surprised by all the ways you can accidentally engage your trigger just by putting a gun in your pants. Pull your gun out, unload it and see how many things can fit in the trigger well of your gun; you’ll learn quickly how advantageous a holster covering your trigger is. If you want the greatest example of how a holster helps prevent you from shooting yourself, try googling Plaxico Burress. He’s essentially become the poster child for concealed carry holster awareness.
Keeps Your Gun Stable
I’m starting to think gangbangers know something about firearm retention that the rest of the world does not. It boggles my mind how they’re able to keep a gun in their pants without a holster, while sagging and with no belt. I’ve literally seen a drug dealer take off in a dead sprint, trying to hold up his pants while still carrying a gun with no holster. I tried this at home, and after the third step, my Glock 17 SIRT pistol was sliding down my right leg. All that is to say that a holster helps keep your gun stable and in the same place, so that if (God forbid) you have go to pull it, you can do so without having to play hide-and-seek with your Glock 19.
- Prevents constant loading and unloading
There isn’t a more dangerous time than when you have to load or unload your gun.
In my book, the fewer times you have to do it, the safer. Leaving a loaded gun out in all its glory isn’t exactly ideal, so you’re constantly loading and unloading your gun at the end or beginning of your day. Using a holster decreases the number of times you have to load and unload your gun. When I get home at the end of the day, I simply take out my holster with my gun still loaded and place it in my safe or whatever secure area I have for it.
- Aids in concealment
Typically, holsters add another layer of bulk to your concealed carry setup that rather annoys me. However, what you get in bulk you also compensate for in shape deformation. The shape of a holster typically breaks up the lines of a gun, creating the illusion that it’s something else like a cell phone. Furthermore, a holster can elevate the height at which your gun sits on your hip. This allows a bit of a buffer zone in the event that your shirt comes up. So, instead of exposing your nice and shiny 1911, you’ll show the world a holster clip or part of the holster.
In my article, “The Ups and Downs of Concealed Carry,” I got on a bit of a soapbox about the occasional physical discomfort that comes with carrying a gun. Ironically, holsters can do an amazing job making your gun more comfortable to carry. Some are designed to spread the weight of your gun over a wider area. The holster also puts a barrier between your body and the gun. Trust me, there’s nothing comfortable about metal rubbing up against your skin for eight hours.
There are myriad reasons to always use a holster. These are simply my top five. I’ll admit, I usually try to find the most minimal holster that covers these five bases. Many people who are new to concealed carry have not the slightest clue how important a holster is, in much the same way I didn’t realize how important the cabling for my sound system is. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on the extreme importance of a holster.
Colion Noir is an NRA News Commentator and the host of NOIR on NRA Freestyle.