If you think there's a wide variety of handguns to choose from these days, wait until you get a load of all the holsters and retention systems folks have devised for carrying them. While it's not possible to review every option on the market, here is an introduction to some of the more common holster types available.
Strong-Side Belt Holsters
The strong-side hip holster is the most popular, and easily recognized, carry system for handguns in the world. It's the most common holster used by military and law enforcement personnel. The advantages of this method of carry are well documented. This kind of holster is comfortable for all-day wear, and placing the gun directly next to the dominant shooting hand (or strong-side hand) makes for fast and easy drawing and re-holstering.
Having the gun in this position provides a short arch of travel, meaning, the muzzle of the handgun only has a little ways to go from the holster to the intended target. When drawn properly, the muzzle will not cover (be pointed at) any part of the shooter’s body or any objects to the side of or behind the shooter. This means it is not only fast and easy to draw a pistol from a strong-side hip holster, it is one of the safest draw strokes as well.
The very few disadvantages of the strong-side hip holster relate primarily to legal concealed carry. This is one of the more difficult systems to keep out of sight. However, many shooters choose to adapt their wardrobes and add effective covering garments (jackets, coats, vests) in order to use this style of holster.
Since they are so popular, hip holsters are available in a wide variety of configurations and material types. Some use retention straps to secure the handgun while others are molded to help keep it in place. For use in the field, and more casual shooting situations, the Uncle Mike’s SideKick Hip Holsters (Left) are simple, rugged and affordable. Adapted for concealed carry, the DeSantis Speed Scabbard hugs the handgun close to the body for better concealment. Galco's Jak Slide carries the pistol between the belt and pants and can be used with a variety of semi-auto pistols.