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.
A Good Holster
Identifying the "right" holster for your particular needs requires an evaluation of the features and factors that change with each individual's circumstances. However, good holsters and carry systems tend to share certain characteristics. A good holster will:
• Hold the handgun in place until it is intentionally drawn by the shooter.
• Allow a proper shooting grip to be obtained before the pistol is drawn.
• Cover or protect the trigger to reduce the chances of an unintentional discharge.
• Provide the shooter with the physical access necessary to draw and re-holster the handgun quickly.
A laundry list of additional positive qualities for a holster could be added here, but the listed points cover the basics of good holster design. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
• Break-In Period: No carry system is instantaneously comfortable. Just like a new pair of shoes, all holsters require a break in period. If bruises, blisters or blood loss occur in the course of test driving a carry method, then obviously it's not a good fit. But using a holster for six hours and then declaring it uncomfortable does not provide enough time for a realistic test. Give it at least a few days before giving up.
• More Than One: While it would be nice to have the first holster tested be a perfect fit for the job, most people usually end up trying different styles until they find the best balance of features for their needs. Don't get frustrated, it's just part of the learning curve. Many gun owners find that they need more than one holster in order to accommodate changes in wardrobe. If you choose to use multiple holster systems, don't forget to practice drawing and re-holstering with each of them.
• Invest in Quality: A holster essentially acts as a shock absorber between a shooter's body and the handgun. Ever ride in a car with cheap or worn out shocks? As a rule of thumb, gun owners should plan to spend about 10 to 15 percent of what they paid for the handgun for a carry system they plan to use on a daily basis. This provides the level of quality needed for comfortable and reliable carry.