There should be some thought into selecting a proper holster for your needs versus choosing a poorly made leather sock to throw a gun in (extra points subtracted if magnets are involved). There are many options available and unfortunately there are even more consumers duped into buying inferior products that have flashy Facebook advertising with recommendations from owners who don’t use their equipment. What seems to be popular with the less discerning crowd are the poorly made copies of proven designs which were the pinnacle of concealment a few years ago.
There is a baseline of needs for holsters. These needs outline highlights what the holster should do and how to do it. Within that baseline are priorities. Some companies put too much priority into less important factors which negatively affect overall performance. Some lesser holsters put comfort as the absolute priority which hurts durability, retention, and consistency of draw. Comfort is about #8 in my personal scale of importance with a holster. A good quality belt is an ignored factor of comfort but that is another post.
In no particular order the factors that I deem important:
-Proper fit to gun
-Covers/limits access to trigger
-Stability/allows for consistent draw
-Ease of reholster
-Aids in concealment of firearm (for concealment holsters)
The thing people miss with this order: a properly designed good quality holster maintains all of the above and it is still comfortable to wear.
Various materials in the construction of holsters assist in maintaining certain parameters or tasks. Different combinations of materials help or hurt the ability of the holster to do its job. Traditional hybrid holsters have proven to provide uneven wear between the two different materials holding the gun in place which ultimately lead to hardware failures, breakage, or downright falling apart as well as the gun potentially moving more freely around in the space that it occupies within the holster.
Design plays a large part in concealment and effectiveness of holsters. One piece holster/mag pouch type (kydex cod piece) holsters develop stress fracturing and breakage due to the holster bending due to wear or placement since it cannot twist and bend with the wearer. One piece with hinge do not break as easily as the one piece, but it still does not flex and move as our bodies naturally bend and twist. There are still pressures and stresses being applied into areas on the holster which can potentially result in breakage. The all-in-one holster/mag pouch is not as popular as people say due to limitations of the system and lack of durability – they seem to work better with slimmer than normal body types.
Most custom kydex benders I have encountered don’t understand basic principles behind concealment or how to even make an effective holster. Add a print of the U.S. Constitution and America! It sells! They include things like claws without understanding the purpose or how to maximize their impact. I have seen several “professional” level companies are pumping out failed boy scout project level abortions.
Some active firearms training from reputable instructors which require drawing from the holster and a shooting higher round counts helps speed up failure with lesser options. This is why people who train regularly choose more proven options that can withstand normal use as intended. When we get hundreds and thousands of these higher end users together we quickly find there are some commonalities with how and what they choose with a holster. The normal go to brands are Safariland for anything outside the waistband with a retention requirement and then a ton of Great choices for more generic concealment needs. There are also specialty options which fit very specific niches like the Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 that puts low profile and simplicity as the priority. I find the VG2 to be an incredibly useful option with many uses.
The means of attachment to the belt is an overlooked aspect which can cause a holster to downright fail when it slides around or falls off the belt. Discreet Carry Concepts clips and pull the dot loop seem to be leading in effective attaching to the belt methods. Both provide easy on and off, if you know what you are doing. Both are available in multiple sizes or can be adjusted to the proper size. Both are providing secure attachment.
The better (not necessarily expensive) holster options still should have regular inspection but will rarely require maintenance and you will find they don’t break or fail as often as the lesser options. Thread lock is your friend with this stuff.
When in the market for a new holster, be skeptical. Don’t trust generic reviews from YouTube or random Facebook users- don’t blindly trust anything I wrote here. Find sources of info you can trust and compare notes. Unfortunately this journey sometimes means you waste some money on bad decisions to find the solution the fits your needs. After you find “The One”- don’t stop looking and don’t stop studying.