Like shoes, holsters come in a variety of types and materials and can be daunting and even slightly confusing at first glance. Keeping with a shoe analogy, when attending a formal black-tie affair, you wouldn’t reach for your work boots, just as you likely wouldn’t opt for your dress shoes to run a marathon. Just as it does with shoes, with holsters and firearms, the mission dictates the load out.
The first question you’ll need to determine the answer to is: are you planning to conceal carry or open carry your firearm. Based on where you live there may be laws that will predetermine this as there are places where you can only conceal carry and there are places where it’s acceptable to open carry. We can’t tell you which will apply to you, but it is your responsibility to learn and comply with all applicable laws and ordinances.
The main two styles of carrying are OWB and IWB. The OWB or Outside the Waistband can either be open carry or concealed carry depending on your clothing selection. Generally, open carry consists of a belt mounted holster and the gun on the hip. IWB or Inside the Waistband is a conceal carry style where the holstered gun is either worn near the hip or near the front appendix area. There are pros and cons to both of these styles of carrying techniques; again the type of carry will dictate your load out.
Now for holster material, leather vs polymer and Kydex: with so many options to choose from they can seem overwhelming. Leather can offer a softer and more comfortable carry experience and won’t scratch up your firearm but will not be as rigid or offer the same retention as you may find with a “hard” holster. Kydex or polymer offer superior retention but can wear on the guns finish and will likely feel much more noticeable against your body than leather. If you live in a warmer climate, you may want to factor in holster type, material and how much of it will be in contact with your skin for the duration of the day as well as if it will still be concealable with minimal layering.
The last factor you might want to consider is overall holster Design. Do you prefer something minimalist that will cover just the trigger guard, or do you prefer full firearm coverage? The biggest consideration of holster selection come down to the conditions in which you will be wearing the firearm. If possible, it’s best to try multiple different carry options and choose something that will best fit your lifestyle. Be sure to read and follow all safety and use instructions that are provided with your holster.