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Holsters 101: What to Know and How to Choose

Posted by Digital Guider on

There are more holster manufacturers and places to buy them than ever before. Some big online holster stores, for example, sell several thousands of holsters, holster accessories like Belt Slide Holster, Belt Slide Holster for Revolver and magazine pouches. But it's not the same thing to find a gun holster and to find the right gun holster. When shopping for a holster, you'll need to know more than just the type of gun you have.

Gun Holster Common Terms

Before you can carry a gun under your clothes, you need to know where and how to wear it. People often carry a gun for self-defense behind their strong hip. And the angle of the draw must be right for fast presentation. To choose a good gun holster with the right draw angle, you need to know about cant, rake, drop, and the two common acronyms for CCW holsters.

Cant —this is the angle from which the holster is shown. Most of us need a 15-degree cant to tilt the handle of the handgun into the draw. A very tall person might want a neutral cant.

Rake —Rake can also mean the angle. When a gun has a forward rake, the muzzle is in front of the centerline. The most common type is called "rear rake," and it means that the gun's muzzle is farther back than the handle.

Drop —Drop can also be called "ride," and it tells you where a holster sits. A high-ride holster is higher on the belt, which makes it easier to hide. When the holster is worn inside the waistband (IWB), drop is more important. A low drop could help you hide better.

IWB —IWB stands for Inside-The-Waistband holsters. These are holsters that sit inside the waistband of your pants and are usually held in place by clips that wrap around the top of your pants and attach to a belt or pant line.

OWB—O.T.W. stands for outside-the-waistband holsters, which are usually attached to your belt with a paddle that goes inside the waistband of your pants or belt slide loops. Use a triple-checked, unloaded gun or a training tool like a SIRT pistol to figure out which rake and drop will work best for you. Put the handgun in the waistband at different angles: tuck it low or higher on the belt.

Using a Holster When You’re New to Carry

When you start carrying a handgun, it takes some time to get used to it. A gun that can be hidden is comforting, not relaxing. You can't forget that it's there. But a holster should keep a gun's sharp edges from touching the body. A handgun holster also keeps the handgun away from your clothes and sweat.