A Beginners Guide to Carrying a Handgun

The initial decision to become a gun owner was likely filled with a lot of thinking and research. You gained a great deal of knowledge in the process, but there is more to learn, especially if you’re ready to make the leap to carry your handgun with you.

Considerations to Start Carrying You Handgun

Of course, the most important thing about carrying your pistol or revolver with you is the most important thing about owning a gun – safety needs to be your first concern. To carry your handgun safely, you need to know how to choose the right holster for the way you’ll carry.

Holster Materials

There are a variety of materials that holsters can be made from.

Leather: The most classic material for holsters. Depending the type of carry you plan to use, leather can initially be stiff and unforgiving. However, over time, leather bends and molds and can become the most comfortable of the options.

Nylon or Canvas: Nylon and canvas holsters tend to be both sturdy and lightweight. Typically low-profile, they can also be more generic and therefore less secure than a stiffer material.

Kydex: Kydex – a type of plastic that’s also used in aircraft bulkheads – is loved by some and disparaged by others. On the plus side, the rigidity of a Kydex holster is secure, as they are largely molded to fit a specific weapon and won’t stretch or change shape over time. The negative, however, is that Kydex holsters tend to be hard on the finish of your handgun and creates a noisy draw.

Other materials: There are a number of other materials used, including injection molded plastic and stretchy materials for belly bands.

Holster Types

Inside the Waistband: An inside the waistband holster is exactly as it sounds – a holster that allows you to carry your handgun inside the waist of your pants. This category includes holsters that attach to your pants, low-profile clips like Clipdraw, or are what are known as “belly bands”.

Outside the Waistband: Like the inside the waistband, this is exactly what it sounds like. This is a holster that clips to the outside of your waistband, including holsters that attach to your belt, or, again, a low-profile clip that attaches to your handgun like Clipdraw.

Shoulder Holster: Generally fits like a backpack with the holster itself strapped to the right or left side of the straps.

Pocket Holster: Pocket holsters are generally only useful for very small weapons to secure your pistol or revolver inside of your pocket.

Ankle Holster: Ankle holsters are largely used by law enforcement, but not exclusively. Allows for the concealment of a handgun at the ankle.

Choosing a Holster 

Choosing the right holster will depend on how you plan on carrying the weapon – open carry? concealed? – and made of the material that helps you achieve your goals. For instance, if you plan on concealed carry, inside your waistband, with an appendix carry, you’ll want a comfortable and secure holster. You may want different holsters for different purposes, but understanding your options upfront will help guide you to the right purchase.

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