Skip to main content

Posted on December 8, 2021 by in Training

Back to Basics with Jeff Gonzales Episode 9: Holster Selection

VIDEO – Back to Basics with Jeff Gonzales Episode 9: Holster Selection

CCW Safe is proud to present the Back to Basics video series with Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts. This series focuses on the fundamentals and basics of concealed carry.

In Episode Nine Jeff looks at holster selection for concealed carry.

If you would like to comment on this video please do so on our Youtube page here. 


Jeff Gonzales: Hi, I’m Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, and I’m here for Back to Basics with CCW Safe. Today, we’re going to be talking about holster selection. You’ve purchased your firearm, you’re considering carrying on body, and now you are looking at a plethora of different holster options. What do you want to talk about first? Let’s talk about the types of holsters that I’m going to cover in this video, which are going to be on the waistband. They’re going to be holsters that are going to be attached somehow to your waistband.

There are other types of holsters available. You have pocket holsters, you have ankle holsters, you’ve got off-body options. For now, we’re going to focus only on on your waistband. That’s going to be holsters that are going to be fitted somehow around your waistband. When we talk about them in that sense, there are two conditions that we can see. One is going to be literally on the waistband, so that’s on the outside of your pants. The second is going to be inside the waistband, which is where we take the firearm and the holster, and it’s going to go inside of your pants. You got to make a choice, which direction you want to go.

One of the things that I tell people is probably a really good idea to have both. The reason why I say that it’s nice to start with an on-the-waistband holster. It’s a little bit easier. You’re not having to worry about defeating the cover garment or fighting to get a good firing grip. Start with the on-the-waistband, learn the draw stroke, then transition to an in-the-waistband, right?

You shouldn’t be in a hurry to right away, try to start carrying concealed. You should progress safely to that skill. When we talk about location, where am I putting that firearm on my body? There’s basically four positions, or I should say four locations. The first location, if I were to use twelve o’clock be in my belly button. The first location is going to be the appendix carry position, which is right around the one to two o’clock position. This has got a lot of pros and cons.

The next position is going to be strong side, which is right around the three o’clock to 3:30 position. Again, this has got a lot of pros and cons. I should say a lot more pros, and it’s the most popular method. Then there is behind the hip. Behind the hip is going to be four o’clock and beyond. Then we’re going to come back around the front to more of an eleven o’clock to ten o’clock position, which is cross draw. Cross draw position can be popular with some people. Really what we’re talking about is we’re going to be talking mainly about strong side carry, that’s right there at that three o’clock position.

We’re talking about both on-the-waistband and in-the-waistband. Now, whether you’re selecting an on or in-the-waistband holster, there are essential features that are a must for your holster. What are some of them? Well, the first is that your firearm must be secured when it’s in the holster, meaning that if you were to take an unloaded firearm, insert it into the holster and gently hold it over something soft and shake it, it should not fall free. If it falls out or slips out of the holster, that’s really not meeting that criterion for secure inside of the holster. There should be, either through a feature, through friction, or through retention, there should be a means to keep the firearm in the holster.

The second is that it must adequately protect the trigger from unauthorized access, which means that when the firearm is inserted into the holster, nothing can get inside of the trigger guard to potentially move the trigger causing a negligent discharge, nothing. It’s got adequately protected. If it doesn’t come all the way up, it doesn’t protect that trigger, this is not meeting the essential selection or essential features criterion.

The third is that it must secure to my body. Now that I have secured the firearm inside the holster, that’s one, I’m protecting the trigger, that’s two, when I put the gun on my body, it can’t come off unless I actually, purposely, am trying to take the gun holster off. The reason why I say that is because what we don’t want is we don’t want to go through our draw stroke and find that not only are we drawing the gun, but we’re also drawing the holster. Now, you have to deal with the holster on the gun before you can actually engage the target with deadly force.

If it secures to your body through belt loops or clips, or some sort of method that actually secures on your body, that’s what you’re looking for. You really want to make sure that you find something that will stay on your body. Light activity that you’re going to perform, getting in and out of vehicles, God forbid, you trip and fall, or you are involved in a tussle. You want that firearm to stay on your body and then you want the firearm to stay in the holster while it’s on your body.

The last essential feature is going to be what we call being able to obtain a firing grip. If I have the firearm on my body, in the holster, and I tried to get that firing grip, but the holster is blocking me from getting that firing grip, then that would not meet the essential feature criterion. These are the four things that we want to look for. Secures the firearm in the holster, protects the trigger, secures to the body, and then firing grip.

If you find your holster meets those essential feature criterion, that’s probably a good holster to start with. I will caveat that you’re probably going to find that holsters are like shoes. You’ll try it on, you realize, “I kind of like it, maybe I don’t.” Just bear in mind that you’re probably going to go through a few holsters before you find the one that you really, really like.

Now, holsters are also available in different material. We’re talking about probably only four different types of material. The first is good, old-fashioned leather. Still very viable, still very popular. It makes for a very good holster. The second is Kydex or thermomolded plastic. What that is, is that’s basically just like it sounds. It’s plastic, it’s firm, it’s crisp. The third is going to be a hybrid, which is where it takes a leather and marries it up with Kydex. While that might look good on the surface, I typically discourage you from getting those types of holsters. Then the last is going to be nylon. The nylon holsters really don’t do a good job of meeting those essential features that we talked about earlier.

Now, what are some enhancing features that I can look for to do the job of carrying my gun a little bit better? Some of them might be adjustable retention, so I can have– there’s a feature that allows me to adjust, either tighten or loosen that retention, so it’s a little bit more user specific. Just be careful that you don’t loosen it too much. Then there’s adjustable ride height, which is where I adjust how high that firearm sits on my waistband. Now, typically we only see that for inside the waistband. That’s another feature that’s valuable.

One other feature that I find enhancing is additional mounting options. Maybe the holster is configured to be on the waistband, but if I swap out for some different hardware, I can use that same holster for in the waistband. This has a lot of value to, particularly a new gun owner. You can literally transition from one on-the-waistband holster to the same holster in the waistband, so there’s some value in that. There’s a whole other list of a different enhancing features, but those are just some that you might want to consider.

I’m Jeff Gonzales, would love to hear your questions or comments down below or any helpful tips that you’ve learned about holster selection for your experience. Please, feel free to post them down below. Until then, take care and stay safe.