So you got a new holster for your everyday carry (EDC) gun. Here are three things that you should absolutely do before using it. Oh, and if you haven't done these things to the holster you currently have, consider doing them now.
Initial Test Fit —
Regardless if you're like me and prefer a hard-sided holster made of Kydex, or like the feel of leather, it's imperative your gun properly fits inside the holster. What this means practically is that the holster should completely cover the trigger guard area. Your gun should stay in the holster even if you turn the holster upside down. These basic fit requirements should steer you away from the universal holsters made of nylon found in Walmart or sporting goods stores.
Options such as optics, lasers or taller iron sights on your gun can create fitment issues. For example. tall sights may drag or grind into the inside channel of the holster. If the holster isn't compatible with an optic, your gun may not even seat fully.
Adjust Position, Ride-Height, Cant, and Retention–
I recommend holsters that allow adjustment in how high the holster sits on the belt (ride-height) and front to back or left and right rotation adjustment (cant). In addition to holster design, the number and type of clips also factors into these adjustments.
Ride height plays a big factor in comfort and conceal-ability, so it's important to use a trial-and-error approach to dial in the best fit. Here is a post that explains why longer guns can actually conceal better when carried inside waistband (IWB). Ride height also affects your draw stroke. This process should include practicing your draw so you can ensure you can establish a good initial grip right off the bat.
Some holsters have a screw that allows you to dial in amount of retention, or said another way, how tightly the gun fits. There is no “right amount” of retention for everyone. While you practice your draw stroke, you'll get an idea if you need to adjust the retention at all.
Lock it All in Place —
So once you determine how you like your holster to sit on the belt, and determined your level of retention you want to lock it in place and ensure the screws don't loosen up.
I can't tell you how often I've seen a student's holster fall apart during a class. Typically the screws that attach the clip to the holster fall out. Needless to say it's tough to find a tiny screw on the range, and a holster without clips doesn't do much good in a training class. Worse than that, you don't want this to happen during a self-defense incident or just randomly when you're out and about.
The first step is to use a thread locking product. Some holster manufacturers actually include small packs of thread locker with the holster because they understand the importance of this step. The blue Loctite seems to provide enough hold, but not so much that you can't easily make adjustments if you need.
Finally, don't assume just because you applied thread lock to the screws that they won't ever loosen up. Periodically check your gear to make sure everything is tight and adjusted the way you want it.
The links included in this post provide a bit more depth information about holsters, and I hope you find them helpful. Ask questions or provide feedback in the comments below.
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