Is it Okay To Use A Cheap Holster?

There is a lot of shaming that goes on in our industry. And, just so we're all on the same page I consider you to be a part of our industry if you own and carry guns, and believe in the fundamental right to defend oneself with that gun.

That means you and I can be friends, even though we will likely never meet.

But the shaming has me scratching my head. Sure, I believe that every gun owner should do a certain amount of research before they settle down on a certain product. This research includes, but is not limited to, reading and watching reviews, product comparisons, finding out all you can about the company and the materials they use, etc.

Just as long as you find a safe and reliable product that has decent reviews, you should be fine.

Before I move on I want to make sure you understand what I'm trying to say. My point with this article is NOT to tell you that it's okay to use subpar gear, because that is never acceptable.

Instead, my point is that it's possible to find good gear that won't break the bank and that it is okay for you to buy a piece of gear that works for you, without feeling shame for spending less money on a product than someone else may be willing to spend.

Okay, now that the rant part of this article is over, let's get on to the actual topic:

Is it okay to use a cheap holster?

Yes, it is okay to use a cheap holster just as long as it meets certain criteria making it a safe holster. At the end of the day, any holster can be safe regardless of how much it costs, but not all holsters are going to be safe unless they meet these criteria.

In order for you to know what should be fine, let's go over some questionable designs that should be avoided regardless of cost.

Any holster with a soft sweat guard —

Reason being, a soft sweat guard can hit the trigger upon re-holstering unintentionally firing the gun.

I am generally not a fan of soft holsters with sweat shields. The holster in question could be a leather pouch type holster, a pancake with a sweat shield, a hybrid holster, or any of the others that utilize this soft backing.

And yes, I consider leather to be a soft backing. I do own leather holsters, too, for certain guns so I'm not saying leather in general is bad. Just that those with sweat guards may be unsafe after a while.

What has happened to some in the past, is that this soft sweat guard begins to roll forward and is no longer in the up tight to the body position. Then, if you're not careful this sweat guard can get caught inside the trigger guard when you're re-holstering your gun, and cause it to fire.

That's clearly not something you want to have happen.

Any holster that allows the trigger to be pressed —

The Magneto Holster from W.E. Defend USA

Another big no-no is when the trigger can be manipulated through the holster

So does it matter if you have a 30 dollar holster? No, not really. In fact, there are plenty of decent Kydex holsters in that price range that are completely safe. Are they the best? Maybe they're not the best, but they are safe and that is most important.

One of the keys marking a good holster is that the trigger is safe and protected from being pushed causing an unintended discharge. If you can stick your finger in from the side of the holster and manipulate the trigger you should look into getting a new holster.

Any holster that uses less than good clips —

The clip on a holster is one of the most overlooked aspects of this essential piece of gear. Wide, single clips like the one pictured are often not good. The reason why they're not good is because they do a horrible job retaining your holster inside your pants when the gun is being drawn.

On the plus side, even if you buy a holster with this style clip, upgrading just the clip to a better system is very easy to do.

Image from Calguns

It isn't just these wide, single clips that are bad, however. I can't show them all here, but suffice it to say that if you get a holster and you practice your draw, which you should be doing by the way, and your holster comes out with your gun … you need new clips.

If the clips cannot be changed you need a new holster. The holster that comes out with the gun is considered unsafe for duty. Imagine if you had to defend yourself against an attack and you draw your gun and holster out at the same time. Not good in that every-second-counts scenario.

What's a good holster then?

Any hard holster that is made of Kydex, Boltaron, or leather (with the occasional other material thrown in) will be your best bet. Make sure there aren't any soft components that can jeopardize your safety by either being able to manipulate the trigger while the gun is holstered, or can somehow fold down into the trigger like the sweat guard can after it gets older.

Choose a two-clip system, or a better one clip system that doesn't allow the gun and holster to come out as a pair.

And at the end of the day, the price you pay doesn't necessarily make the holster a good one. I've seen plenty of expensive pieces of junk out there.

Here are some other resources to help choose a good holster:

What do you think? Did I miss the mark on my assessment here? Let me know in the comments below. Also, you can check out our holster page to see some of the ones we sell, not all of which I think are good, but there are several good options.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Tim on December 18, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Pretty much the advice I give in every concealed carry class I teach. You drop hundreds on a gun, spend some on a quality holster and belt. Safer and more comfortable

  2. Gary McKinney on December 20, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for your information on holsters. Been trying to find the proper one for a year. Looking like I have found the one I have been looking for. Thanks again .

  3. Fred L Marley on December 20, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Good job!

  4. GomeznSA on December 20, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Sigh, there is an old saying about opinions but I doubt I need to quote it here………………
    If you arr ‘clipping’ your holster strictly to your pants you likely have bigger issues to deal with than the gun/holster coming out together. But hey that is just my ‘opinion’ – one based on 40″ years of carrying side arms………………………

  5. Pat Mooney on December 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    One thing we might be skipping over a little is the need to reholster the weapon. Will the holster maintain shape enough for a person to use one hand to holster and secure the weapon keeping an eye on his target. When we disengage remembering to keep an eye on the target, reload and secure. The act of drawing engagement of a target should be smooth and so should the reload, holster and secure. The weapon should always be in its position and not have to fumble around.

  6. Donald on December 25, 2020 at 6:51 am

    I have purchased many holsters from cheaper ones to very expensive ones. The ones I like the best have good retention that can be adjusted and strong belt clips. I generally avoid plastic clips however I do have a couple with plastic clips that are great. Just find one that is comfortable and retains your firearm.

  7. Donald on December 25, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Also very important to have a good belt.

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