The 3 Benefits and The Major Danger of a Holster Sweatguard

Republished with permission. First Published on KSGArmory.com: The 3 Benefits and the Major Danget of a Holster Sweatguard | April 30, 2024

For as long as there have been holsters there have been people trying to make those holsters more comfortable. When we started concealing those guns in our pants right against bare skin I suspect the first sweatguard was born.

What Is A Holster Sweatguard?

A holster sweat guard is material that sits above the belt line between the gun and your body, most traditionally as part of an IWB holster.

PHLster Spotlight X300-Backside

Here you see the sweatguard on the backside of this PHLster Spotlight holster

Often a sweat guard is part of the holster as made by the manufacturer but there are also after-market holster sweat guards sold that are intended to be added to the back of an existing holster.

This Crossbreed holster has a leather sweatguard that extends above the belt line

3 Major Benefits to A Holster Sweatguard

Easy and Safe Reholstering

My absolute favorite thing about a sweat guard is how it makes it easier to safely reholster.

Having a holster sweat guard means I can bring the firearm back to the holster and bring it back against the sweatguard as an index point before I gently ease the gun back into the holster.

I find this easier and safer than looking for the holster opening with the firearm.

Protect The Body From Sharp Edges / Material On Gun

The most obvious benefit of a sweatguard is the protection it offers your body from the sharp edges and stippling on the gun.

The constant rub back and forth of the grooves on the slide, the sights, or the texture on the grip can run the skin sore. The sweatguard aids in preventing that potential pain point, though for many wearing an undershirt is a more comprehensive solution.

Protect Gun From Body Sweat

In addition, there is an argument to be made for protecting the metal finish on your gun from the sweat and oil of your skin.

While it should take a whole lot of sweat over a sustained period of time to do any damage to your gun; if you are too lazy to clean your firearm then I imagine a sweatguard can alleviate some of this concern. For me this shouldn't be a real concern for anyone who shoots the gun somewhat regularly and cleans it accordingly.

Concerns With A Holster Sweatguard

Of course, a sweatguard isn't all benefits. There are some potential downsides to that extra layer between the gun and the body and it often comes down to the design and execution of the sweatguard.

Impede draw

My first concern is the challenge that a poorly cut sweatguard causes in the course of obtaining a grip during the draw process.

Just 2 days ago I was on the range during a class and saw out of the corner of my eye that a student had some sort of irregularity with their grip acquisition. Upon further inspection, I saw they were using a hybrid holster from a popular name-brand company. The sweatguard was (in theory) cut to match the shape of the gun but not cut perfectly.

The imperfection left a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of leather “under” the beaver tail where one needs to drive the hand to get a high and tight grip. The student was not able to get high on the grip but in the process of trying to do so was rubbing their hand raw on that edge of the leather sweatguard.

Most sweatguards are huge and cover the entire back of the grip of the gun to maximize comfort but in doing so make it very difficult to assume a full and correct grip on the gun from the holster.

This Revere holster has a full height sweatguard that adds a nice protection barrier without impeding draw under the beaver tail

A holster sweatguard that is properly trimmed should be a non-issue in this regard. It can be a protective layer between the body and the back of the slide and sights without impeding draw.

Increase Bulk

One other caution worth noting is that some sweatguards are thick and increase the footprint of your gun and holster in the pant line making concealment even more difficult.

There is a product being sold in high volume right now with some aggressive advertising online that acts as a cushion between your holster and body and while I'm willing to believe it makes it more comfortable it also increases the waistline displacement and can interfere with draw if installed where and how they recommend.

In Summary

I would rather someone have a sweatguard on their holster that makes a good grip/draw difficult and increases the concealment challenge slightly vs not carry the gun because it is so uncomfortable it can't be tolerated.

Having a gun is better than not having one and with some training perhaps you can learn to work around the barrier that the sweatguard can become. That said, I have found for me that a quality and stiff material sweatguard that is properly trimmed to the shape of the firearm gives me all the benefits of a sweatguard without any downside.

Here at KSG Armory most of our holsters allow the customer to choose if they want a mid-height or full height sweatguard. We recommend the full height sweatguard and it will be trimmed to ensure it doesn't interfere with your draw though please note that choosing a full height sweatguard will mean a holster that otherwise would have been ambidextrous will be no longer.

Here is a short video illustrating the option:

 

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of ConcealedCarry.com. ConcealedCarry.com provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.

4 Comments

  1. Clark Kent on May 2, 2024 at 11:41 pm

    Plastic is for toys! LEATHER is for holsters!

    • Craig on May 7, 2024 at 10:56 am

      Leather is dried and salted animal skin.

      In our recent past skin was the polymer of choice for a lot of applications, but it has quite a few downsides: retains moisture, does not hold shape, costs more to process, contains corrosive salts.

      I agree with you that it looks terrific, but so does blueing, it just isn’t practical anymore.

  2. David J Rodgers PT on May 10, 2024 at 11:52 am

    I recently bought a KSG Lexington AIWB ambidextrous holster. Very comfortable. It works great with a P365X-Macro for right hand carry. Sweat guards are mid length, and in no way hinder my draw.
    The dark wing claw only works on the right side, and shorter retention screws are needed to work on the left hand setup without the Dark Wing

  3. Phil on May 13, 2024 at 6:48 am

    Consider wearing a contrasting shirt when holding up black pistols and or dark holsters.
    Black ( holsters/ guns) against black ( shirt) impedes your visual message.
    Something to consider…

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