Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I hate floppy holsters.

I have something I need to get off my chest on the topic of holsters: I hate floppy holsters. I especially hate floppy inside-the-waistband holsters.

A holster needs to be at least semi-rigid, or have some reinforcement around the mouth of the holster, so that it will remain open and gun-shaped even while the gun is not in it. This is important so that the gun can be re-holstered one-handed.

You need to be able to re-holster the gun one-handed. This is not for any special ninjy reasons, but for safety. If you have to hold the holster open with one hand while you try and put the gun away with the other, there's practically no way to do it without pointing your gat at your own hand, especially if you're in a hurry or flustered, like you've just gotten off the phone with 911, say.

Even worse are the people I've seen who kinda force their flattened holster open by pressing the muzzle of their pistol sort of diagonally into their own love handle before wriggling the gun down into the holster. Imagine how that would play out: The bad guy's run off, the sirens are getting closer, the 911 operator tells you to put the gun away, and *BAM!* you shoot yourself right through both kidneys. That's a pretty serious social faux pas, right there.

The only safe way to re-holster using one of these things is to remove the holster itself from your waistband, get it onto the gun without pointing the pistol at yourself in the process, and then stuff the whole assemblage back where it belongs. Or you could, you know, just get yourself a holster that lets you put the gun away without endangering yourself.

47 comments:

Tango Juliet said...

Floppy (I saw my holster gettin')

Q: Are we not Tactical? A: We are cheapo! DEVO '78 (Warner Bros.)

Tremaine said...

And then walks in Kydex "Sup guys?"

Anonymous said...

I heard several women complain about floppy things in my time.

Get yer mind out of the gutter.

This is the first time I've heard about it in relation to a holster, makes perfect sense.

og said...

If you wear the belt tight enough to hang on to the holster properly, it's almost invariably going to squish it. I have a "Wild bunch" type holster that has a stamped steel "skeleton" that has been covered with leather. Line the skin-side with suede and that could actually be comfortable AND stay open. Have to play around with that, been thinking about making a 1911 IWB myself.

Tam said...

Og,

"If you wear the belt tight enough to hang on to the holster properly, it's almost invariably going to squish it."

Mine doesn't.

og said...

Might be your physique, too. Men of a certain age, their ass goes the way of the dodo, and have to cinch the belt extra tight. You still have hips and tush enough to hold your pants up without extra belt tightness.

WV Spunth. Not going there, at all.

Tam said...

Also, it's nice, thick horsehide with a double thickness of leather covering a steel reinforcing strap around the mouth. I can just about stand on it without it squooshing. :)

og said...

Ah, see, I was thinking about plain leather, the steel strap makes it. This a commercial unit? What brand? 1911?

Frank W. James said...

There is something to be said for a kydex inside-the-waistban holster...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yeah. I wish my Milt Sparks VM2 didn't require that second hand to get the pistol back in there.

Tam said...

NJT,

"I wish my Milt Sparks VM2 didn't require that second hand to get the pistol back in there."

For real? Because that's the same holster I've been using every day for, like, two years now and it has never collapsed on me.

Caleb said...

I'm with Frank on this one, the day I discovered the CTAC for carry was the best day ever. Kydex does absorb sweat, it doesn't flop shut, and it's incredibly easy to put the gun away without even looking at the holster.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

The VM2 doesn't collapse on me, but it does require a second hand. Same with the Comp Tec IWB. And, the Galco summer whatever IWB does collapse a bit where the other 2 do not.

Probably user error/inexperience with IWB style, I am thinkin. I don't have to think about it when holstering a 3 o'clock paddle holster, but that's not as well concealed.

tomcatshanger said...

I've only tried leather once or twice, Kydex has spoiled me from the get go.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And I mentioned VM2 originally because I knew that's what you used. While my absolute favorite it isn't as easy for me to holster it without my own set of problems. Problems I may or may not be alone in struggling with.

Tam said...

"Probably user error/inexperience with IWB style, I am thinkin.

Most likely.

Ideally, you should be able to reholster one-handed and without having to look at the holster.

It helps to use the same holster in the same place as much as possible.

Caleb said...

NJT, out of curiousity what are you using your second hand for when reholstering?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

to find the hole and keep the cover garment away. so to speak.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And there are 3 places I put a holster. The 7:30 for IWB. The left front pocket for pocket carry. And 9 o'clock for paddle type or other outside the belt carry (I even mispoke, calling it 3 earlier, like I was right handed or something.)

Anonymous said...

I went to FIST K1 holsters for all my carry guns. The kydex is thin but strong and I never had any problems having to look during reholstering.

Yes it is butt ugly but very functional.

Gerry

DirtCrashr said...

Not being a holster-guy or CCW holder, but a floppy IWB holster seems self-defeating, or self-deflating - like a really bad idea.

Anonymous said...

"to find the hole and keep the cover garment away. so to speak."

One finds his grain chute in order to perform hygenie via daily use. Same for one's holster.

The holster is a part of the pistol, not some free floating accessory as the gun rags would have you believe.

One handles the cover garment as one drinks tea--pinky out. Upon re-holstering, stick your pinky out and sweep away the cover garment, re-holster using one hand and keeping eyes up.

"But, Shootin' Buddy, I can't do that." Buy a blue gun and practice until you can, and keep those pistols out of your pockets.

Shootin' Buddy

Stretch said...

Like most gunnies I have an assortment of nylon floppies from my early days. I've found they make handy gun holders in vehicle trunks and bins. And you don't feel guilty screwing them to headboards or cabinet doors for backup use.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I have servants for the grain chute area. I clap my hands twice and call out "Wipers! Attend!" and that whole business gets take care of for me. I can't recommend that system enough.

pax said...

If the holster isn't floppy but you're still having trouble getting the gun into it one-handed, chances are you need to invest in a real belt -- one sturdy enough to distribute the firearm's weight around your waist, sturdy enough not to rise up as you remove the gun from its holster, and sturdy enough to hold the holster steady as you replace the gun in it.

The belt, holster, gun, and cover garment make up a complete carry system. If one of the elements isn't up to the task, the whole system fails.

(Actually .. hm. Should add one more element to that list: "belt, holster, gun, cover garment, and user knowledge.")

Anonymous said...

"call out 'Wipers! Attend!'"

How long have you been a sumo wrestler?

Shootin' Buddy

Stranger said...

I agree with Tam but the comments are interesting. Only one aside - horsehide is well known in the leather trade, and most workers detest the stuff. Well tanned bull hide is cheaper because it is much more available, and somewhat more durable.

If you want something really stiff and tough - try ray, aka shagreen. I was astonished - and I don't surprise easily.

Stranger

Kristopher said...

Og: Ted Blocker can make you an IWB with steel re-enforcement.

Tam said...

Stranger,

"Only one aside - horsehide is well known in the leather trade, and most workers detest the stuff. Well tanned bull hide is cheaper because it is much more available, and somewhat more durable."

The allure of horse in the IWB holster trade is that horse hide allegedly doesn't absorb moisture the way cow does. Conversely, one well-known holster maker avers that he stocks horse principally "for those that have been successfully marketed to".

I have no strong opinions on the topic, although I will note, from a strictly anecdotal standpoint, that my cowhide Brommeland got all wet and sticky under circumstances that my horsehide Sparks didn't. (And a kydex rig wouldn't have, either.)

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for? I'm partial to El Paso Saddlery myself, and have never had one go "floppy" (of course I'm sure I could sabotage that with lots of neatsfoot oil.)
On a side but related note. Recently sent one of my joe's to a Vicker's course in my stead. He showed up with his Les Baer in an Uncle Mike's $10 special. Needless to say, it was a good thing he's young fast and a good shot...and Larry had a some stuff to loan him.

Steve Skubinna said...

All of the formal holstering/unholstering training I have had always stressed one hand to draw and put away the gun. Support hand gets glued to your body (I plaster mine over the belt buckle) to prevent sweeping the hand.

Having the support hand in the air, anywhere, is grounds for getting thrown off the range and DQ'd.

Of course, if you're using a holster on your own time you can do what you damn well like, but keeping that support hand glued to your torso or hip is a fine way to avoid ever having to explain to ER staff and the cops that, no, really, it was just a mistake.

Cops, the "only ones," garner for themselves an impressively high rate of self inflicted wounds drawing and holstering.

And if you do carry, I second Shootin' Buddy's blue gun endorsement. You can also find blue magazines for handling training. Worth investing in if you shoot a lot - assuming you believe in practice.

Caleb said...

Blue guns are great. If your current belt/holster/gun combo doesn't allow you to re-holster one-handed without looking at your leather, then you need to get a new combo and practice using a blue gun until you can.

Sigivald said...

If you have to hold the holster open with one hand while you try and put the gun away with the other, there's practically no way to do it without pointing your gat at your own hand [...]

Given that you're talking about IWB holsters, it's going to be kinda difficult to manage holstering without covering some part of your body in the process, isn't it?

I'm not sure where I could put an IWB holster that it'd be tolerable and I could holster without covering myself.

So, thus, momentarily covering my hand isn't that much more of an issue than an axial shot down my thigh. The latter's a lot more deadly, in fact.

(That said, the ability to do it one handed is definitely preferable for all the other stated reasons.

I just think that the big danger from an IWB ND is bleeding out from a deep thigh wound that hits a major blood vessel, not hand damage.

Hell, if having your hand there makes you MORE careful when holstering it might be a plus.)

Tam said...

Sigivald,

If I hear a loud noise when reholstering, at the worst, I might sport a racing stripe on an ass cheek.

I'm thinking this is less bad than blowing my hand off AND a racing stripe on my ass cheek.

That's just me, though... :)

jimbob86 said...

"For real? Because that's the same holster I've been using every day for, like, two years now and it has never collapsed on me."

Mayhaps it is that you are not "a man of a certain age", no?

Tam said...

jimbob86,

We already covered the metal reinforcing strap around the holster mouth. ;)

Tango Juliet said...

My Sparks VMII's (all horse/shark) have been nothing less than magnificent.

Not sure I could stand on one without squishing it though. :)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

My VMII is the same as yours TJ. Less than magnificent. The Sig just doesn't want to go in there without a fight.

Tam said...

NJT,

Well, you've got me stumped. :(

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Gonna practice with it a bit more. Have a feelin' that the problematic feature is me, not the holster.

Tam said...

NJT,

Srsly, SB's suggestion of a blue gun is a winner.

I use mine for something or other practically every day.

pax said...

NJT ~ What kind of belt are you using?

Kristopher said...

Pax may have the short of it.

Steel re-enforcement inside the belt at the attachment point will fix a lot of middle-aged male curve holstering problems.

Or even a stiffer gun belt without the steel. Not a dress belt.

Kristopher said...

I wear a Thell Reed belt on my SASS rig to deal with my body shape issues.

You can also get one for use with CCW.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

My belt is as thick as a soldier's. A soldier from 100 years ago, too. Inch and a quarter stiff, thick, leather.

Tam said...

Sounds like a good belt. :)

I got an Amish leather belt at a gun show a few years back. I had no idea that the Amish had such thick hides. :o

Mike said...

FWIW, I'd suggest wearing the holster a little farther forward. As others have said, holster to belt fit it critical. I have a Sparks 55BN OWB and a CompTac IWB. They ride in the same place (pistol in line with pants seam for me). If I wear the Comp-Tac farther back, its gets progressively more problematic.

My holsters dont flop and I am a man of a certain age, and proud of it (never thought I'd live so long).

I've also never understood people who'll put a $1000 pistol in a $10 holster.....