Your firearm is a serious matter. With such power in your control, you have a responsibility to holster it properly for both the safety of others and accessibility in times of danger. Of course, finding the right holster for your exact needs can seem a like a pretty big task. With our helpful gun holster buying guide, find the right option for you without as much of a headache.

Open Carry or Concealed?

The first matter to consider in our gun holster buying guide is the matter of open carry or concealed. While both perform the same task of holstering your firearm and keeping it secure while providing easy access if needed, there are stark differences in certain matters. The first and most obvious difference is that a concealed carry holster is designed to be hidden from sight. This means it can be placed in a range of places on the body without being seen so the design is slightly different from your typical open carry holster. For instance, a concealed carry holster can be anything from a small holster to house a .45 on your ankle under your pant leg to a side carry holster on waistband for a revolver. They can also be hidden in plain sight options such as a fanny pack, purse, or other every day carry item. The holsters are carefully placed within the object to meet the needs of concealed carry while providing a secure place for your firearm.

For those looking for an open carry, whether for personal or professional uses, you will also have several options to consider. However, the matter of the holster type in terms of concealed or open carry is already decided for you so this factor requires less thought on your part than other factors.


The second issue to consider is the matter of construction and material. Most holsters are made from either leather or thermoplastic. Each one has unique benefits and drawbacks. A leather holster is typically more expensive, but it lasts longer than plastic because it doesn’t become warped by the heat of being left in a car. It also provides a great fit that contours to the body over time for a more comfortable holster choice. However, thermoplastic holsters have their benefits, too. It can give a better, tighter grip, especially around areas such as the trigger guard, and offers a click into place security in most models for added peace of mind.

Other Matters

Of course, the factors of holster type and materials are only part of a larger equation. You will also need to consider factors such as price to meet your budgetary concerns, retention to ensure you get an easy to access and secure holster, and sizing.

When it comes to price, there are several price points for holsters on the market. Since this is an item you will use a lot and it is important for safety, both personal safety and the safety of those around you, this is not the time to skip out on quality over affordability. There are plenty of reasonably priced options on the market, but you want to go with a brand that has a solid reputation and great reviews from users. A few good choices based on these measurements would be names such as Raven Concealment, Armordillo, Blackpoint, and other trusted names.

The next matter is retention. Retention is about keeping the weapon in the holster. Retention comes in passive and active retention, as well as natural retention. Natural retention is simply the retention of the holster by default of the design. Passive is when you don’t have to do anything in terms of retention to release the weapon. Most holsters have some level of passive retention built in to keep the weapon secure, but you will want to make sure it has enough passive retention for your needs. Different holsters will offer different intensities of passive retention. Active retention is user controlled retention. When it comes to active retention, this is usually in the form of features such as thumb straps, thumb loops, and trigger guard locks. It is important to remember that natural retention is the goal of any holster while passive and active retention are up to your preferences and needs. The goal is to find the right balance between being able to easily access your firearm and also keeping it safe and secure.

The matter of sizing is related to the type of firearm you intend to holster. It is important to note that the type of firearm you are looking to store is the deciding factor here. While many holsters are designed to house several similar sized weapons with ease, that isn’t to say any holster is truly one size fits all. For instance, you wouldn’t holster your .45 in the same size holster as your Glock since it would leave gaps and would not be that secure. Most holsters will specify which types of firearms are compatible with the design which can help you narrow down the sizing and firearm type factor of choosing a holster.