Do NOT Use These Types of Holsters


If you’ve made the decision to start carrying a gun then I applaud you.

You understand that you are responsible for your own safety, and carrying a gun is one of the best ways to protect you and yours.

So you probably bought a nice gun (or grabbed one of the dozens you have in your safe) and you’re ready to carry.


So what’s the worst thing you can do? To treat your holster as an after thought and either buy a piece of crap or start using something ridiculous.

Some Holsters Suck And Some Don’t

It’s a fact that some holsters simply are better than others.

And no, this is one of those things that — at a certain point — your personal opinion does not matter.

There are dumb ways to carry a gun and there are smart ways.

It mostly comes down to safety.


Because we’re carrying around a gun to be MORE safe, so you should choose a method of carry that makes it less likely you’re going to shoot yourself or something you don’t want to shoot by having a negligent discharge.

If you find yourself with one of these carry choices, educate yourself, then find a better carry method for your safety and the safety of those around you.

Holsters That Don’t Cover The Trigger Are Dumb

Don’t use any of the types of holsters that don’t cover the trigger.

ConcealedNation has a good list here:


The Handgun Sling™


the-handgun-slingScreenshot courtesy of The Handgun Sling™ YouTube video

This thing was featured in a recent article, and the vast majority of the comments have supported my thoughts that were outlined. This concept is essentially a piece of elastic with a rod and a ‘coin’. If you want to see how it works, check out this article.

  • No trigger protection whatsoever
  • No proper retention of firearm
  • Having to place an obstruction inside the barrel




versacarryScreenshot courtesy of Versacarry® YouTube video

This concept was covered extensively in anarticle of mine a while back, and my thoughts still hold true to this day. What we have here is another method of carrying that is marketed as a minimalist design. However, see that yellow rod in the image above? Yep, that goes inside your barrel. We also don’t have any trigger protection on one whole side of the firearm. That’s just the beginning. Read all the details in this article.

  • Having to place an obstruction inside the barrel
  • Trigger guard only protected on one side
  • Plastic base has been known to break off
  • Pieces of plastic can strip from rod and end up inside barrel




clipdrawPhoto courtesy of Clipdraw via Facebook

This minimalistic product is essentially a piece of metal attacked to the back of the firearm via screws. It acts just like a clip on a pen, and is said to keep the firearm in place this way. If anyone ever considers using this, a trigger guard is a must. With this carry method, the entire firearm is 100% exposed. That’s scary.

  • No trigger protection whatsoever
  • Need to modify firearm with new backplate
  • No proper firearm retention



Do Not Carry Outside The Waistband Without Retention

crappy nylon holster
crappy nylon holster

It’s really bad when you see people that open carry and use a crappy holster.


Well, at least with inside-the-waistband carry, you have the additional retention of a belt and your pants to keep your gun secure … and hopefully protect the trigger.

But many people that practice “open carry” use a really crappy, cheap, nylon holster.

These typically have horrible attachment devices that are cheap clips waiting to fall off your pants.

Further, they have no retention. Which means if a bad guy wants to grab your gun out of your holster (one of the downsides to open carry), they can more easily do it.

If you must open carry (and I don’t recommend it), then use a retention holster like the Safariland ALS.

Don’t Use A SERPA If You Carry Outside The Waistband

notice the unlocking mechanism is right over the trigger guard ...
notice the unlocking mechanism is right over the trigger guard …

If you carry outside the waist band then you should use some type of retention holster.

The SERPA is the worst choice here because it requires you to use your trigger finger to unlock the retention device, which is WAY too close to the trigger inside the trigger guard.

Your trigger finger should only ever be one of two places when gripping a handgun, at “home” indexed alongside the slide/frame fully outside the trigger guard or “at work” on the trigger when you have your target in your sights and you’ve made the decision to shoot. It should not be doing other things near the trigger and helping you have a negligent discharge.

There’s a reason why this list of trainers and organizations have banned the use of the SERPA holster (hat tip to rational gun blog):

In Conclusion, Your Holster Is Important …

So put some thought into it.

You want a holster that securely holds your gun, but also completely covers the trigger guard for safety.

You also want it to be comfortable (or else you won’t wear it!) and fast to access (because you may need to defend your life!).


I make some specific recommendations about both your first holster and your first concealed carry gun should be in this article here: “Choosing Your First Concealed Carry Handgun & Holster (The Short Version). here is the short version:

Get an inside-the-waistband, probably kydex, holster and carry it behind the hip on your strong side (most likely around 3-4 o’ clock, figuring out the most comfortable and concealable place on your body behind the hip).

* Appendix carry is also an option, but not until you have a lot of training under your belt and understand the risks involved. 

Stay away from cheap brands like Uncle Mike, Fobus, etc.

While many experts I respect hate hybrid holsters, I carried one for the majority of my concealed carry experience (Crossbreed Super Tuck Deluxe) thus far but I do certainly recommend switching to a better made kydex one at the earliest opportunity.

If you’re into leather, then Galco makes the Summer Comfort or the Royal Guard(very respected and been around a LONG time).

If you’re into Kydex (I am), then Raven Concealment makes a good pancake style holster. JM Custom Kydex makes an excellent IWB holster as well.

I further recommend an FBI cant for reasons I will explain later, but it makes things better most of the time.



  1. Thank you so much for your input on holsters I still have to buy a gun first and then a holster as a woman I have been used in another country to carry it inside my purse and if I had to shoot I would shoot with purse and all never had to do that but it was a good advice

  2. I carry a double action revolver. For open carry of a double action revolver, I think it is “dumb” to use a holster that covers the trigger. GREATLY slows a fast draw. Almost all of the old peace officers and others who carried double action revolvers 40 years or more ago used a holster that exposed the trigger. A holster that covers the trigger makes sense for an autoloader, but is “dumb” for a double action revolver. See Bill Jordan’s book: NO SECOND PLACE WINNER.

  3. When you draw a pistol from a Serpa holster it puts your index finger on the release tab making your index finger straight and as you draw the pistol your index finger goes immediately to the proper place along the upper, straight not any nearer the trigger than usual.

  4. Serpa has never been a problem, like all firearm products you have to learn to use correctly, it is the only one I trust on my motorcycle, your finger is not near the trigger on release but it does set you up to find it quickly and sight your target.

    • I agree with you I carry the SERPA but I have done my homework and trained with it and it didn’t take long for me to get it down pat. It actually teaches you to place your finger on the slide just above the trigger which is where it should be. Just because people are lazy don’t blame the holster.

    • I edited the post at the end to give you more advice along with more info in a previous article. thanks.

      • I would also recommend the Alien Gear Cloak-Tuck.

        It’s an excellent Kydex IWB holster, that meets all of the qualifications (proper retention, trigger cover, secure mounting that won’t just come loose, etc.)

        Costs around $50-ish bucks, depending on shipping and whatnot. I have one for my Glock 30, and my Glock 27, and it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever carried.

        • For sure, very similar to the crossbreed supertuck that I used for years before switching to a custom made kydex.

  5. Although I am not new to firearms carry for work I am new to concealed carry when not working. My weapons are all full size autos. What would suggest to be the best holster set up.

    • I edited the post at the end to give you more advice along with more info in a previous article. thanks.

  6. RE: Clipdraw. You’ve missed the one way the device can be used safely for deep cover. I carry, under certain conditions, in a beast pocket of a uniform style shirt or the inside pocket of a suit or jacket . this exposes only the clip which masquerades as a pen clip. Obviously I ensure that pocket is used for nothing else.
    I use Ruger, Keltec or similar .380ACP and am exploring similar in 9mm. Where it is warranted, I will use a card that fits the pocket, reducing movement, eliminating patterning and doubly protecting the trigger.

    Beyond that, thank you for an article that some of the newer (and less successful) inovations. I will use this data in my classes.

  7. Great article and after 30+ years in LE I can’t agree more. I have the same holster on my personal carry Walther that I bought with it in 1978. Full brown leather full strap retention and after easily a 100K rounds thru the weapon and tens of thousands of hours of wear it is still like it was day one. The other is a Galco similar design only black and with a newer style clip system that allows a shirt to be tucked in as well.
    The use of any holster or devise that doesn’t cover the trigger is a perfect excuse to be held responsible for a faulty discharge. The number one reason for faulty discharges are in the replacement of the weapon in the holster after the shot is done. By using a generic holster you add WAY too much space to allow either a shirt or seatbelt or foreign object to get inside and hit the trigger. If you MUST use a nylon generic cheap holster not custom made for the make and model then atleast be smart enough to buy a trigger holster (a small piece of Kydex that fits snuggly over only the trigger and was designed to be used for appendix carry with a string attached to a belt loop to remove it when removing it.
    The elimination of Serpa holsters and the consistent news of accidental shootings is a perfect reason to no longer even sell them regardless of how many praise them. Too much risk ESPECIALLY with carriers who are less then full time trained gun carriers.
    Dr D

  8. just had to point out in the pic of the 1911 in the holster, the hammer was not cocked , you could pull the trigger all day long & nothing would happen.

    • Tis true … stock photos are not usually taken by gun guys … but why would anyone carry a 1911 that’s NOT locked n cocked?

  9. I guess one can get accustomed to anything given enough time. I have a “Crappy” holster much like the illustration and I have NEVER had a problem. A tab snaps over the trigger and if someone tried to take it from me the would leave the scene on stumps.

    I like the nylon holster that can be worn in or out and with or without a belt plus the room for an extra mag. I carried it for years in a rain forest and it never tried to leave. If my hand even got close to it, most of the cretins left the scene before testing my mettle.

  10. Everyone has their own preference what is the most comfortable one for you only you can decide that. But as for ladies carrying I would never recommend a lady caring her weapon in her purse they are too easily snatched and then you not only lose your purse but your weapon as well. In today’s society and with the sentiment against people carrying weapons and our Constitution society looks at things without the greatest degree of clarity. I carry and inside the waistband holster, but an outside the waistband holster is more comfortable. There are pros and cons to both. The pro is that it is concealed and doesn’t cause any undue excitement and it is easily accessible the con is an outside the waistband holster shows you are carring and may deter an attack. But remember criminals are cowards, most are blitz attacks and the first 2 to 3 seconds will determine whether you are a victim or a survivor. I have taught many people to shoot and carry but the best advice that I can give anyone is situational awareness be aware of what is going on around you and don’t allow yourself to be caught in a blitz attack

  11. I’ve tried several holsters and, the one I now use every day is called “Silent Thunder” by Garrett Industries. It is an IWB Kydex holster lined with leather. The Kydex holds the shape and, it is adjustable for retention and cant and, the leather is gentler on the finish. After using this holster, I can’t imagine using anything else. They also make a variety of other holsters to fit your carrying needs.

  12. Agree on all counts. Spend a few extra dollars and get a solid, reliable holster like a Crossbreed. I never worry about carrying my Glock locked and loaded in my Crossbreed. It’s comfortable, quick to draw from and safe.

  13. I carry a Blackhawk Serpa holster, and feel totally comfortable with it. Just in case you doubt my opinion, I am a former deputy corporal from Arizona before moving to Washington state. I also worked at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, and have probably received more training than about 85 percentile of the gun owners in the US. Some agencies in California used to use a clamshell holster that required the officer to use his trigger finger, through the trigger guard to open the holster, and then had to use both hands to re-holster. I contend that proper training makes the Serpa one of the safest holsters on the market. The operation is simple, grip the weapon with a good shooting grip. then press the release. The operation of the release automatically positions the trigger finger along the slide or frame, well away from the trigger guard. Good training assures the holster is safe, and saying the holster is no good is just poor information.

  14. I think whomever wrote this article has NEVER used some these holsters! You need to try them with your own weapons and carry style instead of relying on other people’s opinions no matter WHO they are!

  15. I agree with just about everything mentioned in the article EXCEPT the comments on SERPA. learn to use the serpa and there is no problem. I have a serpa for just about every one of my handguns and highly recommend them.

  16. I carry a Colt 9-11 .45 or a Beretta PX4 9mm
    I have used a Black Hawk Serpa for quite a few years and find it the most secure holster I have ever found. I practice at least twice a month. Keeping my finger off the trigger till I’m ready has never been a problem. I also have one attached to Perry suspenders for Winter carry under a heavy coat. The only downside I find with the holster is they don’t make one that will accommodate a laser.

  17. Hey Dutch..try a Crimson Trace lazer sight..I have one on a S&W 44 mag and mine is built into the grip so it doesnt take up any more space then the stock grips..hope this helps..they started out with red but now I see they have green too..

  18. I have been carrying for over 20 years. Lately I have discovered the Nate squared also known as the N82. It is Kydex with a soft backing that goes against your skin. It also has a retention mechanism that requires you to twist the firearm in towards your body to remove it. I definitely recommend it not only for retention but also comfort. I wear mine at times for up to 20 hours. It is comfortable even driving long distances in your vehicle.
    Just my 2 cents

  19. The clip works perfect with my bodyguard .380. All you can see is the clip. the gun fits perfectly in front pants pocket.

  20. I knew when I started reading some SERPA owners would chime in and say they’ve never had a problem ergo the author is wrong.

    Did you look at the long list of professional shooting schools that have either banned it entirely or highly recommend against it? You might take a second to ask yourself why that is because the guys teaching those schools have both more experience than you, and have students coming through their schools all the time so they’ve seen what goes wrong. They are a liability period!

    PS: You can draw them all day long when you’re not under any stress or pressure and it will (probably) work fine…under stress they have failed monumentally.

  21. It seems to me the only problem with the SERPA is a lack of training and people putting their fingers on the trigger before being ready to fire. You all sound like a bunch of liberals wanting to ban something instead of addressing the real problem, the person using it. Maybe we should ban guns. What a bunch of whack jobs.

    • … OR … if there are better pieces of gear that eliminate the problem entirely, then why not do that? There’s no reason to “Ban” the SERPA (although a private company has every right to “ban” what items they want used at their events) — just don’t use it.

  22. My Uncle Mikes “Crappy Nylon Holster” is all I use for my 1911. The belt clip grabs the bottom of my belt on removal, so much so it is hard for me to remove. I pull the belt thru. Second, I arranged the retention strap, which on mine is leather, not fabric, to the body side, which actually makes it a tad bit more difficult to remove the weapon.
    Keep up the good work.

  23. I’ve carried my 1911 in a Blackhawk Serpa holster for years and have never had a problem with it in daily carry and, or on the range.

    I carried a custom made leather quick draw holster that covered the trigger but had no retention when I served eith the S.O. a number of years ago which is the main reason I switched to the SERPA.

    Although I still prefer leather over Kydex the SERPA still remains the holster I use for daily carry.

  24. Over the past 6 years I have gained 130 pounds, due to medications and lung disorders, my problem is what I refer to as a dunlap belly. My gut has done lapped over my belt and makes a belt holster very uncomfortable and almost unaccessable. I don’t like carrying concealed in the small of the back area as it’s not that concealed. Because of this I strap on a shoulder rig. Any dos and don’ts for them that you can pass along.

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