Holster Types: Pros and Cons

The wide world of holsters is vast. The firearms industry has done a great job of meeting the demand of modern pistol owners, almost too good of a job. For the average Joe or Jane out there, looking to carry their handgun in whatever situation suits them best, it can be a bit intimidating. As holsters are mostly about comfort of wear, which in turn provides the consistency required to develop solid muscle memory for shooters, the first thing you must ask yourself is: Where do I want to carry my firearm? This will then permit you to decide what holster type will best suit your needs. Below are the pros and cons of four different holster types.

Hip Holster

The classic holster-type that comes to mind when thinking of holsters in general, the hip holster is both common and pragmatic. There are more of these on the market than any other style of holster.

Pros: Easy and most common avenue of access to the firearm.
Tons of models out there.
Concealed and open carry options both available.

Cons: Tough to wear with a backpack that offers hip support.
Less room for other equipment on your tactical belt.

Drop-Leg Thigh Holster

Body armor, tactical duty belts and a desire to keep all things off of the hips created a strong demand for the drop-leg thigh holster. As the occupational loads of operators can greatly effect both kinematics and kinesthetics, having a drop-leg holster may be the right fit for you.

Pros: Comfortable positioning. The thigh holder places the sidearm at almost the exact spot the hand naturally falls.
Less weight around the waist

Cons: Retention. Given that the weapon is further from your torso, it is a bit harder to retain upon making contact with.
Cumbersomeness. Running, fighting, jumping or crawling can all be a lot more difficult.

Ankle Holster

These holsters are reminiscent of 1970s detective movies. Primarily used to conceal a backup gun, this style of carrying your pistol is quite specific. You should take your time in accessing whether this is truly a good fit for you.

Pros: Highly concealable.

Cons: Hard to access in a real force-on-force scenario
Places more weight around the ankle and leg, which makes for less mobility.
Limited to specific, smaller-caliber pistols.
Your concealment options are limited by apparel.

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