Gun World - - Contents -

It’s an in­dis­putable re­al­ity: Sig­nif­i­cantly more women are buy­ing and shoot­ing firearms to­day than just a few short years ago. And while many women are pur­chas­ing their first hand­guns, it’s not only about hand­guns.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 NSSF study, women spend ap­prox­i­mately 50 per­cent of the cost of a sin­gle firearm again on ac­ces­sories such as eye and ear pro­tec­tion, range bags and hol­sters. In fact, one-quar­ter of ac­ces­sories pur­chased by women are re­ported to be hol­sters.

So, which hol­sters are women buy­ing?

Com­pa­nies large and small have re­sponded to the in­crease in women buy­ing guns by al­ter­ing ex­ist­ing prod­ucts and also cre­at­ing new ones de­signed specif­i­cally for women. This ap­proach has re­sulted in some good hol­sters—but it’s also spawned an in­vad­ing force of un­safe and flat-out dan­ger­ous gear.

Just be­cause some­thing is made for women, it doesn’t mean it’s some­thing you can or should use; and just be­cause it’s called a “hol­ster,” it doesn’t mean it’s a safe means of se­cur­ing your firearm.

Nu­mer­ous fac­tors come into play when se­lect­ing a hol­ster. But a few key de­tails stand out.


One of the first fea­tures fre­quently sac­ri­ficed on the al­tar of fash­ion is also one of the most im­por­tant: qual­ity. Firearms are tools, but they’re tools de­signed for lethal­ity. Logic dic­tates that the hol­ster you se­lect to carry your gun should be well made. It should be tough enough to with­stand the rig­ors of daily life—which in­cludes twist­ing, sit­ting, sweat, dirt and more—and ex­ten­sive use. Stitches must be tight and made us­ing heavy-duty ma­te­ri­als; frame-molded curves and lines must be ex­act; and belt loops must be prop­erly sized.

Far too many poorly made hol­sters have found their way onto the mar­ket. Stitch­ing might be crooked or so weak that it pops at in­op­por­tune mo­ments, and clips fall off or break en­tirely. Also, some hol­sters that are sup­pos­edly frame-molded de­signs are be­ing made with only a vague re­sem­blance to the frames of guns they’re sold to fit. At first glance, they might seem fine, but they’re often ex­posed as bla­tantly worth­less with min­i­mal use.

Clearly, qual­ity should be at the top of your list for both your gun and your hol­ster.


Re­ten­tion, which refers to how se­curely the hol­ster in question holds a gun, comes in mul­ti­ple lev­els and two ba­sic types: pas­sive and ac­tive (pas­sive meth­ods in­clude ad­justable screws and fric­tion, while ac­tive meth­ods in­clude thumb breaks). There are pros and cons to var­i­ous lev­els of re­ten­tion, be­cause the greater the level of re­ten­tion, the more time-con­sum­ing it be­comes to draw your gun. This is one rea­son prac­tice is vi­tal. But prac­tice will only get you through the steps just so fast, so choose wisely.

If you’re think­ing that car­ry­ing con­cealed some­how negates the need for re­ten­tion, you’re wrong. While your need might not be as strong as that of a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, you do need it. Un­for­tu­nately, many hol­sters be­ing mar­keted to women of­fer lit­tle to no re­ten­tion. One wrong move, and your gun falls to the ground; one wrong move, and the gun slips into an un­safe po­si­tion. Your hol­ster should hold your gun safely and se­curely while al­low­ing for rapid pre­sen­ta­tion.


Proper func­tion cov­ers a va­ri­ety of is­sues. For ex­am­ple, is re-hol­ster­ing pos­si­ble, or does draw­ing your gun re­sult in a col­lapsed or oth­er­wise use­less hol­ster? Can ma­te­rial bunch in­side the trig­ger guard? Does the hol­ster stay solidly in place? Does the an­gle or po­si­tion­ing mean you’re con­stantly sweep­ing your­self or a passerby with a loaded gun? Qual­ity and re­ten­tion might top the list, but they’re only the be­gin­ning.

Com­pet­i­tive shooter and range owner An­nette Evans be­lieves that “many al­ter­na­tive carry meth­ods mar­keted to women make too many com­pro­mises against safety and ac­ces­si­bil­ity in the name of fash­ion and per­ceived con­ve­nience. Car­ry­ing a gun doesn’t have to be un­com­fort­able or re­quire a new wardrobe of baggy clothes. There are qual­ity prod­ucts that work for women—whether or not they’re mar­keted in pink or lace—that al­low us to pro­tect the trig­ger guard of our guns,

se­curely hold them and get them out when we need them.”

When it comes down to it, se­ri­ous shoot­ers want the same things, re­gard­less of gen­der. We want well-made, re­li­able hol­sters ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing safely. Most shoot­ers have a box (or closet) of dis­carded hol­sters telling the story of their evo­lu­tion as gun own­ers. And, of course, most have mul­ti­ple hol­sters to ful­fill needs such as con­cealed carry, open carry, hunt­ing and dif­fer­ent types of cloth­ing.

How­ever many hol­sters you own for what­ever uses and what­ever ma­te­ri­als they’re made from, one thing re­mains clear: A hol­ster is not the item to com­pro­mise on.

Your gun should go boom! when you pull the trig­ger and strike tar­gets with ac­cu­racy and pre­ci­sion, and your hol­ster should hold your gun firmly in place, se­cure and ready. When your life is the po­ten­tial cost, there is no room for com­pro­mise, no room for half mea­sures and no room for fash­ion over func­tion. GW



Cross­Breed of­fers a com­plete line of Ky­dex and leather hol­sters. The Cross­Breed MiniTuck for the Rem­ing­ton RM380 is cus­tom molded to the gun’s frame, pro­tects the trig­ger guard and has a com­fort­able, pre­mium leather back­ing.

There is a gun for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion—and a hol­ster to go with it. Make sure you have hol­sters for all oc­ca­sions, whether con­cealed carry, open carry, hunt­ing or backup.

Cus­tom hol­sters, such as this Pa­triot II from Sim­ply Rugged, are ideal choices. Sim­ply Rugged’s owner, Rob Leahy, lists the Pa­triot II’s bend­able, mold­able steel shank, which can be shaped to the wearer’s hip, as just one rea­son this model is pre­ferred by many fe­male gun own­ers.

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