Holsters The Core Four Rules to Fundamentally Look For 

How to Choose a Gun Holster: 4 Core Rules

Purchasing a firearm is almost always an expensive investment. A critical mistake that many people will make is to invest a lot of money into a good pistol, but not the same level of investment in accessories for that pistol…and particularly, a good holster. 

You should always put just as much thought into the holster(s) that you buy for your pistol as you put into the holster itself, regardless of the type of holster you’re choosing. 

Regardless of whether you’re buying a holster that’s OWB (outside-the-waistband), IWB (inside-the-waistband), ankle, pocket, or a shoulder holster, there are four fundamental rules you’ll want to follow.

Rule #1 – Ensure the Trigger Guard is Fully Covered 

Rule #1 - Ensure the Trigger Guard is Fully Covered 

Always ensure that the holster completely covers the trigger and trigger guard of your pistol. It’s extremely dangerous to go about your daily life with a gun in your holster that does not have the trigger guard completely covered. 

This is because if the trigger is exposed, the chances of something getting inside the trigger guard to move or tamper with the trigger are extremely high. This greatly increases the odds of a negligent discharge with obvious risk of death or energy.

Reject the use of any holster that does not completely cover the trigger guard of your weapon. 

Rule #2 – Ensure the Firearm is Properly Retained in the Holster 

Rule #2 - Ensure the Firearm is Properly Retained in the Holster 

Next, you need to ensure that your firearm is properly retained in the holster. As you’re going about your daily life and walking or running or jumping around, your gun should not be moving around in your holster. 

There are four levels of firearm retention in a holster:

  • Level #1 – the holster retains the pistol via friction (such as via a retention screw holding the pistol tightly together), but nothing could stop someone else from forcefully taking the pistol out of its holster.
  • Level #2 – In addition to using friction as described above, the holster retains the pistol via a second retention method that prevents someone else from forcefully withdrawing the pistol from the holster. An example could be a trigger lock that can only be released via the press of a button on the side of a holster, or a strap or flap that secures the gun into the holster.
  • Level #3 The holster relies on two retention methods plus friction to ensure the gun is retained. This is currently the standard for most law enforcement departments.
  • Level #4 The holster relies on three retention methods plus friction to keep the firearm retained. WIth this retention level, it’s nearly impossible for anyone else to forcefully withdraw the gun from your holster unless you permit it.

Regardless of which retention level your holster has, what’s most important is that the gun is wrapped tightly by the holster and will not move around or fall out as you’re going about your day. 

Rule #3 – The Holster Must Be Held Secure To Your Body

Rule #3 - The Holster Must Be Held Secure To Your Body

The holster should also be held tightly to your body and should not be moving or flopping around as you’re moving about either. If you’re buying an OWB holster, make sure it comes with belt loops or a tight paddle that holds the gun close and tight to your side. If you’re buying an IWB holster, it should come with tight belt loops or clips as well that likewise don’t permit the holster to slide back and forth under your pants. 

Pocket holsters should be made out of a sticker material or come with a ‘hook’ as part of the design that doesn’t permit the holster to fall out of your pocket very easily. Ankle holsters should come with very high-quality velcro and wrap very tightly around your lower leg so they don’t flop around as you’re running around either. Shoulder holsters should be very tightly fastened around your back and shoulders. 

Rule #4 – The Holster Must Stay Open To Permit Easy Reholstering

Rule #4 - The Holster Must Stay Open To Permit Easy Reholstering 

Last but not least, make sure that you can draw and re-holster your pistol into your holster without needing to stick your fingers into the holster to reopen it back up. 

Some flimsy holsters especially will not stay open when you withdraw the gun, forcing you to have to reopen the holster with the fingers of your non-dominant hand while re-holstering the pistol with your dominant hand. Not only does this slow down and complicate the reholstering of the weapons, it also means that you will flag your fingers with the muzzle of the gun, which is an obvious safety hazard. 

Conclusion: How to Choose a Gun Holster


A good holster will provide you with many years if not decades of reliable service. The next time you go holster shopping, you can follow the above points as a checklist. 


What is a 4 Way Holster?

A 4-way holster is a versatile carrying case designed to accommodate four different carry positions: inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), cross-draw, and small of the back. Its adaptability makes it a popular choice among firearm owners seeking flexibility and comfort in various situations and environments.

What is the 4 O’Clock Holster Position?

The 4 o’clock holster position refers to carrying a handgun just behind the hip bone, with the grip accessible over the back pocket. It’s a common choice for concealed carry, offering comfort and easy access while sitting or standing. This position ensures that the firearm remains concealed and secure, minimizing printing and enhancing draw speed.

What is a 4 in 1 Holster?

A 4 in 1 holster is designed to be worn in four different positions: inside the waistband, outside the waistband, on the small of the back, or as a cross-draw. This multi-positional design offers users flexibility, allowing them to choose the most comfortable and accessible carrying option based on their needs and activities.

What Makes a Good Gun Holster?

A good gun holster ensures secure firearm retention, quick accessibility, and user comfort. It is made of durable, quality materials to withstand regular use and environmental conditions. The design should minimize printing for concealed carry, provide a fast and unencumbered draw, and ensure the firearm is safely and securely held in place during movement.

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