I just returned home from vacation and my CHL was waiting for me in the mail box when I got home. That alone made coming back home bearable. I am basically ignorant when it comes to holsters and concealed carry so I really don't want to just start buying things online that may turn out to be something I don't want. I need to physically handle actual holsters and my gun to find out which ones I like or dislike. I know some shooting ranges carry holsters but they seem to be limited to a couple of brands and can be over priced. I can't take my gun into Gander Mountain or Bass Pro Shop, stand in the aisle and pull out my gun to see which holster works best for my gun. I might have to go around to different small shops that carry different brands to find out which holsters work best for me.
Any suggestions on where to go? I'm in Houston so hopefully I can find someplace with a nice selection and a little help. Is a gun show a good place for this?
I will be carrying my XDm 3.8
My recommendation ... go to Academy and buy an Uncle Mike's IWB holster for a trial run. They're about $10, and the sizes are really generalized. If you don't like the style, you're only out $10. Then, once you find something you like ... look for a more expensive brand in the same style.
I bought an Uncle Mikes IWB holster for my HK P30. Found out that, even though I'm right-handed, I need a left-handed IWB holster because I carry on my back, and need to flip the weapon around. Inexpensive lesson that could've been a lot more expensive if I'd started with a Crossbreed.
There are good gun shops in Houston, depending on where you are. Collector's Firearms has a bunch. Jim Pruitt Guns & Ammo out on Huffmeister. Or, just wait for one of the big Gun Shows that come up every month or two at the GRB or Reliant Center.
I really like the $10 idea just to get started.
I purchased an Uncle Mikes holster a few years back. I stopped at a gun store in Cody , WY and had to use their bathroom. As I was pulling my pants back up , my revolver fell right out of the Uncle Mike's holster and onto the floor , even though I had the velcro strap adjusted to the gun ( I'm glad it didn't go off ) , as soon as I got home I threw it away . That's when I started making my own holsters. If it says Universal fit , it's probably junk. I'll never purchase a Uncle Mikes holster or any other holster like it. I personally feel it's better to have a good Leather or Kydex holster that is made to fit your gun.
Hah! I don't think that was the holster's fault. Maybe you ought to unholster your sidearm before you drop your drawers. Its a fabric holster. Its secure when you secure it properly ... it probably isn't when your pants are around your ankles.
I've carried Uncle Mike's off-and-on for several years. Never dropped once. Then again, I take it off before I undress.
No , it was the holsters fault. When I took it home , I emptied my gun , put it in the U
Alright, XDm 3.8, know we're rolling.
I'm a self described "holster guru", one of my biggest areas of focus, and as any real gun guy will tell you, over time, you may acquire a literal tote of holsters...different guns, different carry styles, and especially those that did not work.
So, no open carry, no printing in your state? bummer...ridiculous, but I digress.
First off, for a GOOD holster, be prepared to spend $50-100 on average, and your best holsters, by far, in fit and fell typically will come from a custom maker, not on a wall at a local store. Although Safariiland, Bianchi, Galco, etc., can make a decent one here and there, it's just not the same, and I have tried/own them all, literally. No offense to Uncle Mikes, but they are the cheapest quality holsters you will get, nylon and such, not a great option, cheap all around.
IWB...is that how you want to carry?
If you've never tried it, I promise you, it is most def not for everyone, regardless of size of person, it just doesn't work for some, especially with a larger, heavier pistol, and although the 3.8 isn't huge, it's not tiny either, and that full size grip can make a huge difference in carry. Some will say otherwise, but it is what it is.
First off though, you'll have to decide Kydex or Leather, and prob have to try both for a few days to really decide, as putting on a holster for 5 minutes will FAR from tell the tale.
Some makers I recommend checking out for Kydex(all custom):
Extreme Concealment Systems
Statureman Custom Holsters
Time of year makes a difference as well. I run OWB a lot, usually CC, and in cooler weather, with more clothes, it's relatively easy to CC OWB. In summer months, I still do it a lot, shirt un-tucked, right color/pattern to "deflect" printing...once and awhile it will get noticed, usually by a gun guy, but a moot point where I live (TN).
This is the start of a journey, so be prepared to have to make a u-turn or 3 along the trip.
I think the no printing is a bit silly and it is considered brandishing it someone happens to see it.
I have the compsct so it has the two different magazines, full size and smaller which will be better for CC.
This may make me sound naive but I hope to avoid the box of holsters.
Hard to avoid...at least a few anyway, just embrace the journey.
There's so many better holsters out there, that you just can't try in person...luckily you've got a real common pistol, just be WARY of the "one size fits all" holsters, ones made for "med size autos" and similar...50/50 shot at best.
If you go serious on the IWB, most comfortable by far I've came across is from
A great choice if it's al about comfort, and it won't break the bank.
Rock has excellent advice, but I will disagree with him on a custom holster for someone new to carry. Wait until you have discovered what you really like and want, then order a custom one. Look for a belt slide 'pancake " style holster and make sure to get a GOOD belt. This will be the most comfortable carry. IWB requires you to have a larger size waistband in your pants, pleats are your friend here. The custom makers he named are very, very good, but I have been very well served by the "standard" makers for years, Bianchi, Desantis, Galco and Safariland make excellent holsters. You will wind up with a box of holsters as you go, count on it. Gunshows are good to look for what you want and more importantly, what you don't want. Avoid worn stitching and leather that has become floppy. Horsehide holsters are the best grade of leather.
Agreed on the belt, get a SOLID belt, made for carry, not cheap, but will work and last. Some models have a kydex core, wrapped in leather...good stuff.
Discover what you like...if you can by trying one on, and then BUY a good one.
Safariland is my duty holster...HATE it, but I'm stuck with it 13hrs/day. Life is much more enjoyable when I'm off duty, just because I make better choices than upper mgmt ;-)
First, get a good belt to support the holster and pistol. I use a 511 pistol belt that has a kydex insert for added strength. It has served me well and all I've had to do to it was add kiwi and polish where the holster clips scraped the leather. I carry a Taurus 24/7 in .45 acp all day almost every day.
For my holster I'm using a IWB tuckable from White Hat Holsters there in TX. The thing I like about it over others is that if I change pistols I can order a new kydex shell to add to the leather backing I already have. That is spending $20 rather than $65 to carry a different pistol.
A lot of good advice on here so far (except the Uncle Mikes bit. Save your money and forget that they even exist. There is a reason they are ONLY $10!!) At some point, unfortunately, you will realize that there is no one size fits all or universal solution to carrying concealed. You have to remember that you are buying tools that you need to be able to count on to potentially save your life when everything goes wrong. Just like buying hand tools you have to weigh the benefits vs the cost. Can you replace an engine using only tools from Harbor Freight? Yes. would you trust your life to those tools or want to make a living using them? Probably not!
Things to think about...
If you are in a situation where you need to draw your gun can you be certain that THAT won't be the day that the cheap stitching or clip lets go and you end up holding a gun with a holster still on it as your assailant continues charging?
If you drew your gun and then needed to reholster (for any number of reasons ie running, needing both hands to help a loved one, etc) how easy or hard is it to get the gun BACK in the holster?
When you practice your draw ( and PLEASE practice!!!!) does your belt shift around or flex? Take the previous advice on belts to heart.
What position are you most comfortable carrying in? Appendix, 4 o'clock, etc... Please consider these not just from a comfort or concealability standpoint. Small of back is common and offers good concealment, but what if the reason you need to draw the gun is because somebody just knocked you on your back? You also run the risk of fracturing vertebrae if you land on the gun, not to mention the time and range of motion it takes to draw from that position.
There is A LOT of good information out there on this subject. I would recommend doing plenty of research, but be wary of the ONE guy that says EVERYBODY else is wrong. Watch videos, read articles and reviews, find local shops and try as many as you can for as long as you can, make some friends at the local range that may let you try their holsters. In the end carry style and postion is a very personal choice and you will have to decide for yourself. Just don't short yourself or endanger yourself by buying subpar equipment.