8/31/11

A woman's perspective on the best holsters for women

At all of my defensive pistol events, my accuracy is pretty good, but my struggle with speed tends to place me at the back of the pack for final scores. Some of it is practice (or the lack there of), some of it nerves, but a lot of it is equipment. I'm not just making excuses here. I truly believe that most shooting gear is made by men and for men. As I am NOT a man, but rather a normal sized, athletically built WOMAN who has birthed two children, I've found that the equipment designed for him doesn't always work optimally for her.

I've tried dozens of holsters since I started carrying a firearm as one of my daily accessories: in the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB), ankle holster, drop holsters and thigh rigs. I think I own at least one of each, much to the Hubby's annoyance, who thought he lucked out by marrying a woman who hates shopping for clothes and has been satisfied wearing the same 4 pairs of shoes for the last 10 years. And lets face it, holsters aren't cheap! So here's the knowledge I have to share on the topic of obtaining the right holster for the lady marksman.

My number one beef with holsters is that most common varieties and styles, whether for concealed carry or open carry are designed to sit on a fellow's hip. I don't know about you, but my hips aren't exactly like a man's. When I wear a holster on my hip, I'm constantly being pinched in the side and poked in the ribs by the grip of my gun. And then, when I draw, I have to tip over at the waist to the non-holster side to ensure my giggly bits are well clear of my draw stroke as I extract the firearm from its enclosure. Not exactly efficient, never mind comfortable to execute.

This year, after much begging, pleading and coercing, the hubby got me a new thigh holster for my anniversary (or birthday or mothers day...I can't really remember...don't tell hubby). Before shelling out the dough on the one I wanted, the Hubby bought me a random thigh holster from the gun shop. It had 2 thigh straps instead of one, but they were in entirely the wrong place. This is the one item of gun gear that I think would be MORE comfortable for a woman than a man if you get my drift...


High Speed Gear drop holster
But finally I won out and the Hubby shelled out the big bucks for the High Speed Gear Drop Holster and I have to admit, it's the best holster I've ever owned. It's super comfortable, puts my gun in a great place to draw from, doesn't impede my movement at all, and is out of the way, yet accessible when needed. I even found when I went backpacking on our camping trip a few weekends ago, that I could actually carry a firearm AND a backpack simultaneously...something not easy to do with the usual holsters. Best of all is that my draw stroke is at least 2 seconds faster than it was with the traditional hip carry I used to use.

But let's face it, walking into the grocery store with this bad boy strapped to your thigh is bound to garner a few looks, and maybe a discussion with the security officer on duty. So when I'm not in "open carry country" I opt for the Minotaur MTAC in the waist band holster.



Open carry Minotaur MTAC
Instead of sitting on your hip, it sits at the 4:00 position (or 8:00 if you're a lefty like me) just behind the hip. By far, the MTAC is the most comfortable and versatile option for IWB carry,  and it also has some additional unbeatable features: you can change out the "half body" (the kidex part that holds the gun) so you can use the same holster for all of your guns, and you change the 'cant' (angle the gun sits in the holster) to improve your access to it.

Concealed carry Minotaur MTAC
I find the MTAC is very concealable with a loose-fitting blouse, but unfortunately, you do need to wear a belt to carry it. Other drawbacks are that it's not comfortable for long car rides, and your chiropractor will hate you for what it does to your back. And some say that if you're in a confrontation where an attacker has you on your back, you'll have a hard time drawing it from your back. I guess this is why Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch teaches his students "Two is one and one is none" when it comes to carrying a gun.

I'm just grateful to live in a place where I can carry a gun, be it on my hip, in my waistband, or on my thigh. Now that you have a starting place for shopping for your next holster, maybe more of us mommas will start packing something other than a bling covered Coach bag, and the world will be a safer place for everyone.


4 comments:

  1. This was a great post! I have went through my fair share of holsters too. I did a shoulder holster for a while but those have accessibility and comfort issues. It felt like I was carrying a big fat ham under my armpit.

    Anymore when I do carry I have given up to the fact that I have to sacrifice style for comfort. An OWB holster does just fine with a baggy cover garment. Of course this is more difficult in warmer weather.

    I really like the Raven and Atomic Dog holsters. They both are kydex, have a very slim profile and hug in the gun considerably well. Do you have a good belt that is meant for use with a holster? It will make a world of difference!

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  2. The belt I wear exclusively is the Trainer 1 1/2" belt from 5.11 Tactical Gear.

    This belt is eternally adjustable, which is nice if you have an ever changing waist size like I do, and is heavy duty enough to hold holster securely for quick drawing. It's a little on the casual side, but it won't stretch or warp like leather. And if you're ever in a close quarters pickle, the hefty buckle can be used as a weapon/tool in itself.

    Check out http://www.511tactical.com/All-Products/Accessories/Belts.html for colors and selection. Hope that helps!

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  3. The Flashbang holster, made specifically for women, is great for concealed carry. I too am looking for a "body shape friendly" open carry holster. My thigh holster is nice, but the black, tactical, two strap monstrosity makes me look like a Lara Croft wanna be. Hmmmm... more body shape issues there!

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    Replies
    1. I love the Flash Bang holster...though I would never carry it. What genius! For the right body type, I think it makes sense. My only concerns would be the lethality of any accidental discharge, and the question of how to access it in the dead of winter when you're wearing 80 layers of clothing. The element of surprise, however, in the right application makes it almost worth a try. Oh, and looking like Lara Croft couldn't be THAT bad...

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