Open Carry & Holsters
by Steven Bass
Lets review a holsters job. The primary responsibility of your holster is toprovide physical protection and retention of your sidearm on your person while allowing you quick and easy access when or if the need arises. With Open Carry you also want a holster that provides some degree of restriction from access to your firearm by others. Holsters can accomplish this in several ways to include but not limited to quality of materials, construction, fit, cant and manual retention features.
Many belt mounted Outside the Waistband holsters currently used for Concealed Carry can easily transition to Open Carry use. Quality open top leather holsters which are wet molded (boned) to a specific make of firearm offer good retention through the friction fit of the holster, in addition some of these holsters like the Galco Avenger offer adjustable tension to increase the amount of resistance necessary to remove the sidearm. –
Kramer Vertical Scabbard Bulman SDS Galco Avenger
For those wishing to step up a level in retention abilities there are several holster styles available to choose from. The traditional time proven thumb break holsters as the name implies require that the thumb of the strong hand disengage the retaining strap before the firearm can be removed from the holster. This provides an additional step making availability of the sidearm to other than the wearer more difficult.
Other types of retention holsters with more novel retention devices exist such as the Bianchi 82 utilizes a mechanical locking system that locks onto the trigger guard of the pistol and requires the middle finger to activate a paddle lever to release the sidearm before it can be removed from the holster.
Bianchi 82Or the Safariland ALS holsters like this 6377
The Safariland ALS secures the sidearm into the holster by locking into the ejection port. The sidearm cannot be removed from the holster until the locking release lever is actuated.
What all of these and many other holsters offer is quality of construction and designs sturdy enough to discourage unauthorized access to the sidearm.
Holsters you should stay away from are the inexpensive and generally poorly made nylon holsters that fit multiple makes and models of sidearm. These holsters offer inferior firearms protection and weapons retention due to poor fit and weak construction. You also want to stay away from those holsters that use a paddle device to secure the holster to your pants, and those that utilize a small metal spring clip to secure the holster to your belt, such holsters can often be defeated with a strong pull to the holster causing them to detach from your pants, pistol and all.