Chris Sajnog provides a guide on purchasing holsters.

Best Handgun Holster: The Ultimate Holster Buying Guide

Hey, what’s up, everybody! In this post, I’m going to be talking about the best handgun holster and guiding you through making the right choice. Let’s go ahead and get started.

As a Navy SEAL, firearms instructor, CQC instructor, and all-around gun nut, I have had to use many types of handgun holsters for multiple purposes over the last few decades. A good holster needs to keep your weapon secure when you’re moving and safe from whatever punishment you plan on putting it through. Most importantly, you need to be able to quickly access that boom-stick when it’s time to deliver customer service to bad guys. Many holsters are quite specialized in form and function and therefore I feel that we need to talk about them here and now.


Kydex or plastic (or whatever the manufacturer wants to call it) is one slick and inexpensive option. They are fast, often adjustable for cant (the angle of the gun about your body), and nearly indestructible. All modern molded holsters made of synthetic materials are light, relatively inexpensive, and wear-resistant.

Chris Sajnog states: My zZz holster remains pristine after thousands of draws.

My zZz holster has had thousands of draws from it and is nearly as good as the day it was born. These are great holster materials for the non-traditionalist and are fast-catching with most manufacturers. Beware, some molded holsters will wear that beautiful blue off your fancy new pistol slide in short order. But some great custom Kydex holsters are being made and prices are not much more than the cheap ones being stamped out in China.

Leather has been the most common holster material since…forever, and there are many levels of quality. Check out the tanning quality and the stitching before you make the investment. Like a cowboy hat or a good pair of boots, it takes a lot of everyday use to get them the way you like them and they become very personal. Remember that leather retains moisture for a long time and is heavier. But it smells great and gets more character with age. If you live in a CCW state, carry a gun daily, and are lucky enough to grow old with such a holster, you win.

Nylon is another material that works well and is very versatile. I’ve seen nylon used in every type of holster, and it’s what we used in the field on the SEAL Teams. Like leather, you need to make sure you buy from a company with a good reputation. If not well constructed, nylon holsters can close up on you, making it hard to draw or put away when the fun is over.

A good holster needs to keep your weapon secure when you’re moving and shouldn’t slow you down.


Next, in this best handgun holster, Holsters should be chosen by your preferred method of carry. Your body type may preclude the wearing of certain holsters; a person with a large belly (“big-boned”) may not even be able to find his gun under his ample proportion, let alone draw it, and my bony body will not let me comfortably wear a gun directly on my hip bone.

In the line of duty (military/LE/security), drop-leg holsters might be your best bet. If you need to get to that bang-stick quickly, the only thing faster is holding the gun in your hand. For years all I wore was a SPECOPS straight-drop holster for my SIG 226. I sometimes still use these today because they held up to the operational abuse and kept my gun secure and safe.

The Serpa line of holsters from Blackhawk can be level two or three and are nearly as easy to draw from as a non-security holster. With well-thought-out and ergonomically placed releases, these safeties barely slow draw time. This type and others like them are also modular, meaning you can buy one holster for your gun that can be attached to a variety of backing platforms such as a paddle, shoulder holster, belt, load-bearing vest, or thigh rig. At Center Mass Group, the drop-leg SERPA rig is what I use 90% of the time while instructing.

People who drive a lot might consider a cross-draw holster. Besides a shoulder holster or off-the-body carry, this is the easiest position to draw a gun from while seated in a vehicle and also offers great concealment during daily activities. Shoulder holsters are convenient and comfortable if adjusted to fit your physique. I keep one handy and filled for perusing the estate when things go bump in the night. Got that, bad guys!

Chris Sajnog elucidates various holster types.

Paddle holsters offer the same grab-and-go usefulness. And unless you’re James Bond, ankle holsters are fairly useless for most applications and are clumsily uncomfortable. Pocket holsters are a great idea if you’re packing in the pants. They prevent printing, keep pocket lint off your gun, and make drawing easier.

Hip Holsters are worn pretty comfortably on the hip bone (or slightly in front or in back). Carrying in front may poke your stomach and thigh when you sit, and in the rear, it may literally be a pain in the butt!

Small-of-the-back (S.O.B.) holsters lie on your vertebrae and often hurt thinner folks like myself. If you go this route, you don’t want to fall backward with your gun under your spine, or risk serious injury…you’ve been warned.

Large and heavy handguns and virtually all scoped handguns are best carried in a bandolier holster in the middle of the chest. They distribute the weight evenly and comfortably with an adjustable harness.

Handgun Holster Hints:

  • Try to buy a holster for a specific, intended purpose such as concealed carry, competition, plinking in the woods, etc.
  • A higher price generally means better construction and longevity, particularly with leather.
  • Modular systems are the most economical, particularly if using a variety of firearms.
  • You can’t have too many holsters!
  • For concealed carry, practice draws and re-holstering often using the clothes you normally wear.
  • Make sure your CCW firearm is truly concealed under your normal garb in a variety of positions. Another set of eyes is much more beneficial than looking in the mirror.
  • Always get professional firearms instruction on how to use your holster and practice, practice, practice!

Let me know what is the best handgun holster works best for you and how you use it. Even better, share any holster horror stories in the comments, so others can benefit from your experience. Happy hunting!

Chris Sajnog recommends obtaining a copy of his ebook.


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  1. Great article, you guys obviously know your shooting! Who better to listen to about shooting than a couple of SEALS? You guys should do a whole page or section on gear, like “SEAL approved gear” or something.

    1. Great idea on the gear page, I’ll keep that in mind. We do have a company that we work with called T3 Gear. They are good friends of ours and former Navy SEALS themselves, so naturally all their gear is “SEAL Approved”. Check them out when you have a change and let them know Center Mass Group sent you!

    1. I am glad that you learned something from the article. Trust me, there is so much gear out there that it is hard to sift through it all.
      We will keep doing articles on different gear so that it will be eaiser for you to choose.

  2. great article! i stumbled on you guys from ITS Tactical, great stuff. I use the G&G pancake holster for my Glock 22 when off duty. super comfy, decent concealment and offers a 45* cant or high ride option. when concealment isnt a priority i go with the Blackhawk Serpa…fantastic holster. Love the site guys ill definately be back for more!


    1. Shepheard 6
      Glad that you like the site. We will keep testing new gear and re testing gear that has been out for a while to give everyone a fair shake. Remember that these are just our opinions on the gear or tactics. Keep an open mind and enjoy!
      Hope to catch you on the range soon.

  3. Great article – I’m a shoulder holster lover and my Miami Classice has been with me for more years than I care to mention. Author is right – care for a leather holster and it will out last you. I ride motorcycle and the shoulder holsters fill the bill for me.

  4. Really great article. I was in the Marines and went to Somalia with Team 1. They were some really cool dudes… What I liked about the Seals was they only operated and trained at night. I never one time saw them in the day. They also kept their gear immaculate. I have a holster pistol question. I carry Glocks exclusively, I have shot a million pistols and I just love the Glock. Tom or Chris, if you were dropped behind 100 miles behind enemy lines with a Glock 19 and you could only pick one holster… what would it be??? Because that is the one holster I want to buy next. Thanks for your service…Semper Fi

    1. 6 Hotel,
      First off, thanks for your comments and your service! Look, there are many fine holsters out there made out of many different kinds of material. My personal preference is the Serpa holster made by BlackHawk. I am currently carrying a Glock 35, it’s a full frame .40, I love this weapon and I keep it in a Serpa Holster. This holster has never failed me. It keeps my 35 very secure and the draw is quick and positive. I have hung up side down with this set up and it has NEVER let me down.
      I am glad that you had a good experience with Team 1. I was a East coast SEAL for my whole career so I don’t know many Team 1 guys but now that I currently am living in San Diego I am getting to know more west coast guys.
      Thanks again for the comment.

  5. First, as a Border Patrol Agent for 15 years, I was around when we switched from revolvers to the Beretta, then I got to do the handgun testing that selected the H&K P-2000. I used thumbsnap holsters the whole time. When we were issued the P-2000, we were issued a safariland holster that had the rotating hood to cover the weapon. It was NOT conducive to a nice clean draw, a lot of us didn’t like it and went back to Don Hume for thumbsnaps again. I never had trouble with the drop loop thumbsnap holsters for belt duty carry made by Don Hume. I’d highly recommend them for a belt, duty carry style. Being biased towards Don Hume, I bought one for concealed carry for my 1911. It took a while to break it in and, being a CCW holster, it rides a lot higher, but, again, I’m having a lot of luck with it. For another CCW carry holster, I once more, went with a thumbsnap because it looks like Don Hume is getting out of that business. So I went with Galco. A LOT stiffer and the P-226 that it was supposed to fit is VERY tight in it. But the holster appears to be responding to efforts to break it in with a little saddle soap.
    Still looking for a thumbsnap leg holster for both. I kind of like the security of having a strap over the back of the pistol.

  6. When I carry concealed my preferred choice is the Glock 19. I have to agree with 6 Hotel about Glock. I have fired a lot of handguns, but there is something about the Glock that has really stuck with me. I have two that are my favorites (Glock 19 and Glock 22). I have a Glock made flashlight that I sometimes move from gun to gun, but I only have one holster that allows for the light, a big bulky paddle holster. Does anyone know of a leather, or fabric, IWB holster that would take a Glock 19 and a light? I’ve searched online and in catalogues and I’m striking out. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. My favorite holster by far is a leather IWB made by Blackhawk, I just wish they had one for the light. Thanks for any advice, I love this website.

  7. I appreciate the advice you shared about how your body type can affect what kind of holster you can use. I am getting a concealed carrying permit soon, and I want to make sure that I get the right holster. It might be a good idea for me to find a sporting goods store that has a large selection of holsters that I can look at.

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