Selecting the Right Holster for the Job

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This post might get some push-back from my military service friends but I welcome the comments. I have been meaning to write about various holster options for a while and what I believe based upon my experiences with holsters I own and my perceptions of various factors in a grid down situation. I decided to pull out three holsters I own and give my ideas behind their strengths and weaknesses as well as where I see them most likely being used in a grid down situation. This might help you select the right holster for your prepping needs.

A Tale of 3 Holsters

My first holster is the Raven Phantom Modular Holster. This is my concealed holster during the fall and winter months. When it is cooler outside I can easily and consistently cover up with a light jacket to reduce printing. My current weapons are either a Glock 17 or Glock 22 which also works out great because both weapons fit this same holster.

Phantom Modular Holster by Raven Concealment

Phantom Modular Holster by Raven Concealment

The Phantom Modular fits nice and snug against my back and feels great when I am walking or moving around. Sitting in the car is another story and that is another reason why I am looking to downsize my concealed carry to a Glock 30S. The belt in the photo is the 5.11 tactical TDU Belt 1.75” wide and it holds the weapon and holster perfectly fine. The Knife is my Kershaw Leek. There are usually some other EDC items hanging off the other side of my belt also. The 5.11 belt has no metal parts so it is airport naked body scanner friendly. I always opt-out so I have to remove my belt anyway.

The Phantom Modular costs $85 and is great both when nothing is wrong as in the S hasn’t hit the fan yet and you want a great concealment holster. It is also perfect if you are trying to carry concealed when the grid goes down. At the start of any societal unrest I believe it will be better to keep a low profile so walking out the front door looking too militaristic could be bad.

I like this holster because it is dirt simple and tough. You can’t hurt it unless you run over it with a truck. Magazine storage has to come in the form of other options not included, but for simply holding your weapon securely and allowing for a nice smooth draw, the Phantom is great.


The second holster is a drop-leg holster and I purchased this so long ago I can’t even remember the company that I bought it from, but there are millions like this and you can find them for around $30. I found one that is very similar on Combat Sport Supply.

Simple and cheap drop-leg holster.

Simple and cheap drop-leg holster.

This drop leg platform was what I thought would be perfect and I am sure that is in no small part due to TV and the movies. Drop leg holsters seem so practical and it makes you look like a modern-day gunslinger, right? This holster has a velcro strap that adjusts to practically any weapon and covers a snap closure. The idea is that you would flip the vecro strap off, unsnap the snap closure and draw your weapon. This might be cheap, but the platform and this holster has some drawbacks.

The first is inherent with any drop leg holster and that is the weight distribution. With the weight of the weapon that low on your leg, running feels odd. You are dragging this gun and a magazine with your leg and it makes you feel off-balance. Also, the drop leg renders your cargo pockets almost unusable. This holster has capacity for one extra magazine and is what I wear into the woods (deep into the woods). I thought that this would make a great holster, but it sounds better than it actually feels in reality. Additionally, the straps seem to ride down and always require adjustment.

One feature that is nice is the holster detachment clip so you can remove the holster without taking your belt off. You can’t do that with the Raven.

My plan for this holster? I will continue to use it when I go hiking as long as I am really in the woods. I wouldn’t take this on a day hike to the state park. If something does happen, most likely one of my kids would get this holster as it is better than nothing, but I wouldn’t buy one like this for your ultimate grid-down holster.


The third holster and my favorite is the Rogers Tactical Holster. This is also a drop leg platform, but it has some serious advantages over the cheaper nylon version above. Of course, those advantages come with a price.

Rogers Tactical Holster - My favorite holster.

Rogers Tactical Holster – My favorite holster.

The Rogers Tactical Holster will set you back over $100. It is built using Safariland parts and is used by police forces, military and competition shooters everywhere. The holster features a paddle that you slide inside your waistband. It removes very easily so you can wear the holster with or without a belt and you can remove it without taking off your belt. The ride is higher than a traditional thigh rig so the weight isn’t down as low on your leg. This feels much more natural. It is just low enough so that it doesn’t interfere with body armor.

You also have two magazine pouches that are friction retainers that keep the magazines in without latches or clips. This could save seconds when you really need it. The weapon fit at least for both of my Glocks is flawless and they both slide easily into place. The Rogers tactical holster has an ALS (Automatic Locking System) that keeps the weapon secure. You deactivate this by gently pressing your thumb down and pulling the weapon up. This feature is nice as the thumb release is perfectly positioned where my thumb naturally goes. Removing the weapon is a quick and easy affair and it feels so good, I have to admit that I practice drawing just to hear the perfect movement of the weapon sliding from the holster. You can tell that some serious engineering went into this piece of equipment.

The Rogers Tactical only has one thigh strap instead of two which I think reduces the ride up factor I mentioned above. Overall this feels and works great!

So when would I wear this holster? This is the ‘all hell has broken loose’ holster when you are carrying every single day and aren’t afraid to show it. Just like the drop leg above you can’t wear this if you are trying to be discrete unless you are on the firing range, but when SHTF, this is what I plan on rocking.

Your turn. What is your favorite holster and why?

If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • Adam Brock

    An interesting multi use holster that one may consider is the OSH by g-code. It’s priced pretty well 40 bucks or so for the base unit,and attachments are around 20 dollars. Each attachment lets the holster do a separate task. Ranging from molle attachment to belt loops for IWB or OWB carry. I haven’t gotten it yet but I’m considering it.
    I have two INCOG holsters by the same company for conceal and would by more if they made one for the ppk.

  • BobW

    I haven’t properly field tested them yet, but I found a solid deal on the Blackhawk Omega VI ‘airborne’ holster, so I wound up buying one. Its very similar to the generic version you purchased, but with around the house testing, felt it was very adjustable, and stayed in place very well. I paid $34 in a closeout deal. I have an Uncle Mike’s that’s not all that different than yours, and it flops around and generally doesn’t stay in place at all.

    I’m not any kind of fanboy, but the milspec version fits well, and I’m hopeful that more extensive testing returns more positive feedback.

    The Rogers Tactical unit you mention looks like it would be terribly uncomfortable in a non-police type setting. The hard plastic IWB setup looks like it would hurt your hip jogging, running, or carrying a heavy pack where you use the pack’s waist belt. Can you give us some feed back on Rogers in an ‘active’ setting?

    • BobW,

      Mr Roger’s himself actually does a better job than I could and you can watch him discuss the holster in detail at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS27gyBgt9s

      I will say this is very comfortable. The insert that you slide into your pants and the holster itself is formed to match contours of your hip so even wearing a gear belt over the holster feels fine. The paddle swivels so that sitting is even much nicer than the regular strap attachment systems I have tried. The only situation that would be uncomfortable would be rolling onto your gun side but that is going to be the case regardless of which option you go with I believe.


  • usmarinestanker

    What, no mil spec 1911 leather shoulder holster?


    I don’t know why we get issued this piece of crap for the M9 (I also don’t know why we get issued that piece of crap either….)

    In the Fleet I bought a nylon drop holster like you have posted in your second blurb. Ten years later it still works well and is simply what I’m used to. Perhaps one day I will get something better, but other preps need to come first.

    Ultimately, that sweet little Rogers deal looks pretty awesome.

    • Ha Ha! No, I haven’t gotten one of those beauties but I might have to buy one for my next Halloween party when my character is a cheesy 70’s hit man.

  • Jeremy


    My EDC holster. I carry appendix, this is my go to.

    For anything else it would be OWB in kydex.

    • I have never carried appendix because the last place I want my muzzle pointed is at that area. How does this work sitting down for you Jeremy?


      • Jeremy

        I have found that the way you would normally carry IWB, with your belt basically very snug… plays a huge role in carrying this way. You have to loosen your belt one notch, so the holster is able to ride up and down by itself.

        With that being said it is very comfortable for me sitting down / driving and you rarely have to adjust the holster at all. While driving the seat belt is tucked behind the holster/grip. The pistol basically disappears while standing with shorts and a t-shirt. If you ever have to tie your shoe or bend over, all you need to do is bend at the knees..very simple. I am able to sit for extended periods of time, even lay out on my couch while carrying this way.

        The appendix position allows you to be able to present the firearm from any position much faster, IMHO. Obviously if you were in the prone position it would require you to roll in a comfortable direction to access your firearm.

        As far as the muzzle pointed in that area, as long as you have a proper holster (with material covering the trigger completely) it is impossible for the firearm to go off during any or all movement you will preform. As far as un-holstering and re-holstering as long as you follow the golden rule of keeping your finger off of the trigger until pointed in a direction either down range or at a threat, the firearm will not shoot itself. I can promise you that.

        Does carrying appendix cause you to be mindful while you are accessing your firearm as well as holstering, yes it does. Make sure while doing both motions your finger is off the trigger, for me that means on the slide and it moves into the trigger guard naturally.If you do choose to carry appendix I would refrain from carrying with a round chambered until you are 100% comfortable with the motions. I took a few days carrying before I carried chambered.

        That is why it is my chosen method for EDC with my M&P 9c no safety. You can’t beat 12+1 and a 17 round magazine in your weak side cargo pocket, or on your belt in a carrier.

        Also this may not be comfortable for certain body types, so it’s certainly not for everyone. If you have a gut, this probably isn’t for you. For those that feel that weapons training alone is not sufficient and are also training their bodies, this shouldn’t be a problem. 🙂

  • Joe Oravec

    OK, while you have three holsters featured here may I suggest a 4th?

    My wife works for http://www.winthropholsters.com . They have holsters starting at about from $17 on up. Right now all their holsters are discounted for the holidays. These are custom leather holsters made to your weapon. They also have a Brick and Mortar store in Lakewood, Ohio. You can bring your gun in a have the holster made to fit. They can also customize for Laser sights, and other things. That is if they don’t already carry your holster in stock. (1911’s , Glock) They also can make your holster fit inside the waistband, outside the waistband, right or left handed.

    • Those brown leather holsters look beautiful!

  • Doug O

    Drop legs holsters seem to be loved by all those that have never worn them or have not had to wear them for an extended period of time (Like army ponchos that preppers claim to love even though they just cause you to sweat profusely, cause water to run down and extra soak your legs and boots, and then leak through within 10 minutes of a heavy downpour anyway…but I digress). You are right drop legs bounce around when you try to run and suck when trying to ride in a cramped vehicle (not to mention having to take them off to go to the bathroom). The only pro is easy access that doesn’t interfere with your body armor but all the cons can be fixed by putting it on your body armor. Many people hate this because while holstered it causes you to “flag” people but no more than when you are seated and your barrel points straight forward in a drop leg. Also they claim you “lose molle space” but unless you are carrying 20+ magazines you have plenty of room (even with IFAK, radio, and grenade pouches). If the situation is bad enough for me to go so tactical as to carry a drop leg I’ll be wearing my plate carrier and I think just like everyone is starting to realize you can employ a weapon mounted light without shooting everything you point at they also will realize with training they can carry and draw from a chest mounted holster without constantly shooting the person to their left.

    • Pat

      I know what you mean by mounting your handgun on your plate carrier and thought about doing that myself. I am not worried as much as some are about the muzzle being pointed in their direction for the same reasons you mention. It’s just a preference I guess but I agree that if it gets that bad, I will be wearing my plate carrier too.

    • BobW

      Doug, I hear what you are saying about drop holsters, but I see it from a different angle.

      No, drop holsters are not perfect. They are essentially purpose built for the combat environment. For ‘all calm’ carry, they are a bit floppy, are unconcealable, make your leg sweat like heck, and generally feel heavy on your leg.

      But if the S really has hit the fan, I don’t want my protection strapped to something I might have to jettison under duress. Connected to a belt, it’ll take surrender to get the thing off a person, just like an ‘on the wasteband’ holster.

      Wearing a plate carrier when its hot and humid is the suck. Unless I’m defending my home, I don’t see me wearing body armor on the move. Those plates are far heavier than most realize. Some form of load bearing vest is a much more viable alternative, one that gives the carrying capacity without the weight, and heat build-up associated with a 20+ lb plate carrier.

      Considering the situations many preppers are concerned about, I’ll deal with the floppy drop leg holster attached to my belt, along with my knife, and multi-tool. It’ll at least give me a chance of making it out alive when caught with the pants on the ground.

      • Doug O

        BobW, you make some great points. My go to set up is actually a light weight chest rig (no plates, 4 AR mags, 2 pistol mags, small IFAK, and knife) and a custom kydex pistol holster attached straight to my belt. You are correct, for the individual on the move light and fast are key. For me the plate carrier fills more of a static defensive posture.

  • Adam

    Interesting holsters. I have not seen your safariland variation before but I always prefer a holster with a retention of some kind. My summer holster is a Galco iwb and for cooler weather I use a Blackhawk serpa. I have used the cqc line for several years and like them pretty well.

    • Pat

      I still am not a fan of IWB holsters probably because I don’t buy my pants big enough to give me that much extra room. I have never tried one so I can’t really comment. I still want to try a belly band or something and maybe I’ll give that Galco a shot.

      • Adam

        I can vouch for the need to add a couple inches to the waist to compensate for your extra gun girth, but it conceals pretty nicely. I can’t speak of the belly band type, haven’t tried it. The idea of adding a layer of spandex in the summer months is a turn off for me. Galco leather is much nicer than the uncle Mike synthetic iwb I used, but it lasted for several years which was impressive for what it was.

  • Snake Plisken

    Everyone who carries has their own ideas of EDC and holsters and rightfully so. Use what works for you.

    Personally, i hate all that sh!t hanging off me.

    Depends on what I’m carrying that day. If I have my KelTec 9mm I put it in my right jacket pocket with the spare mag in my left jacket pocket. Or during the summer i’ll fit the 9 into my right front pocket of my cargo shorts and the spare mag in my left pocket.

    When i feel I need heavier firepower I’ll occasionally use a paddle holster but just as soon tuck the .45 in my waistband and the spare mag in my back left hand pocket ( as you can tell I’m right hand strong .)

    I do have other holsters that are injection molded plastic but very minimal and they would be handy if I were bugging out or in a situation that required a lot of physical movement and needed both hands like climbing a steep enbankment.

    I reckon I’m kind of weird. I don’t wear jewelry or wear tight clothing either and the giant holsters make me feel ungainly.

    Again, just my humble opinion. To each their own.


    • Pat

      Opinions are what I really like about the comments on our site Snake, so keep em coming! I am similar to you in a lot of respects. Summer time I pocket carry because it is so much less trouble to me.

  • Thomas Paine in the butt

    I’ve been using an inside the pants holster I made mumble mumble years ago. Its been through 4 different pistols and currently houses a Glock 21. Although it may be retired soon as I trimmed it down for its last tenant, a Glock 30, and the current resident is larger.

    The way that Rogers rides up close to the hip reminds me of cowboy style holsters.

    • Pat

      What materials did you use Thomas? Did you have a pattern or did you get crafty with a hot glue gun and an old baseball mitt?

      • Thomas Paine in the butt

        I used oil tanned latigo, rivets and milspec snaps on the belt loops. I patterned it with the idea to smooth the lines of the weapon under clothing. I also used a forward cant to make drawing easier from the seated position. By using belt loops instead of a flap it give me more flexibility in positioning the piece.

        Primarily what I make is medieval armor for reenactors so the holster’s build to take a beating.