Carrying In A Holster Is A Critical Part Of Gun Safety
A holster to a handgun, like a sling for a rifle or brakes for a car, is a critical piece of safety equipment. Carrying without one, like driving without brakes, is taking terrible chances with the safety of you and those around you.
It is absolutely the case that part of good gun safety practices is to place a loaded handgun in a holster for transportation on your person or in a storage container of some sort.
While the temptation is to think of holsters, just like rifle slings, as part of EDC gizmos, gadgets and gear - and they are, up to a point - it's also the case that they are protective equipment.
Understood as such, it is likewise vital that you make a prudent choice when selecting a holster. When you buy one, make sure to select one that is going to enable you to carry the gun securely and safely.
Let's go over a little more in-depth why it is that holsters are absolutely necessary safety equipment, and what to look for when you buy one.
A Holster Keeps The Pistol Secured And In Your Control
Part of good gun safety is making sure that a gun, especially a loaded one, is in control of the user at all times, and that's what a holster does for a pistol.
By placing the pistol inside the holster, you secure it in place. Provided a good selection of holster, the gun cannot be dropped, it doesn't move in place or at least not much, it stays where you put it and in the same condition it was in when you put it in there.
From there, of course, you can decide to conceal it or not. That's up to you, but the same principle idea - controlling the weapon by establishing control of its location - applies equally to open carrying with an OWB or what have you as it does to concealed carry in an IWB holster.
Start looking up news reports of people who have accidental discharges in public. You'll notice some trends.
Gun drops occur. As the pistol isn't secured in the holster, it falls on the ground and discharges. Another is when the person carrying the gun has to adjust it for comfort, which inadvertently leads to a discharge.
These things don't happen, however, when a gun is carried in the holster.
It's the same idea as having a sling on a rifle or shotgun when carrying it in the field, or when police or military carry a long gun. The sling keeps the weapon secured to you, and therefore keeps it under your control.
The idea, as you can tell, is the same with a handgun holster. By keeping the gun secured to your person, you are controlling it.
If, that is, you've selected a quality holster.
The Trigger Guard Must Be Covered
The modern handgun is a striker-fired pistol, with minimal safety features. There usually are two to three concurrent passive safety features which technically make the gun safe...but all that's needed to deactivate them is to press the trigger.
In an ideal world, that would mean that only a deliberate press of the trigger by human hands would result in a discharge. However, this is not an ideal world. This is the real world.
And in the real world, accidental discharges happen even when the trigger is not being touched.
The trigger can snag on clothing that works its way into the trigger guard. Cheap cloth holsters have allowed the trigger to be manipulated through the holster itself. People have put guns in backpacks, pockets and purses, only for something to snag the trigger and cause discharges.
Point being, if you have just such a modern handgun...it is absolutely critical that the trigger guard be completely covered when the gun is holstered to prevent a potential tragedy from occurring.
The same is true of double-action revolvers and DA/SA semi-autos.
When a gun is loaded, it is of vital importance to keep anything from entering the trigger guard or from touching the trigger to prevent inadvertent, accidental or negligent gunshots from occurring.
A properly constructed holster will do that.
Retention Is Needed To Prevent Unwanted Access
It's also the case that a holster can prevent unwanted access from other people. A gun merely stuck in the waistband, or put in a pocket or a purse, can be easily taken from the person carrying it.
A gun that's carried in a secure holster, especially attached to your person...is a little harder.
Obviously, a holster with only passive retention is still vulnerable to a gun grab. Obviously, too, a full Level III holster with multiple active retention devices (and many Level II holsters with one) are impractical for every day carry for most people who conceal every day.
With that said, any holster that has even passive retention will slow an attacker down compared to not having a holster at all. Active retention is also not totally grab-proof; plenty of officers have been disarmed despite wearing a Level II or Level III holster.
This is also why it's necessary for a person to have training in combatives as well as shooting.
Keep in mind that most fights are mere fisticuffs; they aren't life or death, but instead a dust-up between two people that should have known better than to act like children. As a result, unarmed (or empty hand, if you prefer that terminology) self-defense is something you should know as well as armed self-defense.
A holster can also prevent a curious child from taking the gun from a purse, nightstand or dresser drawer.
What To Look For In A Holster For Safety
What you're looking for in a holster, understood as a piece of safety equipment as much as it is a piece of gear, is a few select qualities. Many holsters are made that have them, so it isn't a hard bar to clear...but many also don't, so don't assume all holsters are good.
The holster should be made for the make and model of firearm that you will insert into it. This ensures the holster fits the gun, as well as the necessary friction to keep it in place.
Some universal holsters are made that purport to fit any gun. A holster that fits every gun...doesn't really fit any gun.
Some are made to fit a narrow size range, such as single- or double-stack subcompacts and so on. If you aren't getting a custom-made holster, those are the ones to acquire as they will have sufficient tension.
In other words, what you're looking for is a holster that adequately holds the pistol without needing an active retention device. Active retention should be A layer of security, not THE layer of security.
The holster should be made of durable material that covers the trigger guard and prevents anything, at all, from entering it or from allowing the trigger to be manipulated through the holster.
The holster must also make a solid connection to the belt or to the body, if you aren't carrying some form of waistband holster. If it does not, the holster is liable to dropping. It also won't work well on the range, which is what we call "a clue."
In short, it has to connect to you securely. It has to securely hold the gun. It has to keep the trigger guard completely covered and protected.
It's also important to choose a holster that does these things that you can live with. If you can't stand to carry it, you won't, and that defeats the purpose.
Guns, gear and so on are cool, and yes - to a degree - holsters are part of that. However, remember that a holster is also a vital piece of safety equipment, so don't take chances on it. Know, too, that price should be A selling point, not THE selling point. So choose wisely.