So, I've had a few people ask me in the past, "What holster should I get?" Surprisingly, this is a complex question with a variety of answers. I have spent years both stateside and overseas and worn just about every pistol holster manufactured in the last 15 years, so I decided I would make this simple guide to help you decide what holster is right for you.
There are several factors that contribute to the proper selection of a pistol holster, the first of which is, "What type of pistol do you have?" The reason this is such an important question is because of capitalism. Quality holster manufacturers typically only produce holsters for weapon systems that are popular amongst law enforcement and military units. This becomes a factor for those who may choose to carry a not-so-common airsoft pistol, like a FN 5-7 or a CZ. On the other hand, Glock, Beretta, and 1911 variant platforms will have a much wider variety to offer. I would suggest, if you have not made an airsoft pistol purchase yet, consider the availability of a quality holster.
The next question you need to ask yourself is, "What exactly will I be doing with my pistol?" Will your pistol be a backup at a MilSim event? Will it be a primary weapon? Will you be drawing and reholstering your pistol frequently? I can't stress this section enough when it comes to the importance of knowing exactly what you want out of a holster. Sure! You can get a generic nylon-based, one-size-fits-all holster off eBay real cheap, but will this actually meet your expectations?
If you plan on leaving your pistol on your side for the majority of an event, a nylon-based generic holster may suit you just fine and it is cheap! However, if you intend on being able to draw fast and reholster just as quickly; when seconds matter, this may not be such a great option.
The retention mechanism of your holster is an extremely important factor when considering the above mentioned pieces of mind candy. Police and military know just how important this factor is. Many of your nylon-based on size fits all holster come with either a plastic side clip style retention device or a simple single-retention snap. These will securely hold your weapon in place, but can cause you to struggle to re-secure that weapon. This could be that second or two that leaves you yelling, "HIT!"
If you intend on drawing your pistol and re-holstering frequently, I would suggest looking into professional-grade holsters manufactured by Blackhawk, Safariland and Uncle Mikes. These holsters are made for quick draw and quick re-holstering. Many of them automatically lock as soon as the weapon is slid back into the holster.
The final question you need to ask yourself is, "How much will I be moving and how quickly?" There are typically two common types of holsters; a hip holster or a drop leg holster.
A hip holster typically will remain in the same location on your belt throughout your entire match with little movement. A thigh holster on the other hand, has a tendency to slide around your leg. Especially if you are doing a lot of running.
With a thigh holster, there are two types; a single-point and a double-point. A single-point has one strap that secures the thigh rig to your belt. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I use a single point, but in doing so, I use belt keeps on both sides of my single-point strap to keep it secured to a particular location of my belt. A double-point thigh rig had two straps that secure the holster to your belt and typically have less movement. Both are viable options and with a little extra preparation, both have the same functionality.
Whichever holster you choose, remember that your weapon choice may leave you will few or many options, the type of action you intend on being involved in makes a huge difference and how much movement you will be doing is just as important.
--Brandon Roberts is a counter-terrorism task force officer based out of Meridian, Mississippi. He has been in law enforcement since 2001 and has served as a private military contractor for the U.S. government overseas. Brandon is the author of the Amazon Best Seller List book 'Evading Honesty' and runs milsim with the Florida Tactical Action Club.