Part 2 – Holsters

Don’t go out and buy a bunch of new equipment before you start shooting. I say this with one caveat. For action pistol type matches, I do recommend that you buy a good, standard style holster before you start. Now, different games have different rules on holsters, as do different ranges that you may find yourself shooting at, so a safe bet for a holster is a standard belt holster from some place like Bladetech, or Comp-Tac. When I say standard holster, I mean either a paddle, or regular belt attached holster. There are other brands as well, but I have experience with the two mentioned above, and you will see most shooters running holsters from one of these two brands. When considering a holster, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does it take two hands to draw the pistol?
  2. Does it take two hands to re-holster the pistol?
  3. When re-holstering, am I going to have to point the pistol at any body parts that I don’t want to lose? (Hint: If you have to muzzle sweep your kidneys to re-holster your pistol in your expensive leather IWB holster, it  isn’t a good option)

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the holster is not right for competition. End of story.

Holsters to avoid:

Nylon. We’ve all seen the nylon holsters with the cute strap, and snap that are sold in every gun show. Avoid, avoid, avoid! These holsters are hard to draw from, and offer little in the way of weapon retention. There are ranges in my area that do not allow nylon holsters to be used during matches.

Blackhawk SERPA. I’ve mentioned it before, and it has been beaten to death all over the internet. Lets just say, there are many ranges that do not allow this holster to be used, so if you drive all the way to a match to find out that you cannot shoot because of your holster, that would suck. If you must have a retention holster, look at the Safariland ALS (I reviewed it here).

Leather Inside the Waistband (IWB) holsters. The reason I say this, is that a lot of leather IWB holsters collapse after the pistol is taken out of the holster, making putting the pistol back into the holster a chore, and dangerous when you are handling a loaded pistol. Now, something kydex re-enforced like a Crossbreed Supertuck would be fine. Not ideal, but fine.

Appendix, crossdraw, shoulder rigs, and pocket holsters. These styles of carry are not safe when used in competition, and you will not find a range that will allow you to shoot using any of these styles of holsters.

Budget Options: It can be hard to justify the expense of a top of the line holster when you haven’t even shot a match yet, and you don’t know if you’ll like it. Have no fear, there are some surprisingly decent budget minded options on the market like these:

– Blackhawk Sportster

Ok. So that’s holsters. If you have questions about specific holsters post them below, and I’ll get an answer for you!


  1. Note: In IPSC/USPSA competition, the holster MUST COVER THE TRIGGER!

  2. Second the Safariland ALS. Easy draw, easy to reholster. And it’s not a Serpa!

  3. Just out of curiosity, do you suggest staying away from all retention holsters with the button above the trigger, or just the SERPA specifically? I was planning on using a CZ-75BD, and Safariland doesn’t make a retention holster for it. I currently own an IMI retention holster, and was wondering if they would just call it a SERPA and turn me away?

  4. In your “Dry Fire for Competetive Shooting” video on YouTube, what holster are you wearing for your 1911. I’ve been shopping around but it’s hard to see them “in action”, and the one you use seems to be the one I’m looking for. Is that the Bladetech?

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