Holster Evaluation Results

Bear Creek's IWB for the LCP
A Damn Good Holster


I have a number of holsters primarily for concealed carry, and I have tried a few more than that. A few I have kept for a while, carrying them in various situations, dress and weather, evaluating which ones work the best for me. My goal is to arrive at two or three holsters that I carry in one or two positions so that I limit the possibilities for confusion should I need to react in a self-defense scenario.

All well and good, but it became obvious that I needed some method to my madness or I would be relying on memory and fading impressions, both of which are increasingly unreliable. So, I developed a simple chart with which to record and analyze my simple requirements. You will see that below. At the time I began keeping these records, I owned a Ruger LC9 along with the other two Rugers in the chart. I've since put the LC9 up for sale since I believe it is redundant to the SR9c which has many advantages over the somewhat smaller LC9. Regardless, I did collect data about that gun which is shown below.

The chart below is grouped by gun, then by score. A higher score is better than a lower one. I generally took the range from 1 (worst) to 5 (best). These are obviously subjective and relate to my preferences, habits and body type. Meanings of the rating categories:

Secure: Does the gun and holster stay where I put it, throughout a carry period. This usually involved sitting, standing, walking, some short running, kneeling, bending, and the normal activities you'd be engaged in throughout the day. I want a holstered gun to stay where I want it to be throughout my day. Period. This is a problem for IWB holsters unless comfort is sacrificed.

Comfort: Speaks for itself. If the rig is comfortable, I'll carry it readily and for long periods. Otherwise, it ends up in the drawer or on eBay. I don't have to "forget it is there". In fact, I want to know it is there, where it is and that it is not bugging me endlessly.

Cover: Do normal garmets cover the holster and gun in normal, everyday activities, or do I have to continually adjust for either comfort or, worse, concealment. This is also a major issue with most IWB holsters. It is closely associated with the "Secure" category, above. First, if the holster and gun can be worn comfortably in a way that conceals under normal garb, then, will it stay there. If it prints anywhere you put it on, then it fails this test obviously. If it swivels, rotates, shifts or otherwise moves into a place where it prints, this is a failure of a holster allegedly made for concealment.

T-Shirt: I wear T-shirts frequently in the spring and summer, so any IWB (and some OWB) holsters that are made to conceal will have to do so under a T-shirt. Around here, when fall really comes in, we can count on putting the T-shirts away until late spring, so this is a requirement that might be met with a 'summer' holster that works particularly well with T-shirts.

Final Notes
A category that doesn't appear in the charts but is assumed to be there for any self-defense holster is ease of draw. If the thing is hard to draw from, it's going back to the maker with a note, or in the trash.

The Bear Creek IWB holster pictured above was one of my first LCP holsters. It served me well and long. I sold it to a friend who was getting started with concealed carry. If I had it to do again, I'd keep it, and have Doug make one for him.

I currently have a new D.M. Bullard OWB cross draw holster made for the SR9c. I have been using and testing it for a few weeks - thanks to Dave for the opportunity. It is not rated in the charts. As I have noted in previous posts here, while the quality is outstanding, the combination of my body type and the size and heft of the SR9c contributes to the holster not pulling the butt of the gun in close enough to my torso. Regardless of where I position it, and I wear a heavy gun belt made by Doug Childers of Bear Creek Holsters, there is always a one to two inch gap between the gun butt and me, which produces printing under anything other than a jacket. I am still working with the holster and will have a more detailed final review here later.

Update: Since this was originally posted I have experienced and issue carrying the Ruger SR9c and a Versacarry in the cross draw position. When bending down sharply to pick something off the floor, the magazine button on my SR9c was depressed and the magazine ejected onto the floor. Caution is advised if you use a Ruger SR9 or 40 series semiauto with a Versacarry holster in the cross draw or appendix carry position. More information will be posted when I get feedback from Versacarry.


Holster
Type
Gun
Rating
Secure
Comfort
Cover?
T-Shirt
Comments
Bullard Bodyguard
OWB
LC9
17
5
4
4
4
Comfortable. Secure. Hides well. Draws well.
Remora
IWB
LC9
14
3
3
4
4
Versatile. Ambidextrous. Moves from position depending on your activities.
Versacarry
IWB
LC9
14
3
3
4
4
Minimal. Trigger open on one side. Inexpensive. More comfortable than it appears.
pjholster
IWB
LC9
12
3
1
4
4
Excellent quality. Light. Hard. Not comfortable in appendix or cross draw positions.
Remora Tuckable
IWB
LC9
12
3
3
4
2
Versatile. Ambidextrous. Moves from position depending on your activities.
Fobus
OWB
LC9
9
3
4
1
1
Paddle can be insecure. Minimal concealment. Requires cover.
Uncle George
Pocket
LCP
20
5
5
5
5
Quality. Ease of carry. Very concealable.
Galco Stow-n-Go
IWB
LCP
19
5
4
5
5
Inexpensive, well made, excellent clip, comfortable.
Nemesis
Pocket
LCP
19
5
4
5
5
Quality. Ease of carry, problematic access in front pocket.
Bullard Bodyguard
OWB
LCP
18
5
5
4
4
Comfortable. Secure. Hides well. Draws well. Very high quality.
Versacarry
IWB
LCP
18
4
4
5
5
Minimal. Trigger open on one side. Inexpensive. Very comfortable in this smaller size.
Remora
IWB
LCP
16
3
4
5
4

Bullard Bandit
OWB
SR9c
17
5
5
4
3
Comfortable. Secure. Needs cover. Draws well. Very high quality.
N82
IWB
SR9c
15
3
4
4
4
Comfort. Secure. Adjustable cant. Large.
Supertuck
IWB
SR9c
15
4
3
4
4
Big. Wide. Difficult clips. Better for bigger person.
Versacarry
IWB
SR9c
14
4
3
4
3
Minimal. Fragile. Trigger open on one side. Cheap
Remora
IWB
SR9c
12
3
3
3
3
Versatile. Ambidextrous. Moves from position.
Remora Tuckable
IWB
SR9c
11
3
3
4
1
Versatile. Ambidextrous. Moves from position.





Comments
Versacarry
IWB
May break at clip hinge if over stressed. Trigger guard covered on one side only. Surprisingly comfortable.
pjholster
IWB
Hard, inflexible, and comfort depends on position.
Bullard Bodyguard & Bandit
OWB
 Conceals surprisingly well with a loose T-shirt, but not perfectly. Comfortable. Secure. Needs cover. Draws well. Very high quality.
Remora
IWB
Basic holster. No reinforcement or sweat shield. All Remoras may shift position a small amount or significantly depending on where they are placed, and the activities engaged in. Some locations are more secure than others. For larger guns, between the belt and waistband is most secure. The tuckable versions work well with the same caveats as above.
Uncle George Holster
Back Pocket
The almost perfect pocket carry. Always in position. Light and flexible enough to be very comfortable, heavy enough to protect the LCP. Easy to draw. Conformed so you sit on the end of the panel, not the pistol.
N82 Tactical Pro
IWB
A good solution to concealment and comfort, with a couple of design flaws. Comfort is outstanding especially for the larger guns. Protection of the pistol is also excellent. The single clip means easy on and off, but permits the holster and gun to move, swivel and change position which may produce some printing. The gun is held in place by a designed "lip" cast in the plastic over the trigger guard which requires a slight inward twisting motion to release the gun on the draw. Something else to remember which adds a complicating factor in what may be a stressful situation.
Crossbreed Supertuck 
IWB
Wide leather base, kydex holster with dual clips which can be difficult to engage. Adjustable in cant and ride height. Not as comfortable as the N82 Tactical, but more stable. Expensive.
Galco Stow-n-Go
IWB
An outstanding solution to a comfortable, effective and inexpensive IWB carry for small pistols. May work as well with larger handguns. And, it is inexpensive with one of the best clips on the market.