Letter Re: The Importance of Pistol Holster Selection

I ‘lurk’ a lot and by doing so, learn a bunch but a discussion came up in another environment and made me think and I wanted some feedback so here goes…
In responding to someone who planned on getting a hand gun as a part of their survival planning and was seeking advice I said this:
This topic however hits home as I’ve been in training over 20 years and am still a certified ‘pistol’ instructor. I spent a lot of time doing law enforcement, corrections officer and even civilian hand gun / shotgun training. With that said, getting a hand gun is a big step and will require a lot of time and effort to truly make it worthwhile.

So, get the weapon and supporting materials (ammo, cleaning stuff etc.) and very important, the training. Then practice – lots. A .22 [rimfire] conversion kit with what ever you get, while extra expense will be well worth the investment. A good holster, belt (and mag pouch if you go auto) are also necessary – don’t skimp on the holster/belt. Many cops and civilians training with the ‘off duty’ gun or weekend carry civilian style try to get by with an inexpensive holster on the belt they got at Macy’s in men’s clothing. I’ve got a holster, belt and mag pouch that set me back $300 made by a pro and custom cut – but the gun always fits, always comes out when I draw, never shifts all day long, and is very secure. You may be betting your life on your gear so get the best you can for your situation.

To wrap up: If you do this, you must commit to training and continued practice with re-training for as long as you carry a sidearm. That’s at least monthly and not a simple box of shells once or twice a year. That means time, money and serious (very serious) mental and physical effort on your part. Good luck and stay safe.

So, am I ‘on target’ with this or am I missing something? I know it always pays to have a second set of eyes look over anything critical going out and something like this I think is very important to get right. The other point is that I see all over the place information on this or that gun, this or that cleaning stuff and lots and lots about ammo but almost never anything about a carry system (holster for sidearm) and that concerns me as stuffing a .45 in my back pocket or waistband may work but it’s not safe, good or effective. Comments? Thanks! – Paul

JWR Replies: I agree wholeheartedly. I have often met consulting clients that invest $170+ in custom holsters from a fine holster maker like Milt Sparks, yet they expect a lightweight”dress” suit belt to suffice. The belt is almost as important as the holster. In general, the stiffer and wider, the better. In most cases you will want a sturdy belt to provide support and to insure that the holster, spare magazine pouch, and flashlight pouch stay securely in place. Parenthetically, I’m a believer in carrying a small tactical flashlight (such as a Surefire) at all times. They are useful for shooting situations and more mundane things like car maintenance, and finding a key slot in a dark hallway. Also, in these days when windowless “tilt-up” slab architecture has become the norm, when visiting an office building or a “big box” store, you might find yourself very much in the dark, in the event of a mid-day power failure.